GHDR Reboot 001: Establishing a New Routine

Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2022 by Sri.Tagged JOURNAL

Getting Started with the New Approach

Yesterday I made a huge change to my 2022 Groundhog Day Resolutions: I'm dumping the old list of goals in favor of gathering-style productivity"collecting what got done" rather than "doing what was planned". I want to prime the pump by mandating a daily deliverable as a requirement with a structured procrastinationavoiding an important task to get less important task done, trusting everything generally works out in the end approach rather than a predictable+disciplined process. I'm counting on the belief that I will naturally create things that have some kind of value, and after a month of this I'll have a collection of shareable ideas that might start impacting the world in an interesting way.

My project work from February 2013 was similar to what I'm describing. The 30 Products in 30 Days Challenge was very draining but also highly satisfying.

BLOCKING TASKS

While I'd like to jump right into it, I'm preoccupied by some long-ignored tasks that are adding drag to my feeling of freedom. I'm just going to mark them as NON URGENT for now and lump them into STRATEGICALLY-IGNORED PILES which I'll list at the end.

A second concern is that I'm easily enraged by the ramshackle state of my content creation system. I have been frustrated with WordPress for well over a decade, and the customized EleventyA Javascript-based static site generator similar to Jekyll and Hugo site generator here on dsriseah.com is still in a very early stage. On the plus side, it's great to have much more programmatic control and security. On the minus side, I keep thinking of things that I want to improve, and every one of them will take oodles and oodles of time. I'll make another list for those at the end of this.

AN IMMEDIATE CONCERN

Something I can't ignore now is my health. I'm still recovering from the last project crunch period, and am experiencing unusual levels of fatigue and headache-induced naps. There are a number of factors that I'm considering as possible causes:

  • medication and supplement dosages
  • effects of diet on blood pressure, blood sugar
  • elevated liver and kidney indicators
  • interactions between meds prescribed by multiple doctors
  • depression and gender dysphoria
  • externally-induced stress, anxiety, and lack of control
  • impairment due to ADHD / ASD / GAD and related medication
  • eye strain, environmental and ergonomic issues

Diet and nutrition is most on my mind, as it is a major factor I can improve. This is going well; I'm cooking more vegetables and eating much smaller portions, and am learning to avoid foods that might cause issues with my weakened liver and kidneys. Exercise comes next, and I'm starting to at least MOVE A LITTLE MORE than I used to. However, the sudden attacks of sleepiness are still a mystery. I've ruled out three or four things, each time thinking that it was the trigger to my productivity-limiting headaches. The new considerations are the ENVIRONMENTAL factors: bright unbalanced lights, screen glare, and degradation of my eyes such that my glasses needs an urgent update. It could also be that I am experiencing photophobia (uncomfortable sensitivity to light) as a symptom of another underlying medical condition. Since none of my doctors talk to each other, I have to be the project manager/facilitator and try to solve the puzzle as I am experiencing the fatigue issue. It's been challenging.

A COURSE OF ACTION

Right now, I think I need to arrange for an earlier-than-expected appointment with my eye doctor, which means I also need to shop for new glasses frames...yet another expensive and frustrating proposition because it's still hard to find "Asian-fit" or "low nose bridge" glasses in this part of the country.

  • get back car
  • go to local glasses places to look for cute frames
  • try some online places to find frames
  • request contact lenses (this rx is still good) refills
  • when frames are acquired, schedule doctor's appointment
  • ask my sister where the good optical shop in Boston is

The second priority is to address the household ergonomics issues. Being upstairs in the sunny day is nice in the winter time but is probably making my eyestrain worse. Maybe I've always had this sensitivity; it might explain why I feel better working at night than during the day, and the last day I did not have the nap lethargy were overcast rather than sunny.

  • clear out the basement so I can put a workstation table there (major task)
  • repaint the walls a neutral gray to avoid the color cast problems I had before
  • find a good L-shaped workstation table that can hold two computers with integrated storage
  • install overhead cabinets and indirect lighting
  • ask people for handyman recommendations
  • move computers downstairs

THAT'S IT FOR NOW

Ok, I think I've cleared my head of everything that's been bothering me. I'll link this into the 0808 GHDR Report and make a note of the new starting date for something new every day in September.

Appendices

Appendix A: Strategically-Ignored Piles

  • LIVING + COMPUTING ENVIRONMENT - I'm finding that the requirement for larger monitors as my eyes get worse are making it difficult to work in the compact rolling desk I have. My eyes seem increasingly sensitive to bright light too, and the summer sun is giving me headaches during the day. I think the long-term move is move everything back downstairs and go back to a fixed desk. I can still have a small laptop-friendly desk upstairs when I feel like working in a brighter environment.

  • E-COMMERCE STUFF - There are a dozen tiny sales outlets for digital and physical goods that I have neglecting. Maybe the most important one is finding a replacement for Amazon for selling my various notebooks, but there are also things like Gumroad, Kofi, SquareUp, Patreon that are kind of all working and I'm not monitoring them.

  • ONLINE SERVER INFRASTRUCTURE - I did a bunch of server maintenance a few days ago, locking down email spam with DMARC reporting (this prevents scammers from using my domain to deliver mail, if I've set it up right). I'm down to just a couple of servers now, but it would be nice to cut expenses and go to some kind of scaleable cloud solution or get away entirely from the need for PHP and Apache to serve Wordpress sites like davidseah.com.

Appendix B: Rage-inducing Aspects of My Content Creation System

  • LOUSY IMAGE SUPPORT - I need to recreate the "Lazy Image Layout" system I used on my old WordPress site. Eleventy, like most static site generators, have very rudimentary support for magazine-style image sizing and placement. For now I am limping-by and will try to address it at some point in the future.

  • SHAKY CSS STYLING - I have hacked together a version of Tufte CSS to get this site rolling. Mostly I like the side notesI'm a side note!, but there are elements here and there that I don't like quite as much. I particularly don't like having to use LiquidJSLiquid is a templating system that uses squiggly braces to format data without needing to know how to code. in creating documents; it feels inelegant compared to Markdown, but there are no solutions that offer the combination of magazine-style typography, programmatic data, and flexible baseline grids with an easy to read markup system. I would REALLY like to make my own system of markup, and that's part of the knowledege management/publishing system that I can defer. In the meantime I can write and post, and that's good enough for now (grumble)

  • LACK OF GRAPHIC PUNCH - The dsriseah.com website is functional but pretty plain. I really would like to start experimenting with some bolder aesthetics and snazzy layouts that match my developing sense of personal style. One reason I am using a static site generator is that I have tremendous control on how I can make each page its own mini site with completely unique styling rules. In fact, I can make each page its own mini application and include interactive elements! I also want a bitchin' new logo to go with the new identity, with business cards and new typography and you get the idea. I want all the cool stuff! But this is something I might have to defer for now. Meh.

  • CREAKY JAVASCRIPT BUILD SYSTEM - Eleventy uses a Javascript tool chainA tool chain (sometines called a build system) is a collection of software tools that transform "source code" into "working software" in a series of steps. In this case, the source are documents written in Markdown format and the "working software" is this website., and out-of-the-box it's extendable enough for me to add the customized navivation and indexing systems. However, I miss my advanced developer tools and I need to update the chain so I get it working again. It's a PITA but a good test of my understanding of how everything fits together.