I am workiCalvin & Hobbes - When does bread become toast?ng on a project I’m calling “Alchemy.” I’m hoping, that with some diligence and some time, I will be able to develop and utilize this system for project completion for myself as sort of an alpha/beta test and then, eventually, as I develop my programming knowledge, I will be able to make an actual computer program for it. Nothing too fancy – very function over form, but I’m thinking something with a dashboard as well as a Mac-ish minimalist aesthetic rather than the old-school and too-many-things-to-screw-up DOS-look that a lot of functional programs (like Foobar 2000 or Notepad++ ) have.

Over the years, I have been intimate with a number of tools for goal-setting - 43 ThingsRemember the Milk , Backpack before Basecamp née 37 Signals put it out to pasture, HabitRPG, Trello (which I am still using, kind of), mind maps, written to-do lists, and any number of other sites, programs, and systems that didn’t stick. Everything is too complicated or too simple or not integrated enough or I need help with limits on when my to-do list is done and I can start doing. Because I can spend years polishing my to-do list and getting nowhere. I’m tired of starting over, so I’m taking a step back and trying to figure out a system that just works.

Now, creating this system itself is a meta-goal. I have to get my shit together and decide how to manifest what I envision this project as being. (Or, in keeping with the system at least figure out what it can best manifest as.) I think I do have a clear vision for it, so I am trying to clear the cobwebs and record how I did that as I go so Alchemy can become a repeatable process.

Part of this is denying all the objections in my brain for why I can’t, or shouldn’t, or can’t know that I should, do things. If I accept those three objections 1) I can’t, 2) I shouldn’t, and 3) I can’t know that I should – should I still know what I can’t do? I think yes and that is  part of Alchemy. Like I said, clearing the cobwebs – it’s obvious those aren’t part of the structure, part of the solution.

And the best things in life are obvious.

My brain also says that my projects might not be that great. Either just not impressive or not towards my high-level goals. Brain, I say, “WTF are your high level goals?” Brain says, “I dunno, like, doing stuff, getting stuff done.” “Cool,” I say. “This will allow us to do stuff. Let’s go.” “But,” Brain says. “It needs to be good stuff.” “Okay” I say. “Do you know what good stuff is?” “Well, no…” Brain replies. “I mean, generally, but I’m not sure what would definitely be good.” “Cool,” I say. “That sounds like perfectly sufficient criteria to me. Let’s go.”

Less selfishly, I hope that I can make this a system that other people might be able to adopt. I have some secret strategies to utilize that I think will improve the product quality and really open it up for functionality. I have no idea if other people will want to adopt it. If it works for me I guess that’s enough, but I think this will be really useful if my experience with similar visions in a business function are a good indication. The uses could be very broad, which is exactly how I’m hoping to use it. I’m tired of tweaking my systems and I just need something that will work whether I want to sew a quilt or start a business.

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I have some ideas for where this blog could go, but I’m torn between it being something personal, that is, purely for my benefit, more of a diary or something thematic. While I think many of the ideas I explore for my own benefit can be tied into a common theme, it’s not quite the same as an actually focused-topic blog.

That said, one of the skills I want to work on in my life is actually an issue of diffused attention so I think I would like to have this blog go in a certain direction. When I originally registered the domain many years ago, I was thinking that I would be able to do something about efficiency – this was back in the days when Gina still ran Lifehacker, Get Rich Slowly was new (and J.D. was not retired) and I’m sure all sorts of opportunities and connections I could have made had I tried to get involved while I saw my chance.

Anyway, my point specifically is that my hope is to make this blog about action, not rumination. It’s not at all about what I could have done before now. Or even what I could do now. I have a few projects I want to work on and want to develop systems to enact – and complete – them.

This isn’t a complete departure from my previous idea of a theme, but what I am hoping to do is enable the blog to be support for me learning new things – whether broad, like how to accomplish goals and appreciate my achievements (meta-goal), or specific, like learning coding or home remodeling or getting a new job. Teaching, or at the very least, summarizing, is one of the best ways to learn (à la the Feynman technique) so my hope is to be able to compile and distill insights that I gain about how to do specific things and what I learn about how to learn, and live, better.

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In the Beginning…

I have had this idea for a blog for quite some time – at least before I registered the domain in January ’08. Now, nearly three six years later, I am finally breaking ground.

image courtesy of KayVee.INC

Something I have heard repeated again and again – both in my personal and business life – is the need to do more with less. This is something that I have found myself to be quite good at; putting the pieces together to maximize the space, finding most efficient way to get something done, fitting the Tempest in the Teapot.

Let me say, I do realize that this is not the traditional usage of the expression tempest in a teapot, but I think my concept is equally valid. We all seem to have “tempests” these days we need to contain – and only “teapots” to store them.

My goal with this blog is to help share what I have learned about how to do that in various parts of life (personal, social, mental, financial and professional) and hopefully, teach myself more and hone my skills in the process. I expect this to be somewhat similar to “lifehacks” but with less of the focus on gadgetry like Lifehacker has and a more general explanation of ways I personally see to make work and life more efficient.

Thank you for reading.

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