20170510 01

Little late for the pregame self-hype, but so it goes.

I found a strange moment at lunch today when I was trying to picture/conceptualize differences in mindsets or mental environments of driven people and generally unmotivated or unfocused people. Obviously I align with the unfocused/unmotivated side of things (except as regards things that I really, really enjoy). Anyway, the specific context was my thought process addressing how much and what sort of things I felt I should be eating at lunch, given my goals and future. I told myself to limit what I consumed, and I did. Funny how that works.

Anyway, the conclusion I came to was that I need to pick up the sword and battle the foes threatening my future more often. The foes are ever-present and malevolent in intention. To name but a few: my own neglect, passivity, and temptation to continue through life in ‘cruise control’ or autopilot; the subjective experience of tiredness, self-pity, and the notion that I deserve to be lax; and, even more dangerous, the insidious thought that stasis would be better than expending effort.

The last foe is especially insidious, because it’s a double lie: 1. expending directed effort is always better than stasis. 2. There’s no such thing as stasis; only regression. The body was not meant to be inactive and at rest; it’s made to move and act and do, and without these it drives itself into premature expiration.

Things I want to get cracking on tonight after work:

  • Dishes. ü (sort of – made a big dent)
  • Drag the trash out, break down some boxes.ü (still need to drag, but that’s ok)
  • Jog 2 miles.ü/2 – Jogged one mile.
  • Rip some muscles on the hanging rings.ü
  • Get started on the Raspberry Pi 3 work.ü

That should suffice for my sufficiently short evening.


EDIT: Oh hey, I could make this into a to-do list with some light modification.


20170509 02

Pregame, postgame. Pregame, postgame.

Pretty successful postgame, all things considered. Reasons to be happy about today:

  1. I woke up early enough to have breakfast, drink coffee, get ready, and feed the cats; I also managed to get Jesse out of bed so he could use the car to get more cat food! Great success.
  2. I remembered to listen to morning prayers two days running (working up to reading them in the morning; but this will suffice for now). Next step: listen to evening prayers at some point (i.e., figure out how to get to start bed prep at a reasonable time).
  3. Managed to do quite a bit of programming after work, including learning templates in C++ and helping the student in fixing his broken program.
  4. I spent almost half an hour doing random things around the house that really did need doing (and that I had been stupidly neglecting). Laundry things, trash things, cat things, dishes things. Not very much time spent, but I got a good amount done and it felt good!
  5. Had a salad for supper. Nothing fancy.
  6. I’m tired enough to go to bed at a reasonable time!

Reasons to be sad about today:

  1. LESS than half an hour? Meh.
  2. Things are still a bit of a mess.
  3. There are less than motivating things all around me, and I’m having difficulty ignoring them.

Reasons to be scared:

  1. I had around 258 visits and 69 unique visitors to my website today. 90% of them were from Russia and China (mostly Russia). Time to beef up the old security.

Here’s to a good night’s sleep and a productive day tomorrow!

20170509 01

Almost a week since my last post?! I wanted to do daily posts. This is horrific.

My time management could definitely have been better over the past week. I’ve barely been getting anything done – exercise, household chores, or studying – because (and here’s the inevitable excuse) I’m just too tired and unmotivated at the end of the day to do freaking anything.

Some interesting notes that have had me thinking, however:

  1. I had a nap the other afternoon and was able to drift immediately into dream sleep, despite the nap only lasting about 25 minutes. From what I’ve been reading, that’s a sign of really freaking serious sleep problems. Like, preposterously serious. Could be a reason for my struggles.
  2. I can usually tackle an individual task for about an hour and half, but half hour segments are bizarre and unworkable as I can hardly get any part of the task done and I just power through the entire task if it’s that short. However, after that’s done, I get this nagging feeling that I’ve used up my “relaxation time” that for some reason I feel that I need in the back of my head? Perhaps due to the above.
  3. I’ve made a whole lot more headway on programming projects and exercise (sort of) than anything else. My time management goal has been collapsed into a goal to go to bed earlier, but has led to little to no other progress.
  4. I’ve got a lot of goals I haven’t really been working on.

Anyway. I should probably keep focusing on goal number one: time management. ‘Tis the goal that will keep the others in check.

Just finished programming. Time to go home and work up motivation to do something other than computerize.

20170503 02

I’m thinking about getting into Android development relatively soon, as it’s preposterously practical (learn Java, Android, AND have a free resume for a future employer to download and test on their Android device? Perfect!) and could be ridiculously fun. But should I follow the really fun route and write a little game, or should I go the boring but practical root and chase down that idea about goal-oriented thinking throughout the day? Hmm. I shall ponder it.

20170503 01

Some things I’ve learned (yesterday and today): helping local people out after work for a couple hours disrupts my relaxation/productivity balance at the end of the day, and usually leads me to be useless for the entirety of the rest of the night AND leads me to getting to bed later so I’m not productive in the morning. Harumph.

Well, I guess dishes will have to be done tonight (iff – i.e., if and only if – I’m not asked to tutor in smartphone usage again tonight). Fingers crossed. Here’s to a productive morning tomorrow.

20170427 01

Check in – got some things done in the past couple days, but I haven’t nearly begun to scratch the surface of the stuff I’d like to get done at home. But here’s a rough overview:

Experiments with bar-style pizza were interesting. I’ve learned just how crummy my oven is in terms of getting up to and keeping a high enough temperature. That being said, the pizza was not too bad. I will be continuing my experiments today or tomorrow.

I’ve been programming a lot more, especially now that I’m back to helping a friend with his classes. I need to start programming at home in earnest, but it’s tough when I come home and want to relax for a bit, and then experiment with a meal for a bit, and then eat for a bit, and then relax for a bit, and then suddenly it’s time for bed.

Speaking of which, I’ve purchased a cheap treadmill on Amazon, which should be arriving within the next few days. It’s disassembled (which contributes to the low cost) and thus, I’m hoping to be able to assemble it in such a way as to make it comfortable for me to walk/jog while on the computer. I think I’ll be able to make it work.

So, sax mute, treadmill, and tonight I have a special list all to myself of things I want to get done:

  • clean the dishes
  • clean the stove
  • clean and hang the laundry
  • try not to make anything too ridiculous for supper (I’m thinking a salad).
  • try not to get stuck at the dreaded distraction station for too long
  • help that friend with more programming before going home.

And that should work for a sufficiently productive evening. All the best, dear Reader.

2017 04 19 03 Interesting day

I had an interesting conversation with Jesse about becoming more productive by using a gamified, cooperative, competitive application that provides a framework for goal-oriented behavior. I’m not sure about how the specifics would work, but there were a few things that I think we figured out that it would need in order to be stable:

  1. It would need each participant to have another participant to sign off on their successful completion of individual tasks (so group activities and partnering up would be good).
  2. It would need to apply a scoring system that would allow the participants to be rank ordered by how much they’re getting done, in order to inspire competition amongst participants.
  3. The app itself would need to a) encourage winning participants to encourage and help those lower down and b) encourage those lower down by providing tips as to how to stay productive and being generally encouraging to help keep spirits up.

Anyway, it’s an interesting thought. I got a little snippet of code done today, did the dishes, put away groceries, and managed to have a somewhat productive evening after a 9.25 hour work day. Now I need to get all the household trash out to the curb so that I won’t need to do it in the morning when Jess is asleep.

I also began timing myself this evening after making that list of task items in a separate Toggl workspace (Toggl is free, BTW, dear reader, and has free Android and iPhone apps to boot – take advantage of this and track what you spend your time on most!).

Here’s to another good day tomorrow. 🙂

2017 04 19 02 Long-winded post, but worth it: My Schedule Outline, first draft

OK, I worked a good long time on this, so I hope this will function as a good starting point for my future schedule and how I want to meet my long term life goals. So anyway, here goes:

Overarching Goals

  1. Spend More Time Reviewing and Planning (Blog, Organizational Review)
    • 20 mins. morning blog, 20 mins. evening blog, Sunday 1 hour review.
  2. Practice and Study Software Engineering
    • 1 hour/week day, perhaps some weekend?
  3. Do Household Chores
    • 1 hour/day
  4. Do More Exercise
    • 1.25 hours 3 days a week
  5. Nurture a Spiritual Life
    • ~0.50 hours a day – 15 minutes in the morning, 15 evening
  6. Meet New People/Find a Significant
    • ????? ????? ????? Can’t think about it yet, as I don’t have a framework for success?
  7. Regularly Review Expenses and Develop a Personal Budget
    • 1-2 hours on Saturdays using YNAB
  8. Acclimate to New Social Environments/Get Out of the Cave
    • 1-2 hours on the weekend

Week-day Schedule Mockup:

Note: This schedule assumes that a) I usually work a 9 hour day and spend about 15 minutes traveling, and b) I usually spend about 7 hours sleeping every day. That leaves: 7.5 hours of ‘other’ activity.

  • Morning
    • Morning Prayers (E) (0.25 hrs.)
    • Morning Blog Post (A) (0.33 hrs.)
    • Mon, Wed, Fri? Exercise (D) (1.25 hrs.)
      • Change
      • Exercise
      • Shower
      • Breakfast
  • Evening
    • Programming Study and Practice (B)(1 hr.)
    • Evening Blog Post (A) (0.75 hrs.)
    • Chores (C) (1 hr.) – NOTE: Doesn’t include meal making
      • Dishes
      • General cleanup
      • Litter box scooping
      • Trash/recycling collection/disposal
      • Other

Weekday allotted time for scheduled activities: Max: ~4.75 hrs., Min: ~3.5 hrs. – difference being exercise, overstated for max effect

Daily leisure time minimum: 7.5 4.75 = 2.75 hrs. of leisure activity. Could be a movie. Could be computer games. Could be a few shows. More when I’m not exercising, apparently. And it seems to be split between the morning and the evening. Hmm. This will help me cut the flak out of my day, if nothing else.

Saturday Schedule

  • Financial Review (G) (1-2 hours)
  • Weekly chores (C) (unknown time commitment)
    • Laundry
    • Vacuuming

Allotted time max: 3 hrs.

Sunday Schedule:

  • To-Do:
    • Go to church
    • Meta-post in the blog reviewing the week, and perhaps thinking about changes for the next week.
    • Programming/study

Allotted time max: 5 hrs.

Timed activities:

  • Chores
  • Programming and Studying
  • Financial Review
    • As stated above: once a week, check out bank records and expenditure and make sure things are in order
  • Journalling and Time Review
    • Specifically, making blog posts at the moment. Also, reviewing blog posts and Toggl (meta!)
    • Might also include dream journalling and writing down ideas throughout the day
  • Meal Prep and Eating
  • Exercise
  • Exploring New Places
  • Leisure
  • Reading news/current events
    • Includes Youtube news things; Sargon, Rubin Report, Stapleton, etc.
  • Errands in Town
    • Groceries, haircuts, beer runs, etc.
  • Sleep
  • Hygiene

Part of my review process will be to look at my personal time expenditure and see how effectively I’ve been using my time.

This is a lot to process. But that’s why this is a first draft.

2017 04 19 01 The Great Organization

More good/bad: didn’t do a workout yesterday or this morning, and most of my “computer breaks” were spent cooking rather than cleaning. On the better end of things, I got to bed early and got what passes for a full night’s sleep last night (~7 hours; although not uninterrupted, they were quite restful). My hope is that I can continue to go to bed early and begin to truly solidify some morning habits.

Anyway, more good news: I finally managed to get my future authoring document printed out (12 pages! I had no idea I wrote so much), so I’m going to be posting my working notes on that sometime later today – i.e., what my long-term goals will be/habits I’ll want to form and what my day-to-day work on them will be in order to meet my deadlines in the future.

The real issue here is that the majority of my schedule making and planning must be malleable rather than firm; the plan mustn’t be the Evil Dictator that will crush my will for the rest of my life. It must be the platform on which my actual current self must negotiate and trade with my superego ideal self so that, each day, compromises must be made to improve the old but satisfy my own laziness and need for leisure.

Something interesting comes to mind from one of Dr. Jordan Peterson’s lectures: ultimately, when one thinks about a guiding philosophy for one’s own conscientiousness, it comes down to a basic dichotomy: do you accept no responsibility or all the responsibility? One can choose not to accept any responsibility, and then only live in order to maintain the bear minimum aspects of their lives, spending all of their free time and inactive moments nurturing their own basic instinctual pleasures. Alternatively, one can say that they are responsible for the direction, energies, and outcome of every moment of their entire lives, turning every opportunity for action into an investment into their environment and the well being of themselves and those around them.

Obviously, the truly balanced person comes out as a combination of play and productivity, but being more weighted towards productivity generally lends itself towards a significant increase in life expectancy and lifelong success. It’s time to change my fundamental principles and get to work.


Good news, bad news

I’m guessing there will be many posts like this in the future, but for now, I have good news and bad news. I didn’t get around to doing a workout yesterday, and I should have. However, I found out that our age-old house printer needs all new ink, just about, so I couldn’t (finally) print off my list of goals. Still, I’ll be able to do it tomorrow (and I’ll be able to buy new ink today), so I’ll be keeping my list of goals for today straightforward and simple.

And speaking of which, I found an interesting and useful hack for getting things done yesterday (and it’ll be something I implement in the future probably): I’ll set a timer for an hour to an hour and a half when I sit down at the computer, and if it goes off, I force myself off, find something I can do to improve my environment or something productive to accomplish, I do that, and then find another thing, until about half an hour is over. It gets me up and moving at regular intervals, but, more importantly, I’m actually getting things done and then rewarding myself for it afterwards. Gotta get that dopaminergic surge from getting things done and the extra kick of being able to go back to my computer and the cyber realm.

I think the next step will be to incorporate sets of exercises if all the other household chores are done. I mean, I did purchase a bodyweight scale and place it in the kitchen to remind myself that eating makes me fat. I might as well get my body in order while I’m getting my mind and habits in order.

Speaking of which, I haven’t started my timer yet…

Until next time, dear Reader.

Failure, but starting again

Welp, I don’t think I knocked off any of the bullet points I set up at work yesterday. However, this morning, I did a few things, including (somewhat) organizing my desk, sorting out my laundry, and, well, getting around to writing this blog post.

Tonight’s plan: do a workout.

Also: post again.

April 16th, 2017 – Today’s Plan

I should begin my day with this, but I’ll have to live with doing this at work right now:

Here, I state my intention to follow a plan to make a plan for the next week this afternoon. Part of that plan will involve me printing off my list of goals/intentions slaved over through the self authoring program. So: things I need to do today:

  • print off that future-authoring result (at least a couple copies)
  • get dishes cleaned (after meals and such)
  • clean up my desk area
  • make another update once these things are done
  • do evening prayers
  • relax and enjoy family time in between (possibly eat steak?)
  • Go to bed at a reasonable time (before 11:01PM)

Let’s start with that. Should be enough, eh?

Sick days

Been sick and meditative – i.e., unconscious – the past few days. Will probably organize a massive schedule on Sunday night after work (and feasting).


It’s time to plan to plan out a plan for my future endeavors. It’s somewhat interesting that this process is beginning on this week of all weeks; for those that are unaware, it’s Pascha season for the Eastern Orthodox Christians that follow the old calendar, so that means a LOT of church, a few late night/early morning services, and then a crazy midnight service punctuated by a massive midnight (or, more accurately, 4AM) feast.

Not exactly conducive to drastic lifestyle changes.

Anyway, It’s about time I made a hard copy of my goal list and started sorting through ALL of the details as to how I want to implement work on them.

Hello world!

“Hello, world!” is a befitting first title, WordPress. I think I’ll keep it.

Hello, traveller. If you’re reading this, my first post, soon after its posting date, it’s probably because I haven’t posted enough times to move this first post down which means I’m being irresponsible. If you’re reading this because you’ve read all my most recent posts, and this first post is old, and you’ve have read all the way back to the beginning from my latest posts, then there might be something wrong with you (because I doubt someone’s devotion in attempting to read all the way back to the beginning of my posts). First blog posts are probably the most neglected of all  – they represent the beginning of what will hopefully become a transformative journey, so… why read the writing when the writer is in a lesser state of perfection than may otherwise be expected?

Anyway, I’m already getting ahead of myself. I’m Ben. This is my blog. I’ve started blogs before, but they died, or they sputtered out, or I lost interest. This one is different.

My goal in beginning this blog – and replacing my entire website with it – is to keep track of my progress in achieving personal goals, write out my struggles, and write out my thoughts, and write out my revisions to plans, all to refine and pragmaticize my daily life. That is my goal: to increase my capability for conscientiousness, because I am a horribly disorganized and chaotic person. This is my medium for self-reflection and, hopefully, self-actualization as well.

Many posts may not be visible, and it may appear that there are gaps in time when I don’t write. Either this is because I’ve abandoned my struggle to perfect myself using this blog (which, hopefully, I would mention in a post towards the end) or I’ve begun posting privately rather than publicly as may occur. If the former, I would encourage the reader to nag me by sending an email to admin@freneticetchings.com and be scornful and cutting with your comments as I respond well to negative criticism.

Anyway. That’s all for now. I’ll hopefully write more tonight, or possibly tomorrow. It’s good to dust off the default text and take these Google Fonts for a spin.