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February 27, 2009

Taking it Day by Day

Now things are starting to cool down here in the tropics, I'm working on getting myself moving on a few projects. The trick in the past has been putting some work in on the things I want to do consistently; most of the time, I'll do something for a few days, then leave it for a couple, which turns into a week, then a month, then a year.

In the last few months, I've been reading a couple of texts on getting myself organised. The first one, Getting Things Done by David Allen, has a neat five-part system for getting all the things I have and/or want to do in some kind of order so that they can be provessed, but it's no good having a system if you don't put it to consistent use.

Enter Upgrade Your Life by Gina Trapani, a collection of posts and ideas from the Lifehacker website. I borrowed the first edition (entitled Lifehacker) from the local library and ordered the second edition for myself at Angus & Robertson. There's one neat trick in that edition which didn't appear in the original: The Seinfeld Chain.

The idea is credited to Jerry Seinfeld, and can be summed up thusly: If you want to make sure you get yourself into a good habit, get a calendar for that task and mark off every day on which you exercise your habit. If you keep it up consistently, you'll not only have a visual record of your commitment and consistency, but you'll be invested in not breaking the (eventually) lovely big chain.

(In a way, I'd actually been doing something like that at one point, but for the purpose of evil; my Xbox's blog over on the 360voice website not only tracks how many days I've been playing, but makes a happy comment on every day that I play and miserable ones when I don't.)

I've implemented the Seinfeld Chain for a few things, but rather than buying a calendar or three, I'm using a Web-based utility designed specifically for making and maintaining Seinfeld Chains. It's called dontbreakthechain.com, and I have four chains going, three of which I'll talk about here:

  1. Walking the Dogs. This is something I've been slack on since before summer, which isn't good for me, given all the sitting down I do at work, nor the dogs, especially Ziggy, who's grown into a right chubbo. So far, I have a three-day chain running.
  2. Inbox Checks. Part of the Getting Things Done process is to define a set of “inboxes”, which could include your e-mail inbox, an intray on a desk for mail, bills, random notes and the like and make sure they're processed regularly; i.e. making sure you look at each item, figure out what needs to be done next with it and either doing it now or filing it properly for future action. This has a four-day chain.
  3. 1,000 Words Per Day. Yes, I'm getting back into writing, and the best way to do that is t write. So I'm taking Robert A. Heinlein's advice and writing 1,000 words every day. Will you see these any time soon? Possibly; some will be blog posts, some will be e-mails and letters to people, and some... well, I'm still a bit shy about making public statements or promises considering I've broken them a lot in the past, so I'll keep mum there. I'm one day in on this chain, and planning to put a check in today's box by writing a letter to Chookie (this post may be just shy of 700 words, but I still want to write Chooks a decent letter and do it tonight).

That sentiment about public statements goes for the fourth chain, which is still at zero days. That's a real “I'll talk about it when I'm ready” kinda deal.

Who Watches the Wingers?

A couple of weeks ago, Vickie said, “Once the rain settles and the heat eases, we are going to get away from the computers and the game consoles and get our lives back!”

And funnily enough, we're suddenly being given opportunities! The social club at work organised a deal by which members could get free tickets to tomorrow's NRL pre-season warm-up match between the Cowboys and the Panthers at Barlow Park for themselves and cheap tickets for family and friends. There's a mixer beforehand at a local restaurant, which should be fun!

And just today, a friend handed me a double-pass to a preview screening of Watchmen on Wednesday night! Having never read the graphic novel it's based on, it's gonna be an interesting experience!

February 16, 2009

For Sale: Saitek X-52 Flight Control System

In order to get a little more disposable income, I'm getting rid of my Saitek joystick on eBay. With it will go Combat Flight Simulator 2, DarkStar One and X3: Reunion. If you're interested, please bid, and if you know someone who might be, please let them know!

[Update 7AM Friday Feb 20th:] You can stop looking - a lovely fellow in NSW bought the joystick and games for my Buy It Now price! I'm posting it of to him today!

February 01, 2009

Last Landing

I went out on Friday morning before work to check my T-shirt and couldn't see the bat there. When I called Vickie from work, she told me that when she went to take my shirt off the clothes line, she found it inside the T-shirt, asleep! Vickie took it out and put it on the tea tree in our garden so it can get a feed of ants. I went to check on it after I got back home on Friday evening,and found it fossicking away in the tea tree, presumably feasting on insects.

Unfortunately, the weather set in that night; we have a low out in the Coral Sea which developed overnight into a Category 1 Cyclone, dubbed Ellie by the Bureau of Meteorology, and she's been dumping the rain for the last forty-eight hours. I went to have a look at the tea tree yesterday, only to discover a small, wet, bat-shaped lump attached to one of the branches. The poor thing wound up staying for the rest of its life.