I've never had a day this well documented


I haven't had the money to get myself a smart phone for several years now, and now that I have steady income again from working over at Hutman, I figured, hey, maybe it's time to get a data plan.

I'm still getting the hang of it, but I'm trying very hard to get myself into a habit of jotting down logs of my time.  I managed to capture nearly to the minute the exact details of today. 

  1. Bicycle Rides Calendar, Commute to bus, 7:43am - 8:05am.
  2. Metro Transit Calendar, Wait for bus, 8:05am - 8:16am.  Bus Ride 8:16am - 8:36am
  3. Bicycle Rides Calendar, Last part of commute and lockup, 8:28am - 8:36am
  4. Slacking Calendar: Changing Socks and Pouring Chai: 8:36am - 8:53am

It goes on like this...

I've created calendars for work, calendars for foods that make me sick and for foods that don't make me sick.  One for keeping track of the media I'm watching, finally a record of what I have seen and what I haven't seen. 

It may sound kind of weird, but I really don't have any history in my brain.  I don't form memories the same way other people do, they don't get indexed by date.  I can never remember the when component of the few scattered memories that I do have.  If I'm lucky enough to get the season right, I won't be able to tell you the year.  It's just the way things are, I've learned to live with it.

Add this in with my tendency to just host my own blogs and then not update them all that frequently, then decide that I hate everything posted there and delete it all, and you have the makings of a kind of fuzzy self-history.  I hate this, but I've learned to live with it.  I know it's a limitation that I have, and I kind of figured that it would always be there.

Now, I guess I'm kind of getting beyond that through the magic of technology.  I have the ability to take notes about what I just did and instantly have them available through the cloud wherever I need them.  I can class and categorize my time as I see fit, then color code it and filter it, looking for trends and patterns and correlations...

It's nice, I think.  I hope that I can manage to maintain a steady input of data for a few weeks at least and kind of get an idea of how my time is slipping away from me, what I can be doing better.  I'm also trying to find a good task manager so that I can start taking notes of all the 'little things' that I 'keep meaning to do' - I have a very strong tendency to forget that I need to do something, then remember later on when the opportunity to do something about whatever I need to do is long past.  Then make a strong mental note to remember it for next time, then promptly forget about it again until it is too late.

It's a known pattern, one I'm hoping to break myself out of.

Hoping that with the calendar data I'll be able to see other patterns and break myself out of them as well.  I think that's the key to any true self-improvement, the ability to look very closely and very honestly at what you are actually doing and then look at what you want to do differently, then do it.  I'm already starting to see the benefits to adding little things like bills to the calendar, I would always forget them in the past until they were sending me the angry letters.  Now I'm putting PAID in the subject line of the events just so I can keep them on the calendar to remind myself that I already paid them, it's kind of awesome.  Makes me feel like a grownup.

Work's all about calendars right now, as well.  I'm working on event registrations in Concrete 5, tied in with user registrations, and then trying to tie that back in to a Moodle course calendar.  It's tricky, there are a lot of moving parts to put together.  I made some real progress today after sitting down with Robert and going through the application from several different end user standpoints, looking at what we could and couldn't script, how it all needed to be added.  We're using ScottC's Item's calendar and I'm already loving the functionality and the support.  We're one of the first shops to use this add on with the core commerce system, and we're running into little snags along the way - Scott has been super responsive to the support inquiries.  It's nice to use a third party add-on instead of just coding from scratch, I'd still be doing outlines and setting up my database schema instead of having a nearly functional app to patch together over the weekend.

Other than that, I've been staying super busy with freelance stuff this week, too.  If things stay like this I should be able to get myself out of debt in a few months, though I run the risk of burning out because of doing too much.  It's always a worry, start burning the candle on both ends a little too much, skip a few too many meals, suddenly I'm edging on manic and having trouble keeping focused on anything, and can't sit down to code for hours on end, then suddenly get bursts of inspiration and pour a ton of code out in a few minutes that does everything I need...  Not good.  I need more of a steady burn.  The calendar stuff helps for that.  I can put strong limits on stuff.  I can see when I've worked 8 hours, and say 'no more' - when I've worked in the past my tendency is to forget to stop working, as long as there is still something to do on the project I'm trying to work on it, pretty much right up until I pass out.

Which is something I should be doing about now.  It's getting a little late.

And yeah, way too long between blog posts, but hey, I mostly update this thing just so I have a record of what's gone before.  And now I'm kind of moving away from that into a more event based record keeping...  Actually having a lot of ideas about exactly how I'd like to have a time tracking application work, I might just have to code myself up one once I'm done with the calendar application for work...  If I can find the room to pencil it in on the calendar, that is :)