momijizukamori: Grey tabby cat with paws on keyboard and mouse. The text reads 'code cat is on the job', lolcats-style (CODE CAT)
Cocoa ([personal profile] momijizukamori) wrote2012-07-23 01:11 am
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This kind of started with [ profile] unfuckyourhabitat and discussions of how adding one small new habit to your routine makes it easier to add others, but it kind of solidified talking to [ profile] pjf at YAPC, who is a deeply fascinating individual - the discussion we had can kind of be summed up in his wonderful OSCON keynote, which is on youtube here. Basically, my life is kind of a mess. There are things I should do but don't want to do, and things I want to do that I don't end up doing, and basically my life-system is Not Working. This is for a number of reasons:

1) I'm a very poor self-motivator. This is probably at least partially because of depression, though I think a lot of people have problems self-motivating. Basically I obey Newton's First Law of physics, and this is why I didn't got to over half my classes in my last semester of university.

2) Related to (1) - I'm poor at commitment. And occasionally afraid of it, because I have a very high fear of failure (again, see depression plus anxiety), and if you don't commit, you can't fail. But I'm also fantastic at abandoning projects midway through because motivation dried up.

3) I have an awful case of what [personal profile] synecdochic calls 'goldfish brain' (this is one of several reasons the terrified goldfish is my spirit animal). Basically it's an exciting combination of distractability and short-term memory failure that leads me to do things like almost put the butter away in the cutlery drawer, lose everything I don't keep consistently in the same spot, and forget important things I need to do unless I do them right now.

So! It seemed best to make a list of what I want to do before I figure out ways in which to overcome 1-3 and actually do it.

-Get a job in my field
-Get PR status in Canada
-Own a house

-Keep the house clean
-Keep up with my RP commitments
-Cook a greater variety of lunches for work
-Not lose things all the time

-Assorted planned knitting projects
-Assorted planned sewing projects
-Deal with the backlog of half-finished and abandoned projects
-Become reliable and skilled enough to make some extra income off my skills

-Learn Perl
-Learn Python
-Get my cosplay website out of alpha

-Learn pronunciation for French, Mandarin, and Cantonese (No interest in the language, but I don't like sounding like an idiot in front of my friends)
-Brush up on my Spanish (I blame comic books)
-Learn Japanese
-Learn Welsh or Irish

This, then, leads to the 'how to do this' portion. The long-term goals are somewhat nebulous, and I need to refine the steps necessary to reach them before I can set that up on any sort of tracker. I've been using Astrid as a possible to-do manager, as it syncs web and my phone, and has a random reminders, which is good for someone who forgets things that need doing. I am, however, open to to-do list managers, as Astrid doesn't have an open API, so no hooking it into other things. So far, that's mostly been for day-to-day stuff/one-off tasks - I can add when I think of it, and come back to it later. The CS stuff - I think for Perl, working on DW bugs may be a good start. For my website, it's honestly just buckling down and writing the damned content. Languages - I have access to some online learning systems through the library, and Anki seems like a good way of reviewing.

The next problem - the big problem - is keeping to the commitments to do things, instead of 'eh, later'. Like the recycling in my trunk I've meant to take to the depot all week. 'I'll do it tomorrow.'. For that, I'm tentatively considering Beeminder. Putting money up for stake is kind of scary (see fear of commitment) but at the same time, money is one of the few things that is sufficiently motivating. Why I skipped classes but I don't skip work.

This, of course, is all very rough-draft right now, and input on what's worked for others is more than welcome.
akatonbo: a red dragonfly on... concrete, maybe? (Default)

[personal profile] akatonbo 2012-07-24 01:28 am (UTC)(link)
Are you me? Seriously, points 1 and 2? Story of my life, especially now, argh.
shadowspar: Pic of Kurama holding a rose (kurama - rose)

[personal profile] shadowspar 2012-07-24 12:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Not to sound entirely like someone who's absurdly enamoured of a recently-found hammer or anything, but 1, 2, & 3 -- especially 3 -- are totally probs that can be associated with ADHD. (Though, amongst other things too, I am sure.)

In any case, you can add another braintwin to your roster. On point #2, when I asked my partner if I had problems wrapping up projects, she came back with "I can't remember the last thing you've finished." And when it comes to #3, I totally know where you're coming from. If someone asks me to do something later, I'd really really much rather do it now, because otherwise I'll forget. And my favourite manifestation of it (FSVO "favourite") is forgetting about where things are the moment I put them down. (Get the salsa outta the fridge, put it on the counter, get the tortilla chips, look in the fridge for the salsa, omg where the hell is the salsa, I know we bought some this week...!)
shadowspar: pixellated 8-bit image of a quill pen and ink jar (writing)

[personal profile] shadowspar 2012-07-27 08:24 pm (UTC)(link)

Huh, yeah...I think some people might react like that if the dose is too high, but the usual response I seem to recall hearing from folks who do have ADHD and don't respond positively to stimulants is "nothing happens; they don't do anything". ADHD does have a strong genetic component, though.

Thanks for linking to pjf's keynote -- interesting stuff, and I'm going to look into some of it for sure. =)

When it comes to things that have actually seem to have helped me get (somewhat) organized:

Lists, lists, lists: The kinds of lists I've found to be helpful are tiny little short-term lists: eg grocery lists, things that need to get done before bedtime tonight, things to tackle at work today, errands to run today, etc. If I don't make a list I am apt to forget something.

The kind of lists that haven't seemed very helpful are the Huge Overarching TODO lists outlining every major thing that has to happen in my life. These seem to grow monotonically and just get discouraging. =/

Having information with me: I keep a little stash of cribnotes containing things like phone numbers, a list of books I want to read, config bits for software tools, etc etc. This gets synced to my desktop, my laptop, my work machines, my mp3 player, pretty much every device I handle on a daily basis. Having this kind of stuff readily available reduces the likelihood of wanting to do something but not being able to do so on account of not knowing some required bit of information.

Pull-forward calendar: one of the single most helpful things. I have a plain text file that I keep any kind of date or deadline in; it looks something like this:

-- Jul --
25 Jul: soccer game 1800
26 Jul: McLean appt 1510
30 Jul: soccer practice 1800

-- Aug --
1 Aug: Coffee with ITS (1st wed), 1000-1045 in Speakeasy. 
4 Aug: Fido bill due - me  
2-6? Aug: Echoes Drum Festival 

How well it works depends on how well I nail down three habits:

  1. Putting everything in it -- adding all events and appointments for everyone in the family; putting in even things that are very far away, like passport expiration dates
  2. Checking it every day, in fact morning & night is even better;
  3. Pulling recurring things forward -- every time I strike a task off the list, I ask myself if it'll happen again, like a bill payment, or a monthly meeting, and if so, I add an entry for the new instance.

...and again, along with my cribnotes, that thing gets synced between pretty much every device I own, so I'm rarely far from it.