Polyphasic Sleep and Better Thinking
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If things are random but all good, is it still random?

(A:  Nothing is truly random.  ;)

Devoting a post to the ton of small wonderful things I've run across this week!

  • MyFitnessPal:  I've been looking for a simple app/site to help me track basic calories-in-calories-out forEVER, it seems — and this one finally has everything I need!  Simple interface, comprehensive database of food and exercises, and it's free.  I've found that I do SO much better with an app like this around — without it, I'm liable to either overindulge in high-calorie food because I have no concept of what I've burned off in exercise today; or for the same reason, fall several hundred calories short of anything reasonable and feel like crap.  Tracking takes maybe a total of ten minutes a day, and it keeps me in healthy limits with hardly any other trying at all.  I've really missed it since DailyBurn began to suck, so finding this one is a huge win!
  • Remojobo.com:  A simple site just for remote-friendly computer jobs?  YES PLEASE!  I wish it were bigger, but hey, at least someone thought of it finally.
  • Twitter Bootstrap:  I've come to love HTML5 anyway, but as someone who's *not a designer* and often called-upon to "just throw up a simple page for…", Twitter Bootstrap has totally saved my bacon.  I can make a clean, simple, and VERY professional-looking site in almost no time, now…it doesn't free me from hiring a designer when one's needed (and why would I want to? the designers I know are pretty awesome), but it is a big improvement for those of us lower on the web-development food-chain who still have to do it sometimes.  (If moving this site wouldn't be such a pain, I'd be considering it — but I have enough to do, heh.)
  • The Magic Work Cycle:  I mentioned this briefly before, but hoooooly wow is it awesome.  It's like sticking a firehose into your flagging motivation's tender bits, pulling out a starter pistol, and gesturing meaningfully.  I was having trouble getting "real work" done, what with so much of it and *also* so much else going on, but thanks to this thing (and the helpful website-companion here), I'm getting *crazy* amounts of stuff done, and not feeling overworked at all.  It's very, very simple:  You work 30 minutes, then you play 30 minutes.  Play is anything you wait it to be that isn't work.  The built-in deadlines and context-switching keep you focused, motivated and from getting stuck.  Simple and brilliant = WIN WIN WIN.
  • The song "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield:  This is an old song and you've probably heard it — I hadn't, because for decades I couldn't bear music that wasn't in some way angry, and this is the pick-me-up song of the century.  It's goofy and it doesn't care, just like that friend you (hopefully) have who makes everyone feel great and doesn't care if that's not hardcore or "cool".  It's all over YouTube, it breaks the usual popular music laws by having competent and meaningful lyrics, and if you need a smile or a boost, I highly recommend it!

OK, playtime is almost up (seriously, magic work cycle FTW), so I'm outie — OH, but one last thing; I saw a proof of the new cover of the Second Edition!  Hopefully I can post it here soon, but for now I'll just say o.O!

2 comments

1 Seph { 03.14.13 at 12:46 pm }

I like the sound of the magic work cycle, but it seems to be predicated on a clear distinction between 'work' and 'play', which I believe shouldn't (and to a greater or lesser extent sometimes doesn't—for now I am an MSc student in pure mathematics and my main 'work' is also extremely fun) exist. The core notion of switching brainmode every half-hour or so is a sound one, though.

2 puredoxyk { 03.15.13 at 4:25 am }

Good call, Seph — and with so much of my work being technology and writing (which is also my hobby), there isn’t always a clear line for me either. The way I do it for now is to call work “things that make money and/or further my future money-making prospects” — in other words, things I may not (may, but may not) choose to be doing if I had a huge bank-account sitting around to pay bills with. Play is then “everything else”. It’s not precise of course, since who knows, I may be a famous SF writer some day, and it’ll turn out that all that playing I was doing was work anyway; but you’re right in that it’s the regimented task-switching itself that’s so useful and productivity-boosting. I doubt it would matter much if I divided things up a totally different way, but having one group that contains the things you may have to push yourself to “want” to do and one contain not only other things, but also things you’d do if you could do ANYTHING, useful or not (for instance, maybe today I feel like laying on my back and staring at the ceiling for 30 minutes, or watching old Star Trek reruns, and those are acceptable “play” things too) is really the key to getting and keeping that flow. I’m really, really impressed at how well that flow works (if you couldn’t tell)! ;)