Philosophy. Getting Things Done. Celebrating.

So what have I been up to lately?

Well, I’ve been doing a lot of philosophical thinking. This line of thought has risen out of a necessity to understand my current situation. One question, a paradox, has me in deep thought:

How can I simultaneously be getting so much done and yet feel like I’m not getting anything done at all.

I have a form of ADD. I haven’t looked it up in any medical journal (yet), but I feel it is related to ADD and a common affliction. Like many people, I need more than just the task in front of me. At all times, I need that next thing (or next 5 things) in the back of my head to think about.

So while I’m doing a lot of stuff and getting a lot done, I’m not getting anywhere on that next thing. It’s like reading a book, but thinking about something other than the words your eyes are consuming. For once in my life I want to get to a point where I honestly have to ask myself, “What’s next?” Or I just want a clean slate so I can think back and appreciate the work I’ve done.

Perhaps my problem is that I see myself as a creative person. And I give too much emphasis to the creation of the things I work on. And once something has been created, the fun part is over. Time to move on to the next thing.

So here I am, creating and creating. But never finishing before I’ve got my pen down again. How do I get the focus to follow through?

I’m scared of an end state. Is it the nature of the things I’m working on or the nature of myself that causes things to get bigger in scope just as they are about to be completed? WineLog was meant to be a database to track wines. It does that, but now it needs to be an online community, it needs to have avatars for users, and a way to import data from spreadsheets, and a better recommendation engine. By the time those things are finished, I’ll have 10 more to take their place.

My advice to project managers on projects that have gone a few months without clearing a major milestone… no no, my advice to me:

Make something up to celebrate about. Chances are that if you think back on the work you’ve done, and leave behind the thoughts of what still lies ahead, you’ll realize that you have accomplished something you can be proud of.

People like me are often too busy thinking about the next task, project, or big idea to enjoy the work we’ve done already.

So this New Years I will take a moment to forget what lies in store for me in 2007 and congratulate myself on all I’ve done in 2006. Congratulations, me.

One Month Has Passed – I Need to Write

It’s a little over one month since I left my day job to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams, where I decided to give myself six months to see if I can make it as a self-employeed entrepreneur.

As I sit at my computer at 12:23AM Monday morning, finishing up some work for a Stranger Studios client, I realize there’s never going to be “a good time” to hit the blog. I’ve been neglecting this part of my [whatever you call this] waiting for a quiet moment that will never come. So I just have to write. Right now.

I want to talk about time management. When I set out on this journey, I told myself I would divide my time evenly among my various interests: 1/3 for Stranger Studios client work, 1/3 for WineLog development and expansion, 1/3 for InvestorGeeks writing and development, and another 1/3 for smaller internal projects. (Yes, I know that adds up to 4/3. Why not continue to give 133% to my work?)

I’ve so far been over-weighted with “client work” (aka “pays the bills” work) and not spending enough time working on my own projects (see the right sidebar there). I’m wondering if I have really managed to escape “the man” or if I have just traded down for a different kind of “man”.

Still, I have to confess, that things are still much much better started working for myself. For instance:

     

  1. I see Kim and the cats nearly every day now.
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  3. I’m working from home. Regularly sleeping in until 9am, going to the gym more often (mid day), and eating better (Kim’s cooking).
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  5. I have actually spent more time working on personal projects over the past month than I have in previous months. Even though I’m not working on things as much as I had hoped, this is an improvement.
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  7. I’ve had one of the best vacations of my life a few weeks ago in Maine. With -3 personal (PTO) days at the old job, I never would have been able to go to Maine this summer. Other bonuses include mid-week trips to the dentist and barber shop. And equally important (ok, more important) are the extra trips I’ve taken to see family and friends.
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  9. Upon further thought, working for my new clients is by far more rewarding than the work I was doing before. So while I’m not exactly building my empire with every waking moment, I do get to put my own personal badge on the work I’m doing through Stranger Studios and the work is generally more interesting to me too. I can’t wait until some of my more recent projects are finished, so I can start writing about them on the Stranger Studios blog.
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What are some things I had hoped to accomplish by now (and will strive to accomplish by the end of the next month)?

     

  1. I had hoped to have new health insurance by now. After applying for one plan, I was turned down because they had my address wrong and after fixing it realized that they don’t service residents in my county. I’ve applied for another plan, but it’s taking forever for the paper work to go through. Also, I thought I had cancelled my old insurance, but just received a bill for it on Friday. I don’t know if I should be happy of the fact that I was indeed covered for this past month or upset that I have to pay for something I tried to cancel.
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  3. No new blog yet. I’m still running this old (if sentimental) custom CMS engine. Besides writing for the Stranger Studios blog more, I wanted to move this personal blog to a WordPress setup. All that’s keeping me from doing this is wanting to preserve these old posts (sniff sniff) and knowing that I will be required to put in a decent chunk of time making the design of the new blog kick ass enough for public consumption.
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  5. I still haven’t written something which has not or will not end up on a blog. A poem, a short story, a book… anything. Bonus points for fiction. Bonus points for including material from the stuff I wrote in college.
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  7. I actually haven’t yet returned my old work laptop and security badge. No one has contacted me yet; although I stopped reading company emails a couple weeks ago. The laptop’s come down with a pretty bad virus and I still haven’t backed everything up yet. In general, I’ve been pretty lousy to my ex-coworkers, who haven’t received a proper good-bye email from me. Some who deserve it haven’t had a call from me yet. Bad friend!
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So that’s it (or part of it). Month 1 of my 6 month experiment is through. I’ve learned that this style of living is worth pursuing. I’ve also learned that I need to get my act straight, get my priorities in order, get my routine down (although a flexible routine is one of the bigger reasons for choosing this path), and continue to work hard so I can enjoy this life I’ve chosen.

On Vacation Until 8/13

I will be on vacation in lovely Maine until August 13th. I’m a little worried about being disconnected from the net for so long, but I am also looking forward to enjoying the outdoors and maybe doing a little writing. Look for an update when I return.

Stay cool.

Will I Ever Get a Real Blog?

As Kim and I move closer towards going full time with our web design and development business and other projects, I’ve been considering getting a “real” blog. You know, the kind with ping-backs and comments.

While this custom-brewed baby has served its purpose well (I even added RSS!), I’m feeling like I need to move into the modern age. For one, it would be really sweet for people to be able to comment on my posts, and I just don’t feel like programming that or any other blog feature that I could just get from WordPress.

This project has been fun. And I’ve definitely learned a lot putting this site together. The blog has accomplished exactly what I intended it to: it got me to write and produce.

So a new blog may be in the works when I get a little more free time. Until then, we’re it keeping real.

I’m Engaged and New Tees

On Sunday, I proposed to Kim. I wasn’t too worried about it, but for the sake of completeness I must tell you that she said “yes”… or more accurately “I want to marry you too.”

We’re very excited.

Being the nerd that I am, I made t-shirts for us to wear. It was actually a rather ingenious idea that came out of a conversation I was having with a friend at work. She said to me, “When women get engaged, you know it because they’re wearing a ring. But how am I going to know that you’re engaged?” My response: “Easy. I’ll wear a t-shirt. Jason’s engaged.”

I fooled around with some ideas similar to the “I’m with stupid” style t-shirts you often see. You know the ones with the arrows on them. My version would have read “I’m engaged to stupid”. That sounded a little too cold for me though.

I ended up going with two separate designs. The first for Kim says simply “I’m engaged” with a heart design and a glowing diamond ring on it. My shirt says “She said yes!” with the word yes in a comic-style quote bubble.

We wore the shirts on Tuesday as we were visiting our families, and they were a big hoot. Referring to the shirts in his joking tone, my grandfather said, “Why would you want to advertise that?”. But I know that after 57 years of marriage he really does know why.

The t-shirts were such a success that I’ve decided to share them with the world. You can see the designs and even buy shirts of your own at our CafePress shop. I don’t want to beg for your patronage or anything, but I am looking at a decent sized wedding in my future. 😉

Yay to me!

Of Wine and Wine Logs

Kim and I just launched a beta for WineLog.net. WineLog is a site to keep track of wines you have tried and discover new wines to experience. Our hope is to become the greatest wine site there is.

Please have a look at the site, and let me know what you think. If you need an invite, use the contact form of this blog or some other way to send me a note. I’ll forward you an invite as soon as I can.