Showing posts from January 19, 2020

Shortest Way Home and Relatable Nostalgia

Upon light political discussion with one of my friends, she let me borrow her copy of Pete Buttigieg's book, Shortest Way Home. I'm only up to page 23, but am happily understanding and enjoying his writing - he was born in 1982 in South Bend, Indiana. I was born in 1985 in Toledo, Ohio, a mere two and a half hours away. We got the same weather, same technological advances and understanding, and I related to his explanation of where his parents lived before Indiana - they were in El Paso, Texas and worked in nearby Las Cruces, New Mexico. My grandparents lived in Santa Teresa, New Mexico - just over the state line, and worked in El Paso and Las Cruces. There's a comfortable cordiality and hilariousness listening to someone speak about how they grew up when I can relate nearly 100%. How the snow wouldn't melt for weeks in the winter and the cloudy days drag on. Indiana is on the very western edge of the Eastern Time Zone, meaning the sun wouldn't rise until well aft

Consideration of some current habits and February challenges

I planned February as a month long sleeping experiment, with the rules only being that I'll go to bed at 10pm and get up at 6am. After the last two weeks of attempting that as a dry run, I noticed a few things. Just going to bed at 10pm doesn't mean I'll be able to fall asleep straight away. I had two instances of rather severe insomnia, where I didn't fall asleep until 1:30am and 2am despite doing my normal routine that usually gets me to fall asleep in 15 to 30 minutes. Sometimes Zzzquil didn't help, and only allowed me to feel extra groggy when it came time to wake up. I also know I have some weekend plans that will likely run past 10pm - I've been invited to play board games one evening, for example, and I'd hate to leave mid-game just because it was 9:15pm. However, I know I'm rather useless past 11pm, so I have a limit.  Knowing this makes me think that a good schedule is 6am - 10pm on weekdays and 7am - 11pm on weekends. Of course, the bigg

The End of Atomic Habits

I'd say James Clear's book was a success. I thoroughly enjoyed it, will reread some other portions, changed some of my habits in less than a month, and I signed up for his newsletter. In his last chapter, he shared some lessons he learned from writing the book, and I've added my own reflections. Awareness comes before desire . If you notice something, but don't care about it, you won't associate a craving for it. I don't care for clothes shopping, so I've never been lured in for sales. Camera and phone and hot sauce sales, though... I can't say I wouldn't at least look around. Happiness is simply the absence of desire . I suppose that's true. I'm happy right now that my neighbor has turned her music off - it was just loud enough to be annoying, not loud enough to really go complain, unless it was past 10pm. Peace occurs when you don't turn your observations into problems . Hmmm. I'm afraid I do that entirely too much, between co

Chapter 20, The Downside of Creating Good Habits

This chapter focused on not letting the actions of habits get sloppy when they become second nature. It's a good idea to have a time to reflect and review on progress before errors that pop up get too bad. Chapter 20 summary: The upside of habits is that we can do things without thinking. The downside is that we stop paying attention to little errors. Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery Reflection and review is a process that allows you to remain conscious of your performance over time. The tighter we cling to an identity, the harder it becomes to grow beyond it. Some habits I don't need to re-evaluate periodically, like my habit of hanging up my coat. It's pretty easy. Have I hung up my coat? Then, success! But my workout habit needs adjustment. After the disastrous first two weeks where my habit was "Three times a week" and I went once a week, I changed my habit. I wasn't hitting the goal, and I was unhappy, and it felt like I needed to think

Tiny Habits and a busy day

I expected to read chapter 20 in the Atomic Habits book. However, I didn't get there. My late morning meeting ran into my lunchtime, which, because I stayed at my desk, meant other people could contact me and request things of me. I got to eat a sandwich, and as I was done with that, someone came up to talk about another report, and once he got up from my desk, another person IMed me about another deployment, and on and on. I wish I could find the report I wrote that parsed IDs as ints, but the parameter passed in as a comma deliminated string. That'll help me finish my report - it's the last issue in my ticket to change. Everything else works, except for this. I'll work on it tomorrow morning before everyone shows up to start the day. Two weeks ago, I signed up for BJ Fogg's Tiny Habits course, which is a 5 day course. They pair you with a coach that helps you start with the barest of habits - if you want to start flossing your teeth every day, you start with f

Chapter 19 and the Goldilocks Rule

Clear talks about the Goldilocks Rule - it's about setting up a task that is not too easy nor too hard. Therefore, you won't get bored or frustrated. Sometimes you just have to break a difficult task down into pieces. I did so for a report request - the customer wanted to change an already complex report with seven different requirements. I admit, I worked on other things that were easier until I was only left with the report. I copied and pasted the requirements into NotePad++ to sort them, to see if I could get a few requirements done in one code change. I noticed some of the requirements were already in place, and the user just needed training, some requirements were filtering on similar fields, some were adding new information, and the last one had been done in another report, and I could reuse code from there. Suddenly this laundry list of changes looked much more reasonable and I made half of the changes in one day. The other issue is with boredom. The more you practi

Chapter 18 and Genes

Chapter 18 discusses genes and predisposition. Clear mentions that while Michael Phelps is a gold medal winning swimmer, he wouldn't have been able to even compete in the Olympics if he chose a different sport like running, where his tall frame and shorter legs (for his height) would have put him at a clear disadvantage. When I was a baby, people remarked on my long fingers and ability to point my toes to an abnormal degree. My parents heard things like "She'll be a piano player, with those long fingers!" or "She'll be a ballerina, with those toes!" As I grew into a toddler, I was very interested in sound and music, but very clumsy and often tripped or fell. My parents decided to enroll me in piano lessons when I was 5. (Sadly, I wasn't mature or patient enough, so I had enough of piano lessons only after two weeks.) Smart idea, playing to my strengths. (They also enrolled me in gymnastics briefly to help with my balance issues.) My environment a