Friday, December 5, 2014

Show Up Every Day

I was just reading this article by James Altucher.  The gist of the article is that you need to show up, at whatever endeavor you're undertaking every, day.  Each and every day.  I also like that it doesn't say that you need to show up ALL day. 

It started me thinking that there are a number of ways in my life where this advice holds true.  


When you're working on a project, be it for work or at home and you don't have a set deadline and you're being self-motivated you should put extra effort into showing up every day.  By making sure that you accomplish something real towards your goal each and every day you build a habit towards working on that project.  Habits that you build in that way will build their own momentum and happen on days when you don't have the motivation to make them happen.  Not to mention, when you continuously work on something every day progress happens and before you know it, you've achieved your goal.


I find that motivation is very much a momentum kind of thing.  If you have momentum forward you don't have to think about your motivations so much.  You just move forward with the momentum and accomplish things.  As you accomplish things you are motivated by your success and produce even more forward momentum.  This is why the end of projects, especially very long all-consuming ones can be dangerous.  Suddenly your momentum is halted because you don't have a path forward in the same direction that you have been following all along.  This is why it's good to run with multiple projects, some in the design stage, some in the kernel of an idea stage and some in the mainstream.  As soon as you finish one you can refocus on another. 

Some of my least motivated days are when your large project ends, all the loose ends are tied up and you set yourself to just tackle the things that were left around undone while you were on project.  Those things were never going to be very satisfying to undertake or you would have made the time to do them.  I find myself doing parts of each task before I'm distracted by another more interesting task.  By having another project to move towards with a goal, I can spend 10% of my day on that and the rest doing the clean-up and still feel pretty motivated.


I discovered a number of years ago that staycations can be pretty awesome but that they had an inherent risk.  If you don't make a plan for a staycation you run the risk of diddling away your time and then at the end of it when you're back at work you'll find yourself thinking, 'I didn't do anything.  The time was just wasted.'  This seems counter-intuitive because the very act of staying home and doing nothing was probably what you wanted to do but without any defining events within that time everything will have just sort of blended together into one giant blob of dis-accomplishment.  It will feel good during the staycation but you won't have as much durable satisfaction afterwards.  (or you might, we're all different people). 

I came up with a strategy that deals with this though.  Each day of your staycation you plan one event.  For me it often meant leaving the apartment to go to a movie.  The rest of the same day could have me lying on my apt floor staring at the ceiling, the point was simply to have the one planned event each day.  The event could even be within my home, such as painting a wall.  As long as it was a unique event that wouldn't normally exist in a lazy stay-at-home day.  The event could even be something extra lazy like sleeping in the hammock all day but then you'd have to put just a little bit of extra pageantry around it to make it special. 

It may all sound a little strange but I found it really worked for me.  By spending two 'productive' hours in a day the whole day was remembered as bring successful.  I could have spent the rest of the time sitting on the couch watching reality TV (not that i did, ew) and the day would still feel later like it was a worthwhile day. 

Of course there's those people with boundless energy that take a staycation to accomplish things around the home.  Well, if you're going to do that, you'd best make sure that there are tangible re-livable results because that's the only way you're retain the sense of time well spent after the fact. 

Show Up Every Day

By showing up every day you build habits that maintain motivation, giving you momentum so that the next day you can achieve the same thing, only perhaps even better.  It's self-fulfilling and it's moderately eternal.  You'll feel better about yourself and what you're accomplishing which will give you the verve to continue doing so.   It's a very simple formula that just requires you to show up, every day.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Build Your Own Terminology - Knowhole

We've got a history of creating new terminology when we need it in my team.  Sometimes this goes well, sometimes not so much.  One of the most successful instances of this is the term Resolution Testing, referring, of course, to the validation of the resolution to a bug that has been fixed.  (or our vernacular term for same Babooning)

More recently we've come up with another term.  

The term is Knowhole.
It is defined as an odd hole in a person’s knowledge that would be considered in general to be common knowledge.

An example would be not knowing that unicorns had horns.
It evolved from the term Noah hole, for a co-op on my team who didn’t know that unicorns had horns.

The usage has expanded.  Here are some practical usages that I’ve heard:

You’ve never heard of the Ukraine?  That’s a pretty big knowhole.

Shove this in your knowhole.

Take this book and stick it in your knowhole. 

English is a beautiful language, let's help it blossom and grow.