The Cody Humpwhistle Blog

linux and crypto currency podcaster

Noise Out, Focus In

You see the thing is, todo lists are great aren’t they? I love it when end up with so many things,  just looking at it makes you miserable; so you just start to ignore it all together and begin to wallow in self loathing.

harhar – so I don’t use them right? Wrong.

I use the mother fuckers, but before you delve into that rabbit hole you have to have a system of prioritisation. It’s easier shown, than explained. Here is my current list for prioritisation at work:

  1. email [high pri]
  2. todoist [high pri]
  3. email [unread older than today]
  4. todoist [overdue]
  5. todoist
  6. email [unread]
  7. email [read]
  8. cases

todoist, is the app I use in work to manage the things I need to do outside of our Case Management System. All you need to know is that our CMS has a whole host of cases that need to be done, and once everything above it is complete, I start working through them.

When I come in’ in the morning, it could be overwhelming. There are many components to my job as I’m sure there are yours, but the I don’t have to think about them all. I put the cursor at the top line, are there any high priority emails I need to look at? No – put the cursor at the next line. What’s been marked as high priority in todoist. Work through them a single task at time.

It takes as long as it takes, I’m always only ever focused on one thing. I could go on for hours talking about my “system” of job prioritisation, but it’s not important – different things work for different people. What is important is the ability to easily figure out what the single next thing is you should be focusing on. Then the rest comes down to work ethic and enthusiasm.

[insert irrelevant photo here]

cool

new poddy see, some deep mind thought heavy shit

check it out, you will be disappointed.

Whatever’s measured, gets improved.

I have a theory, with no scientific grounding.

A wise man once said, “observation, is the key the mastery”. And he was old as well – so, old and wise. You can’t get anymore grand than that.

I’ve tested this theory, by having things such as my weight measured weekly, waist – daily. And although I had no fast and hard systems for dieting, you find yourself developing methods of adaptation as your constantly receiving feedback about the thing you’re trying to improve. Peace of piss – that requires no filler to make it’s point. If you want to advance in an area, create a system the best allows you to measure it.

Maybe daily, maybe weekly, maybe something else. Spend some time, and be honest with yourself. What is the best way to  measure progress, or lack of, on this specific thing you’d like to improve. Then do it. Just measure it for a few months, test the theory of the old wise man. Let me know how you get on.

Thought Patterns

So I’ve been observing my thought patterns recently because I’m ded clever, and I’ve come up with four core states.

  1. Active
    • You as you perceive your conscious self. The active voice in your head, passing from thought to thought.
  2. Emerging
    • The invisible you. Thoughts will pass from below, to your active. And you’ll start running with this new thread idly without questioning it’s origin. More on witnessing this behaviour in the exercise below.
  3. Observed
    • Mindfulness/meditation -through practice you get to observe the emerging  thoughts seamlessly become active ones.
  4. Objective
    • As in, a short term target you’d like to achieve. “How can I move the CCTV camera to catch more estate”. You have a question [objective] and now you’re going to ponder the solution with active thought.

Now this is arguably an insane over simplification. The first iteration of this post include descriptions much more verbose, but they got tangled up, as this isn’t all exactly a science. The best way to absorb what I’m saying is to observe the patterns yourself, so I propose the following exercise:

  1. The objective is to observe the mind move between states, active and emerging.
  2. Set your timer for 5 minutes.
  3. Get in a comfortable position.
  4. Close your eyes and visualise a pint glass turned upside down.
  5. When you breath out, the inside of the glass fogs up from your breath.
  6. When you breath in, the glass clears.
  7. The is your active thought cycle, visualising the glass clear and fog over and over.
  8. Observe how your minds starts to wonder with emerging thoughts, as soon as you catch this, discard the wandering thought and return back to the glass and fogging with your breath.
  9. Repeat the cycle of catching emerging thoughts and returning back to the glass until time is up.

What I find most interesting about this process is the observation of emerging thoughts being passed into active thought transparently. What do I mean by transparently?

You’re focusing on the breath, and the fogging of the glass. A few short moments later you’re thinking about something that has happened that day. You never decided to change this track of thought. It’s just when you remember to observe your thought, you notice that you’re thinking of something other than the glass. When was that switch made? Define the line between your choice to concentrate on the glass, and the moment your thoughts wondered.

Your thoughts, outside of your control are moving focus from one thing to another. It’s pretty cool if you think about, and you can, using the 5 minute exercise above.

At another point in time I may venture into another benefit of this kind of thinking, and it’s the power of parking that wondering thought but still getting the benefits from it’s initial ponder. Again it goes into certain depth and would be clearer in it’s own post, so I’ll save it for another time.

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The 5 minute rule

Essentially, if you can’t be arsed to do something but it needs to be done. Do it for 5 minutes. If you’re not flowing, reschedule to continue tomorrow. So on and so fourth.

I have a daily todolist, ticktick I use (no affiliation), and often I’ll get to something I just don’t feel like doing. Start it, don’t worry about completing it. It just creates a better psychology around getting things done, as it never feels like you’ve got a big task ahead. Well – that’s not strictly true, you’ve got to be realistic with it, for example:

Cleaning your car, you could start that for 5 minutes, you’ve got everything out, the hose set up, and then after 5 minutes, put it all back away “well, I adhered to the 5 minute rule, so I’m done today”. It’s not really going to work long term is it, as you’re not actually making any progress on the task, there isn’t a measurable step forward. I guess that’s the key here, it only applies, if those 5 minutes are in the bank, and the next day you can pick up from where you left off and continue moving forward, rather than starting again from the beginning.

Primary example today was I had to move the CCTV camera mounted on the side of my house, further back for one reason or another. Part of this was finding the old mount kit it came with, that I never fitted originally, and use it during the remount. Right off the bat I couldn’t be arsed, we’re talking about an hour or so of fucking around with cables and finding the old mount that alone could take 15 minutes, that’s if I locate it at all.

From the second I woke up, having a load of other shit to be getting on with as well, I just wasn’t looking forward to working through everything that had to be done today, this being one of the biggest tasks. Rather than just power through, I spent 5 minutes looking for the mount kit (never found it), and rescheduled for tomorrow. I feel better for making progress, and don’t have the task hanging over my head for the rest of the day.

Another example is recording the audio for a podcast, I don’t get excited when I’ve got to do this but I know longer term, it is a benefit. Now, after setting up, and starting to talk you actually do fall into flow usually. So it works well. But what if you didn’t. 5 minutes in, you’re just not feeling it. This is a “fence case” – literally just made that expression up. But we’ve got a task whereas you could make an argument that you’ve made progress that you can pick up from tomorrow and record another 5 minutes, or treat the initial recording as a “draft” that didn’t sound good enough to be published, so you’ll try again tomorrow. Or – must we power on like the Car Wash case?

I’m actually on the fence, when I started writing the previous paragraph the intention was to end it with “sometimes you’ve just got to use common sense and power through, as it wouldn’t make sense to end it at the 5 minute mark” but I’ve changed my mind. If you start to record an episode, and you’re not feeling it and sound like a flat fart, well fuck it. Hang it up and come back tomorrow – why not? What’s the fucking rush. If you’re doing something and not enjoying it, what’s the point of forcing it if it can be delay without any serious penalty? You’ll only resent the task, and end up quitting it all together longer term.

So I guess I’m going to reference the 80/20 rule based off of nothing really. Being, if you start something based on the 5 minute rule, and you’re not feeling it, 80% of the time you can reschedule. But some times, as in the car wash example, you’re just going to have to get that shit done. As when you come to it the next day, you’ll have to repeat the exact same process meaning you made no measurable impact the day before.

We can conclude with this post in of itself. I was just supposed to be putting down the title and a one line description about the content of the post, to pick up another time when I’m doing my “5 minute blog write” task, and yet I hit the natural flow state, and you always go with the flow. Using that momentum of enthusiasm and wanting to work on something, trumps all else. It’s an indescribable energy you should never shy away from.

oh look a pretty quote from the post above

always go with the the flow

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Zygor World Of Warcraft Addon

I’m always up for a bit of escapism and after a few months of throwing in the towel with WoW (World of Warcraft) I always feel it calling me back. The usual cycle is to subscribe for 30 days, play for about 3 days and then throw in the towel.

The issue has always been, I don’t get any sense of clear progression. I start questing, and before I know it I have a shit load of quests pulling me all over the map. Where to to go next? What would be the most efficient path to get these handed in whilst completing these outstanding ones. Do I even have to take this one, or is it just a side quest that’s just going to extend my quest log – or hang on, maybe I need this quest for progression, as it’s part of a bigger story. I’ll get it just in case – or… fuck it. I’ll log off instead, this game is shit.

So with any problem, I turned to reddit, and was looking for the best quest addon that would streamline the process and babysit me through each step. I tried various free ones, as that’s my favourite price. None of the free ones “cut it” as much as I liked, they either bugged on certain steps, got stuck in loops or simply didn’t make the experience any smoother.

Now let me say at this point, I don’t do sponsored content ever, so below is not an endorsement that benefits me, just something I came across and love. One Addon I kept hear getting mentioned was Zygor, check out the short video below.

I’m not going to  rabbit on about it, it lets you choose a specific quest-line, gives you an option to drop all the irrelevant quests from your log which are not related to the specified quest line, and then just get on with it. It’s a subscription service, about £5 a month, but it’s worth it for me, as it addresses me key frustration and lets me get on with escapism.

Maybe give it a try.

We are two

So, I keep hearing about about how our brain is split into two hemispheres, and how in studies they would put in a curtain that effectively separated the persons field of view between both eyes by running a curtain or board from the centre of their face, forward. It’s hard to explain actually, imagine instead of a nose, you had a big fuck off board that grew out of your face, going from the roof to the floor, and extending out a few feet. If you close your left eye, your right eye can see the right half of the room, and vice versa. So each eye can see a different half of the room.

Then they ask some questions and put a pencil in one hand, and get you to verbalise the answer as well. If I remember correctly, your hand will draw one thing, as it’s one half of your brain answering shit, and your verbal answer may answer different, or be totally unaware of what you’ve drawn. Sound crazy? Well, that’s because it is. Anyway, I thought it would be cool if you could recreate a version of this experiment at home. i.e. ask yourself questions and see the different in the answer between your hemispheres.

I can’t find jack shit on how you’d do this really, any little mind hacks to see if you get different answers depending if you draw the result or answer out loud. Maybe it’s because it could induce some kind of psychosis or split mind personality, but I think it could be pretty fun. I’ll keep my eyes open if I come across something in the future.