Correcting My Mind

"If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place." -Lao TzuSomehow I thought I’d be productive this week, but we hosted dinners twice and I attended an after-work Agile meet-up Thursday. This kind of Agile relates to project management, especially in software development, but actually had a key take-away for my writing life. Jeff Sutherland co-created Scrum as a way of answering all the difficulties traditional project management faced in “getting to done“. If I look at my current writing paralysis, I wonder if I haven’t been psychologically beaten down by having blown past too many of my self-imposed deadlines over the past year plus. So I’m considering Lao Tzu’s advice this week. If I can correct my mind, maybe that’s what it will take to return to writing productivity. And slides 11 and 12 of that Getting to Done presentation are my inspiration: Sutherland’s research shows that teams that finish early accelerate faster. I may be a team of one for my writing, but it’s still a project to be managed, with an easy set of milestones that can be chunked into obvious definitions of done.

My test for this will be to see whether I can finish my short story this week. I have the day off tomorrow in recognition of the U.S. Memorial Day holiday. If I can finish one thing, my hope is that will break my creative log-jam.

Of course, that one day off will mean work scheduled for five days will be crammed into four, and I’ll be attending the Human Computer Interaction Symposium Thursday, which means a whole week’s worth of day-job work will actually happen in THREE days. So this may be the wrong week to test this theory.

Nonetheless, I’m starting where I am. Sort of a gut instinct situation. And enjoying the fact that when we walk the doggies at night these days, we’re seeing interesting alignments of Venus, Jupiter, and the moon–symbolically (whether you’re into astrology or not), an alignment of the perception of beauty, benevolence/good times, and feelings. It seems right to embrace the symbolism for what it’s worth. On the more logical side, honoring Dr. Nash for his game theory perspective and my incentives to “win” on the day his death was publicized to the world is another reason to forge ahead.

On the other goals… Well. One app on my phone says I averaged 1.2 miles of exercise-rate walking per day this week. The other one only recorded walks Monday and Tuesday that totaled three miles. Between those two measures, I’m still not over 2 miles a day, but I’m walking a lot more days than I planned. With all the other activity of the week, there wasn’t any stay-at-home date night, either, though I’m grateful we have made Sundays ours and continue to avoid having to go anywhere or see anyone on that day of the week. It really does make all the difference in handling the high intensity of traffic and activity in this region.

I’ll be back next week to report on my success. See how my ROW80 compadres are doing in reaching their goals in the meantime.

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2 thoughts on “Correcting My Mind

  1. After viewing that slide show, I can only say, “Thank goodness, I’m retired!” But I do see that link between clarifying what “done” means and setting goals for ROW80 that are measurable and for which we are accountable. Hope that story is coming along just fine and that the conference doesn’t overload you with too much, too fast.

  2. I do hope you managed that story – I’m not into astrology but here away from city lights I get wonderful skies at night to just stare at – some nights you could almost touch them – living in the south there was always too much artificial light. The universe is a wonderous place to look up to

    all the best and keep smiling:)

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