I have decided to begin the workday by having a 30 minute session of "consciousness stream" related to work. I usually do this in paper journals, but I see that in my affection for paper I've relegated typing, and when I sit down to write on a keyboard the experience is less focused and more editing-like. This is written with minimal editing, it will come out rough, and each day I'll set a timer with 30 minutes to write it.
I must see what is it that I want to accomplish in this sunny Sunday. I do not have a place where to publish this, so I need to set up a blog or website where to put it. I have a Movable Type installation (hopefully) still running that I set up a couple of weeks ago, but then I saw I needed to design it, to create a logo, which then expands into a "brand", and if I want UI consistency I'd need to begin designing a whole set of UI elements and everything complicates immediately. Let us not complicate things before they are done. Let things grow from a seed, which is an intention, and then keep on watering that intention. This is how projects grow organically.
It is 10:34 AM. I have time for around 3 work sessions, one in the morning and two others after lunch. Where will I work? It is Sunday and it's sunny. I'd enjoy spending some time outside, so I will pack to spend the day about, and I will find which libraries or study halls are open today. I don't like working at home, well, it's not that I don't like it, it is that usually I get more done and I'm more focused when I'm about.
What would a blog need to be functional? It takes 5 minutes to get something up and running. I could part from an existing template, and then customize it to need. But this feels inadequate. I need maximum flexibility so that I can incorporate things in the future. So I cannot start off by a template. It is enough that text is readable on a range of devices. Does it need to be responsive? It seems important these days that it would be viewable on all devices. I will write a list and add to it as the stream of consciousness flows.
Historically I've been terrible at estimating the time I have to complete a task, because I indulge in perfectionism. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if things ended up being perfect, but usually it is simply an approximation to the idea I have in my mind, the "platonic" product. Coming closer to the platonic product can be done at it's own rhythm. I'm trying to find what is most essential.
Would I need to publish it today? No, that seems to be a task for tomorrow. There was a blue underline under 'tomorrow' and it made me second guess my writing. Thought has drifted. What else would I want to accomplish in this blog? The essentials seem to be included in the "Very basic custom theme", I'll cross it out. This is more a refinement on the first point.
It seems that these two things (create a basic theme that is responsive) give birth to the product. This is enough in itself, though I know that through the act of designing and implementing many branches will sprout out. It is unnecessary to foresee these branches as they grow organically. With the intention of dedicating three work sessions today, it will be possible that tomorrow I have a blog with this (and tomorrow's entry) published.
- Very basic custom theme
How much time do I have left? eight minutes. I shall explore how this work will be done. There is a study hall close to my apartment which is open on Sundays, but there is not much of anything else around. Additionally, I've seen that I lack certain things to properly make myself autonomous for the duration of the day, so, for example, I go have a work session to the study hall, then I come back home and change for the gym, then I come back and have lunch, and so forth. I would like to pack lunch, gym clothes, possibly pool items (towel, sun block, bathing suit) so that I can spend the day outside. I've tried to fit all these items in my backpack, but it is impossible if you add the laptop, the notebook and the charger. I need a duffel bag or something of sorts. And my bike also would probably need one of those cargo things on the back tire so I can lug it around. A good idea would be to go buy these things today. So let us plan the route with the minutes I have left:
- Buy bike rack
- Buy duffel bag
I shall now find a route that includes a sports shop and a library. If all goes well I might hit the pool. Not much else needs to be written. I'm done with a minute to spare.
Work session 1 (1.5h)
As I was going to my intended destination to work, it occurred to me it would be a good exercise to write down what I wanted to accomplish in the session, as I often leave unfinished bits of work which either are difficult to come back to, or are simply forgotten and becomes lost work. However, when I arrived to the library (Ivan Vargas, in downtown Madrid) it was closing early because of St. John festivities. I continued my task, which was to buy a duffel bag and a transport gadget for the bike, and in the end I decided that a duffel bag was undue, because I would transport my stuff perfectly well in a sturdy grocery bag. Instead, I bought sunglasses, which I am not accustomed to using, but since I'm spending a lot of time outdoors during daytime, they were overdue.
I then searched for a place to work from which was not a café (which I find distracting) but I couldn't find any, so I decided to continue my plan, which was to go to the gym and to the pool, and see if there was an appropriate place to work from. Turns out I didn't find any appropriate place, so I simply walked around the pool in Casa de Campo to find a good spot. The best spot I could find was under the shade of a tree in a secluded place, and even though it is not ideal, it occurred to me that I haven't experienced how much time I can work leaning against a tree.
It is 14:30, let this time mark the beginning of my work session.
What can be done under these circumstances? It seems publishing this very prologue would be a good task. It doesn't need any styling. I just need a textarea where I can paste this and publish it on the web. Once this is done, I can go to the dressing room and relax a pair of hours before heading back home to continue work.
After 1h and 30min I was able to publish this text on the server. Most of the time was spent debugging a problem: everything was going smoothly, but after saving a template mysql crashed. Apparently there was a lack of memory, I will need to monitor of this happens again and increase the memory of my droplet if this is the case. After fiddling around I restarted the server, but then plackup refused to run because of a senseless issue (I can't specify the full route, I must cd into the directory to run it. Remembering that I must run plackup to run movable type is technical debt, so I must find out how make it automatically run upon starting up the server.
I didn't last long leaning against my back against the tree. In the end I laid down and propped my head with my backpack against the tree. I could work almost indefinitely in this position. It is nice to observe that a particular set-up isn't required to focus: a shade, a flat surface and something to prop my head is enough. I have a small camping cushion which I can carry around. This would make any park a potential workplace.
Now it's well earned time at the pool.
Work session 2 (30 min)
After the pool I have come to a coffee shop for my second leg of work. The idea of going back home was not all that appealing. Now that the CMS can publish, the task will be to make it readable. So this leg of work will be to apply some basic styling. The only structure needed is to constrain the line length in wide monitors, the header and the footer. I'm pondering what is needed in a blog as this, do I need an about page? Let us keep this constrained to structure, and worry about content and styling later.
It is unnecessary at this time to open Sketch. The structure ought to be described by way of diagrams. Should I attempt to sketch it out in pen and paper if it can be held in the mind? Though implementing it directly in HTML is what I'd do first, let us think this through more carefully through sketching and projecting the direction. In this way, at the end of the session I can photograph the things I come up with, and then implement them in a future leg of work, possibly today.
But this is clever thinking to put off the first professional mantra: always be shipping. Action trumps manifestos. Allow for work to do the talking. Let us get to work, the only task is to communicate, what allows for clear communication?
It is 19:30, let us time ourselves.
It is just 20:00 and I'm done with the very basic styling. I didn't really expected this to become a day of work, but what better way to begin a project by experiencing it, the direction felt correct and I seem comfortable describing myself at work.
Work session 3 (59min)
I passed by the study hall next to home and it was open. It will be open until 01:00. I have time for the last work session I had settled upon but felt impeded because of St. John. Here, I suppose, are the most focused students that students can be asked on a Sunday afternoon. Let us have a session of meditational presence in these five minutes:
I am sitting crosslegged. I will position myself in a more active posture. I become aware of what I hear: shuffling of paper, mouse clicking. It is silent enough to hear my own thoughts, background music is not needed. A girl just teared up a piece of paper and distracted me. Back to the presence prompt: there is no hunger, or thirst, I am satisfied. But my skin is blazing hot from lying in the sun, but completely tolerable. I could wet my face with cold water. Indeed. I trust these students with my laptop while I do this.
The laptop is still here. My face and arms wet, some self-consciousness arises. Let it settle and breathe. Feel the air come in and out. Simply come back if you drift. Train your attention and keep it steady.
How do I feel about writing code? though professional devs would scoff at me, my output of html and css code is done for the day. I feel like something more relaxing. Let us write an article with stream of thought, which then will be edited and see what comes out. If it's not worth showing, crumble and toss away. One cannot summon inspiration, but one must be attentive to it's moment of strike
It is 21:11, I shall finish writing in an hour.
22:10 now. One hour is not enough to write an article, I will come back to it at a later date when I feel like writing.
- Put templates in linked files
- Launch plackup upon server start
- Pack pillow