Week 6


new methods:

  • 30 min alarm upon getting home or waking up for buckling down
    • Incredibly helpful for keeping me on track and actually getting started
    • solved the program of checking messages and doing silly stuff
  • one note daily method again
    • Gives a much more consistent structure to day
    • helps keep me focused
    • definitely increased 1000 words a little
  • RTTN form “Tried X expecting Y, Z happened”
    • Ended up changing to ‘did X. Z happened’ because most of the things I just did rather than thought about in advance
  • Always go to bed at midnight
    • very hard to pull off properly because I wasn’t using an alarm
    • even though I went to bed on time, other factors prevented me from actually falling asleep…
  • +- diff from midnight bedtime metric
    • Very helpful in keeping me honest about the above method.
  • multiple desktops: one for work, one for break
    • Combined with pomodoros
    • didn’t have to worry about accidentally going to a tab or program used for playing around
    • forced me to use a separate browser for work stuff, thereby keeping me from distractions
    • kept skype and hexchat notifications out of my awareness (except for skype sounds)
  • computer based pomo alarm
    • so much better than dealing with my phone
    • have to keep headphones on, unfortunately
    • Hourglass seems to work excellently
  • weekend alarms – never sleep in past 10am
    • not enough data to really say here
    • too many other sleep problems
  • write distractions in interruptions
    • I don’t check these after each pomo, so they get lost
    • didn’t have enough of these to matter though…
  • apply generic math homework algorithm
    • mostly works
    • …except I just end up doing it all in the math learning center anyway.

Mid week additions:

  • Pomo/day metric
    • seems to correlate better with my perception of work done than tasks set/done
  • Pomo task notes
    • seem to clarify my actions
    • makes a clear vector of progress.
    • Makes keeping track of number of pomos more engaging
    • no benefit for RTTN, extra grunt work really
    • keeps me even more focused
    • gives me a place to put random useless stuff I don’t need to actually save, but is possibly worth typing out?
    • gives me a clear record of what was worked on, though I usually throw it out
  • estimated time awake metric
    • gives clear picture of problems here
  • RTTN form: ‘did a: x, y, z happened’ lots of bullet points
    • almost as hard to work with as the other
    • hard to say
  • % tasks algorithm: MITs worth 1 point, LITS 0.5
    • More objective
    • gives more useful numbers

Being sick

  • massively reduced my ability to function
  • going to bed earlier seemed to make things better
    • even just laying there not falling asleep.


  • many nautral breakpoints
  • Pomos seem to be increasing Rescue Time minutes.
  • keeps focus on current task
  • encourages finishing before the time limit
  • not so nice for strict enjoyment of media
  • breaks ought be youtube watch later video length
    • could get through all of the ponyfic I need to read this way!
    • so much else to read and watch and listen to… this is an excellent way of doing all that.
  • not so good for thinking and organizing tasks
    • I lose my thoughts and my place

List of rules in focus

  • clarifies current methods
  • keeps me on track while adjusting
  • dramatically helps for copy-pasting into weekly so I can mark the effects


  • Staying up past 12:20 always results in suffering.

Tried to read math chapter via pomodoro expecting it to take an hour, but

  • it only took twenty minutes for each
  • While I didn’t 100% follow everything I was still able to get a pretty solid idea of what was happening and the techniques used
  • Because I know I only have to push for 30 minutes I can bring myself back into focus and keep on. This reduces spacing out and improves my retention
  • I ought mark what I don’t understand next time
  • perhaps should add ‘try example problems’? just ‘read’ makes me feel satisfied having looked over the text
  • This also improves reading comprehension because it all is absorbed at once.

Tried Windows Sysinternals Desktops to separate break and work areas more.

  • clean, simple
  • separates things admirably
  • I can’t move windows between desktops, but that’s not a big problem
  • Can’t utilize programs cross-desktop. This includes sharex and OBS.
  • Alt-tab goes weird in anything but the main window
  • Tried recording in OBS while switching desktops
    • It keeps recording on the original desktop! Almost like the extra desktops don’t exist in relation to the first at all.

Tried a program called Hourglass as an alarm

  • Very clean, simple
  • I put it on its own desktop full screened to keep it separate from my break and work areas
  • Much nicer than phone alarm
  • I’ll have to leave my headphones on unless I can locate my speakers
  • this is superior to phone alarm, but I am thinking maybe I should use my arduino, a button and an LED instead- that way I don’t need to wear headphones.

Tried doing an hour of math homework expecting to solve at least one problem

  • Got frustrated and annoyed
  • decided to only do the hard math with people that can explain it in the math learning center

Tried spending an hour at math tutors and then an hour at home

  • After getting hints on half of them, I was able to finish the rest on my own.
  • I spent about two hours in the math learning center and went through three pomodoros. So all in all it took four hours to do…
  • …but I met a new friend and wasted a fair bit of time with him, and then somewhere in there lost an extra three hours.
  • I don’t feel as tired as usual, so this seems to add evidence to my hypothesis that I have a limited amount of ability to do work rather than limited timeframe in the day to do it. (Additional evidence for that is that my rescue time productive hours seem to max out at little over four hours)

Tried doing a math assignment and engineering assignment on the same day

  • Managed to get the math assignment done, but didn’t have the energy to finish the engineering.

Tried getting away with not eating breakfast when I only had one class

  • kind of worked, but there was no reason to do it other than laziness and it made me suffer for about an hour or so

Had no choice but to have a cold shower

  • Felt awful
  • didn’t clean as well
  • was miserable afterward
  • didn’t feel alert- if anything, I felt less aware of my surroundings and focused on the cold
  • I have no idea why people would ever take cold showers, but I remember that being one of the many pieces of advice on some list of good habits somewhere

Tried drinking soylent 2.0 warm (first drink of 2.0)

  • Tasted awful
  • didn’t shake it properly at first, so it got a bit better near the end, but even then it was way too watery
  • Mouth got itchy & stomach unhappy. Feels very much like a minor allergic reaction
  • yep totally getting a weird lump in my throat and am light headed.
  • Definitely feel full, totally eliminated the bit of hunger that was there before
  • kind of want to vomit
  • bit of a headache…
  • This is very similar to what happened with joylent
  • I drank it in less than 30 seconds so that may be contributing to some of the above
  • suggestions given from the community:
    • don’t drink it fast
    • drink equal volume of water (perhaps this contributes to my headache?)
    • cold
    • use straw
    • apparently it tastes better after you’ve had it before
  • Totally killed my willingness and ability to do work…
  • Got hungry again a scant two hours later, just as the worst of it seemed to be fading away
  • hunger went away somewhat by doing nothing?

Did a fair bit of walking yesterday to see how long it would take for knee pain

  • Fingers started hurting
  • Seems like whatever reserves of anti-pain don’t fill in in the same way I thought they did. I expected to feel more knee pain on the 25th or so…
  • but I didn’t feel that
  • overall pain level seems to increase, but flatten out over time so long as you are consistent. Nowhere near the original levels of pain quite yet.
  • On the whole, walking doesn’t seem to have a major effect. I think there is a certain level of homeostasis going on here- my body amps up to a higher level, but then gets used to it an conserves resources better.

Using strikeout to keep track of tasks done

  • much healthier than removing them.
  • Helps me feel accomplished
  • means I don’t have a list of ‘finished’ tasks mucking up the prettiness of my system
  • Really helps to focus my attention

Mouse Without Boarders and Input Director both stopped working…

Tried running noscript

  • It gets really obnoxious to run specifically the scripts I care about for every single website
  • The web looks so broken when I do this
  • I wish there was some way of whitelisting all of the useful functionality and ignoring everything analyzing my stuff
  • ends up being an extra step each and every time someone sends me something

Tried using alarm on weekend

  • Although I really hate my alarm and waking up to it every single day is going to get annoying…
  • I do feel like it is beneficial. If nothing else, keeps me from sleeping in too late.
  • I had been lying in bed half-awake half dreaming unsure if it was day and wanting to go back to sleep but found I couldn’t
  • Second day of alarm was much smoother than the first

Talked in #lw-instrumental about my plan

  • Generated a much wider array of detail for each topic than usual.
  • I therefore conclude that if I want to get ideas out of my head I should talk to people about them and keep the conversation focused.
  • This forces me to justify my position and gives me a lot of material to work with by teasing it out of my brain one topic at a time.

Discussion breakdown

  • Going through logs, extracting ideas and points
  • lets me look at all of the proposals
  • puts otherwise wasted thinking material to work

Simple extraction/testing

  • Read through productivity guide
  • find useful things that you aren’t doing/haven’t tried
  • then try them.
  • Keep the ones that work better than what you’re already doing
  • This doesn’t work as a general extraction method because not everyone has done the same things as you. Easy to fix?

Tried being useful on the weekend

  • I have a very strong aversion here to work, like trying to enter a cold shower – I’d really rather be doing most anything else
  • got a fair bit done
  • harder to do anything than usual
  • monday felt worse
  • Was unable to determine if being productive on the weekend reduced overall productivity due to significant sleep derprivation that week
    • Was unable to think during my CS lab… I strongly suspect being productive on the weekend is to blame. There is just this lingering… inability to think which feels a lot like weekend tiredness.
  • number of pomodoros versus rescue time seems weird- I added two hours, but only added two pomodoros. I don’t think I did very much extra work, when not doing pomo… so what happened there?
  • Didn’t actually do the math studying which honestly was the most important task
    • I should have done it first, but I just felt such an ugh field around it…
    • other two major tasks weren’t even that much of a thing
    • I started on less important tasks without finishing up the most important tasks because of how little mental energy I had at the time
  • Got marginally more pomodoros today
    • My brain seems to want to treat weekends differently than weekdays
      • Is this because I need the time to recharge
      • Will I feel awful on the weekdays?
    • After about 6pm I just lost steam entirely- that’s about eight hours of productive time
      • If it is the case I don’t get more than eight hours of productivity then I should focus my efforts on making those eight hours as productive as possible
      • Is there any way to expand productive time?
  • I took a lot of breaks between the 10 minute reading break and the work break, and some of those seemed to expand a lot
    • I shouldn’t do that- food and such should count inside my 10 minute break
      • I dislike that because it means I don’t get any reading in
        • reading is more interesting and fun all at once anyway
        • Tough cookies
  • I ended up browsing through non-work stuff during work time because I shifted to the non-work desktop
    • I should have moved the windows I was working on to the work desktop rather than switching between the two
      • That wouldn’t be an issue if I had thought to close and reopen the windows
    • This could be seen as a failure to apply buckledown properly or as a failure to apply extended breaks
      • extended breaks are not technically something I’m trying this week- trying to do raw pomodoros

Eating 15 minutes before sleeping

  • far too late- pushed me past deadline for being able to fall asleep
  • I ought eat before 11:30 at the latest

School notes

  • separator bars |words | words| words|
    • keeps things a lot nicer & condensed
    • allows me to keep scale
  • Notecard
    • solid way to study due to conceteness
    • had avoided to ‘understand’ material rather than have cheat sheet solutions
    • forces me to actually learn though

Giving up on too hard tasks and switching to easier things

  • allowed me a much larger coverage of things done even though I didn’t complete everything I set out to
  • This’ll let me focus down the tasks I didn’t get done earlier in the day tomorrow when I have refreshed myself again.
  • allowed me to actually get to LITs and one note daily things beyond MITs
  • Didn’t quite do 1000 words- too hard, it seems. After losing initial momentum there isn’t enough to write anything unless it is RPing.
  • Helped me to stay focused and actually get stuff done even though it was a weekend.

useful RTTN notes

  • Bullet points
  • noting down what happened ‘did x, z happened’
  • thinking about and trying new things or weird things on the fly

Sitting down and trying to do stuff after being useful on the


  • seems to have left me in a lethargic useless state on monday
  • unable to think or be useful
  • may be due to sleep deprivation?

Keeping one note daily in the same place and just crossing it out saves a lot of time and effort, and clarifies things a great deal.

Leaving a sheet of paper under my keyboard for interruptions

  • seems much superior to trying to deal with it in RTTN
  • it slides right under and I can leave the pencil there.
  • kind of annoying if I don’t use it for a while
  • outdated via pomo task notes? Can just leave notes there and pick up when doing work again

Washing soylent container

  • massive pain by hand
  • even washing five times did not get rid of the fermented soylent
  • had to use dishwasher

Reviewing methods every day after first week is ineffective

Went to the movies

  • what went wrong?
    • 25 minutes after start time -> actual start time
    • subpar experience
    • expensive
    • took so long to get there and find the place
    • People in the theatre are obnoxious
    • can’t record bits and pieces I want to save
    • took four hours out of my day total- an hour of walking, half hour of waiting for ads…
    • failed to make me feel rested or happy
  • what went right?
    • bass sounds
    • got to watch it faster than waiting around

Didn’t want to do steep homework

  • I told myself I’d do two pomodoros of each
  • that I’d only continue if I wasn’t suffering too much
  • and that seemed to significantly lower the ugh field and let me start on my work

eating vegetables

  • minor chest pain… allergy?

shoulders ontop of pillow -> magically works and doesn’t hurt? What? Need to confirm for neck healing abilities.

CS learning:

  • If you are asked to make a program, show off all of the functionality at the same time, not just the stuff at the end


If I draw in computer science I can get at least 3 drawings per week – currently at a 0.5/day, so if I draw on at least one other day that should be an improved score.

Removed productivity metric because it correlated heavily with tasks set/done, but was far less objective.

Rescue time fails to account for non-computer productive time, so it correlates poorly on days I am not at the computer.

Some days pomos get less effective as the day goes on. Some pomos don’t need a break, some need longer breaks. I think the key here is taking longer breaks when one isn’t satisfied, and if the timer goes off when you’re in the middle of something, finish your thought or add another 5-10 minutes until you’re ready to break again.

Massive uptick in random behavioral tics – possibly related to trying to increase control over myself. Pretty sure it happens when I’m trying to shift away from one thought onto another.

Math learning center is helpful at forcing me to follow through with what I am saying rather than allowing floating unquestioned assumptions soar by.

I’d like to be able to have a sticky note in my brain that is there until I remove it, and to keep an arbitrary number of such notes.

In the long run this could be incredibly efficient, but for now I have to deal with the systems manually. If I could keep it all in my head, that’d be an incredible boon.

Bi-monthly seems more ideal than weekly. A week is barely enough time to get used to something, takes another week to see the effects. There usually is something immediately obvious to change once I start doing one thing or the other. I almost always go back and re-write the method I use multiple times to really hit home what I’m doing

Ought I try more things at once?

  • Seems like I’m already changing a lot. Don’t want to push any into failure modes.
  • Better to get a constant stream of newly updated behaviors that work and solidify with clear impacts from each.

How can I most effectively spend weekends?

How can I start doing other projects?

  • get school stuff out of the way and taken care of
  • spend time fractionally
  • see if steep time applies to personal projects too

1000 words is hard to do- takes like ~2 hours.

Another possibility for the limited work/energy is that it is only for particular tasks or setups such as sitting at my computer. I might then be able to maximize work done by using many different setups and environments. Even for the same task. Possibly as little change as setting my computer up on the opposite end of the room, or just working on other projects after some number of pomos. This is what I would expect if school time doesn’t affect total work time.

Seems like the Steep-mild-flat idea is unnecessary – I naturally gravitate down anyway no need to specifically assign tasks to hierarchies

Need to keep stones clean except for those tasks I intend to do that week.

I expect that if I go to bed at the same time every night  that

  • the time to fall asleep will go to zero
  • I should wake up just before my alarm every day

I’ve taken to just not writing pomo or rescue time metrics when I don’t use those systems that day. I think this makes more sense than writing a zero when I was productive, just using a different system.

It does seem to take me a week to settle in and adjust the changes to productivity

Stop doing work when no longer productive: you will just feel bad and get nothing done.

Will I feel less terrible about steep work if I take weekends off?

Sleep issues

  • body produces waves of heat -> ease
  • pillow dying -> ease, quality,
  • bed time -> quality
  • amount of sleep deprivation -> ease

Need to see if I can get back to feeling not-terrible.

  • proper amount of sleep (maybe try going to bed before midnight even)
  • limited number of pomos
  • longer breaks
  • not being useful on weekends
  • eat more soylent? Seemes to correlate

The second enforced 8.5 hours of sleep which seems to be my average.  I don’t know if I can fall asleep at 11:30

Possibly The first is requires only a force teeth brushing time which should remove my trouble with staiyng awake too long

Failed to enforce going to bed at midnight properly, so now I’m instituting an alarm system to make it happen properly. Should prevent cascade failure of sleep deprivation in the future.

My reasoning is faulty around sleep-based-items because often I made decisions and conclusions about them while sleep deprived.

New Methods:


  • RTTN form “Tried X expecting Y, Z happened”
  • productivity metric
  • Buckling Down (no need with virtual desktops)
  • write distractions in interruptions


  • 11:45 teeth brushing alarm
  • school time metric
  • draw during computer science & at least one other day per week
  • Move daily drawing before MITs
  • After finishing a task, 10 min cleanup.
    • desk
    • workscape
    • extra 10 min break
  • Everything in its home
  • short term goal & big rocks for each yearly goal, weekly
  • vegetables for dinner each night
  • at 11pm, stop doing pomos.
  • day to day stuff before MITs & LITs in one note daily


  • one note daily,  RTTN
  • pomodoros, virtual desktops, start work alarm
  • midnight bedtime, weekend 10am alarms
  • homework, % task done algorithms
  • no naps, neurontin

(not going to mention metrics here anymore I think)


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