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A Strange Pattern I've Noticed in Productivity

I do some time tracking every day. The latest version, v5, is here.

Believe it or not, it's not actually a lot of work. Periodically through the day, I mark down what tasks I've been working on. At the end of the day, it takes me around 5-10 minutes to tally up how I spent my time (along with some other things - what I ate, how much I spent, appointments I had, general habits I completed or didn't). Again though - this looks like a lot of work, but it's not. It takes work to set up and habituate, but then it's pretty automatic.

Over time, I've broken down how I spend time into four general categories - Excellent, Good, Okay, Bad. "Excellent" includes things like exercising and working on big expansive things. That's really excellent time.

"Good" includes reading and general maintenance-type work that keeps things how things going the way they were. Now, note that "Good" really is good. When I have a day with lots of time in the Good category, I'm happy.

Consistency is the Hard Part

On Tynan

The one thing I consistently fail to account for when planning trips, especially shorter ones, is the disruption it will cause to my routine. For over a hundred days in a row, I wrote a blog post every day, did a Chinese lesson, worked on SETT, and a few other things for which I hold myself accountable.

I went to Peru for ten days, and although I started off strong, jamming in the blog post and Chinese lessons on my flights and bus ride to the Andes, once I started hiking I stopped doing those things. No real foul there, because breathing and walking had become difficult first priorities. When I got back to civilization, still in Peru, I resumed working hard on SETT, but I stopped doing Chinese lessons. I was practicing Spanish every day, though, so that made it okay. I wrote a monster blog post about Peru and sort of let myself coast on that. After all, it was a lot longer than my average post.

I got back to San Francisco and had only a week before I was going to Mexico. That week was great. I felt bad about being off schedule, so I used that as motivation to get back on. I rated three of those days as As and four as Bs, which is a pretty solid week. Next there are ten days completely missing from my schedule. I remember them, though. I worked on SETT every day while I was in Mexico, at a reduced capacity, as expected. I did a couple Chinese lessons, but was speaking Spanish, and fell behind on blog posts. Maybe I wrote four during those ten days.

Again, I got back and got back on schedule, but this time with less consistency. One day I gave myself an F and didn't even write any notes on the day. A few others I got Ds. There are As and Bs, too, but not as many as there should be.

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