Discipline (progress)

I started this “Daily Writing” category of posts talking about discipline and kickstarting a path of discipline cultivation that is going to grow throughout the year.

This is the 18th post of the callenge, out of 260 articles I’m supposed to write this year, and I want to talk about the difficulties and progress I perceive in this path. I maybe should’ve done this write up five posts ago, or eight posts in the future, to have a nice 5% or 10% advancement towards the goal, but well, I didn’t.

Up to now, I’ve completed every single day. There have been some close shaves, posts that come out near midnight. I attempted to change my working hours to no avail; either I’m blocking myself without noticing or I’m most productive during the night. I will want to look into this later, but some of the likely culprits are: I’m more creative during the night hours, I’ve had more time to think about a subject, or I work best when close to a deadline. I’ll set up some experiments to test these hypothesis.

The major difficulty up to now has been consistently finding topics to write about, even though when I find a topic it lasts for a while or makes me think of others. The 9 post series talking about development environments is a transparent example; the segue from tips to cement your knowledge (which mentions github), to Using GitHub without knowing git, to HATEOAS is a bit less clear, but it’s still there. Even less transparent is the link between To get better, start now, Dunning-Kruger is misunderstood and Cognitive claibration.

And this post, which hails back to the first one, makes it all of five topics I’ve covered (the one on backups is too loosely related to the Rationality-oriented posts).  So, one thing I plan on doing to improve my discipline building routine is to add a weekly activity, likely on Saturdays, to plan the next five posts.

It has been alternatively easier and harder to write. I thought motivation might become an issue, but it hasn’t yet. Unplanned activities have hindered me more: staying up too late, wanting to read a book too badly, staying late at work. Those have drained me or distracted me, making it much harder to get up and start writing, or feeling sure about what I’ve posted. As a measure of precaution, I’m trying not to go back to older posts too much; the amount of time spent tweaking those older articles is sure to eat up a lot of time, and their purpose to build discipline while sharing knowledge has been fulfilled.

Seeing as this has gone relatively well, I plan on adding another new task (right after my third week of post-planning): going to the gym and getting fit.

I feel comfortable writing every day about any topic, so I still won’t place any constraints on that front. Setting a length constraint feels artificial at this point, too. Business as usual.

Lessons learned? Up to now, none. Just confirmed that what you fear will be trouble may not be, and trouble can come from unexpected places. Moderating my unplanned activities should help take the edge of writing these pieces.

Hopefully, either the year of writing won’t have any surprises, and my mental model of how discipline is cultivated is accurate, or I will notice on time to make this effort worthwhile.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *