Thursday, October 21, 2010

routines vs. projects

playing with time
thinking about my little 168 hours experiment (still underway!), i got to thinking about routines vs projects.

brainstorming the old-fashioned way

to me, a routine is something built into each day (or week, or month) that becomes more or less automatic. following the right routines for you helps maintain health and sanity. this can (or in my opinion should!) be enjoyable.

i really have no problem with my current routines, although there is one routine i would love to add to my day, which would be 30-60 minutes of reading/studying for work.

projects are quite different. unfortunately, i have not mastered the art of sensible and enjoyable project completion. in fact, i dread projects and for the most part do not enjoy the time i spend working on most of them. perhaps this is in part because i am not choosing the right projects (or, projects are being chosen FOR me, as the case often is during education/training).

but i think part of it is that i am not good about breaking up said projects into manageable tasks, and i get intimidated. this brings out my inner perfectionist (she tends to rear her ugly head at the most inopportune times), who deems a perfect performance unattainable, and i'm left with a blank word document and steadily encroaching deadlines.

you can see what i'm getting at here.

grant-writing plan of action
just write. section by section. i need to let go of the idea that it is going to come out perfectly the first time around, and just set a strict schedule of PRODUCTION. fine-tuning can come later and will always be easier than banging out that first draft.

address roadblocks. every time i stare at the 'methods' section, i practically break out in hives. how am i supposed to detail how exactly i am going to do the proposed experiments when i haven't set foot in a research lab in over 4 years and i've never even touched a mouse (nor am i looking forward to doing so, but that is another story)?

obviously, i'm not. i'm going to write things out skeletally, and then get help from those who have a clue.

avoid misery. projects like this quickly turn to . . .well, misery when time starts to run out. that is not how i like to live my life. i need to develop some moderate discipline now to keep things from blowing up in my face later.

and with that, i am going to do a little yoga (routine) and get to work on writing (PROJECT!). well, one quick thing first . . .

succumbing to everyday happy smile
i honestly couldn't help myself! i caved and bought the Journal J from the korean ebay retailer yesterday for $22.90, including shipping.

the Journal J, by korean brand iconic

i got the "turquoish"

(i can't poke too much fun; their english is far better than my korean.)

i'm not sure what i will do with the full-page map of korea, but i am super-excited to have all of that built-in lined and graph paper to write lists on!

table of contents

i am sad that mine likely will not look this sparse, nor this cute, once actually used:

but i think there ARE fun stickers included. woohoo! am i 30, or 3?

i'm excited for this to arrive!

i'll of course let you all know how it pans out.



workout: 40 minutes ellip + ~ 15 minutes weights (upper + lower mix)

real simple: i'm keeping it really simple this week and basically not cooking :) we were out last night with josh's coworkers at mill town. the highlight was josh's knackwurst sandwich on a pretzel bun (for oktoberfest, apparently!).


  1. I hate feeling stuck when writing. What I did when I started writing my research paper and phd thesis is I drafted by hand. That way I felt freeer, more like I was actually sketching, and then I re-wrote in in word. That way I didn't feell like it had to come out perfect the first time. Time consuming, but faster than getting stuck and not writing at all!

    Good luck! I am frantically finishing up the thesis as I write this, I am d-7 until printing!

  2. Back a zillion years ago when I was a journalism major and had to knock out articles all the time, I used to use what I have just in the last 5 seconds titled "the regurgitate and revise method". I realized pretty early on that I'm a better editor than writer, so I'd start writing anything I was thinking about the topic. I didn't matter how bad it sounded as long as it had the general gist of what I was getting at. Then I'd spend 80% of my actual working time revising what I'd spewed out at the beginning. It certainly helped me get past writer's block a time or two.

  3. You really hit the nail on the head with routine versus projects - and I love love love Journal J.

  4. I just bought a journal several days ago to recollect my thoughts and stay focused with my goals. I need to find a journal like journal J to organize my time because that is definately what I need. Before I go to bed, I am always dissatisfied with how I used my time because I study til 130am. I need to fix that.

    Im anticipating for your journal j to arrive, hopefully youll do a review? I might just buy it, it looks really nice!

  5. Anonymous4:50 PM

    thanks for breaking down the way you look at grants. i'm trying to find a grant to write at the clinic now and will definitely need all the help i can get when it comes to writing it.

    good luck! and stickers = AMAZING.

  6. I love the journal you chose! I'm waiting for your review and I might buy it as well. I tend to spend most of my time on routines rather than projects lately.I need a better balance.

  7. This post came at a perfect time. I need to write a grant and I've been putting it off all week. I should just do it.
    Love that journal!

  8. AnneliesDB3:03 PM

    My first comment, although I have been follow your blog for over a year now from Brussels. I absolutely love your blog, your tips on organizing, your choice of books/planners, experiences. Just ordered the same organizer! Looking forward to receiving it. But don't you think it will bother you that the daily planner is not lined? Until next time...

  9. Anonymous9:54 PM

    YAYYY :)
    You got the Korean one! :D You rock
    w00t. sorry got a little crazy there :D


  10. anneliesDB so cool i have a belgian reader! i have actually been to brussels (only once) and thought it was awesome :) so modern and clean!

    jae: yay!!! love your enthusiasm. i can't wait to see it up close :)