Maintaining 5 slots of building each day

Focusing inward on delivering requires a certain balance. My balance has been off recently. I got knocked off my feet and it impacted my ability to produce blocks of content for about a week. That type of thing does not normally happen to me. It was a new set of emotions and things to consider. Getting knocked down hard enough to pause for a moment and need to look around before moving again was a very new sensation. I’m not sure it was something that I was looking for or even prepared to experience. Really the only thing that put me back on the right track to success and deeper inward consideration (restored balance) was the passage of some time. It just took a little bit of time for me to internalize and move on to a new set of expectations. 

Each new day brings forward a set of time for creating blocks of content. My thoughts right now are around the consideration of making and maintaining 5 slots of building each day. To that end I have been sitting down on the whiteboard and writing down 5 good things to work on each day and trying to make sure they are attainable blocks to complete. At this time, I don’t want to put multi-slot blocks or all day blocks on the board for action and review. This is not the time for that type of stretching and personal growth by taking on highly complex activities. Right now is the time to make things clear, work on the clear things, and be stronger with that resolution every single day go forward. 

Maybe getting back to the absolute standard of sitting down at the very start of the day after drinking two shots of espresso and writing for a few minutes is the key to reframe my day. It is something that has been missing. It was missed. Perhaps it was missed more than I even realized at the time. I’ll admit to sitting down and watching about 4-5 seasons of the Showtime series Billions instead of actively writing and building. Alternatively, I could have been listing some graded sports cards on eBay and working to sell a few of them each day. Let’s zoom out for a second from those thoughts and consider what the next 30 days will uphold as a standard. 

One block of the daily 5 is going to be related to committing code on GitHub. I’m going to really focus my time and energy on making solid contributions to published code. Taking on that effort will help me be focused and committed to something that will become more and more necessary. Building code has changed a bit with the advent of LLMs, but the general thought exercise and logic remain pretty much the same. You might be able to take a wild run at something that was not attainable before and prompt your way to something magical. Generally you are going to go where logic can take you within the confines of the coding world as the framework is a lot more logical than it is purely chaotic in nature. 

5 good things for 9/15

  1. Rework block 142
  2. Commit something LangChain related in Colab
  3. Work on
  4. Review blocks 143-145
  5. Start building voter data baseline package

Outside of those efforts generally as a part of my daily routine I’m producing a daily vlog via YouTube Shorts and striving to output a daily reflection functional journal blog post. I’m going to try to take some inline functional journal notes throughout the day as well. That is going to structurally end up with a sort of blog post being written at the start of the day and then a bunch of more inline bullets being created. Posting is still going to happen at the end of the day or potentially a day delayed. 

Delivering independent research is more important now than ever. I have spent some time thinking about the models of how that research is delivered and what value it has generally. 

Block 142 is pretty much ready to go. I’ll be able to record it tomorrow morning and stay on track to have a 4 block recorded backlog of content ready to go for my Substack. 

During the course of reviewing blocks 143 to 145 I considered if those are even the right topics to spend time working. They are probably fine elements of things to research. It’s not about producing timely content, but instead it is about making meaningful blocks of content that are not time sensitive. That of course is always a harder thing to accomplish while producing independent research.

Managing the backlog of writing blocks

A few hours of my time this weekend were devoted to seeding Substack posts from week 55 to current (124) into the blog. I’m not sure how long Substack as a platform will last so I wanted to just put the content into my backlog. That process of seeding content really did take a couple hours of working with the posts to get all that content ported over to the blog. My weekly workflow now has an extra step to stage the future content in both the Substack and the blog, but having that extra set of steps is just a couple minutes of post production work. At some point, I will need to circle back and load up the Substack content from weeks 1 to 54. However, today will not be that day of content loading. Maybe it will happen during the course of watching some playoff hockey games here in the next month or so as the playoffs progress.

Last night, I could not make it all the way to the end of the Colorado Avalanche game last night. I made it to part of the 3rd period and fell asleep. That game simply started too late in the evening. I’m an early morning content creator and those late nights are hard to recover from these days. All the round one match-ups have been pretty exciting this year. It has been a good point in my process to consider managing the backlog of writing blocks. Right now I know what content needs to get created between now and the end of the year. All of my energy and focus needs to be put into making the best possible blocks of content. It’s important to really kick the production quality up a notch here and build blocks of research that can be packaged into research notes, literature reviews, or academic articles. At the end of 2023, I want to be able to see several completed articles. Right now I’m tracking to produce a third year end book in three years and that is good, but it could be better and that is where my focus needs to be right now.

Increasing the velocity of my contributions to the academy is where I want to put my effort. My five year writing plan is about assuming I have that amount of time to do something with my writing efforts and trying to plan to use that time wisely. Part of that is about producing content and writing that does not end up being purely ephemeral in nature. Prose that stands the test of time is rare and impactful. Content that simply fades away is now increasingly becoming nothing more than noise or worse it cannot break through at all and is not even background noise.

Apparently, within the posts section of WordPress I have 225 draft posts that span from 1998 to 2021 to clean up. Over the years my total collection of posts has moved from being a Microsoft FrontPage site to being over on Movable Type to finally landing on WordPress. A couple of times I have had the entire site wiped out which left a bunch of content holes including images and wholesale missing posts. Most of the time I had backups of the actual written words, but the posts that had images were not well backed up over the last twenty years. Even the Wayback Machine does not have all the content anymore.