27 May 2008

An early night?

So I'm 2 days late for my Day 10 entry. Well done me.
You ever have those days when everything is "almost done" and it irritates you even more than when you had a lot of things "not yet done"? I'm going through that phase. A lot of my projects are over the 90% completion point and it's actually throwing me off my workflow because everytime I get something from a client, I just want to get it done and it's actually working against me to a certain point. Those of you who follow GTD, realize that it's better to be in a "crank the widget" mindset all at a go rather than work, think, plan, organize, work, etc. because you end up wasting a lot of energy and concentration trying to do different types of tasks one after another and you don't do it well then.

So I managed to go out for a jog today, it was quite good, even though just a good 22 minutes worth, at least it was some good sweating there. I've realized how I'm slowly growing depending on exercise now to get through the day. It's become a habit for me, alongside my drumming practice that in some ways, I find myself moody when gym/drum plans have to be canceled because of work. For example, tonight, I really wanted to get some hand exercises in, but right now, I know if I do start on my hand exercises, chances are I won't do a good job nor will I actually get to sleep early. So instead of the normal routine I have I'm going to do the short-cut edition of it all and get like 30 minutes of practice before I hit the sack.

So, so, so, day 10 entry. For all of you that keep up with my blog, Day 10 is when I share some wisdom with everyone (well really with myself) and honestly, today I have nothing. Zilch. I just remember a phrase Billy Ward said in his DVD Billy Ward - Big Time DVD, that sometimes it requires you to take steps back to move forward. This actually rings quite true with me. The times I've really grown is when I've stopped and re-evaluated the way I'm working based on where I am at. For example, now with 2 20" screens, I've had to stop, re-evaluate the way I like to work with my programs. For example, my Workspace in Photoshop is totally different compared to what I used to use way before my dual 20" set-up. Had I never stopped to re-structure my workspace, I'd still be able to get work done, however, chances are I wouldn't be making the most use of what I have now. So it really does work.

However, sometimes it really is tough to just like stop, re-think and learn a new system. In the beginning, I was so not used to the way my new Photoshop Workspace was set up, I kept losing track of where my palettes were and it was irritating, but we all know the initial teething phase with everything in life so I just stuck with it and today it's part of my style. So I guess what I'm really saying is that take a moment, stop and just think what's going on. Chances are you've improved as a person and maybe the way you still operate hasn't kept up with your new found skills and abilities, so why not take a while to re-think your strategy?

Of course, it's easier said than done, but you know what? I'm off to do some of that now. Have fun! :D


15 May 2008

Hotel Costes

Yep, that's what I'm listening to right now. It's kind of like Buddha Bar, so it works perfectly for me during work. I was getting tired of Buddha Bar, it got to the point that I was singing along to the songs (which breaks my concentration) so I figured it was time for a change.

For all of you who've been reading my posts, you know that I love to talk about a point and go on and on and on about it. I blame Stephen King for this because his 1000+ page novels was the reason I write the way I do now. He can talk about walking from one end of the room to the other for a full 10 pages! So I'm really not as bad as you think. The other day I was talking to my band mates and they were joking how I was talking for 10 minutes about something that could have been summarized into 2 sentences. In fact, this is not the first time someone's told me this :P

So today's Day 10 entry, I decided to keep it short and get to the point... starting.... now!

I went to the AliveNotDead 1-year anniversary party on Sunday night and it was really good! I got to meet a lot of people and see some of them even perform! It was at CLIQ, the same club I'd been performing the previous 2 nights (Friday -- Chinese, Saturday -- English) so it was refreshing to be able to go back stress-free :). It's been a while since I actually went to a party to be honest. Most of my weekend either go to comedy or else my own things that I try to catch up on that I missed out during the week. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, but as I've said before, I'm greedy, I was to do them all!

It's already Thursday! Yikes where did the last 4 days go!? And to make things worse, Monday was public holiday! Where did that go!?

So I was in the shower earlier on thinking how I'd take my self-decided 30 minutes break. Should I go out for a walk? Should I just watch some comedy or should I just clear my room and plan what I'll try to get done tonight? Then I finally decided that I'd just go with the flow, after all, it's a break, why should I plan my break time!?

So today's Day 10 entry is about letting things just flow. It's kind of like everything in life, you'll notice the re-occurring topic for everything is to make sure we're relaxed while doing it. GTD says that you're only as productive as you are relaxed. Drumming reminds me that when you tense your muscles up, you're inhibiting their natural motion. Working out requires me to tense, relax, tense, relax my muscles for maximum impact. Comedy taught me that the more nervous I am on stage, the worse I'll perform. The more relaxed I feel, the better I'll flow in general and the better my overall performance! So here I am, typing my last sentence before I go off and just, literally, shockingly, relax.... this may sound weird, but I'm actually feeling weird about relaxing, so here goes!


07 May 2008

Don't sweat yourself out

Argh, well I've done it again, I'm 2 days late for my day 10 entry. But mind you, it's not because of laziness, I'm actually at 100..well 101% workload right now. I was on my way home today and I finally felt the need to actually stop and sit down for just 5 minutes to regroup. Well not really regroup but more like just put everything on hold. I've come to realize 50% of the stress I face daily actually comes from myself! As I've said before my expectations of myself are growing every day and it's slowly getting to the point my growth isn't keeping up with the pace I'd like to be growing. Is this greed or impatience? Or simply a good form of pressure? You don't expect to get fit without pushing yourself past your comfort zone at the gym. I've always been a firm believer of what doesn't kill me only makes me stronger but today I got to a point I realized that that statement forgot to remind you that to get stronger, you need to allow yourself to grow. And that to grow, you need to let it happen during rest. Our body rejuvenates and heals and grows during our resting periods (sleep). So why am I expecting so much from myself and every time I'm about to go to bed I feel like it's an obstacle coming in my way?

I suppose it is indeed impatience on my part. Perhaps it's a greed to get things done but realizing I can't and an unwillingness to stop "working" and begin "resting" because I feel like I'm being lazy at a time I should be working harder. Or is it me just compensating for all the time lost due to unexpected things (like sudden demands from clients or family matters or traffic jams?) I believe not in working harder but working smarter. I've already improved my self-productivity by implementing systems like GTD and automating a lot of my processes. I was talking to a friend today and jokingly said that the more I make free time, the more I get myself involved in. GTD has been a blessing and a curse. It's made me more productive and the chances of me forgetting are dropping because I've gotten used to the system and it's become a part of my life now, however, it also stresses you out because as you get more organized, you find that there are more and more things you want to get done! Before, without a system, I'd have these great ideas, and if I forgot them... well I just forgot about them and enjoyed my free time. Now, with GTD, when I'm free, all I have to do is turn to my someday/maybe list and all of a sudden my holiday becomes a work day again. Yes, I'm a workaholic, but the real question is, where do you draw the line between working and having fun?

A perfect example is me and drumming. Currently, I'm working on the song by Lamb of God called Now you've got something to die for and boy is it complicated. It's not difficult, it's complicated. Kind of like cool tap-dancing isn't difficult, it's complicated. Anyone can tap their feet, but tapping them correctly, coordinated and in time is where the challenge comes. Like tonight, I came home, ate and told myself I'd practice that song for 10 minutes and ended up doing 35 minutes because I was having fun. After my practice, I got up and felt mentally exhausted from concentrating for so long and it felt the same way like I'd been working for an hour or two! So was that work just now or fun? I enjoyed it, but the end result was the same fatigue that I'd get from working on say a design or coding my projects. I suppose you could get tired from a Friends marathon? Does that make it on par with work?

I suppose the main question I have is what is work and what is play? Too much play and it turns into work? Or is it not work only when you do something free-flowing? Like I watch half an episode of Friends and when I want, I switch to something else? Anyways, finding out what really can be counted as rest is probably going into my someday/maybe list in GTD. Yay, one more thing before I can take a break. Ahaha the irony of life.


01 May 2008

Calm before the storm

Ahh, finally a chance for me to sit down and put everything in my life on hold. It's like I've got a remote that has a pause button and right now, nothing needs to be seen to and no one requires my attention. I can finally take a breather.

Last night, I was completely brain dead to the point I couldn't even think straight. I was staring into space but just didn't want to sleep. All I needed to do was shut myself off and waste away till I fell asleep. I did that, well ok, not just that, I was doing some research about drums and drumming and it was quite cool because I learnt so much in just one night of reading, reading and more reading. My brain was dead but oddly, reading about drumming required almost no effort on my part. It's so interesting reading forums and seeing different people's views and experiences. Especially when something you were thinking or about to type has been already discussed before. I must say the Internet has been a heck of a help and influence in my life. Otherwise I'd probably be a dumb kid right now.

Speaking of the Internet, my youtube clip is at 286,900 hits! Ahaha, it's so strange, I had no idea that this'd happen, it was like "oh ok, I'll put a clip up.... bleh" and now I'm like woah!! This is so cool! :D Stand-up comedy's getting bigger and bigger since people are hearing about it more nowadays and also I'm getting more and more gigs :) I'm enjoying it a lot more as I go since I'm getting more experience and more comfortable with my set. I keep writing new stuff but it just comes over time. I no longer force myself to sit down and write, I've realized it just doens't work and the quality of my stuff doesn't meet my expectations. In fact, the only time I sit down and write stuff is after a shower when I've run through a bunch of new ideas I had and tried to work them out, then I just write down the general flow so I don't forget what I feel will work out. I usually allow it like 2 days for me to digest it and then see if it's still funny to me.

2 days.. so much can happen in just 2 days. I can go from being on top of the world to down in the gutters in just 48 hours. Right now I'm pumped like nobody's business to do so much (especially since I just tried out this new drumming practice/workout routine I've created and I love it!) 2 days is all it takes for muscles fibres to heal and grow and allow me to plug my ears with blasting music and pump some iron. 2 days is what I need sometimes for a project that may take someone else a week to do! :P

But for people who've been keeping up with my blog posts, you'll know I'm a 1-day man, as in I know 24 hours is already a very, very big difference. I've seen myself go from completely shattered, depressed and tired to a 180 degree change in just a day. Sometimes a little sleep, a little down-time does wonders to the point you end up getting more done than you would if you just kept going.

The more I grow the more I realize everything is so inter-related. I was reading about some drum stuff last night, and it was talking about endurance vs control training. In other words, say I were to constantly hit the drum with my right stick for like 10 minutes, I'd be doing endurance training. As long as I had a metronome to guide me, I'd be getting some control as well. However, to get the best control training, I'd have to stop a lot in the middle. Stopping and re-starting actually does a lot of control training and you learn a lot from that as well, after all, when was the last time a song required you to play 10 minutes of the exact same thing?! In the same way, with the pauses, I'll still be getting endurance training and the added benefit of more control training! The same goes for the gym, to burn the most fat/calories, it's better to do interval training (eg. 1 min intense, 2 mins medium, repeat), it forces you to work in a different way. With weight training, it'd be silly to raise a dumbbell and keep it raised.. it's better to raise, lower, raise, lower, repeat. The same goes with my comedy, if I did gig after gig after gig, I'd be in trouble, I'd get tired of it myself, but put a few pauses in the middle and I'll be asking to do gigs!!

Ahh, how life is all inter-connected. I remember reading a book way back, and it said something like no matter how you try, you'll find everything comes to the same thing. Like I've incorporated all my fitness knowledge to my drumming and it's helped. I've combined my ability as a designer with my comedy and I'm getting more creative with my material.

So why calm before the storm? Because I'm at peace right now but I know once I get down to work, I'll go berserk again and I look forward to getting all this stuff done and having a good night's rest tonight. So I just thought I'd share.