21 July 2010

Accepting free time

This post is for all the workaholics out there. I've come to realize my biggest flaw before was that "free time" was associate with fear and guilt for me which was why I tried to keep myself busy at all times and the idea of "sit back and watch a movie" would seem like overkill to me. I mean, I'd watch movies but rarely all at one go, I'd be thinking "ok, I know usually after 40 minutes of relaxing, I'm recharged enough to get some stuff done" and so I pause the film and get back to getting things done....

But in came Sunday and boy was I burnt out, to the point I literally couldn't focus properly, the idea of having to focus while trying to drift in games like Need for Speed was already too much for me to handle, let alone take care of my projects. I didn't take me 40 minutes but more like 40 hours to get out of that funk! It wasn't until Monday night when I finally felt charged up again and ready to rock it out. I took some time that evening to kind of wonder if my life drastically got ruined because I had technically taken 40 hours of my potential work time and basically burnt them all away. In fact, I was quite happy because I had kind of done something -- watch movies that I always wanted to watch!

I think I finally realized it wasn't the free time that was bothering me and making me feel bad, it was the time I had when I had to "what shall I do?". That idea of sitting around wasting time not doing anything was what was getting to me. So instead, I re-organized my lovely to do list a bit more and now I'm even more ready for my work to-do's, my personal to-do's and my freetime to-do's. Of course freetime to-do's are kind of like personal to-do's except that they don't have any real deadline and are relaxing tasks rather than something I need to concentrate too hard on. Yes, if you've been following my blog, you'll know I like to schedule my rest periods :P.

So here I am on a Wednesday morning, while most of Hong Kong is at work, I'm here on my bed, enjoying a bit of me-time with this entry :). Speaking of me time, I've begun a new trend of hiking up to the peak (well half-way really) like I used to do around 1-2 years ago. It's really mentally clearing because whenever I go for that walk, I get to enjoy the peace, freshness and of course rejuvenation that comes along being in the greenery. Oh and I get my exercise on! :) It also helps me just walk away from all this crap around me for just 1 hour. I literally can go from my room to halfway to the peak and back home in just an hour! Yes, I kept track of this because it's better than me leaving the house, realizing I'm running short of time and rushing back home. Unlike the lovely treadmill at the gym, I can't just stop whenever I want to....

Speaking of the gym, I've been having quite an awesome workout lately, I've just gone nuts and adjusted my weights workouts according to how much I can take that day, each time trying to squeeze out that 1 extra rep. Heck, after the last 2 workouts, I've literally had 2 days of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)! It's been a while since that happened to this point.

My comedy writing has improved as I've learned the power of the pomodoro technique and what you can do in 25 minutes. Not to mention having a better organization system for my comedy bits really helps!

Back to some thoughts I've had this week. I was reading a bunch of blog articles and many of them talked about simplifying your life and this has inspired me to kind of simplify my life and also add a few rituals to it. For example, my work desk is now strictly kept clear of all things not-work related. I don't care if it means throwing things on the floor but I don't want to see anything but my work stuff there. This also kind of forces me to keep my energy focused on work. Also, I've created a new ritual that once the sky is dark, I light one of my old scented candles from before (yes it hasn't finished) and turn on my lavalamp. I'm hoping to create one of those brain switches where your mind thinks you're in a different place, so I don't feel so stressed if I can't get everything done, to me, I'm home and there's no more rush like I have during the day. So far so good, but I'm lacking in music, the music I listen to during the day is the same music at night (yes I don't know what to listen to because I already listen to lounge music while I work)... so there's a little gap there in my plan, but hopefully I'll have solved that in 10 days before my next entry!

Well we're hitting the 25 minute mark of this entry and so far so good. I'm relaxed and my lovely inbox is at a Zero count (any gtd person's goal) so today seems like a day I can focus on a few things I've always wanted to take care of but never had the time and energy to do. Here's to 10 days of lots of freetime and no guilt! :D


11 July 2010

Training Concubines

Howdy! Woah 10 days already?! WTF?! Where did they zoom by!?
How are things with everyone. Today has been an up and down day for me, it's already 10pm and yet the many things I was all fired up to do today when I first woke up have zoomed past me :\. I think I'm getting more and more greedy day by day to the point sometimes when it's Sunday my laziness and greed start becoming good friends to attack me with wanting to do so much but constantly feeling like I deserve to take it easy and do it later. Ahaha then again, isn't that everyday for everyone?

So the interesting thing is that I finally got a chance to re-organize my room and workspace. I now enjoy much more space on my desk now that my monitors are pushed further back, my chair has been set to recline nicely backward so I can finally enjoy a lazy-boy like seating arrangement even when working (because some tasks need me to relax and do rather than be uber focused). The problem with this is obviously I now have a clutter of stuff that needs to fit into my currently lovely room. I got posters from a recent Chthonic show I was at and I really want to hang them up, but at the same time the big white virgin wall near my bed really shouldn't be messed with... once I ruin that wall it's all over, I'll start my obsession of filling it up completely...
For anyone who was at that show and was anywhere near me I apologize on behalf of my crazy sweating. It was hot like you won't believe but I was determined to keep my front spot right next to the guitar and in clear view of the drummer! Rah! Last time when I was at the Metal Safari show, I stood in the back (was having a really bad day that day so I was in no mood to mosh nor head bang) and boy did that suck...

Well, things are going wild as usual and now that I've worked out a better way of organizing myself and my daily routines, it sure as hell has improved in my staying consistent to my routines if not my work as well.

On the other hand, I've recently got myself hooked onto the show Hell's Kitchen. Let me just say, Gordon Ramsay is my kind of mentor/teacher. His brutally honest attitude is something I can so appreciate! But the sad truth is not a lot of people are used to that style. I've had many encounters where my straightforwardness with people have often driven them away or up the wall :P. I guess everyone has their own style really, but I'm a firm believer that the greatest students come from the harshest teachers. Heck, it's even something you read about in (my #1 favorite book!) Art of War! The story of the king telling Sun Tzu to train his concubines was one I really loved! That level of seriousness Sun Tzu took when spending his energy in training someone is exactly what I'm talking about. For many, this is far too extreme, but for me, this is the way to success. Sometimes you have to feel that sharp blade of a master's sword poking into you for you to wake up and realizing that achieving greatness is no joke. I recently had a chat with a friend who was thinking of starting a business. We chatted as usual but when it came down to real business, my mind switched gears and I kept asking her questions about her "business". The truth was she was still in the "what business should I start?" phase. This is fine, but it's the phase that many dream about, much like saying "what musical instrument shall I master?". It's a step everyone needs to take before they can ever dream of any musical abilities. But it's also the stage many people already give up or have no idea what they're getting into.

Heck, take my drumming for instance. Before I started playing, my observation of drummers was whoever was faster and louder was a better drummer. Now that I've actually played in front of a kit, I've learned to appreciate so much more, even those that may not be the fastest and loudest, I've learned that there is so much more to drumming that meets the layman's eye. Sure sometimes this makes you overcomplicate things when in the end no one really wants the complication, a simple groove would have done, but it also makes you realize there's so much more to drumming that just keeping a simple beat, you can make and break a song just through drumming!

I also recently did my monthly review of my personal goals and was happy to see that my drumming has improved significantly in the last 30 days! I'm on track with many of my other goals but on the other hand, there are a few that I am far from where I should be, now being July already! An interesting fact I've discovered is that I've recently developed a new value for time. For free time or basically time that has potential. If I knew I was on my way home and I'd probably just plop into bed with a snack and watch comedy then sleep, I'd probably not rush home because I won't be saving myself any significant productive time. Sure it's feel good time but if I were to, say, take a taxi to gain more feel-good time, I'd probably not do it. But if I knew that by getting home sooner, I could prepare myself better for tomorrow, when I wake up, then chances are I'd zoom back and make sure it was worth it! The more I've done this, the more I've realized that my time is getting more and more precious. Perhaps also because my time is getting less and less now that I'm reaching higher levels in many things I'm doing (I used to be able to practice for 1 hour at my drums and cover a wide range of things, but now 1 hour really means absolutely no more than 3 exercises if I really, really crammed).

Perhaps this is also why I've realized my patience has reduced when it comes to time-wasting people. I used to convince myself that sometimes, you have to let go and let someone work the way they work at the pace they like and you just follow. But recently, if someone is wasting my time, I usually tell them to leave and end up wasting my time to do the task instead. This sparked when I was watching Hell's Kitchen where Gordon had a no mercy attitude towards the Chefs because you either do things at 100% of get out of his way. Many chefs crumbled under that pressure while others cracked but realized what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger and ended up learning a very good lesson through all that torment. As they say, no pain no gain.

I guess after these crazy 10 days, and even writing this blog for so long, every time I re-read even just myself from 10 days ago, it makes me feel good about the paths I took and the sacrifices I made. I'm sure a lot of people reading this can relate and I can only say, there are always going to be people around you who mock you for your passion, your methods of achieving your goals and straight tell you you won't succeed. But you know what? With that attitude, neither will they. So trust yourself, failure is not an option and go for it! Consider yourself as your own concubine, and don't end up slitting your own throat! :D

Let's rock these next 10 days out! :D


01 July 2010

1 July 2010 = 1st day of calm

Howdy. Today's a public holiday and finally a sense of calmness has arrived. I'm at a coffee shop typing this because I just had a meeting and well got a little time on my hand. I could have gone and gotten more stuff done but heck, it's not everyday I find myself in a coffee shop...

So how has everyone been doing? I've been great, well quite great as I've spent a heck of a lot of time refining (yet again) my Remember the Milk system and now, after the addition of a little tweak to my lovely A Bit Better RTM greasemonkey plugin, I now feel even better when I get my stuff because I have a clean list of to do's. Now it's really out of sight, out of mind for me :)

So this last month has seen a mixture of craziness and more craziness for me. Heck the last 10 days has included my 2nd experience at announcing for Legend Fighting Championship! Check it out, this is an awesome photo of me in a tux! The show was great, even grander than the first one! And for all of you interested, check it out on KIX on 17 July 2010 in the evening! I'm not exactly sure what time, but let's see :)

On the other hand, Bernadette Pauley was here in Hong Kong, it was great seeing her again and I got to host one of her shows :) Good stuff there, I loved one of her bits complaining about how the bank was the stupid one to even issue her a Credit Card now that they're chasing her to pay her minimum payment. Anyways, you had to be there to enjoy it!

Well I have to say I'm in quite a good mood because I've managed to allow myself to take today off (well kind of off) and focus on rest and relaxation. After reading 53043204924024 articles about the importance of rest, I felt it was time I really genuinely allowed myself that. Also, today being the 1st, I do a review-of-the-last-month and I was quite content with my performance so I figured today I really deserved a day off :) Then again, I can compensate this weekend....

Also, we're into the 50% of 2010! Wahoo!! On a brighter note, a lot of my goals have been working well, my comedy has been picking up with new bits flowing well and I am looking forward to all the crazy events coming up soon. I'm currently working on my comedian website, so stay tuned! As for my drumming, things are good, I've had to cut down my practice to at most 40minutes a day because of work but heck, I've come to accepting that 40mins is better than 0mins! :) I read an article about how we're so easily discouraged if we are partially satisfied with our goals that really can do with partial satisfaction. In other words, if I only have 30 minutes when I should take 1 hour to practice drums, it's better that I enjoy the 30 minutes than whine that I couldn't complete the hour. The same goes for comedy. I no longer try to schedule 1 hour and if I can't spare 1 hour, I still work on it as much as I can :) So there, that's a lesson I learned, digested and have added to my life in the first 50% of 2010 :)

Anyways, going to get out of this coffeeshop now, it's too good a day to waste indoors only :)