Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Productivity Experiment: Day 33

As I write this, it is past my bed time. This experiment was probably one of the least scientific experiments I have ever undertaken. I can't even compare this to previous time periods where I had freelance assignments, as the situation was completely different. Several factors are different. Among them:

-Health. This last week, I've been having stomach issues. Read my first month of blog entries and you'll see why. No, I didn't have any more Krispy Kreme doughnuts, but I did end up having dim sum with my family last week Sunday. It's been months since I've last eaten actual dim sum and I completely forgot how much grease is in it. My body can handle sugar, but it simply can't handle large amounts of grease. If I'm in pain, I really don't feel like working.

-Weather. This weather has been too nice to stay indoors.

-Lack of direct internet connection. As you know, my regular computer isn't hooked up to the 'net right now, which makes sending articles to my editors very difficult.

Oh, wait...those weren't actually different factors, they were really excuses. If I didn't have a short attention span, I would have gotten a lot more work done.

Still, throughout the entire experiment, I was able to get some things accomplished.

-Found a new job. Well, two actually. I've spent about two weeks working as a student painter, but the work is only on-call, so I ended up getting another on-call job with BC Liquor Distribution. I love scotch...I love scotch...scotchy scotch scotch...here it goes down...down into my belly...

-Finally finished all the transcriptions. This is the most tedious part of the writing process, and if it were a lot more entertaining or there was a faster, more efficient way of doing it, I would've finished it in less than a day. As it is, I just finished them today. While I was working for about two weeks, I could've easily finished them earlier if I really felt like it. Sadly, I didn't really feel like it.

-Nailed down full-on backflips. I've been leading up to these for the better part of a year now, especially with assistance from spotters and equipment. I ended up bruising my left heel (the actual bone part, not just the skin) and it hurts to do some things. One of the instructors at Capoeira says just ignore it. Okay.

Eh, who am I kidding. I could've easily accomplished all of these things in a week. I've been at this experiment for over a month now!

My to-do list: revised.

-Finish articles
-Finish articles
-Finish articles
-Register for school in September (got sick of the $8.50/hr bullshit, so I'm going back to school to get me an edumacation)
-Figure out love life (this one is an ongoing process)

I am moving this Wednesday, so that day will be a complete write-off in terms of getting this stuff done.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Productivity Experiment: Day 26

This experiment will be winding to a close within the next week, as I will be going back to "regular" living conditions with all my conveniences placed in front of me. However, I can't really say that it was the most scientific experiment, as there were several elements not in place. For one, the last time I was working on an article, I had a full-time job and the weather was cruddier (this was back in February). Since I've been conciously keeping track of my progress, it actually FEELS like it's been taking longer. I've set a personal deadline to finish my transcriptions by tomorrow evening and I even set aside a little reward for myself.

As previously mentioned, if you have a short attention span, everything can serve as a distraction. The only difference between my working conditions here (in the Sandman Inn) and at home are that if I want to use the Internet, I have to go into an elevator. While I'm not checking my e-mail every 10 minutes, I still haven't gotten around to uninstalling my video games.

It's a really good thing that I only have a P3 933mhz, which won't be capable of handling the more advanced video games that are coming up, like Half-Life 2 and Doom 3. Once that happens, nothing will get accomplished.

However, my mom has been encouraging me to get a video game system so she can play Dance Dance Revolution. Once I showed it to her at a video arcade in the mall and now she wants to play it too. So, it all boils down to finding an appropriate platform: X-Box or PS2.

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Sunday, June 20, 2004

Productivity Experiment: Day 24

Today was especially productive for me. I managed to get another two pages of transcriptions finished (okay, one and a half), which puts me at about halfway through (of course, that includes the first interviews I transcribed weeks ago). Being that today was going to be a pretty packed day, I tried to make sure I could get in as much as possible.

And then a friend who I haven't seen in a long time invited me out for a day at the beach. Living in Vancouver, everyone pretty much knows: Have a good time because the sun can't shine every day. So, it was a toss-up. Work on the article that isn't due until late July? Or go to the beach?

The calls of sandy beaches, waves of the lake, and women in 2-pieces was too enticing to ignore, so I had to go for it. Mind you, it would've been impossible to bring my work with me. Even with a laptop computer, I would be way too distracted to concentrate. I brought my notebook along to see if I could write anything down. I got one sentence.

Still, it was time well wasted, I must say. Now, I can actually focus on my article.

Oh, wait...it's getting kinda late and I'm a little sleepy...maybe I'll do more work tomorrow.

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Thursday, June 17, 2004

Productivity Experiment: Day 21

After spending 8 hour working days and losing 2 hours in commuting, and then another hour and a half removing layers of skin in order to remove paint from my arms, legs, and face, I am typically too bagged to do anything else. Add Capoeira classes to the mix, that eats up about 1.5 hours, plus 2 hours of commuting. My time management skills are in dire need of a shake-up, as this leaves very little time to work on any sort of article. So, I have decided one thing: if I stop sleeping, then I'll have more time to work on my article. Mind you, the article will be unreadable drivel, but it'll be complete unreadable drivel.

I actually wrote myself an extensive to-do list for this week, which I have no chance in hell of completing, given my current level of committment to time management. While I haven't played Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in about a week and I haven't been watching that much television (although I did catch "Next Action Star", which was fairly entertaining), I'm still not having enough time to do stuff.

Luckily, I have a fairly generous deadline, but as Murphy's Law (or some variation) dictates, no matter how much time you are given to do a project, it will expand to fill in all the available slots. In other words, if not for the last minute, nothing would be accomplished.

However, I did accomplish one thing...I finally can do backflips without landing on my head. My ankles really frickin' hurt because I still have to work on my landings. I was able to do this because last night, I went with a bunch of people from my Capoeira group to the beach. After watching a fellow student who's been training and performing Capoeira non-stop for the past seven years doing backflips and back handsprings (Hi, Ronald!), I just said screw it and went for it.

I triumphantly yell out, "I did it! No spring boards, no spotters, I just did it!" I then proceeded to collapse in pain because the feeling of exhilaration and triumph was quickly replaced with a dull pain coming from my feet.

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Thursday, June 10, 2004

Productivity Experiment: Day 14

I haven't quite come to a conclusion, but the observation still stands. This experiment has officially been shot to hell.

I started a new job with a painting company, painting houses. This is very tedious work and I'm not that good at it yet, because I've mostly painted fences. When it's someone's house, you have to go much faster because someone is paying you to do this. When I was painting fences, this was when I was living in a townhouse complex and everyone in the Strata was pitching in, so we could do very little work and make it look like we were doing our part. However, when you're on the clock, you have every incentive to do your best and your fastest.

This is keeping me somewhat gainfully employed (if I end up finishing up early, I end up being paid for the allotted time that I am given), but the downside is that I come home too bagged to work on anything else. As I write this, I have just gotten back from Capoeira classes and I still have about an hour and a half of transcriptions calling out for me.

However, this experiment will be carried on longer than I would have hoped. We already know the place I'm moving into has yet to be completed, which means I'm going to be staying at the hotel for a few more weeks, originally slated for mid-to-late June. What I just learned yesterday is that there is yet another delay on the place, which means at least two more weeks, which means early July. D'oh!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll try to see how many pages of transcriptions I can bang out before I pass out.

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Monday, June 07, 2004

Productivity Experiment: Day 11

This productivity experiment isn't actually proving very much and I'm seriously considering abandoning it altogether. But then, it could be because I have done absolutely squat when it comes to my article (my weekend was spent going to Capoeira classes and playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City). One thing that is becoming clear is that if you have a really short attention span or just don't feel like doing the tasks that you have assigned, it doesn't matter how hard you try to limit your distractions. Murphy's Law (or a variant of) dictates that a task will expand to fill all available slots. I'm living that right now.

While I no longer have my old dayjob, I have managed to secure on-call work as a painter. As I am now going to be slightly busier, it'll somewhat simulate the conditions when I was working on my last article. Mind you, my editors have actually assigned me TWO articles, both on the same subject. I haven't even started the second part of the transcriptions. Got about two pages, lost interest, then started playing GTA: Vice City.

Now that's a truly fun time waster. I'm still stuck on that one mission where you have to use RC model airplanes to drop bombs on speed boats. Well, time to break out the cheat list...although I'm thinking that might not help.

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Friday, June 04, 2004

Productivity Experiment: Day 7

I discovered the hotel I'm staying in has a computer in the business room which apparently not a lot of people know about. So, this allows me to check my e-mail for business purposes plus look for jobs at a moment's notice, without having to actually go to the public library across the street. This allows me to shave off about 15 minutes total, adding it to the time I have to do other stuff. On the other hand, this computer terminal also has MSN installed on it, so I can keep in touch with people. Sadly, this eats more than the 15 minutes spent walking back and forth from the library.

Either way, my to-do list has since expanded, incorporating finding part-time summer employment (I have an interview this Monday to work in a liquor store, and another needs to be scheduled for this weekend to be part of a Student Painter group), in addition to doing more transcriptions and articles, having since gotten onto the film set and interviewed all the people there. I have an hour and a half to transcribe and I haven't finished yet.

The most important thing I've learned from being on set is that proper communication is the most important of all. There was a bit of miscommunication between a buncha people, which led to some very awkward moments (for the sake of future employment, names and specifics will not be mentioned). However, after getting advice from my editor, I now know how to proceed.

Now if you'll excuse me, that was four paragraphs.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Productivity Experiment: Day 4

I just realized something. Yesteray's blog entry was inordinately long and was typed over a half-hour period. I realize now that it's been cutting into the time when I should be doing other things that are much more productive.

Therefore, I have decided that my blog entries for the course of this so-called experiment will be limited to four paragraphs each. As it is, this day will essentially be a write off.

As previously mentioned, I am undergoing laser eye surgery to repair a small retinal tear. While I'm not being sedated, my left eye will see nothing but flashing coloured dots and I will essentially lose depth perception for the rest of the day. Obviously, I'm not going to partake in anything that requires heavy use of my vision, like martial arts class. Come to think of it, that's possibly how I got into this whole mess in the first place.

Now, this essentially leaves me about an hour and a half to do as much transcribing as possible and to see what jobs are available for me. Better get cracking...

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