To use a Tank-ism, interesting instruments are interesting.

Learned several things yesterday:

  • Sweeps use your hip flexors.
  • I have hip flexors!
  • Discovering new and previously underused muscle groups is usually done via noticing that said muscle groups are sore.

It is nice to be able to wear myself out in multiple ways each day. Physical exhaustion feels great (and is inevitable after spending 2 hours grappling against guys 1.5 times my weight - thankfully, the more experienced students continue to be mercifully patient with scrawny n00bs). I've been regularly reaching my saturation point on dealing with systems and structures of people and organizations I can't change immediately. It stretches out my "patience" muscle well. Almost too well, actually; I've started learning how much capacity I have to deal with these sorts of situations, how to recognize when I've almost exhausted that capacity of patience, and how to gently bow out and replenish it. Slowly building that reservoir of capacity. It'll get a little bigger each time it's exercised. I hope.

I've also started reaching my academic saturation point again - textbooks are wonderful, but papers are bite-sized nuggets of knowledge and are even better. (Yeah, I'm a freak; grad school is going to rock.) Less so on "Making Stuff," but this is getting a little better. I need to spend less time on overpreparing my mind and more time on preparing my environment and my tools; it should be the easiest thing in the world to sit down at my desk and have - WHAM! a nicely-configured IDE or a set of pliers at my fingertips, no excuses, no struggles to get Hello World out. I also haven't been as good about reaching my musical saturation point on a regular basis lately; I need to practice piano more again, get the muscles of my fingers back, remember what scales go with which chords. Early morning practice? Evenings I have a hard time keeping myself from just falling into bed.

I think I need to learn how to empty all these different kinds of energy from myself every day - the (rare) days I manage to do that are wonderfully productive, and I can actually lie down and go to bed without knocking myself out with sleep deprivation or something. The trick is to do it all in 20 hours so I don't stay up all night running around going "WHAAAA! Excess CAPAAAACITY!" (...Obviously, fewer hours of that and more hours of sleep would be a little better.) And then I have to learn how to recharge.

When did this become hard? I never needed to meter myself as a kid; I never needed to worry about concentrating, and I still did well. This may have been the problem. The things I had to do took so little of my capacity that it was just fine to waste and mismanage the rest; there was nothing else to use it for. Now (well, in growing amounts over the last... 8 years, especially in the last 2.5) that there is something else to use it for, I don't know how to optimize to do it. Frustrating, to know your atrophied capabilities could do wonderful things, but can't right now. Rewarding, to watch them slowly fill out and gain parts of the strength you know they should have. Painfully slow. Agonizing when you backslide. But generally speaking, max(You) is a fun problem to tackle.

I am going to try something today as an exercise in non-distraction (an exercise I've done before). I have a meeting and then lunch and then 2 things to do. What if I just sat down and got them done? No checking email, no chat, nothing unless it's directly relevant to doing those two things. How long will it take?

I'm betting 2 hours. Total.

Let's find out.