Journal.Bar —A Metasystem Experiment
It gets easier. Every day it gets a little easier. But you gotta do it every day, that’s the hard
part. But it does get easier. —Bojack Horseman
Week Eight! Which is more accurate than my last entry, which was rather late. I feel as though double-posting this week would be a good way to make up for that. The longer I use Beeminder regularly, the more the phrase better late than never rings true for me.
As long as I get work done relatively close to when I assigned to myself, I don’t really stress about it. There’s the popular concept in self-development circles of not breaking the chain and ensuring you complete a task every single day without exception, but personally I find that just accelerates burnout.
Of course, the extremely formidable with impeccable work ethic do manage to never break their chain, but when you look at work created with an ultra-consistency, it tends to become rather bland and boring after a certain point. (Looking at you, The Simpsons.)
One idea I’ve been looking into is the commonplace which I’ve noticed Nathan Arthur has as on his website, and Buster Benson has as piles on his, I find these really cool in both form and functionality, and plan on developing something similar.
I’ve been told I have a knack for curation, so I figure I might as well formalize it. I’ve been looking into setting up Notion for this (Thomas Frank has an excellent video on the software), but it’s a task in itself to master it.
In addition to being a commonplace, I figure I’d try using Notion to keep track of MOOCs I’ll be taking, as well as setting up an internal editorial calendar for my writing. Like I said, Notion itself is a powerful (and thus complex) tool that I need to research. It’d also be super helpful to figure out a way to Beemind it.
It can be difficult to figure out what pieces of information are important/meaningful when you begin curating, and I figure my biggest problem jumping into this is to not get caught up in the weeds or dive too deeply into any rabbit holes. I’m also planning to start a weekly newsletter on Substack of the most interesting/useful things I find.
- One thing I noticed is that my Fitbit doesn’t automatically sync sometimes (not sure why), and so I nearly derailed on /sleep and /fitness, luckily when it does sync, it’ll retroactively adjust the numbers on the days previous that it missed.
- I’ve noticed the redunancy that /daily and /gratitude have, since they’re both a simple, daily manual input. I’m not sure if there’s enough utility to justify keeping both.
- /French: I figure since I have so much free time at home with the current situation, I might as well start doing daily Duolingo lessons. I don’t think they’re particularly effective, but implementing such a small habit help me chain other positive habits.
- /Tweets: It took me a long time to figure out how I’d like to use Twitter, but essentially it’s just going to be a place for me to record daily progress and quickly add things that’ll be later properly transferred to Notion. I don’t intend on using the website for social media.
There can be a sense of being overwhelmed when adding more systems to your Beeminder. I feel as though a good solution to feeling overwhelmed would be translating my Beeminder systems into a one-page document outlining what I ought to be doing each day.
I developed such a document before, and although was pretty good, it was more rooted in nebulous ideals that weren’t directly connected to an output such as Beeminder’s quantative measurement of progress and action. As such, these daily actions weren’t really accomplished that well or at all most of the time, so I decided to update them accordingly. You can view a PDF version here.
- Start today off right! Do good and be meaningful—Try your best.
- Wake up early and make your bed as soon as you get up. Clean your room. Listen to upbeat music and visualize what you’ll be doing for the day. Try to prepare as much the night prior, as well as make sure you have a healthy breakfast.
- Meditate on Intentionality. Plan the day effectively and minimally.
- Prepare a to-do list of the most important tasks that need to get done today. View all long-term goals and make sure you’re making progress towards them. Section out different parts of the day for different activities. Don’t waste time — it’s limited.
- Generate ideas, research important topics, draft and edit good writing.
- Document how you feel and what your plans are for the day, as well as the progress being made. Research, draft, and publish articles and blog posts. Archive all work. Keep track of poetry, prose, and other creative work being written as well.
- Focus on deep work, effective tasks, and self-education.
- Prioritize time to your most important tasks, namely learning and working. Ensure progress is being made in classes both online and in real life. Large amounts of time should be dedicated to tasks that make progress towards goals.
- Be grateful for what you have, stop and breathe—Take stock of it all.
- Focus on the many good things in life, as well as contemplate where you’re able to do better and improve. Relax, slow down, breath in and out, and think of the bigger picture. Take time to recite morning and religious prayers, memorize them.
- Eat Healthy and Eat Less—Practice veganism, sobriety, and OMAD.
- Be mindful of what you’re eating, and only eat at the dinner table. Look over cookbooks for inspiration and add items to your recipe box. Don’t waste money or calories on junk food or eating out. Take time for spiritual fasting as well.
- Keep yourself active, stand up as much as you can, work out often.
- Maintain physical fitness on a daily basis. Take some time out of your day to go for a jog, practice at-home routines. There are plenty of opportunities to get active.
- Practice frugality—You already have everything that you need.
- Don’t waste your money or your time, you have less of both than you think. Don’t shop unless it’s essential, and don’t do things that aren’t essential to do, unless you enjoy doing them. Figure out ways to maximize both each day.
- Archive everything meaningful and important into the Commonplace.
- Don’t let the important and interesting slip away easily. Save everything you find throughout the day in one place, and categorize these things consistently.
- Just Relax! Have fun and play. Don’t just work all day.
- Don’t forget to spend time on creative projects, as well as wind down at the end of the day. Spend as much time on analogue activities as you can. Wander aimlessly!
Bonus: New Mission Statement
I am highly concerned with the state of others, both with empathy and attention-to-detail. I often notice when people don’t understand things that are presumably easy to understand, and focus on what needs to be changed to become more intuitive instead of trying to reprimand the person or try to overexplain. (Since things are usually rather confusing.)
I want to dedicate my life to building and nurturing a legacy that’s focused on community – helping people understand and care for each other, as well as depolarize individuals and groups to foster unity. I believe that important work such as this is its own reward, and I value important ideas being recognized moreso than just myself. As long as I am in a work environment that allows me to focus on my values, the details of that environment are very minor to me. Similarly, as long as I have enough money to achieve stability, the details of salary are very minor to me.
In the grand scheme of things, there is a small amount of time we are given where we can focus on what we think is important, and it is too easy to get caught up in what’s safe or easy, so I want to push myself to live in discomfort as much as possible in order to be able to do the right thing even when it’s really difficult to do so.
I hope to work with like-minded people so we can keep each other accountable to these ideals, and who are casual in character, but strict about work being done. I want to hold myself up to the highest standard I can, because I deserve to be able to do the best work that I’m capable of doing. It is important to be weary of burnout, and even more important to find its threshold, to put the most amount of effort you can into work you love without eaching that point