Victus Spiritus



28 Sep 2010

Hope you enjoined that moment of Zen

The space above was brought to you by my killer task list and cheat sheet rolled up into one epic note, more on why later. The note serves as a useful guide and reminder of where I left off after a number of hours away. If you can stomach moments of intense boredom there's nothing more productive than working on one thing at a time, the list allows me to add things to look at later, cutting off a distraction before it leads to other distractions. If you are a master of concentration and meditation such parlor tricks have little value. I'm the master of self distraction so they're a good self hack.

I have an insatiable propensity to add interesting tasks to the list, balanced against limited ability and resources to bring them to fruition. I'm confident there's a rationale behind this arrangement, but I couldn't communicate the concept without a few seasons under a banyan tree. Why is not as interesting as how I can best leverage this quirky relation between ideas and execution to my advantage^.

Whenever it grows too complicated or bloated I refactor it by pruning the cruft, byte by byte. This cathartic activity bares resemblance to a crafter sanding smooth curves into wood, or the mindful act of trimming a bonsai tree. If the powers that be* saw fit to bless me with the fortitude to complete all of my self assigned tasks, I have little doubt the event would precede a reality bending warp into bizarro world.

Now about the story behind the space at the top of the post

Last week while working late at night (for me that's 10:30pm), I struggled to get a trivial JavaScript function to mimic a conceived flow of data and user interaction with little luck. As per my usual experience with web hacking, there are a 1001 different ways to skin the same cat (poor kitty). Curse the diversity of web frameworks, but bless each of their finest qualities and lessons. Where would we be without their perky front ends, restful routes, and static assets**?

Following a usual bout of frustration therapy^^, I cleared a few dozen rows of space at the top of my to do list. I immediately felt more relaxed. Now each time I sit down to work, I'm greeted with a comforting blank space above my to do list. I decided this silly practice of prioritizing calmness over tasks is worth sharing. We master utilization of information by shaping the spaces that surround it. Only then are we free from the visual noise of distractions.

*= my wife's cooking
^= Self mind hacks FTW
**= pervert
^^= Listen carefully as I reveal the engineer's secret mantra passed down to me from legends of an earlier age. First what can this mantra accomplish?

The secret: To curse and occasionally send complaints to mailing lists or hacker friends. I tend to email Tyler about why whatever I'm using sucks, and why each design decision they made pains me, until I figure a way around it.