≡ Menu

Experimenting with Productivity Again

I’m always trying to find ways to be more productive. I’ve imperfectly implemented GTD, 18 Minutes, The Unschedule, Time Management Magic, streaks, and the list probably goes on. I know I don’t give them a real shot because I don’t commit to them because it’s easier to do what I feel like doing and not what’s scheduled or on some list. Also, when things get moved around spontaneously – like your wife tells you she’s going out with friends in a couple hours and you have to now figure out dinner – none of the systems satisfactorily handled all the exception cases so I’d just chuck the whole system. Well, really just let it fall into disuse.

At one point I had a grand plan to start with a baseline system and document where and how it failed and then adjust the system. I’ve also had the idea to commit to doing each of the systems for a month, but that never worked out because it’d always take more than a month to get the system up and running.

So the most recent time management process that’s come across my radar is the one where you schedule everything. The advocate I heard said he does it in 15 minute increments, but says some of the most successful people he knows do it down to the minute. So that’s going to be my starting point. I’m going to spend 30 minutes every night scheduling the next day. I will evaluate where it works and why and where it falls down and why. And as I come across other productivity advice – new or other – I will incorporate aspects that fill in the short comings.

As I mentioned earlier, my wife had a spontaneous night out which really messed up the schedule for the evening. One of the strengths of the schedule was that even though I didn’t have the time slots aligned correctly anymore, I knew the things I wanted to do and how much time I wanted to spend on them. The weakness was that I just blew some stuff off because I didn’t feel like doing them and the messed up schedule was an easy excuse to do so.


The Many Sins of a Guy Named Jesus

I remember when “The Last Temptation of Christ” (TLToC) came out. I remember the admonitions that Christians should avoid this movie and as I thought of myself as a Christian I avoided it. As I’ve grown older, I’m less likely to avoid something just because a group of Christians warn me away from it. I’ve also become more confident in what I believe so I occasionally take opportunities to seek out things that oppose my faith to see where the holes are in the oppositions arguments and so I can formulate responses to help my daughters in case they face similar hostilities.

I recently listened to a podcast that challenged Christians to ignore the controversy surrounding TLToC and evaluate it on its merits. Well, I got 30 minutes in and I fail to see any merit in this film. I knew it would be rough when the first scene is of some guy named Jesus making crosses to crucify Jews while talking about self flagellation and then said Jesus gets slapped around by some guy named Judas. I have no idea how this relates to the Jesus of the Bible so if your trying to make a commentary about Him, I need to recognize Him.

After scenes where the guy named Jesus helps nail someone to a cross and then goes to hang out the rest of the day in a brothel I bailed on the film when Jesus sits on a hilltop over looking the desert where he wandered for 3 months (who knew that 40 days was 3 months on the Jewish calendar) and says he’s a liar and a coward, he lusts and is prideful.

As I said, my purpose for watching this film was to gain some insight as to how others were falsely portraying Jesus Christ, but as soon as I realized that this was about some guy name Jesus who is a sinner just like me and is trying to justify himself before God I turned it off. What I’d like to tell that guy named Jesus is that there is a greater man with the same name Jesus who is sinless, who died for the sins he and I committed, and trust in that Jesus will justify him before God. 


Waiting for a MacBook Pro

GPU panics 3-4 times per week on my 2010 MacBook Pro. Holding out for a Skylake model. Hoping it will be announced at March event and WWDC at worst.


Neo-Super Heroes

I was a big Spider-Man fan growing up. Peter Parker was always portrayed as a good kid who had greatness thrust up him. He did his best to help others and that usually meant sacrificing his personal happiness. The one big time he indulged his personal agenda led to the death of his uncle. In the recent crop of super heroes movies, this attitude is best exhibited in Captain America: The First Avenger. Steve Rogers pushes himself not for his own glory, but to serve others. The heroic nature of the super hero was due to willingness to sacrifice.

In a recent episode of Marvel’s Agent Carter I recognized a switch which I hope doesn’t become prevalent, but I have a suspicion that it is and I have failed to notice it. It appears that Agent Carter becomes the super agent that she is not because of a desire to serve, but as the ultimate expression of herself. It is what she is “meant to do.”

I’ve always seen super heroes as what we strived to be. So while Spider-man and Captain America pointed us to service and self-sacrifice; Agent Carter points us to self-actualization. One view points us toward vocation the other self.


What Is Wrong with Sex Outside of Marriage?

There are a lot of incomplete answers to the the question, “What is really wrong with sex outside of marriage?’ and all of them came to mind last night when Emiko asked me that question last night. We were studying Luther’s Small Catechism and I asked if she had any questions about any of the Ten Commandments. Surprisingly, I was only mildly panicked as to how I was going to answer her. I knew the answers I had from when I was young (It’s just wrong) wouldn’t fly or even if it got me out of the immediate situation, it wouldn’t prepare her to answer the question when she was faced with the situation in real life.

We had just talked about how the first 3 Commandments are about loving God and the last 7 are about loving your neighbor (the two tables of the Law). So not lying about other people, not hurting other people, and not stealing are how we love people. She then could draw the line that not committing adultery was also loving people.

But how is waiting till marriage loving? We talked about the emotional hurt having sex outside a life-long commitment can be. We talked about the consequence of a pregnancy and how not having a family to raise a child in is not loving. I don’t think we’ve exhausted this topic, but I think we have a good foundation and framework for keeping this discussion alive between us and as the father of a new teenager, I think that’s what I’m most happy about.


Lessons Learned from Coming in Last

IMG 2521

My daughter, Emiko, played in her first golf tournament on Wednesday. And while it would be a great story to be able to say she came in first, the truth is she came in last (and by quite a bit). Her score and where she finished in the standings takes nothing away from how proud and amazed I am with how she handled herself. It made me smile when she asked when she could play in another tournament.

After looking back on the day, I thought this post would be about what she learned from playing her first tournament, but it turns out this is about what she taught me.

  1. Coming in last does not ruin your self-esteem – Doing her best and working to get better have given her more confidence than any “everybody gets a trophy” sport she’s ever played in. 
  2. This is life, not Facebook – Facebook is an amalgamation of special moments not a true picture of life. I don’t know how many Facebook moments I’ll have with her, but I’m happy we have life together.
  3. Learning is the lesson – Any situation can be positive if you learn something from it. She didn’t enjoy losing, but I saw her focusing on the things she needed to improve and that’s what made it such a great experience for her.

We Lutherans talk about how God uses our vocations to place us where we can serve our neighbor. In this case, I see how He has blessed me by placing me where I not only serve my daughter, but also learn from her. Oh yeah, it’s also a blessing that her mother “rides” me to take Emiko golfing.


{ 1 comment }

Father Failures II – I Had My Daughter Call Me

Emiko and I finished the basic project book that came with the Arduino. The problem was that she was good at following the diagrams but had no idea what was really happening and wouldn’t be able to do anything other than follow them. So I found Exploring Arduino which goes through similar projects but explains in detail the circuits and programs. The explanation of voltages, currents, resistance, etc. went ok, but then we got to the programming. She had a very difficult time putting into practice the concept of a variable. I tried every way I could to explain it, but she didn’t and each with each attempt my voice got louder and louder. She teared up and was clearly frustrated and while we got through the exercise it wasn’t the best session we had ever had.

The next morning I kept replaying the events and what I remember most was that I had turned something that she thought was interesting and fun into the exact opposite. I really didn’t want her to lose interest in something because I had turned her off. I texted Erin to have Emiko call me when she was awake. When she called I apologized and she forgave me. I told her how sorry I was and that I didn’t want my being a bad teacher to prevent her from having fun and learning.

Since then I’ve asked her what I can do to be a better teacher. We’ve also done more projects and learned some difficult circuit and programming concepts. I’m going a lot slower and I’m not so focused on her understanding everything. She’ll gain that as she gets more exposure and if we can keep having fun she’ll keep wanting that exposure.


Ten Minutes Till Bed

Me: What do you want to do tonight?

Emiko: Oh, let’s work on the robot! (That’s what she calls the Arduino since we are working toward a robot)

IMG 2180

So we worked on a temperature sensor. It wasn’t super accurate, but she made it the readings go up and down by blowing on it. She also learned about Fahrenheit and Centigrade.

Me: Ok, 10 minutes till bed. What do you want to do? (Fully expecting her to ask for 10 minutes of TV)

Emiko: Let’s do the servo circuit!

That was shocking. So happy she is interested. Fun times ahead!


Father Failures

I’m far from the perfect father. I’m sure I violate conventional and new wisdom all the time. I’m not sure I agree with all that “wisdom” so I try to be aware of it, but it doesn’t usually doesn’t affect my day-to-day. However, there are some areas in which I know I need to improve. The number 1 is yelling / raising my voice. I have done this since I was a little kid. When situations frustrate me I raise my voice and after a certain level of frustration it turns to yelling.

IMG 1951

I think I’ve made some strides in this area since Mari was diagnosed with Autism. It made me realize how it didn’t really help any situation, but it is such a long engrained habit that it is tough to break. One strategy that has helped me is to hug whichever girl I’m frustrated with before talking to her. I learned this strategy as a way to reset Mari when she was having sensory difficulties and it also works with Emiko, likely because it calms me down as much as anything.


Getting Outside

Mari is a couple years from lessons but she learns by watching big sister.

IMG 2168

This is the second time Emiko has swung her new clubs. First time at the range. She struggled a little with the length and weight, but should be fine by the beginning of summer. She still hit some good ones.

IMG 2170

She was trying out the new putter as well. She was lining up each putt without me even reminding her.

IMG 2172

Mari was just having fun and enjoying the sun.

IMG 2176IMG 2176