It seems like the World is breaking down, with increased terrorism in Europe, Trump supporting Neo-Nazis in the US, and the insanity that is Brexit. I’ve decided that I need to ignore politics for my own peace of mind, and focus entirely on maths, programming and science!
As Helen and I get older, I think that the way we work will have to change. At some point we will probably find it difficult to get contacts because of ageism, and also we will be too expensive in comparison with graduates with a few years experience. We will be forced to work entirely on our own projects. This is going to mean a few changes to the way we think. Both Helen and I have been ingrained with a strong work ethic, which struggles when we work on our own more nebulous projects. We both find it hard to stick with projects that don’t have a certain income stream. In the future we will need to change both the way we work, and the way we think about our work.
I decided to give up caffeine the other day. I haven’t been sleeping that well, and my caffeine intake has been steadily increasing over the last few months, so I thought I’d better get it under control. Yesterday was a nightmare! I was feeling really zonked. Today I an feeling pretty good though, so I think I am over the worst. I am interested in measuring two things now – my quality of sleep and my blood pressure. It will be interesting to see if giving up caffeine has any impact.
Well, despite resolving to blog more, it’s been another long period between blog posts. It’s not like I haven’t been thinking deep thoughts, or pursuing interesting projects. It’s that I’ve been worried that my thoughts have been too nascent to post. It’s silly really. I should be using the “Lean Startup” philosophy of releasing early and often. Still, at least there’s a lot of room for improvement!
Last Monday we bought a house in Brighton. I wasn't sure it was going to happen. Genetically I'm predisposed to worry about stuff, and right until the last moment I was thinking of disaster possibilities. We were supposed to exchange contracts and settle at 2pm. We spoke to the vendors and they were saying that they couldn't possibly be out of the place before 2pm, so we decided to travel down by train and get there around 3pm. We got final confirmation from our solicitor that the settlement had happened at 3pm, while we were still on the train. We got to the house, and the vendors were still in the process of moving out. We grabbed some keys and went and grabbed something to eat. By the time we came back, the vendors had left and the place was ours!
I read an interesting post yesterday, about how much we change over the course of our lives. Yet, when we look forward at our future, we project forward the same person we are now. We don’t expect ourselves to change much at all.
I had heard a while ago that the ideal holiday was one in which you had a fairly bad start to it, but with a peak experience close to the end of the holiday. The rationale is that we tend to base our judgement of the holiday on the range of our trough-to-peak experiences. The larger the spread between the trough and the peak, with the peak occurring towards the end of the experience, the better we perceive the experience to be.
So I was thinking about being older today, and I saw this Louis CK clip about how older people are smarter – “Older people are smarter, and if you get into an argument with someone who’s older, you should listen. It doesn’t mean they’re always right; but even if they’re wrong, their wrongness is rooted in more experience.”
Sometimes I think the best way to get things done is just to allocate space in the day in order to achieve them. For example; I find it hard to write blog posts. Left to my own devices, my blog would resemble a desolate wasteland. But all I need to do is allocate 10 minutes out of my day in order to write something, and I can get something written that I can upload to my blog.
This is the beauty of time-boxing, of the Pomodoro technique: It forces you to allocate a fixed section of time in which to achieve something. If you just make a space in time it’s amazing what you can do.
A couple of years ago, when I was thinking a bit about frugality (as in; “Hey, that’s a characteristic I should have more of), I came up with the idea of a “Zero-Six Week”. This is a week where I am only allowed to spend money on one of the days (typically a Sunday). The aim is to buy enough necessities on the Sunday to see me through the week, and not spend any money at all the rest of the week. That means walking everywhere, making all the meals for the week, etc.