When things don’t go entirely as planned

Several things didn’t go as planned this week, as I had a few unforeseen schedule changes, a bit of bad luck with my running, and a pretty bad day at work near the end of the week. As a result, both my running and my writing suffered (I missed a writing day and my long run is going to be 6k instead of 10K).

So what do you do when things don’t go entirely as planned?

Get back on the horse — so you missed a day, or didn’t make your daily word count, so what? Projects that are worth doing don’t live and die on a day (looking at you NaNoWriMo), but on accumulated body of work done over several weeks, months and years. Do you know what is entirely unhelpful to achieving that work? Getting so caught up in you missing a day that you decide to give up entirely. Get back on the horse, get back to fulfilling your daily goal today instead of fixating on what happened yesterday. .

Don’t go into a spiral of trying to make up for the lost work — that’s a great way to set yourself up to fail. If you set 500 words or a 5K run for today, you probably aren’t going to be able to do that and make up for the 500 words and 6K that you missed yesterday. So then you beat yourself up again, feel crummy, and set yourself up to fail by dragging more and more work with you from day to day until you give up. If you missed a day, then you missed a day. Move on.

Focus on what did happen — in my case, my reading this week sky-rocketted, and I spent more time with my family. That doesn’t make up for everything else, but it is something positive that I’m glad happened.

Partial work is better than no work — I ran a 0.5k this week, which sucked, but was better than nothing. There were also days when I wrote only 20 or 30 words. That’s not great, but its better than nothing, and every little thing can keep the habit going.

Check what went wrong and when, and see if you can learn from it for the future — were you too ambitious? Do you need to rework your plan to account for something that you couldn’t foresee when you first built it? Don’t make excuses, but do be honest and make some changes if necessary.

Leave enough ‘breathing room’ in your schedule for these kind of off days — this was my biggest mistake, and the one is going to be hardest to fix, long term. My running schedule can (still) suffer a few delays, but I’m prepping for a race in the fall, and I can’t really afford to leave things like my long run for the evening of the last day in the week. Earlier is better, and making sure that your goals are achievable even if you aren’t at peak performance is important — especially for endurance sports like running and novel writing.

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Some beautiful dahlias to make up for the slightly depressing topic.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going out for a run.

When things don’t go entirely as planned

Brain dump

A few great things to read:


What else?

  • Drafting the last chapter of my novel. Writing this chapter is pure indulgence. 
  • runDisney virtual 5k race medals have arrived. Going to earn my first medal today. 
  • My Nock co Lanier briefcase arrived and I’ve started using it. I may do a review after using it for a few days. For now it carries my iPad Pro 9.7”, a Moleskine large notebook, and some loose papers. 
  • Something dreadful is attacking my plants. Investigating…
Brain dump

Improving my sleep

In the past few months I noticed that I’ve been sleeping less and less at night, and it’s been affecting my health, writing and work. So I’ve decide to take a look at my sleeping habits and see what I can improve.

After just a few days of taking a better look at my life, it was clear that I had three bad habits to break if I wanted to get better sleep:

Stop watching TV or YouTube videos until late at night. I never mean to do this, but one thing leads to another and it’s easy to veg out in front of the TV. I dealt with this by cutting my evening TV viewing completely. As for YouTube — that was taken care of when I dealt with my third bad habit.

Not reading in bed. I thought this helped me fall asleep, but the only thing it helped was my reading goals. Sleep > reading, so this had to go.

Not taking my phone to bed. This has been the hardest, and so I’ve had to make myself a 30 day challenge plan, just to make sure that I create the habit of not taking my phone to the bedroom. It has paid off though, since this was the number one reason for me getting so little sleep at night.

So far I’ve been sticking to my plan for ten days now, and it’s been working pretty well (though it has been a challenge to keep at it at first).

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This is what I aspire to — I’ve never seen anyone enjoy their sleep like a cat does.

Improving my sleep

This week’s recommendations

Podcast: The Daily, by the New York Times. A 20 minute daily podcast that doesn’t sum up the news of the day, but instead gives interesting insights into a few top stories. There’s a very good reason that this podcast has become so popular even though it’s so relatively new.

Book: If you’re looking for an easy summer read, try M.C. Beaton‘s Hamish Macbeth or Agatha Raisin mystery novels. They’re dirt cheap, even in dead tree format, short, not too trashy, not too violent — the beach books.

Tea: if you haven’t watched this delightful YouTube TED Ed video by Shunan Teng, I highly recommend that you do. It briefly goes through the history of tea:¬†youtu.be/LaLvVc1sS20

And also: Monument Valley 2 is out and it’s as awesome as the first one was. Really taking my time to enjoy it.

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Summer is here. Get thee to the beach.

This week’s recommendations

IBM Watson Tel-Aviv Summit

I was at the IBM Watson summit in Tel Aviv today. A very impressive event, with a slurry of local celebs taking part in it. 


Yair Nizani, an Israeli comedian, MCed.


Marina Maximilian Blumin “sang” (lip synced).

The usual buzzwords were thrown around: disruptive technologies, cognitive learning/age, Software/Product/Infrastructure as a service. 

What wasn’t said was:

These technologies cost people jobs, without providing them with alternative means to proved for themselves.

These technologies have deep social implications, but the people making them and funding them give little to no thought to what is the true cost of these technologies. 

Machine learning/cognitive learning can improve our world, but they can also cause immense suffering. Unless we constantly consider the ethical implications of these advances (as best we can), we will be the creators of our own dystopia.

IBM Watson Tel-Aviv Summit