Getting Shit Done Personal Growth

Non Zero Days


His rules for a Non Zero Day life:

  • Do something towards your goal / the person you want to be every day, even if it’s something small. (Reminds me of Leo Baubata.)
  • Appreciate your past self, do favors for your future self, and value your present self. (I am pretty good about the first two!)
  • Forgive yourself. (Yeah gotta work on this one.)
  • Exercise and read / learn. (Haha I’ve got the reading part down…)
Getting Shit Done Mental Health

Things You Must Beware Of Right Now


A year seems like a lot of time now at this end—it isn’t. It took me three years to reclaim my full flow. Don’t lose your sense of urgency on the one hand, on the other, don’t be too hard on yourself—or expect too much.

Beware the terror of not producing.

Watch out for the kitchen sink and the plumbing and that painting that always needed being done. But remember the body needs to create too.

Beware feeling you’re not good enough to deserve it.

Beware feeling you’re too good to need it.

Beware all the hatred you’ve stored up inside you, and the locks on your tender places.

— Audre Lorde, letter to Pat Parker in Sister Love: The Letters of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker 1974-1989, via Aminatou Sow’s Creme de la Creme

Getting Shit Done

Actualizing Our Tasks

Liked Clean the Tiles, Not the Floor by David Cain (

How we make tasks much harder than they need to be, and how to stop.

As long as [I] zeroed in on the current tile, rather than think about the dozens of tiles I had yet to clean, there was minimal discomfort and no tedium. Whenever my mind started to drift that way, I remembered my elegant strategy: look at a tile, and clean that tile…The expected tedium and displeasure — which seem intrinsic to the task of cleaning this particular bathroom — never arrived.

We make things worse than they are.

There is a qualitative difference between cleaning the tiles and cleaning the floor. Cleaning the tiles is much easier, even though it looks the same from the outside, and the outcome is the same.

The general rule seems to be this: the more abstract we make an event – that is, the more we see it in terms of its meaning to the mind, rather than how it feels to the senses – the greater the psychological pain that is created.


Positive Nihilism

Watched Our Greatest Delusion by Veritasium from

So this video is a little different from most of the others. The channel is an element of truth, after all, not an element of science. This is my truth. It may not be everyone’s but that’s ok too.

This was an interesting format, essentially a personal essay but in video form.

The idea of absolute nothingness makes me sad, regretful, and scared – both for my personal nothingness and the end of the universe.

A quick skim of Wikipedia sounds like, as an atheist, I am an existential nihilist. I don’t see the need for our lives to have cosmic or deeper meaning, and honestly find that idea a little self-centered? I don’t think our lives are diminished by being “meaningless” but that our very existence is beautiful and wonderful, that each person inherently has worth and value, and we don’t need to justify our right to exist.


Life Advice from Neil Postman

Bookmarked Neil Postman’s Advice on How to Live the Rest of Your Life (

Some of his advice I like, and some makes him sound like an asshole. Here are the bits I agreed with or found worth thinking about.

Do not watch TV news shows or read any tabloid newspapers. Life, as it is, is terrifying enough.
In every age, it’s the same story, life is too busy and there’s too much news. I think part of the problem is we live in a globalized world but never learned how to think like we do when most of our lives are so local. We feel this responsibility to be global citizens when we cannot physically empathize with that many people, cannot influence the government of other nations (hell, truly cannot influence our own Federal government meaningfully). To feel as though we are connected to the rest of the world, to attempt to understand how our own nation acts internationally, we read news from around the world, about which there is literally nothing the average person can do. Even most politicians lack power at this level.
Sure, a lot of what’s true locally is influenced by bigger picture structures, but we shouldn’t forget that what really matters in our own daily lives is determined at the local scale. Our lives are constructed in symphony with real spaces that shape how we can live our lives on a daily basis. The places we live are shaped locally and when we neglect to fight for walkable, green communities the cars and NIMBYs will always win.
The lesson to be learned from the NIMBYs is the power of loud voices in shaping our communities. They aren’t afraid to take their egregious 1950s attitudes directly to Councilmembers, those of us who want a people-centric community with public amenities would do well to follow their example for the good instead of the fear of change.

Establish as many regular routines as possible… The point is to reduce the number of decisions you have to make about trivial matters. Save your energy for major questions that arise in our technological society. Regularize the trivial to cope with the significant.

Nowadays seems like technologists do this with “uniforms” which is maybe more important for CEOs and politicians who are judged on their appearance, while I work from home and don’t meet with anyone important so I just need to look passable on Zoom. But I can look for “templates” and routines to adapt in my life in the places I notice friction: keeping exercise consistent and the same time of day so I don’t have to decide what to do and when, or picking theme nights in advance for dinner to reduce the decision stress. Taco Tuesday is Taco Tuesday.

Avoid multiple and simultaneous changes in your personal life… Change is tremendously stressful, so control the amount of newness you must face.
A good reminder to not make drastic decisions and life changes during the pandemic, if possible.
Keep your opinions to a minimum… Although middle-class America seems to require an opinion on everything, you will find it liberating to say the phrase “I don’t know enough about it to form an opinion.”
This is probably good for me to chew over, who has an opinion on everything. But has to be weighed with privilege on what we’re able to ignore.
Carefully limit the information input you will allow… As a general rule, do not take in any more information after seven or eight o’clock at night. You need protection from the relentless flow of information in modern American culture.
Probably a good idea. Ties back in to not knowing how to live in a globalized world.
The question is what he means by information — does that include any form of intake (e.g. fiction), or just news and facts? How about reading nonfiction? For me I think news and Twitter are the information suspects.
Seek significance in your work, friends, and family, where potency and output are still possible. Work, friends, and family are the areas where what you think and do matters… Information used to be an agent or instrument for action, but nowadays, information is often inert — you cannot act on it… Try to dump useless information from your head.
Again, a balance in not stressing ourselves out about things we can’t control while advocating for a better world for all. Not forsaking responsibility to society — but focusing our efforts at a scale and scope we’re likely able to impact. That probably means local or County scale, potentially State, but for the most part probably donations are the best way to pitch in on bigger battles.

Divest yourself of your belief in the magical powers of numbers. Quantification has a very limited effectiveness. Any attempt to apply quantification to human affairs represents pure superstition of a medieval kind.

I’ve been into self-quantification in the past but numbers definitely can be a trap. And we’ve seen how reductive GDP is as measure of societal success, where the US has a huge growing GDP yet poverty and suffering are widespread while being largely avoidable if as a society we prioritized people directly over businesses. Playing out right now in the debate over upping the minimum wage. It makes me sick to think how many people believe it’s reasonable to pay a person less than ten dollars for an hour of their time. We all are worth more — and need more — than that. If your business can’t afford to pay people a reasonable amount, your business model is not viable (or you’re exploiting your workers to steal the profits).

Patriotism is a squalid emotion.
Exhibit A: January 6, 2021.
Mental Health

Add Happiness to Your To Do List

Liked Reminder: 8 Practices to Get Still & Calm : zen habits by Leo Baubata (Zen Habits)

These days, it’s always nice to have reminders to become present, to pause into stillness, and to calm ourselves down.

Chaos rules most of our lives, and every reminder we get can be helpful.

Ask yourself what would make you happy today. Every day, you can start by asking what would make you happy… Make this a top priority for the day!


Adult Hobbies

Replied to what a hobby feels like by Anne Helen Petersen (Culture Study)

Races like the Ragnar are often conceived of as “stuff (bourgeois) white people like”: paying for the privilege to exhaust yourself. And I don’t disagree. But I think the motivating factor is perhaps more the “bourgeois” more than the whiteness, and probably has even more to do with a certain type of work/lifestyle. People within this realm work so much — and, depending on age, have so many obligations towards their families — that they have to formalize and extremetize leisure in order to rationalize seeking it. It has to involve consumption in some way (buy this running Camelbak!), and planning / long-term commitment (you sign up months before), societal buy-in (knowledge that this is a cool thing that you are doing), and secondary optimization (exercise). Then you can give yourself permission to spend 48 hours doing something exclusively for yourself and your suffering-and-survival as enjoyment.

It didn’t feel like a choice, it just felt like a natural gravity.

To me, that’s what I think a real hobby feels like. Not something you feel like you’re choosing, or scheduling — not a hassle, or something you resent or feel bad about when you don’t do it.

The truth is, it’s really really hard to start a hobby as an adult — it feels unnatural, or forced, or performative…It’s also hard when the messages about what you should be doing with your leisure time are so incredibly contradictory.

But I grew up in a place, and a time, where hobbies — activities that had no place on your resume, no function in getting you into a better school — were still commonplace. Amongst the bourgeois American middle class, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Old Millennials were the last to experience this attitude towards activities and leisure…It’s weird to think of yourself as privileged to know what you like.

I can feel this. I have dabbled in hobbies over the years and have a hard time divorcing myself from a productivity mindset. Even if I enjoy an activity it’s hard to make myself do it.

This year I’ve played some with block printing. It’s easier to get myself to do something for other people (don’t want to get into *that* here though) and making art for other people gives me an excuse to actually make art. I’m all about tricking my brain if needed. I tried on puzzles for size but they seem to be something I only enjoy a few times a year.

Growing up, my parents had hobbies that they seemed to do pretty regularly. My dad is a woodworker and my mom is a sewer. I’m not a handy person but when I first got out of college pursued jewelry making (setting myself up with an obligatory Etsy shop). I did it a fair bit (and dumped a lot of money into supplies), enough to realize all the reasons I didn’t like it all that well. I used to play sax, but without a band to play in I’m not that into it. Writing has been a hobby that I’m also trying to treat less like a hobby and more like a profession.

I suppose blogging is the closest thing I have to an ongoing long-term hobby. Tied in with that are my dabbling efforts at joining the Indie Web. It’s actually helpful to think of it as a new hobby I’m getting into, an offshoot of blogging and hosting my own websites.

Mental Health Work

A Life with More Buffer

Liked Create a More Spacious Life by Leo Baubata (Zen Habits)

Contemplating on how I want to live recently, I became clear in the last few months that I needed to create more space in my life.

That’s what I want: more mental space. I’m lucky to already have a shortened work week, and think everyone should get a thirty hour work week, but I have so many personal projects and household responsibilities I hardly ever get a real day off. I still struggle with taking a full day to myself, because I’m ever conscious of the neverending to-do list.

I’m taking today off to rest and recover from NaNoWriMo. I worked too hard yesterday, and the last three weeks of work have been ridiculously busy, and last night I hit a wall. I knocked a brand new bottle of CBD over, breaking and spilling $40 of oil down the drain, and I was furious with myself. DH talked me off the ledge but it was clear I needed a chill day.

See also: Why you need white space in your daily routine

“Time scarcity is like kryptonite for creativity. If we want to create an environment that nourishes innovation and imagination, we need to build quiet counterpoints into our daily rhythm.”

Jocelyn K. Glei

Getting Shit Done Personal Growth

Wonderful Wasted Time

Quoted Waste time (A Working Library)

Ruefle begins the titular essay in her collection with the statement, “I don’t know where to begin because I have nothing to say,” and then proceeds, as elsewhere in the book, to say a great deal:

John Ashbery, in an interview in the Poetry Miscellany, talks about wasting time: “I waste a lot of time. That’s part of the [creative process]….The problem is, you can’t really use this wasted time. You have to have it wasted. Poetry disequips you for the requirements of life. You can’t use your time.” In other words, wasted time cannot be filled, or changed into another habit; it is a necessary void of fomentation.

Mary Ruefle

“For there is so little time to waste during a life. [Mary Ruefle]” What a lovely corrective to the advice we’re usually given, that wasting time is slothful or indolent. And note that Ruefle is careful not to suggest that wasted time is invisibly productive. This isn’t a backhanded lifehack—it’s a defense of inefficiency.
— Mandy Brown

Mental Health Personal Growth

Every Little Good Thing Helps

Bookmarked Let your pile of small good things grow by Madeleine Dore (Extraordinary Routines )

Especially like this quote about dishwashing from Mike Powell:

Ordinary isn’t the enemy but instead something nourishing and unavoidable, the bedrock upon which the rest of experience ebbs and flows.