jon_chaisson: (Default)
So. 

Friday morning one of the Day Job's server systems went kerflooey.  It caused me to lose internet access to said server.  I had no idea there was an outage at the time, and I've been having connection issues off and on lately (I found out later on that it wasn't just me but numerous people).  I figured, OK...let's do the reboot, that should reconnect me, yes?

Except for the fact that my PC chose that very moment to push through a system update.

Which, as I would find out a little later, was doing more harm than good to a lot of people's systems.

So...upon rebooting, the bad update not only borked my connectivity, it also completely crashed my VPN software.  And considering that I work at a job that needs that as a safety precaution (not to mention needed for compliance), I pretty much had no work internet for the rest of Friday.  The last hour or so this morning I've been with our support team to get it fixed, and just now I was able to reconnect.

This was all on top of a week's worth of wasting time manually sorting emails because my department's Outlook rules had completely vanished.  One of my managers is working on rebuilding those this morning.

The bizarre thing is that this really underlined my annoyance at Plans Thwarted.  In reality I'm fine with having to adjust when things don't go as planned; it's the 'I'm just trying to get something done but THIS BIG FAT OBSTACLE KEEPS FUCKING IT ALL UP' that aggravates me to no end.  Suffice it to say, last night's stress dreams were all about dumb obstacles.  Including an incredibly fat man trying to sit on me.  (Yeah, I'm not quite sure about that one.  That one was just weird.)

Anyhoo, the work PC is back to normal and I can finally get back to work.

jon_chaisson: (Default)
Ah, back to the grind.  Fun fun.  Thankfully there were no catastrophes at the Day Job while I was away.  Systems have been known to go kerflooey and cause a landslide of issues when I'm out, for some reason...but this time everything behaved!  So yeah, I'm quite glad that I didn't have to spend most of yesterday cleaning up any fallout.  Just back to normal as if nothing happened.  Woohoo!

[EDIT, 1:53pm PT:  Seems I spoke too soon.  Apparently sometime this morning all the email sorting rules in Outlook decided to go on strike, so EVERYTHING is falling into the main Inbox.  And the person who usually fixes it is on vacation this week.  Not a catastrophe, but a big pain in the ass that slows me down considerably.]

Meanwhile, I managed to get back on the writing horse with minimal delay.  Sunday I updated both blogs for the Monday-Tuesday post, and yesterday I got some decent word count done for both the Daily Words and Lidwells.  Still looking to get more, but all in all, not a bad count to hit after two weeks off.  I need to focus more on that particular project at the moment (and thankfully I've gotten past the "ooh shiny new project let's spend all our time on this one" with Secret New Project).  I'm still worried that I'll go past my deadline, but I'm not going to rush it if I go past it.  It'll be released when it gets released.  It's also looking to be a short novel, as I think it might only hit about 75k in word count.  This is another new thing for me, considering Balance of Light was superlong at 125k! :p

So yes...back to the grind.

jon_chaisson: (Default)
When I was in high school, particularly junior and senior year, I had an ongoing experiment with time management.  You know how it is when you're a teen -- all the boring classes go on for eons, the study halls (where you're doing homework that you should have done last night) are far too short, lunch period doesn't start until 11ish and you're hungry by 10.  That sort of thing.  I wanted to better manage all that.

More to the point, I wanted to even it all out a bit, if that makes sense.  Make my day a little more consistent.

Somehow I worked it out by always being conscious of the time.  I got pretty good at assuming I was coming close on the halfway point of a class period.  I figured out the best times to run to my locker and switch books and so on (which, as it happened, was pretty far down one hallway and not that close to some of my classes).  I got quite good at this, to the point where I stopped using a book bag; by the end of the day I only had the needed textbooks and notebooks for that night's homework.  Everything else (pens and my pocket calendar where I wrote down my assignments) was in the pocket of my green trenchcoat alongside my Walkman and tapes.

It seemed to work pretty damn well for those last two years of high school.  My time management, not to mention my grades, got a bit better near the end there.

As for college...?   Well, that's another story entirely.

Anyway...I forgot about that process for a while, mainly because my work and life schedule didn't really need it.  I revived it a bit in the early 2000s when I was working at Yankee Candle.  The reason then was because my Day Job schedule was in fact quite strict by design, to ensure the warehouse floor had unbroken coverage.  It also let me find pockets of free time during the Day Job where I could sneak in some writing prep in the form of short-term outlining.  You all know the rest of that schedule: the mid-afternoon punching-out, the Wednesday comic/cd run, the afternoon anime watching, and the two solid hours of writing work down in the Belfry.


I say all this because I've been thinking about revisiting the process once more.  Sure, I'm kinda sorta doing it already, with my whiteboard schedule, taking strict scheduled breaks at my Day Job (again, same reason -- unbroken coverage), using said breaks for writing exercises, and sneaking in some extra writing during slow moments.

I still feel like I could better manage my time, though.  It's partly the distraction of the internet, but that's easily fixed and I'm not going to dwell on that part.  I've gotten much better in the past few months, especially now that I have my new projects to work on and a solid blog schedule, but I still feel like I'm sort of passively letting time waste away, especially during the Day Job hours.  Even during busy days, I feel I haven't quite managed my time that well.  Perhaps it's time to revisit my time management process again.

Does this sound like being a bit too anal retentive?  Well, maybe, maybe not.  I only get aggravated by screwy schedules when it totally messes with something I really need to get done ASAP.  

But other than that, it's not really about adhering to a strict schedule.  It's just about being more aware of where the time goes and what I do with it.
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Friday is finally here, and I'm not entirely sure if it's been a long week or not.  I woke up on Monday thinking it was Tuesday, and my sense of time just kind of went downhill from there.  I've had a busy couple of days at the Day Job as well, so that just added to the confusion.

Anyhoo, Friday is here, the Day Job volume has subsided considerably, and I plan on making today an 'I'll work at a relaxing pace' day.  Oh -- also, I get to have a long overdue eye exam today!  That should be fun.  The last time I had one of those they did some light shining and dilating and when I walked over to the corner store for some needed stuff afterwards, they must have thought I was high or something, considering I couldn't focus or keep my eyes open that long. Heh.

In other news, I think I'm slowly approaching a breakthrough on the Lidwells project...right now the story is still a string of events but it's still in need of a strong theme that ties it all together.  I'm on the verge of figuring out just what that is (read: I have a few ideas already, I just have to decide which one and run with it and see if it works), and once that's down, I'll be able to get to the main writing.  Woohoo!

Do we have anything planned this weekend...? Not that I can think of.  Maybe that's a good thing. :)

jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Somehow I managed to finagle Friday off as a Personal Day, so Emm and I drove down the coast to Monterey/Pacific Grove and had a nice relaxing mini-vacation at the Gosby House Inn. Pacific Grove is literally next door to Monterey, a tiny bedroom community that has its own mini downtown of restaurants and shops, and has a lovely coastal drive. We hit the usual places: the yarn store, the used bookstore (BookBuyers in downtown Monterey has an excellent used SF/F section), the restaurants, and so on. We also took a quick drive over to Carmel to visit the beach for a short time as well. An insane amount of pictures were taken, of course!

I deliberately did not write anything, although I did reread what I had of the new Mendaihu Universe story so far, just to remind myself what I had and where it needs to go. That one's been on the back burner (one of the closer ones, currently on mid-heat) while I get the trilogy prepared for release and get some serious writing done for Walk in Silence, which is still aiming for an April 2016 release. The new MU story needs a LOT of work, so I think I'll be doing a lot of outlining and plotting before I get back to it. It's definitely salvageable, just very disjointed at this point.

Also, it being December, this is of course the time of year where I start thinking about my end-of-year compilation and best-of lists, so you will most likely see those within the next few weeks on the WiS blog.

The Day Job, I should add, has been rather quiet as of late (knock wood), which is expected. It usually dies out from about Thanksgiving to around the fifteenth or so, where clients are loath to start any new banking and have paid nearly all their outstanding invoices, leaving me with naught but reading the various system reports that kick out throughout the day. Can't complain. There will be a quick surge of busy time as we get closer to Christmas (the usual last minute OMG that goes on), and then it'll be dead again for the last week of the year. So in short, I've got it made for the next few weeks (I hope). Which gives me a bit of time to sneak in some writing and editing. Heh.

Hope all is well with everyone this season! :)
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Whew! Been a whirlwind of all sorts of things lately. Last week I had to head into the Concord office twice in one week -- Monday to deal with the audit team wanting to go over the specifics of my job (well, not my position per se, but the fact that I'm an SME for OFAC sanctions scanning) and Thursday for our 'quarterly celebration of success' (it's about as corny as it sounds). Added to the fact that Emm had to wake up at 5am for a stupidly early meeting on Tuesday, my Friday the both of us were feeling a bit overtired and loopy. Suffice it to say my editing/writing was minimal.

Add to that, on Saturday we chose to drive down to Watsonville to hang out a little bit at Gizdich Ranch, where they sell all kinds of tasty apples. It was hella hot and dusty there, so soon after we found an excellent ice cream drive-in near the shore in Aptos (the strip it was on definitely reminded me of Wells Beach up on Maine), and then headed back via CA 17--the road that crosses over the Santa Cruz Mountains. Once at the crest we took CA 35 the rest of the way. This was definitely one of those "lovely drive, but what was I thinking??" roads, where the southern half of it is squeezed down to about 1.5 lanes due to it having so many switchbacks. It's essentially a well-paved cowpath for about 4 miles. Found some great overlooks, though! There's a few wonderful vistas where you can see the entire stretch of Silicon Valley below, with Mount Tam and SF waaaay off in the northern distance. Got some great pix out of it!

Sunday morning was spent at our local zoo, where we got to see all three red pandas! Nearly all the animals were either in their pens, or passed out in the shade. It was too hot for everyone! The giraffes and zebras at the savannah area seemed to like it, though! The rest of the day we hid inside, watched football and ate pie. All in all, a busy weekend!

So yeah...any writing done in the interim? Sadly, not that much. I did get a few lines of editing/revision done last night, but not enough to make a significant dent. I'll need to kick it up a notch in the next few days to get back into the swing of things.

Which brings me to the 'tapping a foot on the ground'. Due to being ridiculously busy, I've kind of felt like I'm flailing in mid-air over the last few weeks, so it feels good to be able to extend my limbs and touch the ground now and again to remind myself it's there. It gives me something to aim for, a solid base to come down to within the next few days. My work priorities have finally returned to normal, so I can focus more on the creative ones again. Ah, the price I pay for having a day job!

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