Maintain Monday 10

Tweaked the routine a little this morning. After dropping Bryn off at the Montessori, Brigs and I went to the dog park. She could run around while I write a little. Fair offer. Brigs doesn’t get out as much as she used since Bryn has come along. So she was extremely excited to say the least when we got to the park.

Whenever I’m out in nature I get this renewed sense of mind clarity with an inspiration to Create. This happens a lot on vacations too. Something about being somewhere new. Instead of focusing on Rest, I just want to write or brainstorm new ideas or problem solve current projects. I just can’t help it. So while at the park I got inspired to write. I got inspired to write about inspiration.

Yes, this is Maintain Monday and there are things I need to maintain today. But there is a link of sorts between inspiration and maintaining. You’ll see.

Inspiration

Last Friday, I shortly dissected a unique office space that is designed to prepare and encourage someone to do their “deep work”. In the room arrangement, The Chamber is the fifth and final room. It is THE place where deeply inspired and intensely focused creative work occurs. But before you get to that final room, you have to pass through the first room, The Gallery, which is designed to inspire. And I thought, what would my Gallery look like? What inspires me to do creative work?

I brainstormed a little and came up with some of my inspirational catalysts:

  • Trying new things or going new places. Learning something new or creating a new experience is thrilling and kick starts my creative side.
  • Nature. The awe-inspiring beauty of this God created earth is humbling. It’s in those moments of silence that my mind starts to visualize ideas that I want to work on.
  • Music. There are certain songs that I can turn on and feel pumped to make something.
  • Meditating and Visualizing. I see meditating as the ability to clear your mind and release stress. Whereas visualizing occurs when I focus on one problem and process various solutions in my head. This typically occurs on dog walks or when laying down with my eye closed. When a viable solution pops into my head, I am inspired to see if it works in real life.
  • Reviewing other peoples projects, their processes and final product. A few months ago I wrote about wanting to create a picture book that detailed small workshops of creators around the world. Seeing other people’s work environments pushes me to work on my own projects.

I think it is safe to assume that everybody’s gallery would not look the same. Everybody is inspired differently. And I think the Gallery would need to change often. Inspiration needs to be fresh. Zig Ziglar was quoted saying, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily”. So next time you are inspired, soak in it and then create. Don’t get distracted. Don’t wait.

Not sure if you noticed, but that was the first time I used the word”motivation”. It was on purpose.  You see, while inspiration and motivation are synonyms, I view them differently. Others have done a good job writing about the differences. One quote I liked says, “Motivation is the push. Inspiration is the pull.” by Natalie DeBruin. I don’t want to regurgitate what others have already written. Rather I’m going to take a slightly different route with it and apply it to my Create, Consume, Maintain, Rest system.

Think of inspiration and motivation as fuels with different properties used for different applications.

Inspiration is the fuel for creativity. Sure you can use motivation to create, but it’s a cheap alternative. It won’t produce quality results. To create something exceptional you need inspiration.

Motivation, rather, is the fuel for maintaining. I’ve written about how Maintaining is a necessary evil. The planning, the organizing, the coordinating, the cleaning, etc. It doesn’t directly lead to growth, but rather it fertilizes the ground so that the seeds can grow well. Motivation is needed to take care of these tasks. Do you get inspired to clean the kitchen? Not really, right? You can get motivated to clean the kitchen because you told yourself that you could get a dessert at the end if you did. That latter scenario makes more sense.

 

This is just scratching the surface and I’ll continue putting these thoughts together, but right now I need to buy transistor and get my 5v relay to work.

 

Fab Friday 26

In the office by 7am on a Friday. Nice!

The Going Ons

I printed out the base structure for the latest dispenser prototype yesterday and assembled it. More testing needs to take place, but I’m really excited about it. Functionally it worked just like I designed it, but I did run into some interference and gearing issues which is causing the motor to run a little rough. A rod component that I printed wasn’t exactly round and this is causing some problems. It will most likely have to be replaced with a more accurate/stiff metal version.

The short term goal right now is to complete this latest prototype by Thanksgiving while updating/finishing the provisional patent along the way. I would love to be ready to pitch the product starting in December. But there is a lot of work to be done.

Tasks

  • AM
    • Continue writing CCMRBS Overview. It will be done next week for sure. See Content section below for an appetizer
    • Continue to write/update dispenser provisional patent
  • PM
    • Optimize dispensers dispensing mechanics
    • Integrate automation into dispenser dispensing

Content

I met up with my friend and former co-worker Travis earlier this week and in our conversations we talked about how focus is one of the most critical traits when it comes to getting the important work done. With so many distractions around you, focus is harder and harder to retain. He then brought up this article about redesigning the office space to create a “Eudaimonia Machine” and cultivate an environment where somebody can really do “deep work”. A lot going on in that sentence, let me explain.

“Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.” It’s from a book called Deep Work by Cal Newport. Basically it is being in a state of heightened focus while doing your important work. At least that is how I understand it right now. I plan on reading that book here soon.

But this is all very, very interesting to me. This is what I love reading about and writing about. In fact, as I started reading about the unique office space I couldn’t help but match it up with what I want to talk about in my CCMRBS System (Create, Consume, Maintain, Rest, Body, Spirit. There has got to be a better way of saying this). I am going to write that Overview on it very soon, but right now I want to write how this redesigned office space lines up with what I’ve been talking about.

First, let’s talk about the office space. To summarize, it is a one story rectangular building with five rooms. Each room is connected to the next room and each room has a purpose. As you walk through and partake in each room, you prepare yourself for the final room, The Chamber, where you will be doing your most important work.

Let’s break it down:

  1. The Gallery
    • A place that showcases what deep work can achieve
    • It is meant to inspire
  2. The Saloon
    • Coffee/Bar lounge
    • Human interaction where you cultivate discussion and debate
    • Wifi
  3. The Library
    • Permanent record of all work and research produced at the building
  4. The Office
    • Low intensity activity
    • Small work tasks and team interaction/collaboration
  5. The Chamber
    • Six by ten foot room with sound proof walls
    • Total focus, uninterrupted work flow

That’s the design. You have to go through each room before you get to The Chamber. And by the time you get there, you will, ideally, be fully prepared to do your best work, distraction free.

OK, now I want to apply my thoughts to it and how I interpret it with what I have written about. Actually hold on, I need to make a quick a definition clarification. I believe there are three ways you can spend time Consuming:

  1. Invest – learn, discover, long term reward
  2. Spend – distract, clear the mind, relieve stress, short term reward
  3. Inspire – motivate, excite, influence

This clarification is important to understand before three of these rooms a centered around each one of these distinctions. OK, now for reals I’ll show you how it shakes out.

  1. The Gallery
    • Consume: Inspire
    • Soak in your surroundings to inspire you
  2. The Saloon
    1. Consume: Spend
    2. This one is the toughest to nail down in one category. But I think it is trying to get at relieving stress and clearing the mind
  3. The Library
    1.  Consume: Learn
    2. Absorb information in preparation for The Office and The Chamber
  4. The Office
    1. Maintain
    2. Preparation and organization. Take care of the small tasks here so that you are not thinking about them when you are in deep work
  5. The Chamber
    • Create, Create, Create, Create, Create
    • Solve the world’s problems here

As you can see, I can break down the office concept into basic ideologies. Creating is the most important task, but you need the previous rooms to prepare you to do your best work. Each room has a purpose in the way it is preparing you to Create.

One more thing. I want to take this a step further, beyond the physical office space and into your mental office space. Could you apply this concept to your life without the physical office? Let’s try it out. Here are the steps:

  1. Surround yourself in inspiration. Consume beautiful work
  2. Relieve stress, engage in human interaction, clear the mind
  3. Do the research. Absorb the potential information you need to solve your problem
  4. Maintain the medial tasks. Organize and prepare.
  5. Lock yourself away and have sole focus on Creating.

As a disclaimer, I haven’t tested this. In theory, both the physical office space and the mental office space sound like very legitimate methods. But does it work for everybody? I still have a lot of questions and potential modifications. I would like to see a place for Rest, where you can spend time meditating. And what about a place for physical workouts or an outdoor nature path where you can take a walk, move the body and get the blood pumping. Lots to think about….

More to come later.

Music

This morning I’m gonna try to go with some silence so that I can write.

In the afternoon, I’ll listen to my Spotify Release Radar to see if there is anything new that catches my ear.

Maintain Monday 9

Good Monday Afternoon and Happy Halloween!

Did you know that one of my biggest weaknesses is candy? Yup. If there is a piece of candy in front of me I have almost zero self control. But please don’t use this against me.

This morning I tested a few products on my workbench including a 12v 40w cartridge heater and that thing sure heats up quick. It was pretty sweet. I initially typed out that it was “pretty cool”. But then I thought you would get confused about a heater that get’s hot quick but is cool to the touch. So I replaced it with “sweet”. But now it’s the afternoon and I need to work on some maintaining. I did my individual maintaining last night. You know like haircut, face shave, household chores, laundry, etc so that I could focus on some business maintaining today. I have a bunch of receipts I need to add to my budget spreadsheet and I have some workspaces that I need to organize and tidy. That will take an hour or so of the afternoon. Plus I do need to cut up some veggies for a little Halloween get together tonight.

What are you maintaining today so that you can focus on creating and growing tomorrow?

This week I’m going to take a few hours out of a day to write out the overview of the Create, Consume, Maintain, Rest, Body, and Spirit concept that I’ve been tossing around. CCMRBS. Anybody got a better acronym? It has morphed a little each week and not as locked down as I would like, but it is at a point where I need to get it down in writing (and hopefully accompany it with a nice little diagram).

Basically, the goal is to create a concept that helps people understand what mode or mindset they are in during any given activity. So often we neglect areas in our lives without realizing it. Or focus too much on certain activities that don’t make us better. Or we do things do with the wrong mindset which leads to ineffective results. This project aims to help us categorize our activities and focus on the ones that will make us better. Let’s hope I get it in writing this week!

Fab Friday 25

Battling some sort of sickness right now. Headache and such so I’ll keep this short. (Quote above is hilarious and not surprisingly it is how I feel today…)

Going Ons:

Wish I had more progress news to share, but I’m still working on this latest prototype. This version I have focused a lot on the fine details of the model with the expectation that this will be the final design. Hence the modeling time needed.

Tasks:

  • Modeling. Massaging the main components and adding the fine detail to the small parts.
  • Electronics testing. In particular I am trying to get my pressure sensor working.

Content:

To continue on the Maintenance topic, go ahead a read Hail the Maintainers which was referenced in the Freakonomics podcast last week. Interesting read. Innovation is great, but I’ll be the first to admit that I sacrifice needed maintenance for something new and shiny.

Music:

Nothing exciting on the music side this week. The single No Country by John Mark McMillan is great, but that’s about it. Probably a podcast day today.

Maintain Monday 8

Ready for a little Maintain Monday nightcap?

Today was a hybrid day of sorts. I found myself working in two dual states. A creating and learning mindset and a maintaining and creating mindset. Let me explain.

I spent this morning writing code to control a stepper motor. It was really basic, but it felt great to start from scratch and put it all together and have it actually work. I had done most of my research and learning last week, so I was able to stay in a creating state for most of this. But then I moved to other half of my project and jumped into the deep end with transistors, op amps, and a pressure sensor. And boy did (do?) I need a refresher on those types of components. For the next couple of hours I was in a state of creating and learning as I worked on creating a schematic for my pressurizing system while learning how the components work. There is a lot learn, but luckily the internet is around. (What did people do before the internet?!). I was able to find different projects that had bits and pieces that I could follow and integrate into my design.

It was a back and forth of sorts. Learn this, create that. Learn that, create this. Short spurts of back and forth. While I think today was pretty successful, I don’t know if that method is very sustainable. Many times when I am trying to learn a new concept (or refresh my memory) I find myself clicking on similar topics or other interesting projects and getting farther away from the task at hand. The back and forth becomes unstable. Maybe this type of dual mindset works best in short stints. Fifteen minutes creating then fifteen minutes researching/learning. Rinse. Repeat.

But maybe that would just work for me. Everybody has different styles.

Before I knew it, it was the afternoon and I had to switch modes from creating (and learning/consuming) to maintaining.

Most of the maintaining this afternoon was not work related. Rather it was playing with Bryn, some house chores, cooking dinner, etc. But I did walk the dog too and found myself again in a dual state. Lately, I’ve been taking the dog out and during the walk I visualize the current design problems I’m dealing and work on the answers while stretching my legs. I also use it to brainstorm new ideas. And it’s been really productive. It’s a combination of maintaining and creating that works. But again I think it only works for a limited amount of time. If I’m out too long, I start thinking about even more problems or ideas and then lost traction on the problem I was just focused on. Or I get too excited about a new idea and don’t get back to the problem I need to solve until the next day.

That seems to be the problem when trying to working in dual states for too long of time. You lose that initial surge of success and begin to water down the results. Also, remember to write all the thoughts down as soon as possible. It’s just too easy to forget the good ideas.

And those are my thoughts for the night.

Fab Friday 24

Last weekend the fam and I were in Utah using some frequent flier miles I built up the last few years. Instead of Creating last Friday, my time was spent flying to SLC with a 2 year old. Try to maintain a nap deprived toddler on an airplane in fairly heavy turbulence…. Whew! It was all worth it though.

Anyway, it’s back to work!

Going Ons

  • Focusing on finishing the latest prototype that will include additional electronics. I’m definitely excited about this version because it will make the dispenser product friendly to dirty hands.

Tasks

  • As seen from the picture above, I have moved into some electronics work. I’m using a Sparkcore to control a stepper motor as well as turn on/off an air pump via pressure sensor. It shouldn’t be too complicated, but it is taking some time to refresh myself about coding and electronics. Trying to keep it on a simplistic level.

Content

  • In Praise of Maintenance – Freakonomics Podcast
    • While this podcast doesn’t go into too much detail, it touches on exactly what I’ve been writing about!! The struggle between Maintenance and Innovation. Just like there is a struggle between Innovation and Consuming. The trifecta of Creating/Innovating, Consuming, and Maintaining! (of course I have added Rest which they mentioned it as a form as Maintaining.)
    • Listening to this podcast really makes we want to write about this, however I have to stay focused on the prototyping. I hope by this winter I can continue putting my thoughts together on this. This stuff really interests me.

Music

  • Last week we did a lot of driving (SLC to Moab and back) and I made a point of it to listen to a new album so that it would be associated with that trip. And that album was the new Kings of Leon album Walls. It’s a good album. Worth a listen
  • This week we get Jimmy Eat World’s Integrity Blues. I’m excited to listen to it!

19OCT16

We sat underneath the North Window Arch around 7:30pm this past Sunday night and watched the moon rise. I am not sure if I have ever witnessed a more glorious sight.

There were a handful of people sitting or standing waiting with anticipation underneath the elementally carved sandstone. It was quiet except for the subtle murmuring and the wind which was steadily blowing through the arch like a wind tunnel. The weather was warm enough to wear shorts. But a sweatshirt was needed to knock the wind down. The sun was just about set which meant the sky was filled with colors. The only star in the sky at that time was no star at all. It was Venus. But we still sang Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star as we waited for the moon. About 10 minutes later, you could see Mars and Saturn too. At least that is what the guy next to us said. No reason not to believe him. It was a very clear sky after all.

A partial halo started to form in the distance. Most of use could see that the moon was starting to make it’s presence known. But it wasn’t tangible enough for Bryn to understand that the moon was only moments away from entering the sky. We kept telling her but she was too busy singing about Old MacDonald and his cows. She has always been very fond of the moon. On many, many occasions she could pick the moon out of the blue sky during the day. You could say that we were really excited to see how she would react to this moon rise.

The moon was going to be full that night but we didn’t know that would be case until the night before. On our way back to the hotel in the Moab desert we filled up the rental car with some unleaded. No more than a minute after we left the station did we catch a glimpse of the moon. I shouldn’t say glimpse. We were blindsided by the light of the moon. So much so that we pulled over to get out to see it that Saturday night. We knew then and there that we had to see the moon rise the next night before we left Utah.

As the moon peeked it’s head out from the mountain range, we were waiting for Bryn to finally realize what she was about to see. And then it happened. It was everything and more.

“WHOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAA!”

“MOOOOOOOOOON!!”

“RIGHT THEREEEEE!!!!”

“WOW!!!!!”

The silence of the awestruck crowd was broken. Quite possibly the whole park heard. While most of us were chuckling at the words of a two year old, she was saying exactly what we were all feeling. The natural beauty was unmatched. The moon rise was glorious.

I don’t have any pictures of the moon itself, but below is of Turret Arch about 15 minutes before the moon rise.

img_1308

View of Turret Arch at Arches National Park in Utah

Maintain Monday 7

A little late, but still Monday!

There was a lot of Maintaining to be done today. Take wife to the airport, go shopping for groceries, mow lawn, shave beard, etc… But I still devoted a good chunk of today towards Creating. I continued with some very detailed 3D modeling.

Creating is where most of my time should be going. but the whole point of Maintain Monday is to group all the things that prepare you to grow into one time chunk and efficiently finish the tasks. Get it done early in the week so the rest of the time is focused on Creating.

Bryn and I were at Grant Elementary tonight playing and I noticed on the schoolyard fence three, big words: LEARN, CREATE, and PLAY. (The sun was setting right behind it and Bryn was running around everywhere so I didn’t get a good picture). Those three words really line up with what I’ve been writing about it.  Learn=Consuming, Create=Create, and Play=Body (I’ve hinted at body, but have not fully talked about it yet). Learn, create, and play are great words for kids to understand because it sums up much of what school is all about.

But it also got me thinking about Maintain. Is this concept really, fundamentally taught well at schools? I have no idea what that answer is. But I would be curious. I know it would look pretty funny if you saw the word MAINTAIN right next to the other three. It would feel really out of place. (Maybe there is a better synonym?). But the concept of maintain is very vital to being successful. Cleaning classrooms, organizing homework, doing household chores, budgeting your money. While they are not necessarily fun, they prepare you to grow and greatly enhance your learning and creating phase.

Anyway, there is a lot more too this, but I’ll save that for another day.

Quarterly Report 3Q16

On June 5th I briefly posted about transitioning from a “normal everyday job” to starting a business. That was 4 months ago today! Unreal. It’s been incredible, but I have a long, long way to go. My family has been extremely supportive. I would not be able to do what I’m doing without them.

This quarter featured a few vacations (marathon in Europe!) and a lot daddy-daughter time. Loved every minute of it. Here’s what else went down the past three months:

Project: Business Building

  • Latest Details:
  • Status:
    • Not much to do on the Business side at the moment. It’s all about the projects.
    • Working diligently on prototypes and a provisional patent application.
    • Updating website to include sidebar of “living” Tools, Techniques, and Systems documents.
  • Next Step:
    • Finalize designs.
    • Finish provisional patent application.

Project: Paper Towel Dispenser

  • Details:
    • Multipurpose wet or dry towel dispenser.
  • Status:
    • Finishing the prototype version 7.1 3D model (the prototype graveyard just continues to grow).
    • Starting the 3D printing by end of this week in ABS with high quality settings.
    • Taking a lot more time on the aesthetics of this model and the finished looked of the prototype.
  • Next Steps
    • Present finished model to friends and family for feedback.
    • Complete provisional patent application.

Project: Prosthetic Hand

  • Details:
    • Working through a new design for a prosthetic hand with a friend.
    • Working on the design modeling and physical prototype.
  • Status:
    • Finished initial modeling and printed out prototype.
  • Next Steps
    • Test prototype and make adjustments where necessary.

(Side) Project: Board Game

  • Details:
    • Reestablishing work on a board game with intent to launch a Kickstarter in 1Q17.
  • Status:
    • Initial design on paper.
    • Recruited brother and friend to team.
    • Working on main game mechanics and overall concept.
  • Next Steps
    • Finalize goal of game.
    • Prototype game.
    • Play test game.
    • Determine art direction.

Project: Buckets

  • See previous reports.

Project: Clipclamp

  • See previous reports.

Project: Raising Bryn

  • Latest Details:
    • Bryn is 2!
  • Status:
    • It’s amazing how not being sick changes everything. Last quarter Bryn was sick almost every week. And this quarter she has been very healthy! And just an incredible joy to be around.
    • She is talking like there is no tomorrow. We can actually communicate with her! Oh, what a difference that makes.
    • When she is not talking, she is singing.
    • Partial potty training is underway. She has successfully used her potty a few times.
    • She jumps like a rabbit everywhere she goes.
  • Next Steps:
    • Puddle stomping.
    • More potty training.
    • Gymnastic classes!

The Other Things…

  • Reading
    • The Little Prince by by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – Read this book because I saw the Netflix movie. Loved both of them. Not sure why I never read this book growing up. I’m going to try and make a habit of reading it annually. So much to like about it.
    • Sprint by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, Braden Kowitz – Listened to most of this via Audible. Still need to finish it, but overall it was a nice read on how to perform a week long design session to get a project from concept to tested prototype in a week.
  • Watching
    • Gilmore Girls – All seasons
      • Look, I didn’t want to start watching this show, but I did it for Bekah. She watched the show back in her college days. However, now I’m hooked. With the Netflix release coming out in November, we are watching a few episodes a week to make sure we are caught up. Oh and happy Gilmore Girls day.
    • Stranger Things
      • You get sucked in too? I still have a couple episodes to go! Sooo good.

Things to Come:

  • Finish updating sidebar on website.
  • Working on my thoughts regarding the Create, Consume, Maintain, Rest (And Body) System.
  • The “Creative Binge Cleanse” – A concept (soon to be tested) where you spend three days in an all out state of creativity.
  • Self Control vs. Will Power post. I promise I’ll get this done soon….

Maintain Monday 6

When you are working for yourself, Mondays are awesome. I spent about an hour last night (Sunday) collaborating with my neighbor on a design for a prosthetic hand and then later that night around 10pm I began working on the 3D model. Then I got to wake up and continue working on that design. It’s incredible to have this type of freedom. The best part is that now I’m printing it as I type this. I can’t wait to see how it turned out. In less that 24 hours, we can go from concept and brainstorming to an assembled, functional (hopefully) prototype. Mondays are great!

But since it is Monday, I want to spend the afternoon focused on maintaining. Here are a few things on the list:

  • Shave
  • Replace batteries in front door lock and adjust the strikeplate for better fit
  • Clean up and organize garage from weekend projects/lawn maintenance
  • Perform weekly Calibration
    • Open Google Calendar and make adjustments for the week
    • Open Google Keep and determine weekly critical items
  • Prepare (print out ideas, organize notes, gather parts) for another design collaboration meeting tonight with friend
  • Balance budget, organize receipts.

These are just a few items/actions that fall into the “Maintain” category. They don’t grow my business. But they are vital for business growth (maybe not the shaving or front door task). For instance, the preparation for the meeting tonight will maximize efficiency and effectiveness of the design collaboration meeting. And the meeting is where the growth happens because  that’s where we are developing the design. But if the preparation doesn’t occur, then the meeting will be much less effective and potentially a big waste of not only my time, but his time.

It is all about getting in the right mindset for the given task. My mindset for these afternoon tasks is to organize and prepare. But when that meeting starts tonight, my mindset is to create. And if there preparation was thought out and done right, then the design meeting should be effective and efficient.

 

 

Fab Friday 22

As I mentioned yesterday, I worked on printing components for a prosthetic hand and overall it turned out pretty well. The hand body (white) and the fingers (green) are PLA while the joints (red) are NinjaFlex. The flexible joints seem to be working well. All that is needed is wire running through each finger. This is not me design. Rather just a downloaded Flexy-Hand 2 About 12 hours to print all the components.
hand-palm

The Goings On

  • Completed version seven of the dispenser this week. Still needs work, but the concept is solidifying and works a lot better than the last version (very little water leakage). Just gonna keep working trying to get the solution right.
  • Bryn’s birthday is tomorrow! I can’t believe she is going to be two… Just crazy. Don’t tell her yet, but we got her a wooden playhouse that we found at a thrifts tore. It’s in great condition and we bought furniture sets to go with it. And I can print just about anything for it which is gonna be a lot of fun.

Tasks

  • I kinda finished printing and assembling the hand yesterday so I don’t have that as a task today. Instead I’m going to work for about an hour on modeling a design for the wrist. That’s where my neighbor and myself are looking to make a design upgrade.
  • This morning was spent working on a provisional patent. It’s starting to come together. There are still a few design changes that need some work, but as the application goes, I have the structure and have written different parts. I’ll continue on that today as well.

Content

I love being different. To a fault even. I will be different even if it’s subpar. It’s not a good at times. That’s why I liked this quote I read the other day.

“Different isn’t always better, but better is always different”

 

Music

Two releases that have me excited:

Bon Iver – 22, A Million (Let’s see if it lives up to the past album)

Tycho – Epoch (Incredible music with which to work)

 

29SEP16

That Mariners record in 2007 was 88 and 74.  It wasn’t enough to make the playoffs. No doubt the nine game losing streak at the end of August played a big part in coming up short. It was disappointing to say the least. These days I keep apprised on Mariner going-ons via Twitter, but back then I would read Lookoutlanding and Ussmariner almost everyday. Never a participant, but always a spectator. But I’m not here to talk about the Mariners. (Will they make the playoffs with just a handful games left? Ask me again in a couple days). This intro was only written to talk about the year-end wrap up posts that were on the aforementioned websites. These posts talked about what people liked that year. And the one thing I remember the most was scrolling through the music recommendations excited to check them out. A lot of misses, but there were some gems. Boxer by The National was the one I remember most. And that’s what I’m listening to this morning. I wrote all that to let you know I’m listening to the song Fake Empire by The National. What are you listening to today?

I need to write like that more often. If anything just to get it out and practice. But I can’t promise I will. I’m just not that consistent.

In the next couple of weeks (maybe sooner), I am hoping to revise the website (just a little) to better collect and display my thoughts. The main change being a sidebar where I can put a “Tools and Techniques” section. Ideally, all the “productivity” type posts are located there and maintained to store my current line of thinking. Because I’m always rethinking how to do things, it’d be nice to have a “living” document section that shows what I use day in and day out.

That’s what I got for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with the Fab Friday. My neighbor and I are starting a side project working on a prosthetic hand design. I started printing some components out this week and will assemble them today and tomorrow. You’ll see a picture or two tomorrow.

Maintain Monday 5

This weekend was the epitome of maintaining. Carpet cleaning, car cleaning, lawn mowing, lawn winterizing, laundry, etc. Most of the weekend was spent getting our house ready for the fall/winter. And it felt very productive.

But as I have mentioned before, maintaining is not growing. It’s not creating. There isn’t anything physical that I can share with other people. Rather, maintaining is all about preparing and organizing for the next step. It’s about setting up an environment where creativity can occur. It’s about taking preventative measures so that larger, more time consuming problems don’t show up.

Business Maintaining and Priorities

On Mondays I try to figure out what I can maintain to get me ready for a creative week. And that typically means, adjusting my schedule, working on my Google Keep task lists, organizing/cleaning my shop, paying bills, etc. However, today was a little different in that I wanted to get my 3D printer started so I focused on modeling in the morning and left the maintaining aspect to the afternoon. And it worked out pretty well. I think I will continue this trend as it allows me to get creative right out of the gate and knock out the single most important thing I need that day and then focus on what I need to do for the rest of the week.

Anyway, not much more to write at this time. Have a great week!

 

 

Fab Friday 21

Why, hello fall, it’s nice to see you!

The very beginning of a season is my favorite. but that usually last about a week and then I’m ready for the next season. I should probably find a way to enjoy a season all the way through instead of anticipating the next one so early. How do you do that? Order a lot of pumpkin spice lattes? Start wearing a Halloween costume now? Rake leaves everyday?

The Goings On

  • I started at SURGE Tacoma co-working space this week and it has been excellent. It’s quiet, spacey and has a wonderful rooftop view (as you can see above). Getting out of the house has been very helpful. The only downside is that my 3D modeling program is on my desktop computer. I’m transitioning to using the program on my laptop, but the desktop is much easier to work on.
  • I had a design review with my co-owner (wife) early this week and overall it went well. Not because the design is done and ready to be licensed to companies, but because I got some really good feedback. In fact, I’ve spent the last couple days reconfiguring the design to make it more appealing and I really like the direction it is headed. Sometimes my practicality gets the best of me and the design reflects that. As my wife said, “It needs to be Pintrest worthy. And right now? I would not pin it”. Version 7 will be the real deal.

Tasks

  • Amazon is sending a bottle today that I ordered on Tuesday. And right now, the FlashForge is printing a cap for it. The redesign (version 7) is based around this bottle and cap so it needs to be right. That’s what I’m working on today.

Content

I downloaded a few audiobooks last week:

I’ve started Sprint and it’s pretty straight forward when it comes to a design review process. If there are any gems that I come across during these listens, I’ll pass it on.

Music

A couple of releases I’m excited about today:

MuteMath – Changes

PaperRoute – Real Emotion

Crowder – American Prodigal

The Marathon

Ah, the marathon “fun run”.

The Basics:

Time we thought we’d finish in:

  • Two months prior: 3:45
  • One month prior: Injuries suck. I guess I’ll enjoy spectating the race.
  • One week prior: Wait a minutes I can do this. Mind over matter! 4:00 here I come.
  • Start of race: Jet lag is a real thing. Let’s just knock this out in 4:30 and take our time. Enjoy it and all, right?
  • Mile 1: How glorious is this? So beautiful. Why are people walking up this hill already? It’s mile one! Go go go!
  • Mile 3: Another hill to the top of a vineyard? No problem. The course map looked like it was mostly downhill. We should be good.
  • Mile 5: Wow. This is tough. But the sights are incredible.
  • Mile 8: What kind of course is this….? OK, slow it down, 5:00 is totally reasonable.
  • Mile 12: Where are we?? Did we take the right trail??
  • Mile 16: *Bam*!! Who put this wall here? This doesn’t look climbable…
  • Mile 20: What are we doing??? Next water stop we wave that white flag and end this misery
  • Mile 22: Hold! One step at a time…. We have 6:00 hours to do this. 5:59 is doable
  • Mile 26.2: 5:47?! Did we just teleport?! What in the world just happened?? We finished???!!

This race was not what we expected. At all. What was billed as a “fun run” and looked to be mostly downhill was completely wrong. The pictures indicated costumes and wine at every stop (and there was). How is that not a fun run? Here are the advertised photos:

istria-front-page

We can only blame ourselves. We didn’t look close enough. Look at the marathon picture. What’s missing? The runners! That’s because they are all at the bottom of the hill walking and cursing under their breath.

Here is actually what happened.

We arrived Friday around noon in Italy but didn’t arrive at the hotel in Croatia until Friday evening. The race was Sunday morning at eight.We wanted to run early in the vacation so we could enjoy the rest of the week without it looming over our heads. However, jet lag was, without a doubt, noticeable. The race start time of 8am was 12am back home and so we didn’t get much sleep. In hindsight, I think maybe one more day of sleep adjustment would have helped quite a bit.

Here is us at the start which was at the top of hill. We sipped a little bit of sparkling white wine because why not.
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It was beautiful. We were running through vineyards, towns and villages half way around the world! For the first 5 or so miles I would stop every so often and take a few pictures. Look at the incredible castle tower at around 9am in the morning. Downhill! Nice!photo-sep-03-11-23-58-pm

img_0863Oh, hi tower. I wasn’t expecting to see you since you were so high up on that hill.img_0867

Let’s take a minute and look at the elevation overview. Here is the graph that is on the website. There are some peaks, but overall it’s downhill. At first glance it doesn’t look it difficult.

elevation

Here’s the chart of my Nike+ app at the end of the race: There is practically no flat land! Up, down, up, up, down, up, down…..photo-sep-05-1-17-49-am

We walked a lot because it was mostly trails. Trails of loose, jagged rock that went up or down. Oh and some Stairs.img_0865

photo-sep-03-11-34-04-pmHere is Bek triumphantly climbing hill #2035:photo-sep-04-1-09-02-am

photo-sep-04-12-27-29-amFrom about mile 19 on, we ran with Robert from Zagreb. We considered him our guardian angel because we wouldn’t have finished if hadn’t run with us. We would alternate running walking and when one of us wanted to quit, the others would encourage each other to get one more run in. It was a team effort.
img_0881

And finally. img_0836Not sure if I’ll ever run a full marathon again. Maybe a half. My training was hampered by a knee injury where I was only able to run three times from mid July to mid August for a total of 5 miles. However, I credit doing yoga during that time that kept me in just enough shape to attempt the marathon.

Bekah was incredible and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. But for now, I’d be totally happy if I never ran another marathon again.

Maintain Monday 4

This the first day at my new digs at SURGE Tacoma. I’m posted up in a little diner set up which is nice and comfortable. I decided to connect up with a co-working space because working from home can get really tedious.

First, I was working less at home during the night than I did when I was working at Milgard. I believe that working at home all day and then trying to work in the same space at night was just too much. It wasn’t  fun. This should improve my motivation to work at night.

Second, I like working in an environment with other people. Working at home is lonely. Plus this opens up a lot more opportunities for serendipity. As a prototyper, my qualifications and experience could be utilized by other start ups. Not that I want to do that full time, but I’d be all for small projects that could bring in some income or establish some equity. You just never know what might happen when you put yourself out there.

As far as Maintaining goes, I’m gonna keep it short today. I will Calibrate and set my schedule, but besides that I’m going to be focusing on getting my design presentation done. That’s the most crucial task at the moment.

Have a happy Maintain Monday.

Fab Friday 20

Back at it!

Above is a small workshop for violins that we ran across in Venice. I love seeing places like that. Give me a tour of an art gallery or an art workshop and I’ll take the workshop almost every time. I’d rather see the process than the product.

Anybody want to fund me on journey around the globe searching out workshops. I’ll photograph them and then write a coffee table book about it. Anybody?

The Goings On

  • Feels so good to be back in the design chair. But it takes a little bit to get in the work groove after about 1.5 weeks of vacation. Jet lag doesn’t help. Nor does a small sinus cold. But I’m back and loving it.
  • I tried to not think about the Dispenser much at all on vacation but rather on some other ideas. I wanted to come back fresh and I think it has worked out well. I have already had some good ideas on how to make the Dispenser even better.
  • I spent some more time thinking about Create, Consume, Maintain, and Rest. And I’ve decided to add another category: Body.  Exercise and sport are such a big part of human race and when you spend time physically working on you, it only made sense to have a distinct category for it. It’s basically the opposite of rest and it synergizes with the rest of the system very well. Anyway, I’ll write more about this later. And one of these days I’ll summarize all my thoughts into one concise read. One day.

Tasks

  • Today, I’m working on refining the tank portion of the the dispenser. Over the past two days, I had a new design idea that I think will be a great upgrade. That means I need to model up a few different components and then print them. That’s the main task.
  • The secondary task is to continue to develop the design presentation.

Content

  • Joy – Watched this movie on the flight home and was pleasantly surprised. It hit home with my desire to create something and bring it to market. But it definitely made me so grateful for my family support and the ability to focus so much time on product development.
  • A Faster Horse – Another movie I watched on the plane and I really enjoyed it. Walks through the history of the Ford Mustang and the design, testing, and manufacturing of the 2015 Mustang. The history was great and the talking about design left me inspired. The downside however is that I really want to buy a Mustang now.

Music

Last week and this week had some excellent music. Local Natives tops them all. So good.

Last Week:

This week:

14SEP16

The trip to Europe is in the books and we are back safe and sound. I could not have asked for a better travel partner in my wife. Ten days, four countries, one marathon. I could not have done it without her and would not have wanted to do it with anybody else.

And we could not have done it if my angel of a sister didn’t fly in from Denver to watch Bryn. And my parents spending even more of their time with Bryn. And my brother-in-law helping out with the doggie. We are so thankful and truly blessed to have such great families surrounding us.

I’ll write about the marathon later this week because that in itself was crazy. We were seconds away from giving up on mile 16. And on mile 20. And on mile 22.

But this morning I just wanted to check back in. I wrote a little while abroad, brainstormed some ideas, but overall just cleared my mind and enjoyed being on vacation. Over the next few days I’ll chime in with some thoughts on travel and recharging creativeness.

*Feature picture captures the moment when Bek and I crossed over the Arno river just after a small storm. Delicious Gusta Pizza in hand (not pictured).

Maintain Monday 3

Third installment of Maintain Monday is upon us. Last time I wrote about some thoughts on Maintaining. To recap here are the summarized bullet points.

  • When possible automate or delegate Maintaining tasks. This will give you more time to Create or Consume or even Rest.
  • Maintaining is not growing. You learn less during Maintenance tasks then you would Creating or Consuming.
  • Maintaining allows others to create. Having a clean, organized workspace gives you better chances at Creating. Sharpen those tools.
  • When you Create, you get some sort of product. This product will need to be Maintained to a degree. So when you are Creating, think about how to minimize the amount of aftermath Maintaining.

I had another thought on Maintaining: Maintaining is basically 5S.

5S

Seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. Or “sort”, “set in order”, “shine”, “standardize”, and “sustain”. When I was an engineer at a carbon fiber prepreg plant, the plant worked on implementing the 5S methodology. I’m not gonna expand much more on this right now but go ahead and read about 5s if you are interested. In short, 5S is about creating an environment/workspace that produces quality, streamlined, and repeatable results.

5s is good. But I often find places/people focus more on implementing and maintaining 5s then actually Creating. Maintaining is good. But be wary of the diminishing returns.

Results and Questions

It’s been one full week of time tracking and I feel pretty great about it. The tracking itself was pretty easy even during the weekend. If I missed starting the timer, I could easily adjust my time blocks later that day. Overall I do not feel deterred from keeping this going.

But what it really comes down to is “Has this ‘system’ of Creating, Consuming, Maintaining, and Rest helped me grow?” Are there positive takeaways from this past week? I really think there has been. Here are the main ones.

  • My Mindset gets locked in for that particular mode.
    • My focus is heightened and I’m less distracted.
    • I’m Creating for the next two hours so I’m not going to unload the dishwasher right now.
    • You think/function differently for each mode. The more I can block out or partition times to be in one mode, the more efficient I am.
  • Action stacking.
    • If I have a bunch of Maintaining tasks, I can set them aside so I can complete them all at once.
    • Easier, more streamlined approach to getting tasks done. Again, more efficient.
  • It is not a burden
    • I am not spending excess time tracking my time or ‘maintaining the system’. Rather I spend a few seconds going from one mode to the next and that’s it. And the transitions are typically hours apart.
    • It’s not very difficult to determine what mode I’m in. Previously when I tried tracking time, I’d had a bunch of different ‘hats’: CEO, Design Engineer, MFG Eng, Sales, etc. That was difficult to keep up with especially when the tasks crossed over. Where would I put the time? How do I transition back and forth? Those aren’t problems any more.

But I still have questions.

  • Will four categories be sufficient?
    • This is a question I keep asking myself. My biggest reason is with the Consuming mode. There are some pretty obvious good and bad Consuming.
    • If I’m just watching random TV or if I’m reading textbook trying to research an idea, I feel like they need to be differentiated. But the line is pretty blurry between good and bad Creating (Maybe there is no such thing as bad creating?) or good and bad Rest or good and bad Maintaining.
    • I think for now, I will split Consuming into good and bad. How do you differentiate the two? That’s up to you. For instance, I think watching Stranger Things is good. It’s a very interesting story and really makes me think. I feel more Creative from it. Whereas watching Wheel of Fortune is, well, empty calories for me. Still much to understand regarding all this.
    • Is watching the M’s game good or bad consuming? I don’t know. Neutral? This is where it get’s tough. It’s probably “bad”, but a treat every now and again is good for the soul…..
    • On second thought, maybe I won’t call it good and bad. Productive and Unproductive? Nutritious and Empty? Because you need the “bad” sometimes. I’ll have to think more about this one.
  • What do I do with the time tracking results?
    • Ideally, I will be able to correlate my time spent to productivity, but still not sold on that.
    • Maybe I can see how much Rest I’m getting a day and see how that has affected me. Did I Create more this week? Did I get sick? Do I feel tired?
    • Was this a week where I needed to do a lot of research and did my Consuming results reflect that?
    • For now, I’ll just keep tracking it and see where it goes.

Mondays are the best.