My Standards system now comprises 7 separate sheets, as you can see, and I use all seven of them throughout the day, Monday - Friday.
Is this a pain in the ass? Yes — sort of. It’s a pain in the ass to set up every Sunday afternoon. It’s NOT a pain in the ass to use. It’s rewarding to use.
Last week I started work on WeHaveStandards.com, which will make it easy to create your own sheets, customized for you, by you, to print out. The “Themes List” is already available on the site, if you want a preview.
The tagline for the site is “Reprogram Yourself”. You’ve spent your entire life being told what to do by your family, your schools, you jobs, the media, the government. You might be a little rusty when it comes to self-programming. My goal is to create tools that help you change that (if you want to).
Shoot me an email if you want to get on the mailing list, or just keep an eye here. It’s jakelodwick+whs@gmail.com.

My Standards system now comprises 7 separate sheets, as you can see, and I use all seven of them throughout the day, Monday - Friday.

Is this a pain in the ass? Yes — sort of. It’s a pain in the ass to set up every Sunday afternoon. It’s NOT a pain in the ass to use. It’s rewarding to use.

Last week I started work on WeHaveStandards.com, which will make it easy to create your own sheets, customized for you, by you, to print out. The “Themes List” is already available on the site, if you want a preview.

The tagline for the site is “Reprogram Yourself”. You’ve spent your entire life being told what to do by your family, your schools, you jobs, the media, the government. You might be a little rusty when it comes to self-programming. My goal is to create tools that help you change that (if you want to).

Shoot me an email if you want to get on the mailing list, or just keep an eye here. It’s jakelodwick+whs@gmail.com.

I’m very happy with this system. It’s so close to perfect for me.

I’m very happy with this system. It’s so close to perfect for me.

I’m trying lots of experiments. If you get good at the Standards Chart, you can use it as a launching pad for other, less fundamental self-improvement tools.

This week I made something called the “Mind Log” where I keep track of what I eat, what mood I’m in, how much I’m exercising or playing video games… (its name makes no sense, I know). Some items which normally appear on the Standards Chart are now in the Mind Log — like, instead of a “No Drugs” item, I just keep track of my drug intake, it’s right there in my face. This way, the Standards Chart is more about achievement and goals, and the Mind Log is about keeping track of statistics and looking for patterns. It’s two different things.

I’m influenced by Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek. Two of his ideas made it in — the “Two Do” List, where you write the 2 things you must do today. That feels much more achievable than, say, 6 things … and, in fact, most days, it’s hard to get more than a few big things accomplished. The “Two Do” List forces you to focus on what’s crucial. Another Ferriss concept is the “0-calorie information diet”, which means, don’t read any blogs/books/etc. Don’t input any data. I find that when I wake up, I’m more “hungry” for information than for food. But once I start reading, my mind become preoccupied and it’s hard to focus on my work. So I really need to get the day going before I start absorbing the world.

A new invention is the “Themes List”. I picked a theme for the week, the year, and the decade, and just stare at this list for a minute. I love the idea of humans as programmable systems. Just put some language in front of them, and they start to think and act differently. This is self-brainwashing. I’m reinforcing what’s important. When the week started, I thought of “Triumph” as the destruction of all opposition on some glorious path. By Wednesday it evolved; it no longer made sense to fight every little enemy, but to let shit slide and save my willpower for the real battles. Perhaps this will save lots of energy/anguish in the long run.

Here is a video of my presentation at the Quantified Self Meetup a few weeks ago. I don’t have a firm release date for the website right now, but if you email me I’ll let you know when it’s ready!

Let me explain. I’m not a slacker. I started building a web-based version of Standards and switched to it toward the end of the week. I will introduce that system tonight at the Quantified Self meetup, and three weeks from right now on this blog.

Let me explain. I’m not a slacker. I started building a web-based version of Standards and switched to it toward the end of the week. I will introduce that system tonight at the Quantified Self meetup, and three weeks from right now on this blog.

Last week was, without a doubt, the most productive and healthy week in memory. I got plenty of sleep, didn’t fuck with caffeine, and produced an incredible (for me) amount of code. I felt like a machine, during the day, and a normal, happy person outside of work hours. My system seems to expect a certain amount of exertion; if I’m not spending that energy on productive endeavors, it throws my whole life out of whack.
I came very close to hitting my perfect score, except I started running out of steam on Friday afternoon. I lost focus, couldn’t think about work, and had to take a nap. Then I went out to a party … the system sort of broke down on Friday, but I don’t feel the need to change it right now.
Compared to previous weeks, I had less items. Several longtime goals (such as reading every day for an hour) sound nice on paper, but in reality are simply impossible. I think it’s important to remove such items, because their inevitable failure undermines the entire project. The point is to function on a high level, not to create hardship. Eight hours of work per day is the foundation of this system; I don’t need additional, impressive challenges on top of it.

Last week was, without a doubt, the most productive and healthy week in memory. I got plenty of sleep, didn’t fuck with caffeine, and produced an incredible (for me) amount of code. I felt like a machine, during the day, and a normal, happy person outside of work hours. My system seems to expect a certain amount of exertion; if I’m not spending that energy on productive endeavors, it throws my whole life out of whack.

I came very close to hitting my perfect score, except I started running out of steam on Friday afternoon. I lost focus, couldn’t think about work, and had to take a nap. Then I went out to a party … the system sort of broke down on Friday, but I don’t feel the need to change it right now.

Compared to previous weeks, I had less items. Several longtime goals (such as reading every day for an hour) sound nice on paper, but in reality are simply impossible. I think it’s important to remove such items, because their inevitable failure undermines the entire project. The point is to function on a high level, not to create hardship. Eight hours of work per day is the foundation of this system; I don’t need additional, impressive challenges on top of it.

And here is this week’s chart. I decided to set a minimal number of goals, to make it nice and simple. I also gave myself a “Goal of the Week” for the first time.

And here is this week’s chart. I decided to set a minimal number of goals, to make it nice and simple. I also gave myself a “Goal of the Week” for the first time.

Here is last week. I went home on Wednesday evening so Thursday and Friday were vacation days.
I totally failed at my weekly art project; creating a Photoshop illustration every day. On Monday I made an image of my girlfriend’s leg and that was it. I really just didn’t feel like making art in the morning! I think I won’t have an art project this week.
I’m getting close to 8 hour workdays. Tuesday was 7.5. That goal will remain the same; I think I can achieve it next week.
"Read book & Instapaper" for an hour a day is too demanding, especially when I want to watch a movie. This week it’ll be "Read or watch a movie".
I removed an enforced bedtime, instead simply logging my bedtime. For some reason I went to sleep at 11:58 each night.
I wish there were some sort of reward for getting a perfect score. My problem right now is motivation. I’m simply unable to kick major ass. I have to figure out a way to take it up a notch. I want a perfect score; how can I make that its own reward? I don’t think I want to work for a perfect score; I just think it would be nice. Maybe it doesn’t matter as long as I’m working ~8 hours and getting plenty of sleep and having good hygiene.

Here is last week. I went home on Wednesday evening so Thursday and Friday were vacation days.

  • I totally failed at my weekly art project; creating a Photoshop illustration every day. On Monday I made an image of my girlfriend’s leg and that was it. I really just didn’t feel like making art in the morning! I think I won’t have an art project this week.
  • I’m getting close to 8 hour workdays. Tuesday was 7.5. That goal will remain the same; I think I can achieve it next week.
  • "Read book & Instapaper" for an hour a day is too demanding, especially when I want to watch a movie. This week it’ll be "Read or watch a movie".
  • I removed an enforced bedtime, instead simply logging my bedtime. For some reason I went to sleep at 11:58 each night.

I wish there were some sort of reward for getting a perfect score. My problem right now is motivation. I’m simply unable to kick major ass. I have to figure out a way to take it up a notch. I want a perfect score; how can I make that its own reward? I don’t think I want to work for a perfect score; I just think it would be nice. Maybe it doesn’t matter as long as I’m working ~8 hours and getting plenty of sleep and having good hygiene.

How was last week?
Meditating and pre-visualizing before work was great. When I meditate, I focus on my breath and occasionally saying the word “Notice”, which means, “Notice your head-neck relationship” (via Alexander Technique). When I pre-vis, I visually imagine myself going through my day, even simple things like, “myself at the computer working diligently”.
I’m failing to work a full 8 hours, due to fatigue, restlessness, social obligations, and getting a late start. I’m not prepared to lower the goal, though — wary of Drift to Low Performance (via Thinking in Systems).
"Record & export music track" was fun; on Wednesday I made a legitimately uplifting and exciting song. But Thursday and Friday’s were some of the worst music I’ve ever heard. I have trouble creating when I’m not inspired.
"In bed by 11pm" is a joke. Getting lots of sleep is the first defense against ‘going crazy’, which is why I have it on here. But 11pm is such a brittle and unachievable goal. Next week I will simply log my bedtime.
Overall I was very happy. I was surprised at how much work got done. At the same time, I’m eager to create this week’s Standards (even though Thanksgiving is going to break things up).

How was last week?

  • Meditating and pre-visualizing before work was great. When I meditate, I focus on my breath and occasionally saying the word “Notice”, which means, “Notice your head-neck relationship” (via Alexander Technique). When I pre-vis, I visually imagine myself going through my day, even simple things like, “myself at the computer working diligently”.
  • I’m failing to work a full 8 hours, due to fatigue, restlessness, social obligations, and getting a late start. I’m not prepared to lower the goal, though — wary of Drift to Low Performance (via Thinking in Systems).
  • "Record & export music track" was fun; on Wednesday I made a legitimately uplifting and exciting song. But Thursday and Friday’s were some of the worst music I’ve ever heard. I have trouble creating when I’m not inspired.
  • "In bed by 11pm" is a joke. Getting lots of sleep is the first defense against ‘going crazy’, which is why I have it on here. But 11pm is such a brittle and unachievable goal. Next week I will simply log my bedtime.

Overall I was very happy. I was surprised at how much work got done. At the same time, I’m eager to create this week’s Standards (even though Thanksgiving is going to break things up).

I’m going to switch to weekly posts

Daily posts seems like “too much information”, and Standards are on a weekly rhythm anyway.

Thursday, November 19, 2009 — 2 notes
Tuesday, November 17th.
(I started this week on Tuesday because I took a road trip on Monday)
As I said about Friday, I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough. This week’s Standards are far more demanding. Now I’m shooting for 8 hours of ‘total focus’ work; this is a black-and-white issue: at any moment, I am either working, or I’m not. And I’m not lenient with myself. I also added a daily project: create a song from scratch and export it in 30 minutes. There are two reasons for this: one, I really enjoy making music; two, I need music for my videos. I figure if I force myself to make something every day, I will accumulate valuable skills gradually. Like, after 6 months, I’ll probably be noticeable better.
I failed because I only worked 6 hours. A friend visited mid-day, and I left at 6:30pm for a Net Neutrality debate in Manhattan, so I simply didn’t have enough time. And after the debate I hung out with a friend, then got dinner with my woman, then watched cartoons, and didn’t get to sleep until 1ish. I’m starting to think that an 11pm bedtime is social poison.
I also neglected to log the day’s work. This one is important; I work on a variety of projects, and I’m usually in a trance when I’m working, so sometimes I forget what I did. I don’t like that! I want documentation.

Tuesday, November 17th.

(I started this week on Tuesday because I took a road trip on Monday)

As I said about Friday, I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough. This week’s Standards are far more demanding. Now I’m shooting for 8 hours of ‘total focus’ work; this is a black-and-white issue: at any moment, I am either working, or I’m not. And I’m not lenient with myself. I also added a daily project: create a song from scratch and export it in 30 minutes. There are two reasons for this: one, I really enjoy making music; two, I need music for my videos. I figure if I force myself to make something every day, I will accumulate valuable skills gradually. Like, after 6 months, I’ll probably be noticeable better.

I failed because I only worked 6 hours. A friend visited mid-day, and I left at 6:30pm for a Net Neutrality debate in Manhattan, so I simply didn’t have enough time. And after the debate I hung out with a friend, then got dinner with my woman, then watched cartoons, and didn’t get to sleep until 1ish. I’m starting to think that an 11pm bedtime is social poison.

I also neglected to log the day’s work. This one is important; I work on a variety of projects, and I’m usually in a trance when I’m working, so sometimes I forget what I did. I don’t like that! I want documentation.