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Stuff I think about at the beginning of every week.

This is a series of weekly answers to the question “This week will be good if…", with results from the following week. Inspired by this write-up by Matt Webb, this article about the why of weeknotes, and the weeknot.es community on Medium. My version of it here is a simple weekly summary of my time spent in my creative rickshaw (aka independent creative projects with the goal of becoming financially sustainable). The data about “how the previous week went” and “how this week began” comes from taking Gyroscope’s “Mood Score” test as I write this each week. Each week also gets an animal or other emoji that begins with incrementing letters of the alphabet.

May 2019 - present, newest to oldest: ๐Ÿญ, ๐Ÿคนโ€๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Ž, ๐ŸฆŽ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿ‘Ž, ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘, ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘, ๐Ÿฆ†๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Ž, ๐ŸŠ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Ž, ๐Ÿ—๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘, ๐Ÿœ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿ‘

08.19.2019: Week of the Mouse ๐Ÿญ

Data point This week Since last
Mood 79 Flat
Weight 190.8 -1.5
Resting heart rate 72bpm +2
Avg sleep per night 5h 33m -45m

This week will be good if:

I come up with some good op-ed ideas to pitch newspapers about the book.

I get my average sleep per night back above 6 hours.

I ride the Peloton at least 3 times.

07.29.2019: Week of the Juggler ๐Ÿคน

Data point This week Since last
Mood 79 -19
Weight 192.3 -2.6
Resting heart rate 70bpm +1
Avg sleep per night 6h 18m -48m

This week will be good if:

I turn in my “first pass” manuscript feeling good about where it is.

  • ๐Ÿ‘ Yup, this all worked out and I feel pretty great about where the book is at the moment.

I record a trial episode of a new podcast and it isn’t terrible.

  • ๐Ÿ‘ Kellianne and I did this, and the actual conversation turned out to be really interesting, but unfortunately it was recorded in a loud room and isn’t really usable as a podcast. After talking about it with the team, we decided to postpone the podcast idea until after publication, given the effort and impact it will have, and how there’s plenty of other higher-impact, less-work options to keep me fully busy til publication.

I ride the Peloton at least 3 times.

  • ๐Ÿ‘Ž I only rode once during this week, unfortunately.

07.08.2019: Week of the Gecko ๐ŸฆŽ

Data point This week Change w/w
Mood 98 +35
Weight 194.9 -0.9
Resting heart rate 69bpm no change
Avg sleep per night 7h 6m +1h 3m

This week will be good if:

I have at least 3 blurbs to put on gallies.

  • ๐Ÿ‘ Yes! I got three blurbs, and they’re all great and better than I was expecting. I can’t tell you how much gratitude I have for the people I’ve been reaching out to and asking for time and attention that I can never really pay back. I’m definitely going to make myself available to provide blurbs for other up-and-coming authors if that kind of thing is ever asked of me.

I spend at least 8 hours on V2 of 750 Words (Continued 3x).

  • ๐Ÿ‘ Yes! I ended up spending much more time than this just trying to get signup and login flows to work. It’s a bit of a pain in the butt, but it always is. I haven’t returned to it since my week of camping though, and I’m a bit afraid of trying to remember exactly how it all works. But if I go through this a couple more times and things move more slowly than I was hoping, the benefit will be a simple and clean signup and login flow… which always ends up being a significant percentage of support tickets, so best to get it right.

I maintain an average of at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

  • ๐Ÿ‘Ž Nope. I’m back down in the 6 hours range. I did get good amounts of sleep while camping, but that didn’t translate back into our regular sleeping schedules.

I exercise at least 2 hours this week.

  • ๐Ÿ‘Ž I fell off the exercise wagon this week due to irregular summer schedules. Hoping to find the groove again soon.

07.01.2019: Week of the Fish ๐Ÿ 

Data point This week Change w/w
Mood 63 -24
Weight 195.8 -0.3
Resting heart rate 69bpm +5
Avg sleep per night 6h 3m +3m

This week will be good if:

Get at least one blurb finalized for the first pass galley copies

  • ๐Ÿ‘ Got it! Very very thankful to have broken through the barrier between 0 and 1 on this. After continuing some conversations, and continuing to get great feedback from early readers, my anxiety about this step has been reduced by 50%.

I work on V2 of 750 Words for at least 5 hours (Continued 2x).

  • ๐Ÿ‘ I’ve been getting enormous value from a few participants in my Discord channel about the writing experience, and feel really grateful to have people to bounce ideas off of. In the meantime, I’ve also tested 3 or 4 options for which backend framework I should use, and believe I’ve settled on Ruby on Rails hosted on AWS Elastic Beanstalk, for a number of reasons. This, despite the ever-confusing UI and absense of documentation that AWS is infamous for, all because of the additional flexibility granted by having no other middleware to deal with (and pay for).

What I’m learning:

Since being diagnosed with hypertension about a month ago, I’ve found the momentum I need to make some changes to my eating and exercising habits. The most interesting things I’m learning are around my sleep habits, and how despite my ability to survive on very little sleep, I’m far from getting the full benefit of sleep. Most of my nightly heartrate data (provided by the fantastic Oura ring) is showing me that my nights are generally cut off before the full cycle is finished, and the result is that my deep sleep numbers are horrendously low (usually between 30min-1hr per night). Now that I can see which days suffer the most, it’s become possible for me to correlate that to my mental state during the day, and I can feel a significant improvement when I get more deep sleep.

The other wake-up call for me is that I need to lose some weight. I’ve lost 5-8 lbs in the last month or so, and plan to keep that trend going until I’m solidly in the healthy range again. Once there, I can shift to better proxies of health than just weight/BMI, but for now that is all the precision I need.

06.24.2019: Week of the Elephant ๐Ÿ˜

Data point This week Change w/w
Mood 87 -6
Weight 196.1
Resting heart rate 64bpm
Avg sleep per night 6h 0m -0h 17m

This week will be good if:

I write to at least 3 more people about giving blurbs for my book (Continued 4x).

  • ๐Ÿ‘ I sent a lot of emails this week.

I exercise for at least 30 minutes on 3 or more days (Continued 3x).

  • ๐Ÿ‘ I did this but also ended up hurting my back one of the days and had to take half a week off of exercising.

I work on V2 of 750 Words for at least 5 hours (Take 3).

  • ๐Ÿ‘ Made great progress on the writing experience for 750 Words. Settled on ProseMirror for the basic functionality, which is a lot more flexible and nice to work with after the initial higher learning curve of setting it up.

06.17.2019: Week of the Duck ๐Ÿฆ†

Data point This week Change w/w
Mood 93 -7
Avg sleep per night 6h 17m

This week will be good if:

I write to at least 6 more people about giving blurbs for my book (Continued 3x).

  • ๐Ÿ‘Ž I talked to a couple new people, and continued conversations with a couple people from the past few weeks, but didn’t get to 6 new people. This whole process is stressing me out more than it should, and I had a productive conversation with my agent about this and got some perspective on the relative importance of this to other activities we’ll be doing later on that I’m much more comfortable with.

I ride the Peloton at least 120 minutes (Continued 2x).

  • ๐Ÿ‘Œ I got 105 minutes total this week, which seemed like plenty, given that I’m also doing 30-40 minute exercises through future.fit. I’m gonna lower this goal for the next week in the hopes of making it easy to hit even when new routines haven’t quite set in yet.

I decide on a text editor to build on for V2 of 750 Words (Take 2).

  • ๐Ÿ‘Ž I didn’t make progress on this again. I ended up spending more time working on the higher-level ideas and plans than in the code this week. I’ll continue this goal but make it a bit more vague to account for the fuzzy discovery phase I’m in.

06.10.2019: Week of the Crocodile ๐ŸŠ

Data points:

  • Mood: 100 (happy, strong, friendly, calm)

This week will be good if:

I turn in my manuscript with all the copy edits incorporated and all 450 comments addressed.

  • ๐Ÿ‘ I did this, though it was a bit rushed at the end. Some of this work feels a bit like Zeno’s paradox… while I can get closer and closer to the end, I feel like I’m approaching an asymptote where each revision comes more likely of needed to be revised again in the future, generating work that approaches infinite. I guess that’s a good place to begin to think that I’m “done” for now.
  • This metaphor was inspired by this tweet:

I do at least 20 minutes on the Peloton every day.

  • ๐Ÿ‘ I didn’t ride every day, but I did ride 5/7 days for a total of 135 minutes, which adds up to about the same (18 minutes a day). I’m pretty happy with the Peloton so far, especially the convenience factor of being able to go to another room in the house and do a quick ride.

I decide on a text editor to build on for V2 of 750 Words.

  • ๐Ÿ‘Ž I didn’t make progress on this last week. So will push it to this coming week.

06.03.2019: Week of the Boar ๐Ÿ—

This week will be good if:

I connect with a few more people who want to be early book readers and/or blurbers.

  • ๐Ÿ‘ I sent another handful of emails to people and got a handful of commitments to read. This continues to be the highest anxiety activity of my weeks. I love building social capital with people but I really dislike spending it. You could say I’m a social capital horder.

I start making a plan for 750 Words development.

  • ๐Ÿ‘ This is under way! Kellianne and I met last Monday and have a tentative schedule for development. Our plan is to launch an alpha in September, a beta in December, and to swap out the sites early next year. I have a placeholder page here with the high level timeline.

I start a new healthy living plan. (I was diagnosed with stage 2 hypertension, and have no interest in dying of a heart attack anytime soon.)

  • ๐Ÿ‘ Officially started on a new healthy living plan this week. It’s good timing for me to focus on health stuff because I’m in a transition phase with project and that means my schedule is open for fiddling. My goal is to lose about 20 pounds and to get into generally better shape over the next 6 months. As I’m prone to do, I’m planning to go “all in & with the flow” on health, which means changing my schedule to fit more exercise in, and removing every obstacle in my way so that it’s more convenient to be healthy than to be any other way.

05.20.2019: Week of the Ant ๐Ÿœ

I’m taking this week to continue to bask in the enjoyment of turning in my manuscript last week. I want to move as slowly as I can on the hedonic treadmill that normalizes all moments of FIERO! (triumph over adversity or challenge) and reverts us back to our baseline happiness levels. There are so few moments where the things we anticipate in the future actually pass through the window of the present moment and can be experienced directly. So that’s my top priority this week.

As I do that I am also aware of the backlog of deferred projects that have been so patiently waiting for a chance to be considered. The one I’m currently most excited about returning to is 750 Words. I posted an update in the 750 Words Facebook group, and have a giant board in Asana of things that I want to fix or improve about that site. I’ve been taking the Vue Mastery courses after deciding to build the new site in Vue. These frameworks have come a long way in the last 10 years.

I’m also having a ton of fun playing with my Life in Weeks page, and have 3 interviews this week with people who want to try to build their own version of this page. That’ll give me a good sense for the kinds of edge cases that might come up if I ever wanted to turn this into a tiny side project.

As for book-related work, I’m starting to send out my manuscript to some people who might be interested in being early readers and maybe even offering blurbs. It’s fun to have an excuse to reach out to a bunch of people I like.

This week will be good if:

I connect with a few people who want to be early readers.

  • ๐Ÿ‘ I reached out to a few people interested in being early book readers.

I start making a plan for 750 Words development.

  • ๐Ÿ‘Ž This didn’t happen.

I interview a few people for The Life Of... pages.

Added to the Health pile.
Part of the 750 Words and Why Are We Yelling? projects.
June 18, 2016

Buster Benson (@buster) is a writer and builder of things. If you're new here, check the about page or see my entire life on a page.


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