otherwise i'd try to figure it out

  • Charamei: I do wonder how Gallifreyan culture accommodates the fact that as a species they virtually all have some kind of really severe obsession, though
  • Charamei: like, I suspect the obsession-as-species-trait is related to the fact that they have obscenely long lives
  • Dromeianindistress: Well, they probably set their own work hours
  • Dromeianindistress: Except for politicians, whose obsession is generally politics
  • Charamei: indeed
  • Charamei: not that we're looking at anyone in particular, of course
  • Charamei: any three people
  • Dromeianindistress: Not, not at all
  • Dromeianindistress: And yeah, it's probably related to their lifespan
  • Charamei: yeah
  • Charamei: Gallifreyans don't seem to have 'old age' as much as 'I got bored of being alive and stopped getting up in the morning and then stopped breathing'
  • Dromeianindistress: XD
  • Dromeianindistress: This is the species that schedules their own death
  • Charamei: yup
  • Charamei: are legally obliged to, in fact, so they can get re-uploaded
  • Charamei: because they never actually stop existing, they just have a brief respite from being alive
  • Dromeianindistress: yep
  • Dromeianindistress: *side-eyes Pandak*
  • Charamei: XD
  • Charamei: but, like... someone like the Master, who develops an obsession with a person. There's got to be some kind of system for dealing with that in people who aren't complete homicidal maniacs in every other respect as wellk
  • Dromeianindistress: True
  • Dromeianindistress: But what?
  • Charamei: idk
  • Charamei: I'd say rehab, but they need *something* to focus on
  • Charamei: ...this is going to get very Black Ribboner, isn't it
  • Dromeianindistress: ....It would
  • Dromeianindistress: And of course there would be a very complex ritual involved
  • Dromeianindistress: I wonder if they ever tried to make Koschei do it
  • Charamei: probably
  • Charamei: that's probably how he devloped the secondary obsession with universal domination
  • Charamei: slight backfire
  • Dromeianindistress: Slight
  • Dromeianindistress: He left mid-ritual
  • Charamei: needed a pee
  • Dromeianindistress: XD
  • Dromeianindistress: No, left Gallifrey
  • Charamei: ah
  • Charamei: well, you know what the queues for the toilets can be like
  • Dromeianindistress: XD
  • Charamei: one of the rules of Gallifreyan obsession, of course, is that it must be downplayed in public at all times owing to Reasons of pretentiousness
  • Charamei: and honestly, as long as you're on Gallifrey this is fine, because everyone knows that when you say 'small hobby' you actually mean 'consumes my every waking thought'
  • Dromeianindistress: XD
  • Charamei: then you get offworld and some aliens have things that they just... do for a while and then get bored of?
  • Charamei: and then they do something else?
  • Dromeianindistress: And they do it for, like, a year
  • Dromeianindistress: Like, why even bother?
  • Charamei: seriously
  • Dromeianindistress: You haven't even gotten started until you've spent at least a century on it
  • Charamei: and during that year they don't even learn everything there is to learn about the thing and write five monographs
  • Charamei: what are they even doing with their hobby time
  • Charamei: relaxing?
  • Charamei: ...I wonder if this is why Gallifreyan culture seems to like paradoxes so much, because you can go round them forever and never get to the end
  • Dromeianindistress: oooo
  • Charamei: they're the perfect timewasters
  • Dromeianindistress: Well, they do have several millenia to waste
  • Dromeianindistress: Also it's not considered odd if a Time Lord takes a century off work to pursue something that's caught their interest
  • Charamei: no
  • Charamei: in fact doesn't Four say that? Admittedly he's probably being a prat
  • Charamei: "I'm entitled to a fifty-year break every two centuries" or something
  • Dromeianindistress: XD
  • Dromeianindistress: I'd say it's accurate, though
  • Charamei: Time Lords with silly little obsessions
  • Charamei: and just how far will their otherwise completely oppressive justice system allow leeway for this shit
  • Charamei: (Aliens must get so confused)
  • Charamei: (apparently 'Well, knitting has always been a small hobby of mine...' is an acceptable reason to commute a sentence from forced regeneration to a mere five hours of torture)
  • Charamei: (and for some reaosn it doesn't work when the aliens try it)
  • Dromeianindistress: XD
  • Dromeianindistress: Leela figuring out the justice system
  • Charamei: omg yes
  • Dromeianindistress: And asking Romana questions
  • Charamei: yes
  • Dromeianindistress: and Romana doesn't see what the problem is
  • Charamei: and Andred, and Narvin
  • Dromeianindistress: Yes, and Rodan
  • Dromeianindistress: Even Brax, on occasion
  • Charamei: and they all get more and more uncomfortable because nobody wants to admit the real reason for it
  • Dromeianindistress: It's just not something you *talk* about
  • Charamei: there are some things you just don't talk about with aliens, even friendly ones, and the major flaw inherent in Time Lord psychology is one of them
  • Charamei: no
  • Charamei: it's just something you kind of... accept, and work around in your friends, and condemn in your enemies
  • Charamei: (Romana and Darkel slinging 'Well she's completely obsessed with being President!' at one another and everyone just kind of smiles and nods like, of course you both are, otherwise you'd be doing something else)
  • Dromeianindistress: yes
  • Dromeianindistress: XD
  • Dromeianindistress: And Brax has 'a small interest in art collecting'
  • Dromeianindistress: Which is why Romana hasn't turned him in for breaking every law of time out there to build his collection
  • Charamei: exactly
  • Charamei: Narvin's mild interest in astronomy probably translates to his entire bedroom being covered in star charts
  • Dromeianindistress: Romana doesn't even blink when he points out an extremely obscure fact about a minor space phenomenon relevant to the discussion
  • Charamei: nope
  • Dromeianindistress: (...there probably isn't a rehabilitation process for problematic obsessions. You just get mind probed a couple times as a warning, then exiled if you don't find something else)
  • Charamei: (...yeah)
  • Charamei: (there are some psychic doctors who specialise in fixing this stuff but you have to go and actually find them)
  • Dromeianindistress: (and most people don't *want* to)
  • Charamei: (no, because wanting to destroy the universe is perfectly harmless, it's only a thought exercise, of course they'd never... oh, hey, a Doomsday device!)
  • Dromeianindistress: ( XD )
  • Dromeianindistress: (Well there was also Shada)
  • Charamei: (yeah)
  • Charamei: (on the plus side, it does probably mean that people give Leela more leeway than you might expect when it comes to going hunting etc)
  • Charamei: (Andred and Rodan explained it as a mild interest and everyone just kind of nodded knowingly and left her to it)
  • Charamei: (she has no idea why of course)
  • Dromeianindistress: (Most Gallifreyans don't actually realize everyone in the universe isn't like this)
  • Charamei: ( no)
  • Charamei: (that's just what happens when you get interested in something)
  • Charamei: (then they go out there and start sabotaging fluid links so they can look around and the aliens are very unforgiving for absolutely no reason)
  • Dromeianindistress: (That's what interest *is*)
  • Charamei: (exactly!)
  • Dromeianindistress: (Really, completely irrational. They'll never understand how these aliens think)
  • Charamei: (nope)
  • Dromeianindistress: (The Rani was totally taken aback when the Doctor tried to get her experiments shut down)
  • Charamei: ( yes)
  • Charamei: (and every time a companion says something like "Are you enjoying this?" the Doctor gets utter culture shock)
  • Charamei: (of course they're enjoying it that doesn't mean they don't also care)
  • Dromeianindistress: (this is what they *do*, this is what they're interested in)
  • Dromeianindistress: (they can't turn that off)
  • Dromeianindistress: (it doesn't mean they don't care about the people involved)
  • Charamei: (the Master enjoys trying to kill them as well but they don't see the humans getting on their high horses about that)
  • Dromeianindistress: (really)
  • Charamei: (filling obsessions just feels good)
  • Charamei: (...we've just found Time Lord sex)
  • Dromeianindistress: (omg)
  • Dromeianindistress: (does that mean Time Lord marriages are 'our obsessions both line up very nicely with each other right now, let's be joined at the hip until they diverge again'?)
  • Charamei: (...quite probably)
  • Charamei: (Darling I very much enjoyed your paper on the inverse correlation of x and y please marry me and we should discuss this at every opportunity)
  • Dromeianindistress: (and they proceed to discuss it for the next 500 years)
  • Charamei: (yes, with occasional pauses to write papers)
  • Dromeianindistress: (...Gallifreyan conversations tend to be very long)

undertheteacup  asked:

You've talked a lot about the ways you try to structure your time, space, workflow, even the beverages you consume, in the ways that work best for you. Do you have any advice for someone who's trying to figure those things out for the first time? It's something I'd really like to do now that I have a lot of unstructured time on my hands yet still need to job-search, learn new skills, or otherwise 'work'. But I have no idea where to start, I just know that what I'm doing right now isn't working.

This post is going to be long and it may be a little disjointed, but you said you don’t know where to start. As it happens, I have some thoughts about this! As the nun sang, the beginning is a very good place to start, so let’s talk about the start of your day.

Let’s talk about…

Making The Commute

The Commute is what I’ve started calling the transition from “being home” to “working (while at home)”. This is a topic that came up during one of my panels at WisCon this year. 

When it’s time to for you to get to work–whatever that means–go to work. Even if you’re able to lounge around in your PJs or comfy lounge clothes until 3 in the afternoon, it helps to shower and get dressed as if you’re going to work. If you’re able, go out of the house and walk around it, or around the block. One person at the panel related a story where someone who had formerly biked to work started biking the same distance every day, even though they were now working from home.

There’s a lot of condescending nonsense that often gets attached to this sort of advice, but it’s not about self-image or self-esteem or anything like that. It’s about modes. Flipping that switch in your brain. Erasing any ambiguity in the lower parts of your consciousness about what time it is and what you need to be doing.

Even if you’re going out to look for a job some days, going to school some days, and doing things around the house on other days, you should still have a consistent element to your day that says it’s time to get down to it.

I’m actually still constructing my commute, though showering in the morning is a big part of it. What your commute will consist of will vary depending on your ability and circumstances, and you might have to try different things. My earlier attempts in this area consisted of finding different ways to “punch in” or “clock in”, but while that helped, it didn’t seem to permeate below the level of my conscious awareness that yes, I should be working, which isn’t the same thing as having the drive to do it.

On the subject of drive…

Managing Your Motivation

Motivation, like everything else you feel, has a physical footprint in your brain, and dopamine is a huge part of that.

Dopamine is so important to the art of getting things done. When you want something intellectually but you can’t seem to actually feel that want, that could be a dopamine problem. When the effort needed to Do The Thing seems too high and the obstacles too hard, that could be a dopamine problem.

Serious chemical imbalances in the brain require medical treatment, but what’s pretty close to a silver bullet for a run of the mill dopamine deficiency is caffeine. There’s a reason so many office workers and creative people alike are addicted to coffee. I don’t drink coffee, but I think a morning cup of coffee can be a very important part of making The Commute because it’s a full sensory experience. You see it, you smell it, you feel its warmth. It’s a ritual, and rituals can be a good way to start a routine.

If you don’t do coffee, soda is a powerful caffeine delivery system. If you don’t do coffee or soda–or even if you do–green tea not only contains caffeine, but it contains a re-uptake inhibitor.

If you can’t do caffeine, I do have a post on other substances that have some research behind their ability to boost your dopamine levels.

Other things that can help jump start your brain include: looking at sunlight, getting fresh air, and contemplating the color green. If you’re able to look out a window, step outside, or take a walk, it can jolt you out of the doldrums. High energy music also helps.

Compartmentalizing Tasks

Nothing is more daunting than a big task, or a whole laundry list of things that you need to do. Sometimes the question of where to start is more imposing than any of the individual tasks are… but that’s part of the key. Chances are, everything will seem more manageable when you break it up into bite sized chunks.

Deal with specific tasks. Instead of “Today I’m going to clean the house,” say, “Today I’m going to de-clutter this bookcase." 

Even things that downright terrify you–like I have a huge problem with phone calls–can be manageable if you break them down into their requisite steps.This gives you the feeling that you have a game plan, lets you rehearse mentally, and allows you to focus on the individual step you’re doing instead of dwelling on Big Scary Thing.

Using Timers

If there are things you absolutely have to get done during a day, pick a start time and use a timer or automated reminder.

Such an alarm can be a good way to keep you on task, but also to keep you from overdoing it when you’re doing a long task like intensive housecleaning (or writing). I adapted my methods here from the blog UFYH, which advocates using 45/15 or 20/10 split… the first number being the amount of time "on” and the second being the amount of time “off”.

If you try this, remember that you’re not trying to get the job done in 20 or 30 or 45 minutes. The timer means it’s break time, not that you’re out of time.

Blocking The Internet

…or specific websites… may be necessary and helpful for some, though when I did this, I found that the problem wasn’t that the internet was *distracting* so much as I am *distractible*, and indeed, in need of distraction here and there to keep me on task in the long run. But many people report benefits to web-blocking or site-blocking add-ons, which you can find in your browser’s extension store. A lot of them are time controlled, so you can limit yourself to x hours of recreational browsing per day, or block social sites during “office hours”.

Motivational Programs

I use a web app/site called Habit RPGto help manage my to-do list and my daily tasks. It lets you set daily/recurring tasks, to-do items, and habits you want to encourage (or discourage) and then uses a CRPG-style reward structure. I think that apps of this nature are a growing niche.

Pulling It All Together

Basically, what you want to do to structure your time is create such a structure… a schedule. Or skeleton. But think about your skeleton, or the steel frame skeleton of a skyscraper. They're strong, yes, but they’re also open and flexible. 

Your schedule, the routine you build, it should help you rather than constrain you. Make it as firm as it needs to be, but when you start to feel trapped or you feel like the schedule is a test that you’re failing… time to revise, or throw it out and start again.

My situation is obviously different from yours, and everyone else reading this will also be in a different boat. But hopefully there’s something you can generalize from this.