Missing the Mark

Today I was way off in planning what I would achieve vs. what I actually achieved. I made great inroads on long-term plans, which have some follow ups for tomorrow — camping in Algonquin Provincial Park will be a thing following the wedding, including canoeing and hiking and camping, and I have an AirB&B that I lucked into ~30 minute walk from GenCon. This has worked out well!

The downfall was in the follow-ups to those successes. In my morning journal I planned to follow those threads even further, but instead wound up working on the other things that I identified from yesterday and before as awesome to do. So while I don’t feel to bad about my accomplishments for the day, I wonder if there was a way to get the plan better aligned.

One thought is that part of the problem is that the journal came so late in the process. Normally I try to do that very early in the morning, because the trigger is to do it on the subway, and MWF that comes around 7am when I’m just getting out of the climbing gym. But today was a non-climbing day and I didn’t get to it until I went out for the first thing, which was visiting the library which didn’t open until 9. So I got a very late start on that.

Another thing is that I had evening things in my plan, but didn’t look at the plan when I got back from work, so I didn’t tackle them. The output I got instead was useful (updating course outlines so they’re ready to ship and fleshing out the lesson plan for Inner Simulator) but they weren’t things that needed to happen today. The main thing that got missed is prep for board games night tomorr0w. All I really have to do for that at home is gather up a bunch of games into a format that makes them easy to transport, in case people don’t bring any of their own, but I also want to sit down and think about what kinds of things I should be asking people/saying/etc in order to get them to come back (and also exactly what prep I should do to make the board games area inviting).

A thought for overlearning TAPs, which is supposed to be the focus this week — another good trigger for creating new taps is the “I should figure out X” thought — break it down into components and describe when each will be figured out. This also applies to abstract versions of the same thing — for example, the phrase I origianlly used above before I corrected myself was “exactly how much prep I should do” which is a) hard to be exact about and b) the wrong question; really I want to do as little as possible and the question is what is the biggest bang/buck in terms of people coming back and where is the inflection point (ie where the tradeoff stops being worth making).

Ideally I would have a table placard — or several, reserving as many tables as I expect I’ll need based on 80% of the YES and 40% of the MAYBE attendees showing up (we can always add more but it’s awkward (slightly) if I reserve too many tables since people won’t sit together and get to know each other. Those can be printed on paper although I nice color print on card stock would be nicer — TAP — tomorrow, when I sit down at my desk, go over to the printer and check out whether any card stock or similar is available.

If I bring out some beers/snacks and board games to populate the tables (start set-up around 5:30) that should be good.

Right! On with the other things. Research is hard. I got a reasonable amount of information from the libary trip, but not 100% success — at least one of the 4 papers I printed on PCK looks like a dud on the first skimming, and only one grabbed my interest for a very deep review. It’s weird how everything is backwards when you go to the library — if the resource I was trying to access was stored in paper form there, they let me scan it, so for those things I now have an electronic copy (I didn’t scan the whole books, just the most interesting chapter in each book). The things that were available electronically (journals etc) however, I couldn’t download and save — I had to print them onto trees. Crazyness! And the whole morning’s effort could have been done in one pomo if the resources weren’t locked away behind paywalls (or if I’d been willing to pay $40 per article for them).

That tradeoff is interesting. On one hand, I’m employed, so it’s fairly easy to calculate the value of my time — up to a point. On the other hand, if I buy things instead of going to the library, the saved time doesn’t turn directly into money — that conversion is not available to repeat nearly as easily or at the same rate (in small quantities; I’m sure I could run a contracting business instead, for example, if I wanted to make making that tradeoff easier). Additionally, the main issue was in not being prepared adequately for realities — I didn’t murphyjitsu at all, and even if I had it’s not clear that the failure mode of “the closest library doesn’t have a working printer” would have been realized.

One of the largest time-costs there was trying to find the relevant parts of books to photocopy them (and finding them on the shelves to start with — especially the 3 I never used). The one reference I had to a clear section of a book worked out well; for the others it was definitely not worth it. I think for the future I’ll have to restrict myself to books that are either a) online or b) available in such a way that I can read the whole book once I’m there. For journal articles once I ended up in the right place it was simple to get them from the specific reference; next time the optimization is a) try to find a closer source with the same access and b) try to get more at once.

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