Archived entries for Jacob Sam-La Rose - test

One Eye On The Future…

Suffice to say, it’s been a good week. Personally, my style of ‘logging’ changed since I first did something like this in Facebook notes – I’ve written more blog entries than simply lists of activities. I think they make for better reading. But perhaps I need to be a bit more stringent about what it is that I’m trying to investigate in each entry. I have a zillion other outlets for general blogging. The specific goal for this blog was to survey daily productivity. By extension that’s become “survey daily productivity AND your feelings about what you have or haven’t done.”

From a few of the posts and comments, I can see that it’s been a useful experience for those of us that managed to make it all the way through. I’d love to know what happened to the people that started but never finished. I’d love to have seen more cross-commenting on each other’s posts. I’d love to see more comments from people that I know are passing by and following (I’ve had offline conversations with a couple of you…) And yes, I’d love to do it again. I’m thinking about the last week in January, and perhaps quarterly thereafter.

For future weeks, I’m considering inviting people to set their own personal challenges or observational guidelines. Maybe there’s something specific you’d be trying to achieve or survey during a week of this kind of logging. I think writing with specific/clear goals in mind would help your involvement to be a more valuable, transformative experience. Thoughts and responses on this and any other points in comments, please…

Between now and then, I’ll continue posting notes about productivity and related bits n’ pieces. Participants – you’re welcome to do the same. Whether you’re a participant or casual observer, I’m hoping to see you here in the future…

The Weekend Edition – part two (aka Day 7)

Sunday. Lovely Sunday.

Managed to keep my routine of reading first thing in the morning. Finished reading through Adrian Tomine’s Shortcomings, and which was worth the time invested. The protagonist is a thoroughly disagreeable character, with few if any redeeming features, but really, he’s trapped in the straight-jacket of his own personality. Loved the final few panels as the world outside the airplane window dropped away into nothing. It’s subtle and understated work, particularly bearing the medium in mind – reading a graphic novel, I’ve certainly been trained to expect more visual fx, even in the more adult (less spandex and superpowers) kind of graphic novels I prefer to read these days. I’ll be looking out for more Tomine in the future…

To maintain my reading schedule, I picked a few more books from the ‘To Read’ pile. There’s a lot there to choose from, but while I had my reasons for buying everything that’s there, I’m not currently excited by everything that’s in “the tower that threatens to collapse and drown me every time I look at it.” I pulled the 2009 edition of Rhino, Josh Waitzkin’s Art of Learning, and The Best American Essays 2006, which should keep me going until my next Amazon delivery.

For the rest of the morning, I wrote a journal entry, read a few articles that my RSS subscriptions turned up, and blogged a bit. Sorted through and archived photos from the past few months (lots of photographic work to post-process and post on the blog…) Drafted a rough idea for a poem inspired by watching CSI with the missus yesterday (Saturday) evening. Cleaned up the hard drive on my Macbook Pro (1GB left on a 250GB drive – not healthy…)

Early afternoon, I took myself to the National Portrait Gallery to check in on the Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize. Picked out a number of names of photographers to follow up on, but I wanted a little more about the story behind each image.

Handled a little shopping on Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road in the rain (knitwear and stationery), then schlepped down to the Southbank. From the lack of impassioned “I’ll be there” messages, I didn’t think I’d be joined by any WHWDers, so I took the time out to plan 2010, plan the reboot of the Vineyard website in a bit more detail, read (Rhino 2009) and draft another poem. Then home to spend some quality time with the missus.

The Weekend Edition – part one (aka Day 6)

It occurs to me that I didn’t post anything over the weekend. When I invited people to join the blog, I presumed that they wouldn’t want to post “productivity journals” over the weekend. Tsk. Bearing in mind the kind of people I invited, I really should have known better.

Saturday, there wasn’t much to speak of. In the morning, I took care of the flat. Domestics, glorious domestics. That done, I moved on to some planning and reviewing. Notes taken on the kind of week I had in comparison to what I was hoping for, and the week ahead. One of the good things that’s I’ve observed from this week is the way my scheduling is heading in (what for me is) a good direction. A little more space in between things. Less manic activity. There are always busy periods and less busy periods, and I’m winding down for the end of the year, but I feel as if I have a pretty good relationship with the systems I use to manage incoming “stuff” and that can only be a good thing. Of course, such systems need to be stress tested…

Post-planning, I wrote the rest of Saturday off for quality time with mum. I took her to the V&A, where we ambled through the Fashion, Silverwork and Jewellery exhibitions. The only negative came when we tried to get something to eat at Kwality Tandoori on Thurloe Place. After 45 minutes without any indication of our ordered mango lassis arriving, and watching other guests abandon their tables in disgust with the quality of the service, we decided to jump ship.

Ended the day feeling good, ‘Kwality’ notwithstanding.


“I’ve been trying an experiment. Whenever I want to use the word “busy,” I substitute another word instead. I’ve been trying “excited” with mixed results. “I’ve been too excited with these projects to give you a call,” works. But it breaks down when trying to use it instead of saying no. “I’m too excited to speak at your conference,” hasn’t been as effective.”

via Liz Danzico (Bobulate)

Working Hard?

“We’re all workaholics now. And yet, I suspect the problem is not so much that we work too hard. Rather, it’s that we work hard without being quite sure what we’re working for.”

Mark Vernon on Working Hard (via the School of Life)

Sunday, maybe?

We’ve pretty much reached the end of the week. We’ve lost a few along the way, and I’m hoping we’ll see a few last minute check-ins before Monday. A few participants have started to mention how this experience has been a good thing for them – I’d love to see more discussion of this in comments. Also, I’d tabled the idea of a Sunday meeting in the original vision for the week.  If people are still available/interested, it’d be great to meet at the Royal Festival Hall around 7pm. Call, mail, tweet, or send me some other sign. Otherwise, post some comments with your thoughts.

Thanks for sharing this week, guys – I’ll post more about my own thoughts from the week and future WHWD weeks soon.

Day 5 – Jacob

Short one to round off the week from me.

The original plan for Friday included drafting a poem for a submission, leading one of my poetry project days at Morpeth, running a workshop after school in Covent Garden for another class of Singaporean students, and squeezing some time in somewhere to look after a few of the blogs. Came out of my corner swinging hard and ready to get some work done, starting with a 7am start and a workout. First, I had to review and refine my workshop plans for the day. By the time I got through everything it was close to half 8, and the time left for drafting the poem was rapidly draining away.

Then came the phone call. Friday was Eid, a number of students weren’t making it into school, my poetry project was down to half strength, the head decided it would be a good idea to have the poetry project join up with the sports project, with the final result that I didn’t need to go into school. I’d been looking forward to catching up with the class, but the unexpected time was a blessing.

So the day became a poetry day. I caught up on a fair amount of writing, then left for my afternoon workshop. Got home around 8pm and, after posting some content to the Slam in Chicago blog, I decided to call it an early night. Properly, this time.

Day 4 – Jacob

Up at 7am, for a quick work out, followed by prep for the rest of the day. Printed poems from Miriam to be discussed in a later session, double-checked iPhone access to documents I might have needed for one of my meetings. Then out the door. Breakfast, again, on the hop, courtesy of Prêt.

First appointment of the day was a workshop at the Barbican. 2 hours with year 5 students, with the intention of running fun poetry related activities. I was expecting 30, but the school only brought 15. They were a little later than planned – while waiting, I sketched out ideas for a blog post and some plans for transferring one of my web projects from a forum to a blog platform.

After the workshop, I stopped at Prêt again for lunch. Caught up on a bit of mail, caught up on some of the entries on this blog, and made notes for my next meeting. Gotta love having a web enabled smartphone.

The next meeting was with Apples & Snakes at Free Word. Two and a half hours pounding out the finer details of a youth poetry project. After that, an unscheduled meeting yielded a good result – I may be running a quarterly youth poetry event next year…

During the meetings, I got two messages – one to say that the poet that’s supposed to shadow me in tomorrow’s workshop has gone into hospital for an emergency operation. Another to say that the teacher I usually have with me for tomorrow’s workshop also won’t be there. I also realised that T-mobile still hadn’t reactivated my voicemail since my return from Chicago. Called in to sort that out, and found that a previous well-meaning customer services rep had totally nuked my voicemail service when I left the country. And I thought all those missed callers were just being lazy…

Jumped on the train from Farringdon to Waterloo for another two meetings at the Southbank. First, Suzanne – to get a new email account up and running on her Macbook Pro, discuss a move into a shared office with her in 2010, and give her a bit of tech-related advice (mostly software). Second, Miriam (who I’m currently mentoring) – to check in on her current projects vs her goals, talk about ways we can work together through 2010, set her a challenge to submit work to literary journals, and look at the poems she’s submitted for her first pamphlet. Starting a 19.30, I’d put aside an hour and a half for that final meeting, but ended up going on for an extra hour. Got the 22.25 back to Catford, and touched down at home for 23.00.

I’m supposed to finish a poem tonight, but I’m clocking off. I’ll take care of everything else in the morning.

Maker vs Manager

Another break from the logs. Promised I’d post this for Sarah, but I figure many of us would find this interesting:

“When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That’s no problem for someone on the manager’s schedule. There’s always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker’s schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it.”

Day 3 – Jacob (London)

Okay, I’m not fighting it. Another late night, another late start. Sleep happened between 2.30am and 8am. Woke up reading – finished the sci-fi (Orphanage, Robert Buettner) which turned out to be worth the time invested.

Leapt straight into email- following up on an offer to run a workshop at the Brighton Festival in May, more negotiation for a 4 day poetry project in Reading, spreading the word  for WHWD and the SLAM in Chicago blog I’m running with a small team of collaborators. Passed on some details to some of the emerging poets I’m working with about my Delicious poetry archive. Added Slam In Chicago and WDHD to my email signature. All this and a raft of other basic but time consuming communications.

I really need to sort out a better system for contact management. While everyone seems to be on Facebook and that fact alone makes it a compelling messaging platform, its contact management functionality leaves a lot to be desired. Apple’s Address Book app is good for developing quick mailing groups using smart folders based on text in the notes field, the only downside being that there’s no auto-complete for tags. Messy.

Moving on to the rest of my day, I started to rethink my site to properly represent the work I want to be doing. My site needs to allow for more blogging and writing about my industry sector (poetry, pedagogy and professional development). My site’s been languishing for the past year – and while it’s functional at the moment, it’s still not the site I want it to be. I just don’t have the time to be the web designer/developer I used to be. Maybe over Christmas.

Continued to clear down today’s list of actionable items (mostly via email again), including following up on an offer to perform poetry at the High Commission of Guyana and chasing down some stationery from a design company in New York. Also checked in on the Vineyard (an international community of poets I established a few years back), responded to a few posts and laid out some action points for a potential US tour.

Took a bit of time out on the X-Box, then took a couple of hours to draft some ideas for a poem I’ve been asked to write for a speculative television thing. Can’t say any more about that one, but I’ll be putting some more work in on it before the end of the week. It’s a persona poem, and I’ll ideally want to be able to offer a couple of different alternative takes to see which one works best.

Then web related geekery. Scanned some RSS items. Taught myself to hack Tumblr so I could add some more features to a template I’d selected for the SLAM in Chicago blog (spent a long time looking for a decent theme that did everything I wanted before deciding to stick with the theme I’d already selected and do the rest myself…) Posted new Chicago content there, some via my Flickr page, and learned a bit about editing video in iMovie. Wanted to post-process some images for my photoblog, but I have to wind things down – I’m running a workshop in the morning, and it’s going to be a long day. Should really get an early night…

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