Monday, June 9, 2014

Burning the Script

2011 has been dead and gone for a few years and so has this blog.

Writing about my goals was a huge incentive for me to achieve them. Here's a quick report on my 4 goals and info on a new project I'm really excited about.

Goal 1 - Design Something New Every Day

I've done pretty well with this goal I guess. Not because I have made an extra effort. It's what I do. Looking back on this reminds me to do better. I'd like to be more consciously creative each day. I love to use creativity to solve life's daily problems.

Goal 2 - Excel in Meaningful Education

I've done alright in this area as well. Not in the way I had intended. Formal education and I are what my wife defines as frienemies. I love the group setting and collaborative aspects of a classroom but find it too restrictive. I learn a lot better when I just allow life to teach me what I need to know. When I want to learn something, I read, a ton. I am just a few shy of graduation and plan on leaving it that way. WHY????? Because it's just not "Meaningful" to me.

Goal 3 - Continuous Home Improvement

We are in the middle of the biggest Continuous Home Improvement project yet. We moved from our disgustingly oversized 4,000 square foot house to a century old home in Heber City. The house is old, smelly, and falling into the ground but the yard is incredible. We are gardening and raising 12 chickens. One of the biggest changes is we are on the path to release ourselves from the bondage of physical possessions. No, we aren't getting rid of everything. But I would guess we have let go about 1/3 of our physical possessions so far and have a lot to do. If you are interested in some of our old junk (I really hope you're not) we are having a big yard sale this Saturday.

Goal 4 - Finish "Top of Utah Marathon"

I DID IT! A little behind my goal of finishing under 4 hours but it was a great experience. The actual race was a lot different than I had imagined it would be. The first half of the race was through freezing rain and hail stones. Skating down the canyon road on little balls of ice wasn't what I had trained for and I had to alter my form to avoid wipeout. My father in law joined me for the last 8 miles and I had a strong finish.

At the time I said that would be my only big race. One and done. A bucket list item. I have run a few long races since. Last year Ali and I ran the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon together. I loved running with her and seeing her achieve this goal.

I don't run on roads as much anymore because I found the trails. I will run my first full trail marathon this fall.

Thanks for following. I wish I had been more consistent in writing. This new project is fueled less by goals and more by passion. If you haven't already heard about it please check it out. The goals that I have written about for Project Twenty 11 are definitely a part of this new adventure.

Burning the Script
Because life is too amazing to live by the generic and uninspiring plan that society has laid out for us.

Thanks again,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Goal 3 - Clutter

I don't follow very many blogs or feeds but there is one that I read every day.

An excellent resource for ideas on how to live a simplified life. Today's post was about clutter and how it inhibits us from being able to focus on what we are doing and enjoy life. I've mentioned before that I have an extremely short attention span - that is - when I'm in an unorganized environment. When my life and surroundings are in order I am able to tune in to whatever I'm doing and the creative juices flow. If you are anything like me you will find this article interesting and extremely helpful.


Scientists find physical clutter negatively affects your ability to focus, process information
Researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute published the results of a study they conducted in the January issue of The Journal of Neuroscience that relates directly to uncluttered and organized living. From their report “Interactions of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex”:

Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system.

Or, to paraphrase in non-neuroscience jargon: When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment.

The clutter competes for your attention in the same way a toddler might stand next to you annoyingly repeating, “candy, candy, candy, candy, I want candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy …” Even though you might be able to focus a little, you’re still aware that a screaming toddler is also vying for your attention. The annoyance also wears down your mental resources and you’re more likely to become frustrated.

The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and other physiological measurement tools to map the brain’s responses to organized and disorganized stimuli and to monitor task performance. The conclusions were strong — if you want to focus to the best of your ability and process information as effectively as possible, you need to clear the clutter from your home and work environment. This research shows that you will be less irritable, more productive, distracted less often, and able to process information better with an uncluttered and organized home and office.

If you don’t subscribe to The Journal of Neuroscience, I recommend heading to your local library to read the full article. Also, thanks to the reader who brought this research to our attention.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Goal 4 - Now What?

A few years ago I tore a ligament in my foot while playing soccer. It took a few months to heal and because I’m impatient and stubborn I played again before I was supposed to and made things worse.

The last couple times I have run I have felt tenderness in the area. It is a very distinct linear pain so I’m pretty sure it’s the same ligament. The pain is hardly noticeable and occurs only when I’m running.

I would love to just keep running through this but don’t want to chance another tear.

What do I do?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Goal 3 - 5S to Simplify

Why do we live such complicated lives? How much of our troubles do we create for ourselves? Why do we sabotage our efforts? I ask myself these questions a lot. At work, at home, at church, basically everywhere we go we do things to pile more and more on our already overflowing plate of things to do. How much time do you spend sorting through and moving around things you really don't need in order to find what you do need? How much damaging negative stress does this create? Why do you do this to yourself again and again?

How do we get away from this? A principle that has had a profound effect on my life and allowed me to simplify things I do is


5 principles of simplification. 5 words beginning with S
Seiri (整理) Sort:
Go through everything in a drawer, on a shelf, in your car, anywhere. Pull it all out and divide it into 3 categories.
-Things you use and things add value to your life.
-Things you really don't need but someone else might.
This can be a difficult process. There are those items you might use down the road or something that has sentimental value. We will go into strategies for this situation another day. Get rid of everything you don't use at least once a month (seasonal items are a tricky exception). They aren't doing you any good in the basement or garage. If you have these items mixed in with the things you need and use they are making your life miserable. If it works, donate it to someone else to enjoy or sell it and make some money. Otherwise, IN THE TRASH!!!

Seiton (整頓) Set in Order:
Focuses on efficiency. The intent is to arrange the items in the way that makes your task easier and life more enjoyable. Things should be kept where they will be used.
-If it's used very regularly (hourly) have it visible in a designated spot.
-If it's used fairly often (daily) put it where you can get to it in 5 seconds.
-If it's used occasionally (weekly +) have it out of the way but know where it is.
A place for everything and everything in it's place (Like the laundry shelf).

Seisō (清掃) Shine:
Keep things clean as well as neat. At the end of, or during, each task the area is cleaned up and everything is restored to its place. This makes it easy to know what goes where and have confidence that everything is where it should be.
The key point is that maintaining cleanliness should be part of life, not an occasional drudgery you only do when things get too messy. If you keep things clean and like new they will last longer.

Seiketsu (清潔) Standardize:
Everyone knows exactly what his or her responsibilities are and how and when to do them. Standardized processes for daily tasks help us maintain order and keep the first 3 S's going.

Shitsuke (躾) Sustain:
Once the previous 4S's have been established, they become part of life. Maintain the focus on this new way of operating, and do not allow a gradual decline back to the old ways of doing things. However, when an issue arises such as a suggestion for improving a process, a new way to do something, a new tool or system, it should be considered.

Remember, CONTINUOUS Home Improvement is never final.

This takes practice and patience. Applying the principles of 5-S to your life will reduce and headaches and wasted time, allowing you to be more flexible and spontaneous. You will find getting rid of things you don't need and keeping a limited supply of those you do need will save you a ton of money. And, next time a friend or relative stops by you won't think "oh #$%! the house is a mess and we have nothing to feed them".

Monday, January 31, 2011

Goal 4 - Back on Track

After what felt like forever I was able to go running this morining (don't tell the doctor, I was supposed to wait a few more days). A quick 27 minute 5K.
My comfort zone right now is about 8 miles per hour. Any faster than that zaps my energy pretty quick. I'd like to get up to 10 on these shorter runs by the time my real training schedule begins. I figure if I do that I can maintain a good pace for longer runs.
I may have mentioned this before, maybe not. At this point I only ever want to run 1 marathon in my life. I want to use this as an intense training and conditioning program to get me ready for other events. For example.....
Trail Running

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Goal 3 - Laundry/Mud Room

I've been meaning to post these pictures for a while now. They are of the current state of our Laundry/Mud room. As I said before we have adjusted the layout a few times and it is still a work in progress. This is how Continuous Home Improvement works.

This is the best shot I could get of the entire room. The shelf may look cluttered from this view but it's actually pretty well organized. Notice the placement of the big blue liquid detergent container directly above the washer. It took 4 seconds to fill the measuring cup to the line. Now it's just 4 seconds directly in the wash. No need for the cup. Process simplified.

Keeping the shelf organized is managed by sectioning off areas for each function. This is an easy way to avoid putting things where they don't belong. I used Automotive pin striping tape from NAPA. for the area labels I used giant Popsicle sticks which I taped to the bottom of the shelf. You can take this to whatever level of organization you want. If it helps you stay organized to tape of an area for each individual item, do it!

We decided to move the clothes hampers under the folding table. This makes it easier to load the washer and also frees up floorspace in the middle of the room. Because my wife and I are both right handed this layout would have been better if the washer and dryer were on the opposite wall but this is a constraint we have to deal with.

These next pictures demonstrate how you should avoid spending allot of time and money on organization strategies until you have been through a few variations of your layout and know what is going to work for you. Then you can spend the $$$ to make it look nice.

We attached a shoebox to the wall for collecting lint balls and dryer sheets.A sheet rock screw works great as a hook for brooms, mops and ironing boards. See the first picture for more detail. Here is our interim solution for the shoe pile. An old laundry basket with a broken handle. We also have our collection location for recyclables and purse and back pack storage spot.

Always keep in mind that this should be a gradual process. If you finalize things right off, chances are you won't be satisfied with your space and end up making changes anyway. More $ and headache!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Goals 1,2,3 & 4 - M.I.A.

This last week has been an interesting one. I haven’t really felt like writing. I love writing so that’s an indication of how things have gone.

Last Saturday I did my first 5 mile run. It took me 48 minutes (2 minutes quicker than my goal). I felt great. I haven’t run since. On Sunday the surgery site on my left side became really tender and painful. It was getting red and swollen. Long story short…. I didn’t do my Monday morning run which made me groggy and grumpy. Withdrawal ? I was able to get in to see the doctor on Tuesday . He reprimanded me for running and said it had caused some damage. His assistant removed the stitches , put on some tape to keep things together and told me to not run for 2 weeks. 2 weeks?

It’s strange how when one area of life is out of balance other areas get shaken up as well. I forgot that students can get free 2 day shipping from Amazon. I’ve been waiting for my textbooks for weeks. I haven’t designed anything or done any improvement projects that are really worthy to share here. A bit of a rut I guess.

I was able to go to the other anthropology class. I could tell it was going to be a better match before the instructor said a word. She had some aboriginal music playing as students filed in. She has a very flexible and dynamic teaching style and I was able to keep my ADD mind focused the entire 2 hours and 45 minutes.

I’m slowly recovering from the funk and hope to be back to myself for the weekend. My wife deserves her real husband back. And I’ll get back on track with things here and maybe respond to a few of your comments.

Oh, I almost forgot. Even though this blog is mostly for myself I want it to be interesting to whoever decides to tune in. Is it boring? Anything specific I should write about? What else? I’ve already been asked to post more pictures of things I write about which I promise to do.