Mike Levin SEO

Future-proof your technology-skills with Linux, Python, vim & git... and me!

Daily Work Diary Thought-work For Getting Into The Zone

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 03/07/2013

Ah, welcome again to my daily work diary. Things got rough again recently with the loss of my wife’s grandmother. I’m deep in my first project in my new role where I work. I’m going to be out of the office for two days next week for a big company management off-site. And I have to “show” my work at the office tomorrow, which is usually a work-from-home focus Friday day. Sunday will be the memorial service, and Monday will be Sitting Shvia. My dog needs to go to the vet, and I need to get my co-op management to do repairs to a wall at home where a mirror fell off the wall because it got wet from repairs in the apartment above us. There are many plates that need spinning, and I have to work smart, work hard, and not starve anything for attention that needs attention. Yeah, I know. First world problems. But this is my daily work journal and you’re reading it, so there.

Get this day underway, and make a wonderful story to tell for today that isn’t bogged down or derailed by other things going on in your life. It’s time for a little compartmentalization and mental concentration and focus tricks. Get into the zone in a timely fashion (early enough today to make a big difference), and STAY there come hell or high water. Of course, before you start doing this zone-getting-into, spin a few plates. You can’t work in isolation with headphones on with no interaction with your Internet audience or your bosses audience for too long, or people start thinking: what is Mike up to? I have to report into the bosses—at work, and you. You a boss? Yeah, Google Robert Cialdini’s principles of persuasion, and commitment and consistency in particular, which is the self-behavior hack I’m employing to keep myself on-track, maintain clarity, and work on the right things for the right reasons.

Every day, see if there isn’t an article-in-progress you can’t push out. Also, see if there isn’t a “website suggestion box question” that came in from HitTail that you can’t answer. The data type within WordPress that’s really easy to push out and work into different areas of the site are FAQ entries, which are what controls my Roadmap page, the FAQ page, and little accordion expansion box questions scattered all throughout the site. This is the best place to quickly hittail from and expand my site’s topical footprint. Every FAQ entry gets its own page, and a proper home somewhere within the site.

One of the things that improves my life pretty dramatically day-to-day is taking those few extra moments to learn something new about vim to solve something that’s been bugging me. On a similar note, is just practicing new things I recently learned, in order to commit them to memory. Two things come to mind recently. The first is how I want to keep spell-checking on all the time by editing “:set spell” into my .vimrc. Problem is that this creates a bright red obnoxious distracting background color on all suspected misspellings, and I want it to be more subtle and more aesthetically appealing, so that if I don’t fix a spelling, it still looks good. The answer is to add “:hi SpellBad ctermbg=52” to get a nice burgundy color. The next, is to make sure I remember to use the square bracket+s combo to step through spelling mistakes: ]s and [s. And finally, remember that “zg” will add a word to a word list so it won’t get highlighted, and if you make a mistake, and “zug” will undo adding a word to the word list if I made a mistake.

That’s enough vim items to practice today. I added my .vimrc to my vim article on MikeLev.in under the “Become More Technical” dropdown menu. This is the one system customization that I always want with me. I think I will move it, or something very close to it, into Levinux once I start building it into a real dev platform with vim. One of the annoying things about vim in the Tiny Core Linux repository is if you want to get a text-only vim that has color coded syntax highlighting supported, you also have to get the graphical version of vim that has all these graphics library dependencies, making it many tens of megabytes larger than it needs to be, which really is an issue for the recipe inflation process, which I’m trying to keep as fast and small as possible. That may be a first instance where I make my own Tiny Core Linux extension and submit it to the repository specifically for Levinux.

Pshwew, okay! That’s plenty for setting the tone for the day. I really have to pick up the pace, get into the zone, and crank out the latest round of demonstrate-able work for a meeting later today. It all ties back to Levinux however, fortunately, and is my trick for making what I’m working on as interesting to myself as anything else I could possibly be doing (except for spending time with my family). By using Levinux as the “test bed” for everything I’m doing in my new job, I will care passionately about my work, and be inching closer to my Linux Server education for everyone who would like to make the move to that old-school way of working, and needs a well-worn path to follow. Well, the well-worn path doesn’t really exist yet, but I’m forging through the forest with a machete.