Weekly Head Voices #161: Email Equilibrium.

fastmail This folder is empty

Welcome to the one hundred and sixty first edition of the Weekly Head Voices, looking back at the week from Sunday January 27 to Sunday February 3, 2018.

I am writing this draft in a markdown file, using good old Emacs, during an early morning session (more about that later), because I am still not really loving the Gutenberg block-based editor experience in WordPress 5.0.

Today, I have three stories:

Running inspiration

After a month-long normal-shoe-person hiatus at the end of last year which again led to tender ankles, I realised (I’m a slow realiser, ok?) that it’s not the shoes but the person in the shoes.

Because it seemed that the shoes initially offered some relief, I reflexively started increasing distance and speed until my ankles started complaining again.

Durnit!

I then chatted with an erstwhile collaborator who is now, besides still being a successful tech entrepreneur, a successful sandal-wearing ultra runner and Leadville Trail 100 mile finisher.

He gave great advice, especially with regard to continuously training complementary muscle groups so that they can better contribute to the whole running mechanism.

Perhaps more importantly (to me) than that, was simply knowing that someone with a history, mechanism and control system not too dissimilar from mine, including the flat feet, runs so far with much joy.

Shortly after the chat, friend LM sent me this highly interesting Run Repeat survey of 150+ studies about arch support.

Amongst other things, it again confirmed what we know about barefoot and minimalist runners running with less impact and more efficiency, two ideas that I really like.

All of this led to me getting back on my Lunas, and my Xeros, and my bare feet.

I have been keeping the distances shorter, and my pace lower.

Initial results are encouraging.

P.S. Of course that survey does not come with a simple answer. However, the quote at the end by itself is worth the price of admission:

If you don’t need an arch support, you probably shouldn’t use one. It is the equivalent of wearing a cast when you don’t have a stress fracture or broken bone. Why would you do that? The best forms of injury prevention are make sure your body is balanced in strength, mobility and flexibility, you are training smart and getting good sleep and nutrition. An arch support affects only one aspect of the body. Don’t forget the big picture.

A FAR cheaper and more long term solution? Work on you arch, foot and hip strength!!! That is where you are supposed to get “arch support” from. Not some shoe insert. Work on your posterior tibialis, fibularis longus, single leg balance, proprioception, gluteal strength, core strength, body alignment, etc.

Dr Mathew Klein

Early(ish) morning sessions

It usually takes us until about 20:30 and often up to about 21:00 when all of our GOUs are finally in their beds. There’s a spread of 10 years between the oldest and the youngest, so there’s a wide range of themes and activities keeping us busy until that hour.

In my younger days (ack!) I used to be able to switch my work brain back on at that time, and work quite productively for a few hours.

(It is of course also possible that I just don’t remember this too well. Who knows what’s real anymore?!)

Whatever the case may be, it seems that I wrote blog posts, did some more reading and learning, and was generally productive.

More recently however, I’ve noticed that my work brain simply refuses to come back online at nine.

In order to work around this issue, my awake brain devised a plan, during the daylight hours of course.

Instead of trying to force poor work-brain to continue working, I go to bed at 22:00 and set my alarm for 5:30 (the optimal amount of sleep these days is 7.5 hours exactly). It does not seem like much, but I have an extra 50 minutes to an hour of crystal clear time in the mornings before the rest of the family wakes up to start the day.

(I also used to do this in 2012 when we were finishing The Visual Computing in Medicine Book. In Dutchie-land, the kids go to school much later, so I had even more time in the mornings.)

I usually start the morning with a little mindfulness exercise from the Waking Up course (extremely high-stress double-project-lead duties in 2013 were the catalyst that got me into mindfulness and early morning practices in the first place!), then I do the day planner, and then I take care of one or two important activities, the selection of which is usually clear after the day planning.

(It has not escaped me that this whole exercise is quite reminiscent of HN’s startup founder daily routine parody. :).

This morning, I get to write the words you are currently reading, with a clear(ish) mind to boot.

Whether this is just novelty, I don’t know yet, but it currently does seem as if starting the day with a bit of quiet and focus increases the probability the rest of my day at the office also starts more productively.

Inbox under control. WHAT IS HAPPENING?!

In the old days, I used to be a fan of inbox zero.

However, due to life stubbornly not adhering to Merlin Mann’s view of email (quite poetically, it seems that the inboxzero.com website is currently down), I eventually ended up with 1000+ unread emails in my inbox. (I know people with multiples of that…)

The term email bankruptcy (shudder) had even come up once or twice in conversations with friends.

Whoops.

I wrote back in WHV #69 that there seemed to be an inverse correlation between my creativity and inbox-zero.

I still think there is something to be said for that observation.

One can definitely get sucked into busy-work, a prime example of which is the grooming of one’s email, wasting time and energy that could far better be invested in creative pursuits.

However, could it be possible in some situations that one’s email landscape has changed in such a way that it has suddenly become tractable to maintain inbox-zero with a creativity-friendly and entirely affordable amount of energy?

Could it be that because one has let email slip so long, people don’t send as much email anymore, and now one paradoxically has the opportunity to reclaim inbox zero?

It seems it can be.

On January 31, at the tail end of that day’s early morning session, I was staring incredulously at the words:

This Folder is Empty.

my inbox

I don’t want to call this inbox zero, because it’s not 2007 anymore Dorothy.

Let’s go for Email Equilibrium Startup Founder Parody instead.

P.S.

Friends, thank you for reading this.

I am looking forward to our next meeting.

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