Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Project Notes

Ok, since i can't connect my computer to the internet at school, blogging has taken a sabattical. But what i've found is that its still been useful for me to take notes on my projects i am working on. Basically, i just keep a stickies text file open on my desk top and jot something down that i think is worth noting. Some observation about my own behavior mostly. Mostly these notes revolve around my procrastination/time management project, and my japanese project. like most of the crap here, they're a bit rambling, but whatever its' my website, biotch. here's a dump of about a month's worth of notes, and an insight into the inner workings of tommy's brain

i guess there's also alot of crap about work, and this character "umemoto" umemoto sensei is the teacher i mainly work with. Basically, i don't really jive with her that well.



After lunch, I studied japanese for ten minutes, even though lunch break was over. Its ok to take a break, but I had just come off a break. better to do something fun after you do something not fun

at one point, i was talking to noda sensei, right as I was about to take a break. Instead of taking a break, I went back to working on what i was doing briefly

6:30: grabbed up some potato chips on an impulse, even though I hadn't decided to buy them before. Not really "procrastination" per se, but it seems like impulsiveness is a similar problem.

7:00 at tsutaya, had finished getting what i needed and went to go look at XBox games

7:45ish. Determined that I couldn't finish making dinner before I decided to go to the pool, so in the time between where i was going to make dinner and going to the pool, did some reading. Procrastination, or reward?

10:15 ish dinner wasn't finished, continued to watch DMC instead of doing what was scheduled- photography. it was still recreation, but unscheduled, and I hadn't yet finished cleaning dishes

morning: kept watching tv after eating b/c it was interesting. Unplanned reward.

Shower: timer is broken. rinse phase was ok, but washing took longer as i was perfectionisting and going slowly. Also after washing stood in the water for a while b/c it was warm. unplanned reward.
After shower, stood in front of the mirror admiring myself for a couple minutes lol.

leaving: had plenty of time, but i hadn't organized clothes well the night before, so my shit was all over the house and had to look for it.

School: arrived with a few minutes to spare. didn't do anything really.

after chorei, When I downloaded my podcasts, spent a little time dicking around on the internet, and consequentially forgot to load the mp3s in my player, so had to go back and do it again.

why did that conversation with umemoto piss me off? Well, unscheduled meetings are kind annoying. I felt like she was stomping on my turf, as usual, and was pressuring me to get this shit finished earlier than had be originally planned. I didn't know the answer to her question, or what or why she was asking it. I need to be nicer to her, especially since she was doing something for me, but like I really don't like being interrupted.

9:25 worked for 20 minutes. didn't set alarm. bell rang and I realized i hadn't prepared for class :)

11:18 needed to look up something in the dictionary, and ended up reading it a little bit

11:38 continued to work instead of taking a break

3:30: Umemoto asked me to finish prepping something, I had been working on it all day. I knew when she asked me, it would be tough to meet the deadline and she kept pressuring me and reminding me. Anyway, like when it came to actually getting it to a completed state, i told her that there was one part i didn't want to include on the test anyway, and she was like "no i want you to include it" so i did and it took a few minutes, but I felt pressure to finish it in a short period of time. the final sheet wasn't like what i wanted it to be. there was some issues with Word that i was working out, but in the process, was procrastinating on actually getting it done by worrying about getting it right. Perfectionism +_resistance to authority. I really am deathly allergic to being told what to do and how to act. authority
on one hand I feel like sometimes i wish i had more concrete work at this job, and sometimes i feel like the work is too concrete and doesn't allow me any freedom to do what i want.

Morning: shower timer still busted. need to buy a new one. forgot to organize my clothes again. Woke up early and started to read, but continued after the alarm went off.

Prioritizing/procrastination: again when dling podcasts, got distracted with reading the internets. I needed to ask Umemoto about class first period. also, i forgot to actually put the mp3s on my player no negative consequences, but whatevs

10:15: did some "incidental cleaning for like 15 minutes looking for a piece of paper


12:50 So, as expected, Umemoto kept bothering me to show her the test. I had completed it earlier in the day. its very obvious to me that, as much as i try, a. this class is not mine, but ultimately, hers b. my bosses/coworkers/colleagues still don't trust me. Is it becasue I of turning things in late? i dunno. I always feel like even when theres a deadline that i feel like I can make, it gets pushed up, or some other bullshit work gets put on top of it at the last minute, or like the first version I turn in isn't good enough (for me or for them). Anyway I don't know if this is a procrastination problem or not. I suspect it is. I'm justifying stuff that shouldn't really need justifying. justifying my tardiness (even though I thought I had done it on time) I dunno. I wish i could talk this over with someone who ws on my side...

月曜日 2/23 9:25
perfectionisting unschedule to avoid working on HBMLP schedule

10:50 perfectionisting: while doing edits, changed a card that was not in the edit que, to be more accurate, and match the card i had been previously working on. Should have added it to the edit queue and moved on

10:55 perfectionisting: after alarm went off, decided I needed to unsuspened edited cards. Probably should just do this at the beginning of next edit session.

1:45 ish perfectionisting: timer went off and I just had "a little more to do"- editing fonts and crap, ended up spending like another half hour until i was "interrupted" by an unexpected meeting

9:20 planned on working for 20 minutes, decided to work for 40

perfectionisting? decided to do cards with a fudepen, takes about five times longer. dou ka na? Is it killing two birds with one stone? perfectionisting? I mean, I do think that it is important to know how to write the characters, and it affects how I would do them with a pen as well

how should I deal with "work related distractions"-when someone comes and asks me to do something while I'm in the middle of something else?
first thing, is obviously, I have to start on the new thing right away, second thing is, I can't take the break I had planned until I've at least completed a big chunk of the new project. Basically, have to reset the clock and move to a new project

2:40 perfectionisting: tried to get better stories and more accurate definitions for some characters, which took a shitload of time, especially when I already had stories

6:08 impulsiveness: incidental cleaning

2月25日 水曜日
9:20 perfectionism. continued to work after alarm.

10:29 perfectionism. changed the time of how long to do meditation, like five times
1:20 distraction. (did not time) continued to read long after lunch was over
I was working on grading these tests, and at the end of the day spend almost two hours on them. The lunch break i took today was extra long for some reason, and in fact, as i was doing it, felt as though I had to get back to work. I did and ume was like "oh are they done yet" and i was like... umm no way, i just began them. At another point i went back to my desk to take a break and do some cards, after a 40 minute session, and ume came over and was like "what are the grades like" and i was like " i don't know" and she was like "are they less than 30 point or some bullshit" and i was like "i really don't know." The fact is, I don't give a fuck about these tests, or testing in general. I know I'm supposed to, but tests are bullshit from both a learners perspective and a teachers perspective. why do i have to threaten them with a test to get them to study? threaten them with some arbitrary points game that is supposed to affect their future and reflect their ability to perform? Anyway, I did the grading for like two hours and it wasn't done yet. I feel like i wasn't or perfectionisting or getting distracted (while I was doing them). However, i was stopping every so often to 'take a break" it seems like these breaks tend to end up taking longer than I think-like not just 5 minutes, but like 10 at least 10mins break:20mins work aint good. Basically, while at work, if there is something I have to do, I don't really get a break(other than lunch break). blah. so i had to leave at my "real work time" to get to the bank, and the grading wasn't done yet. I felt like really bad about it. really stressed spent like 10 minutes thinking about whether i should leave or not. making excuses I wanted to tell Ume. On Basically it was really stressfull to leave work unfinished. The only way i can imagine to have made it better is if I hadn't taken a break the whole afternoon, and hadn't taken a longer lunch break. I dont even know if I could have finished it.

deadlines: if there is a deadline coming up, i suppose the only thing may be to just keep working until the job is finished? Theoretically the stress of deadlines would diminish as you become less of a perfectionist, and more about starting, but i suppose its still a worry
my main habit for working may be the desire to finish everything-to keep going on whatever i am working on until well i guess, until i get bored or something, or tired, i dunno

火曜日 2・26
working on housework, did some laundry kind of did it slowly and decided that in the remaining time I would get some dishes done. there was only 3 minutes remaining. the reason I am writing this is because I felt like It was really unfocused work, slow, time wasty. yeah its over now.

day off-月曜日 3・2
9:15 distraction. checked e-mail
11:10 perfectionism/distraction. continued to look at the internet site, b/c it was interesting after i finished getting what i needed.

12:12 listening to jero made me want to look up more jero lol

1:30 impulsivity: went to the book store to look for some books that i was wondering "do they have them at the book store in hita?" in addition, ended up spending most of my time reading the doraemon kanji dictionary and then going to another store.

2:37 dicked around on the internet for awhile before actually getting back to work

8:00 shopping takes longer than expected, thus bumping back dinner, and also swimming. in fact, didn't even get around to eating dinner. Wasn't sure what to do, should i stay and eat, or go as planned? decided to go as planned and eat after swimming.

3月3日 (火曜日)
man i kicked ass today. reviews: 181 review time: 47 minutes adds: 26 time:2hr.15min. study work: 3hr,25min left work: 5:10

6:30 i shouldn't include 洗濯 in 家事 because then I end up only doing laundry instead of other chores that need to be done. how to split them up? i suppose just tell myself to only do two laundry tasks, and if it takes more than 20 minutes fuck it. if i do that every day, eventually I'll run out of laundry and have time to do other house stuff later in the week. maybe?

7:55 looked and realized a full hour had passed doing stuff on the internet. Got to be sure to time box that shite, and clearly see what needs to be done.

水曜日 3・4
morning: took a nap. I was tired because I procrastinated on going to bed. Excuse: my ipod wasn't charged yet. and it hadn't finished charging an hour after I said that the first time.

late morning: worked on grading. It was awesome that I started it today, and also finished it today, however, i really perfectionisted it more than necessary. adding unnecessary statistics, etc. could have finished maybe like 30 minutes earlier.

today at work was a little rocky, being tired, actually having classes, and fucking grading. I hate grading. grading is why school sucks. anyway... totals: ~1:45 studying input:16 cards reps: 157

bullshit: i told ume "i have to go home now"-- that was a bit unprofessional, no?

木曜日 3月5日
preparation: not a problem, but I didn't really put enough though into what i needed to prepare for my class. We're just showing a movie today, so I had the movie ready, but I didn't think ahead enough to get the projector, etc set up. of course, i still have like four hours before it starts

plan for waking up and falling asleep: When you go to bed on time and wake up on time, you need to reward yourself, so when you go to bed on time, you get (10 15 20?) minutes of reading or DS, whichever suits your fancy. As for waking up, same deal, (10,15, 20) minutes of reading, cards, or DS, but you have to get out of bed to do it. Also, maybe drinking something at that point would be good. As for time, maybe do longer at first, like 20 minutes, and then every week, shorter.

also, there were many times when I "couldn't" get something done. Generally, those should be "Xs." Write down why you couldn't do that particular activity

it seems like pretty much any activity that requires me to create something with word or excel (the internet?) i may be over-perfectionisting it. When does "making it look like I intended" become "perfectionism?" as soon as all the information is on the page?

3/5 friday
if you're gonna reward yourself, be sure to do it right away, learn to do that as soon as you complete the activity. Instant gratification, not delayed gratificaton (well, it is delayed, but no extra delay)

i wasn't really making an effort to write characters as I created stories, but I've found that recent characters have been machigaiyasui for stroke order

3/9 月
i went to the grocery store and it took less time than i predicted!! yay

ok, so it was definitely a mistake to shortcut the process for RTK by only writing down the stories after I made a mistake on them. Basically, it takes just as much time to edit a story, or recreate one as it does to just create one from the beginning. But if you have to first make a story, then remake it later, it takes twice as much time. Sure, there may be a few that you don't really NEED stories for, but even though rote memorization does work to some degree, as you move through RTK you'll realize just what Heisig says, it's not a crutch, but a different way to walk. For instance, simple characters that I thought I "knew" i will forget because I don't remember which parts they are made of. Its as though my mind no longer sees kanji as shapes, but divide into parts. I was asked to write the kanji for store店, which is pretty simple, common, and I learned it back in college, so i never bothered to create a story for it. But when it came up, i forgot how to write it because even though there was a picture of it in my mind, i didn't know which primitives made it up.

The other thing is about having the stories on the front of your card. at first this seemed counter productive, but now I see why to do it. The first is that it conforms to the "one bit of information" rule. with the stories on the front, you have to recall only how to write the kanji. With them on the back, you have to recall both the story and the kanji. Which is harder, so you fail cards more. Easier is better. The second thing is whether or not I remember the "keyword" when I see the kanji. Well this is still difficult, especially with kanji that I don' t see often, however with the stories on the front, I don't think that my rate of recall (in the real world) is really significantly different, if not better, than it was before. Basically, real world kanji=> keyword/translation (meaning) recall goes like this for me. First, i may not even notice the kanji. its just a blur of lines within a bigger blur of lines. Second, i see the kanji as a discreet entity, but no more than that. I may recall having seen it somewhere else. Third, i see the kanji and see its as parts, but can't recall the parts readily. Fourth, i see the parts and see how they are arranged, but they don't trigger any memory. This is especially true when I have learned all the parts, but maybe two of them make a new "primitive" that i haven't gotten to yet in heisig. At this point, i may be able to assoicate some form of meaning with it, especially if I see the kanji in context "Oh that one is the one used for "education" and "atheletics" or whatever. I may be able to "recognize it, and possibly read it if I know words that use that compound. If i don't associate any contextual meaning with it, then there are ... more phases. Next, I see the kanji and recognize it but can't remember the keyword (what's that fucking character... i know it i know it...aww) I've probably hit this character in heisig in the past week or so and while i know it well enough to write from keyword-kanji, i haven't really seen the story enough to go kanji-keyword. That's the next stage. I see the same kanji again and this time the keyword comes with it (wait..hold on... that kanji is..... a tree...commandment...something about the ten commandments... in a tree... oh "contraption") and then the final stage, which is possibly the most interesting is that once i have seen the kanji to a point where I am "fluent" in writing it, its almost as though I am back a the beginning. My eye won't necessarily stop at the character, because I just "know" it. At this point, the meaning of the character is actually different than the keyword. If asked, I might be able to produce the keyword, or produce the story, but they're not generally necessary to understand the character. At this point, i can also write the character without any story or keyword prompt. (yeah, that one chk.chk.chk.chk.chk.chk.chk.chk.chk.)

Finally, one more comment. Umm i think basically the difference between front stories and back stories is that with stories on the back, you are reminded what the story is by basically pulling it out of your own mind. you would think that practicing pulling it out of your mind would be important, in order to pull it out of your mind when you see the character in the real world. Basically this is active review, or recall. What happens with the story on the front is that you are simply reminded of a memory that is linked to that character. It is passive review, or reminder. Basically, all you really need to recall is that memory-that image- that is linked to the story and to the kanji itself. Recalling the story itself is actually unnecessary. That memory gets strengthened (through review) both ways, with both passive recall and active recall. However, active recall requires more mental work. Why do more work for the same results?

i don't know what it is, but while my act has come together well at school, I can't seem to get things together after school when I get home. There are a lot more distractions here, I suppose another problem is less motivation overall (i.e. I want to be lazier at home) and also specifically-toward each goal (I don't really want to clean the house, i'd rather play video games, but if I play video games I won't be doing real work---) Ok, so those are the problems. What are the solutions?

ok, well generally I'd like my at home to flow like this:
turn on immersion/heat
eat quick snack
(i usually get stuck here)
do some chores (timed) (does not include dishes)(should this include laundry tasks? or just house work?)(or should it only be laundry tasks and no housework, save housework for weekends?)
(insert some play time)
do some photo/meditation
(insert some play time)
(here's where the order could change-dinner before or after pool)
basically, id like to prepare dinner before I go to the pool, and eat it after.
go to pool/evening event 7:50
return from pool 9:30(tsutaya-9:50)
eat dinner
clean up dinner
(e-mail, etc?-dangerous, could be time waster)
bed time cards
bed time routine

that seems like maybe a lot to pack into one day. If i could be that efficient, i could probably do it.
OK, well, try and see. that's the only way. try to do it, see what works and what doesn't work.

3.11 水 授業なし
after I was told that I couldn't participate in some activity (it was probably boring work) because I was not a "regular teacher" it kind of triggered a lot of thoughts (negative thoughts, or rather thoughts about what I would say to my boss if given the opportunity), and a desire to write down my thoughts. I did that a little bit, which i guess is important, but it was really distracting from work, and became difficult to focus. Just goes to show how outside forces can affect your actions, or more concretely, how my mood and psychological state affect my work. I think at these times, It's ok to write down my thoughts here or on a piece of paper.

secondly, i was going through my edits list, and hit a non-study related item. I think if I am going to implement some of the stuff in the "getting things done" book, I'm probably gonna start treating edits just like any other piece of "stuff"

grading standards for kanji cards:
(first review)
2-not missed
(older cards)
1-mistake/forgot, had to rewrite more than once
2-mistake, but rewrote once, or had to look at the card more than once
3-right the first time, but may have not been completely fluent. needing to see the story or not has no relationship. If you need it, you're probably not fluent in writing it yet. If you don't need it, you're probably fluent in writing it. only grade the quality of output.
4-right the first time. fluent.

so, I changed my advanced scheduling settings about 2 months ago. Its been ok, but I worry that maybe the timing is too short, and I'm consequentially getting an inordinate number of reviews because of it.

The first thing i want to ask people is: what is your average number/ratio of additions to repititions per day, and also what is the average time you spend per day doing reps and doing adds?

For me, I have an anywhere from 120-170 reps per day, with an of 15-25 cards per day. This seems like a rather high number of reps compared to the number of adds I'm doing. By the way, I'm doing heisig-style kanji cards.
Writing every kanji, i can write about 4 kanji/minute. Doing adds and edits, I can do about one add or edit every two minutes. (coming up with and typing stories takes time)

The second thing I want to ask people is: do you have any advice for tweaking the advanced scheduling settings? the reason I tweaked them originally is that I was forgetting new cards too often. Instead of setting the initial interval to be less than days, I set it to one day for both the "2" and "3"options. Generally, I don't use the 4 on first reviews. ( I've also have tweaked my cards as well to make them a little simpler)

Basically, in the never ending quest for efficiency, i'm wondering if I'm doing an inordinate number of reviews My one-month average is 81%. Any advice is appreciated.


any story is ok

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