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Plan and flow

Looking at my calendar for this week it seems that I've managed to maintain a good balance. Booked for massage customers: two full days, one half day. A free weekend and another two and half days free of timetables. So, plenty of time for writing a piece of code to help Sami with UrW development? Renovating my own house to get things done before the winter hits? Nope. And this is the story;

I don't remember exactly, it might have been late spring or early summer. One of my neighbours said that there is a smallish renovation work to be done at their house, and they had asked an another neighbour, Rami, to do the work. And they asked if I could help Rami with the work. "Sure", I said, thinking that if we work together it is something like two days of nice practical work. So went the summer and I almost forgot about the deal. Until late August, when Rami said that he will soon get finished the other projects he had for the summer, and next he would start working at my neighbour's house. Good - I have some free days in my calendar! We started a week ago, on Friday - and as we started, we both realized that it is going to be three times more work than what we originally thought. But since we had promised to do it, we will do it - absolutely no problem. Just that once again I'm using most of my days working away from home and finding too little time to do all that stuff what I'd like to do.

Now it should be already clear for me that this tends to happen to me. Most of the time it feels like "OK, right now I have this project X which is urgent, and then there is also that thing Y which should be finished soon. But once I get these done, then I'll have more free time to do things of my own: programming, renovating, giving extra care for the animals, training Raiku to pull a cart, fishing, picking mushroom, generally maintaining my household bit better..." And then when it so happens that the project X takes two or three times longer than I had planned, and when I finish it then the project Y is already urgent, and before I get it done a project Z appears. And I never reach the point where I would actually have a stable schedule of working with things of my own. This, I think, is one example of those pre-cognitive patterns I wrote about in my earlier posts. When making decisions, my mind automatically estimates how much time needs to be reserved for each project - and makes all too optimistical estimations. So, to get out of this circle I need to learn three things: 1) for each project X, to reserve two times more time than I currently do. 2) when saying "yes" or "no" to any work opportinity, I should better check the other things I've already planned to do, and calmly just say "no" if it feels that I have already planned my days full of work, and finally 3) Just reserving enough time for my own projects. All this sounds like an easy thing on the level of the rational cognitive thinking. The thing is to learn these so deeply that they become new pre-cognitive patterns that my mind can use semi-automatically when quickly making decisions on the fly.

It would be useless to blame the world for this situation - always saying that "oh, my plans were all good, but then just unfortunately it so happened that this project X took more time than estimated." - Things like that can happen, of course. But if that happens frequently, then I guess it is more question of bad planning. The world, by its nature, is unpredictable. So, in any case, one can never pre-plan everything. Better just plan so that there is always room for going with the flow. As, unprecitable things often bring some good things also. In this particular case, the obvious good thing is that working together with Rami is activating and improving my own skills of renovating a house. This is one example of how my life feels like navigating in thick mist - basically, I know basics of simple renovation work, and I can always check the details from books, but sometimes it feels like these skills are masked by mist. I have to get closer to see properly. And this is exactly what happens when working with a friend - every nail we hammer takes me closer to these familiar shores of renovation work. Makes it easier to see where I am, easier to navigate. And this will be of great help when I finally have time to concentrate on renovating my own house. Only that I'm bit unsure if I have enough money to buy all the materials I need. Well, but one day we were having a coffee break with the neighbours. And they said: "By the way, in our barn we have two extra piles of good board for outer layer of a house. We could sell it away for a cheap price, if you know somebody who needs that kind of boards". Well, I know - that is exactly what I need. Sometimes good things come completely unplanned, drifting down with the flow of life =)

And then yet another thing I need to learn better. As sometimes I forget to estimate how much time I need for rest and recovery (or to meet friends, or to read a book, write a blog, to work with my own therapeutical process). Often this happens on a daily scale - for example, when doing a half day of massage, I might thing "OK, when I get home, I'll have some free time and then I can do this and that". But finally when I get back to home, I feel slightly exhausted and just spend my time cooking some food, eating and listening to music. Which - of course - is a necessary thing to do. So, again, I guess the solution isn't that I should just force myself to be more active when I return home after work. No, maybe a more sustainable solution would be to work less, or reserve more free days - ie. planning so that when I have a half day of massage, it doesn't mean that I have a half day free for other activities, it means that I work for half a day and lazily idle around for the rest of the day. So, completely free days are when I get to work with my own projects. And when thinking about renovating my own house, I should right away plan it so that every sub-task might take two times longer than I think.

Renovating my own house, yes. Winter is coming, and at the moment I don't have a proper food cooking equipment indoors. I threw out the electric stove, and the fireplaces are designed to keep the rooms warm - they aren't that good for cooking. The fireplace which is in my "main room" (in Finnish this is called "tupa", a combined kitchen and living-room) isn't very effective, so maybe I should just tear it down and install a wood burning stove. I own a small stove which I haven't been using for couple of years - it might be bit too small to properly keep the room warm, but maybe I could survive one winter with that. Maybe. Yesterday we sat drinking coffee with Rami, and he said: "Didn't you say that you could use a proper wood burning stove? Well, I happen to be storing one which I don't need. Come take a look if it would be suitable for your needs."

So, because of not-so-good-planning I have lost some free days, but gained a possibility of getting very cheap materials I desperately need. Now I only need that time to concentrate on working with my own house. Also, there are other time-sensitive tasks ahead; the forecast says that first freezing nights are soon here, so I should harvest all of my pumpkins and zucchini, and store them for winterfood. And all that kind of things to do before the winter hits. Story to be continued...

Ps. And here's a video of this Saturday night.

Working right under the roof
Working right under the roof
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