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Tools, Motivation & Forward Progress

I got my new laptop the week of Thanksgiving, and spent several days setting it up. It is *so* much better than my old one. We’re talking leaps and bounds. The bigger screen is nicer than I thought it would be, it’s quick and clean and “roomy”, and best of all, it has a true mechanical keyboard that is clicking happily (and audibly) along as I type this post.

The right tools really do make all the difference, and honestly, I *want* to use this laptop. I want to have it with me in the living room, where it’s in easy reach to work on a web site update or make some cover art, edit part of a story or even write a blog post (*ahem*).

Needless to say, having the right tool(s) is paramount, and this laptop is definitely a game-changer for me. Why did I not get this post done/up last week, you might ask? Well, it’s because I finally got motivated to actually start getting things done.

I’ve had a lot of outstanding projects going on lately, and while I still do, I decided it was time to quit letting those feelings of being overwhelmed de-motivate me.

You know how sometimes you have so much going on at home, at work, and everywhere, and every time you even think about making some progress on *something* (even just one tiny little thing), you get interrupted or derailed or…whatever, and more things keep piling up and not getting finished, until you just sort of hit that point where your brain shuts down and states that if you can’t even finish one simple little thing, there’s no point in even trying to do anything at all?

Yeah. That’s kind of where I’ve been for awhile now. Drowning in “things” that need to be done, things I want to do, and being constantly interrupted and derailed at every single freaking turn. It’s the most annoying thing ever in life, and I got to the point where I just sort of shut down and quit trying.

Then I went ahead and got this new laptop against my better judgement, and I decided to *take* the time to get one thing off my plate. Just one minor side project that I’d been working on for awhile now, and only had just a little bit left to do on it. If I could have focused, it would have taken me an hour, 90 minutes tops. As my life is at the moment, it took me several hours and a lot of irritation at interruptions, plus a later bedtime than normal (which actually turned out to be pretty normal for last week, unfortunately), but I got it done.

Finishing that project was a major turning point for me. I finished something! Anything! Done, complete, off my plate! I tell you what, it was such a relief just being able to finish *something* that I was downright giddy (at 1am, that happens quietly, but it does happen). I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need to prove to myself that I am capable of focusing and finishing things, especially when it’s been a long time since I’ve actually…you know…finished something.

Completing that project was the “re-proof” I needed, apparently, because I actually managed to get some larger projects off my plate last week, which felt phenomenal. And there are a couple more that I’m on track to finish this week as well.

Granted, I have had to be very focused, and sometimes very insistent with others that I needed time to work. I hate having to do that, only because I feel like people should just automatically leave me alone when I’m clearly busy. That never happens, but it would be nice if it did. I’ve also been giving up some sleep too…compromising between the 6 hours I want and the 4.5 hours I can’t really function well on anymore for around 5 hours instead. It’s not optimal, but honestly? The better mental outlook because I’m finishing stuff is worth a little less sleep. At least for awhile, until I figure out how to sneak the sleep back in too.

In my continuing quest to “get stuff done”, I have two smaller writing projects I’m finishing this week – one a story for an advent calendar (it’s actually done now, and yes, the calendar is late, but better late than never and one of the projects hanging over my head), and one a story for my Christmas cards this year. My writing projects have been suffering just as much as anything else, but I think I’ve found the (mental) problem, and I’m working on “fixing” that as well. More on that later.

I don’t actually know if any of this would have happened without the new laptop. Having a tool you *want* to use is so much more productive than having one that frustrates you every time you need it.

Like magic, of a sort.


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Impulse, Electronics & Buyer’s Remorse

I ordered a new laptop this past weekend.

I was totally not planning on doing that. I was going to wait until I could pay outright, not go into more debt (though honestly, it doesn’t even seem to matter at this point), and just make due with the one I have now for at least another six months to a year.

But somewhere between fighting the insanely mushy keyboard on my older Win 7 laptop that I only keep around for VPN sessions to work when needed (it’s got a bigger screen) and sticky keys plus jumping trackpad cursors on my current Win 10 laptop, I decided to go gander at “laptops with mechanical keyboards” on Amazon Saturday night. Just window shopping, I told myself. See what’s out there. Talk myself down from the insane cost of a gaming laptop (because that’s really the only way you can get a nice mechanical keyboard on a laptop), and reaffirm the decision to just make this too-flexible little notebook work.

It’s getting close to Black Friday though, and Amazon’s got deals for those of us stupid enough to know that we have a decent credit score and also those of us who don’t yet have an Amazon credit card. They’re smart like that.

And I, running seriously low on sleep due to the aforementioned argument with my mushy only-for-work-calls keyboard and my normal Friday night late (or early, depending on your perspective) bedtime, happened across a lovely little laptop with a bigger screen, mechanical keyboard, more hard drive space than I could ever need (and definitely enough to run dual boot linux/windows), and review promises of no bloatware, great customer service and a solid case with no flexing whatsoever in the keyboard deck.

Amazon said if I signed up for their prime customer credit card, I could have $160 off the price, and pay over time. I looked at my cell, which cost only slightly less than that lovely laptop, and thought…well, if I qualify…maybe this would make my life a lot easier. One computer to do everything, no more mushy keyboard, no more sticky keys or jumping cursors due to case flex…bigger screen…

I hit “apply”, got approved, ordered that laptop, and am now trying to figure out how to get the package that requires my signature on Wednesday while working instead of wasting a perfectly good Thursday off work while the new laptop sits at a distribution center somewhere because I wasn’t home when they tried to deliver. *sigh*

Impulse is bad. More debt is bad. I know these things. And I may yet feel some sort of buyer’s remorse when that first credit card payment comes due.

But at the moment, I just want my new laptop so I can stay home and set it up on Thursday while the rest of the country is being social and eating too much.

I’m excited. And a little concerned that I should probably be more remorseful, but…well…mostly just excited.


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