Sabbatical Update, Week 5: Three Cleanup Projects

4 minute read

A whirlwind week, as expected, and my work didn't go the way I expected, but it was still good! I was visiting family from Friday to Monday 9/6.

If you're currently on Control-Alt-Backspace, you can read this post on Soren's Zettelkasten.


  • On my blog, Two Takes on the Eternal September, an expansion of my Zettelkasten thoughts in EternalSeptember and growing directly out of my work with StackOverflowForTeams and Internet communities recently. The Eternal September represents (for me, at least) an ongoing struggle in Internet communities and social media between making communities livable and human-scaled and opening them up to the world.

Zettelkasten tiddlers added for some points in GettingThingsDone.


Extremely busy this week and almost no time for book-length reading again. If this keeps up more than another week or two, I will be scheduling time on my calendar to make sure I get more reading done, as I have been looking forward to having more reading time than normal, not less! (Now that I don't have a clear separation between “work” and “home,” it's easier for work-ish stuff to continue well into the evening as long as I'm still feeling productive and enjoying it.)

I will be camping for a couple of days at the beginning of next week, which will let me get caught up a bit; I still haven't quite finished my second lifetime reading book for August, so I'll set my total number to 3 for September and count it as one of those (currently 0/3).

Tasks and projects completed

  • I didn't get to work on tzk at all, which was too bad but not wholly unexpected. It will continue to be on the plan for this week.
  • I did, however, finish the “Leave Federated,” “Summer Cleaning,” and “Camping Review” projects in my to-do system as I planned, and made significant progress through several more related projects.
    • In general, I have had more cleanup and household tasks to do than I thought, but I'm also enjoying them more and moving through them faster than I expected, so I'm going to keep rolling through them here. It's not the most exciting thing to spend part of a sabbatical on, but the next stage of my life will be a lot more enjoyable if I have them taken care of!
    • Highlights: Found and purchased extra tableware because the pattern I have has been discontinued and I might not be able to get it later; researched home exercise routines with the hope of trying some strength training, which I've never done before; switched my phone plan to Google Fi, which will save me at least $20/month and free me from getting annoying texts about exceeding my data allowance (even with the overage fees on my previous plan, overage was cheaper than upgrading to the next tier!); reported some bugs in various software that have been annoying me, with a high success rate already; replaced my bicycle brakes, which were down to the metal; repaired several broken items around the house.

Miscellaneous thoughts and anecdotes

  • Atlantic article suggests that bad managers are afraid of remote work because it exposes the fact that they don't do very much (in the office you can just look busy, at home you have to deliver things to look busy). The article is a bit excessively remote-positive for my taste, and obviously not everyone who doesn't want their employees to work remotely is in the same boat – but this still seemed perceptive!
  • This is what happens when your house doesn't drive defensively. (link title from comment, title much funnier than picture)

Looking ahead

This week:

  • Continued from last week: Get the first edition of tzk in a publishable state. (I'm leaving out actually publishing it since that is actually pretty fiddly and I might prefer to finish that next week.) It won't be perfect, but that's OK. Ideally a few people will try it out and can point out my mistakes; this is supposed to be an early-alpha version in need of customization by individual users, not a plug-and-play tool, anyway (and it probably won't be to that stage for several years, since I'm still trying to figure out how this Zettelkasten thing works best in the first place).
  • Proceed down my list of household and cleanup tasks, including finishing my GTD collection process, ensuring my computer backup routine is working correctly, and adding some stuff to my Zettelkasten that's hanging out in other places where it doesn't belong.

I'll be camping for the first half of next week, so it will be much shorter than normal and I won't have a blog post. I'll have another update post before that.