Posted on April 29, 2010 at 4:50pm EDT. More.

Working vs. writing about work

I’m currently working on a web application for people who want to post a list of upcoming events on their websites. People like the performers I hang around a lot. I spent a few hours working on it yesterday, and for all that time I basically only improved the login page.

It’s frustrating. To be productive, I really need a large block of uninterrupted time. This is not a novel idea. I’m not a morning person, which means I get the most done if I can work uninterrupted from the afternoon into the late evening. Unfortunately, somebody usually wants me to meet them somewhere around 6 or 7 p.m., which means that just as I get some momentum going, I have to stop and sit on a train for twenty minutes, irritated.

Simply knowing that I have to quit around 6 p.m. can discourage me from taking on anything big or complicated. And knowing I have to leave to get somewhere induces a low grade background anxiety. I’d like to lose myself in my work, but I’ve got to watch the clock instead.

The worst part of it is the feeling that my time does not belong to me. When I have to break away from my work to meet somebody, it makes me resent that person a little bit. It’s entirely unjustified, and by the end of the train ride it has usually dissipated, but it’s ugly and it’s real.

I am not a helpless victim. My situation is by no means unique and there are ways I can improve it. Waking up and getting started earlier would help. I’ve decided to quit personal training; I have a variety of reasons but the regular mid-day interruption is a major reason to quit.

Before this impromptu therapy session goes any further, let me get to my point: I need to write more about my work, especially about FatWatch and other projects. The trouble is that, when I have precious time, I feel like I should be spending it on code rather than English prose. I’ll have to figure out how to divide my time, but a good first step will be in deciding what goes where.

When I first released FatWatch nearly two years ago, I was still posting to LiveJournal, and had just started posting to Tumblr. I also set up a tumblelog just for FatWatch. Then in November I decided I was managing too many blogs, and the right thing to do was consolidate everything with a blog at, the one you are reading right now.

That was a bad idea.

One-blog-for-everything, with categories and tags to divide up the content, sounds like a good idea, but it doesn’t really work in practice. People are going to look at a few posts on the main page and decide whether they want to subscribe, and if I’m trying to reach several distinct audiences through one publication, I’m just making a confusing mess.

Here’s the new plan. This blog will be for longer posts about technical topics and general announcements about my work; my personal tumblelog will be for all those “hey look at this neat thing” posts that I assume only my friends are interested in; and, I am rebooting The FatWatch Weight Log with a mildly clever title and a focus on FatWatch specifically and weight management in general.

By sharing my plans with you, I have doomed myself to failure.