Early morning thoughts on the physical, professional, and where writing and music sits
of less than the highest standard or quality.
"suboptimal working conditions"
This is not some clichéd post about the 4 behaviors to being the most productive you can be. I’m not a guru of personal productivity. I find the personality-driven “productivity guru” industry to be, well, clichéd and a bit self-absorbed with their amazingness.
However, I do believe in realistic (and, at times, harsh) self-assessment and, perhaps more importantly, frequent (daily, weekly, monthly) evaluation of behaviors and tactics to get you closer to the habits and patterns that allow you to do more of the things you want to do and achieve more of the goals you want to achieve.
Yesterday morning I woke up around 3:15am. Let’s ignore, for a moment, how suboptimal getting up that early actually is. I had an allergy induced sneezing fit and that, made going back to bed annoying.
So, I started the coffee, took the pups out front for an early morning potty break, sat down at my desk and wrote the first thing that came to mind.
The physical and the professional. Those are the two areas I’ve been thinking about this week.
I’ve had an L4/L5 “issue” since back in high school. Mostly, it does not bother me. When it does bother me… it bothers me.
For the sake of my back alone, I need to ensure I do some yoga, daily. I don’t need to do hours to get the benefit, but 20 to 30 minutes makes a gargantuan improvement in my mobility and quality of life.
I have also been remiss in my resistance training. Three to five sets of push-ups and some dumbbell work takes about 30-45 minutes. I need (want) to do four days a week. I categorize hiking with the dogs, while part of the physical, as recreation.
If I do those things, I feel pretty damn good.
Sleep: Yeah… I mentioned 3:15am. That’s fine if I go to bed at 7:00am but that’s not the case, so we need to work on that.
This category is more broad. But I was contacted by a few recruiters and I really haven’t updated my resume in a couple years. Given that I am working at Meta (and exploring some additional opportunities there) and have done a few nice projects before working there, my resume needs a bit of an overhaul*.
* I actually stopped and added Meta and my work for an insurance company to my resume between the paragraph above and the one below. While doing that I realized that, holy cow, I have some mad skills. But that is a topic for another post.
Where does music and writing fit in
I consider my music and writing to be professional and professional-adjacent activities. I do get paid to play music now and again and I’ve been paid to write - with numerous articles and a couple books, published by a major publisher, to my credit.
You don’t have to buy the book, the link is just me bragging on myself a bit. But if you do buy the book, it will lead to a more youthful appearance and a higher IQ score.1
Plus, those activities have a direct correlation to joy and personal fulfillment! Joy and personal fulfillment are career enhancers. Take my word for this. I’m a bona fide career expert. Don’t believe me? Refer to the aforementioned CAREER book link.
Note that on that list I have Set List near the top.
I’m abysmal at establishing a fixed set list and adhering to it when I have a show.
Oh… I do have a show. I don’t always announce those here, so let’s go.
Emiko & Matt performing at
Barclay’s Coffee in Northridge, CA
Saturday, February 18 - 5:00PM
Facebook Event Link
Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Program
About that set list: I finished a set list with 17 songs, including chord charts, in case I have an accompanist, and links to recordings. I’ll stick to that list so I can ensure that I practice what I need to before the show.
Note to self: Stick to the list. It’s fine… good even!
We’re excited about this show mostly because the last one went well and I’ve dedicated more time to rehearsing. My goal is to feel comfortable enough that I can perform every song, not just play it.
Matt… what is the difference between performing a song and playing a song?
When I have rehearsed enough to “perform” a song, it means I feel no noticeable effort or thought going into my playing. I can be fully in the moment. I am emotionally invested in the story of the song. I am the protagonist of the story or the channel for the listener to be the protagonist. I bring the song to the listener and the listener to the song. It is as close to being a medium as I can be.
No thought goes into chord changes or remembering lyrics. I can deliver the energy to those listening and I can receive their energy in return.
Everything becomes a part of the instrument that delivers the song. This will sound a little woo woo, but, the guitar, my voice, my body, the space I occupy, and those listening, they all become a part of the song.
The song is everything!
I may have specific physical, let’s call them choregraphed, moves and interactions. Rather than feeling contrived, they flow easily… with an intrinsic joy; an emotional high that is hard to describe.
I’ve read performers describe the feeling as better than sex!
When it is happening, it feels better than sex2 but, I have to be honest, when sex is happening, it feels better than anything… so, I guess it is contextual.
What is playing?
To some listening, they may not see the difference. But playing a song typically means I have to be more aware of hitting my cues, recalling lyrics, thinking about chord changes, recalling whether I already sang the second verse or not, etc.
Playing can be fine but performing is magical.
That’s on my list too.
On a YouTube video I posted recently, I received a couple comments asking me to go through my recording process and gear.
Separately (on another channel) I was also asked to provide some training into the technology I use to create business solutions for Meta and other clients.
And finally, there is this Substack and a couple thousand subscribers who have joined me here.
In order for me to create and deliver the content I want to, I need to avoid my frequent forays into watching other people’s content. As I’ve indicated previously, I have all the gear, software, and ideas I need.
It isn’t a question of motivation or inspiration. Those two elements ebb and flow on any given day. One should not make themselves subject to their whims or very little will get accomplished.
A plan and a simple process are far more important. Putting your production (the work) on a calendar as though it is an appointment is key. I have to remember that my calendar is serves as a benevolent dictator. It knows what I need to do better than my motivation of the moment.
I need to be an assassin with my time; or at least, a better wrangler. Given life and living, time is something that is in short supply.
That’s the stuff I have been thinking about this week.
Thanks for joining me.
February 10, 2023
We are going to try to live stream the show on February 18th. If there is an interest in watching it, join the Facebook event. I’m unsure if I will announce it here.
These spurious claims are not supported by any science or even unverifiable anecdotal evidence. Therefore, like alien abductions, mediums, religion, and politicians should, of course, be believed!
Deb may not be entirely comfortable with me alluding to sex publicly. So, assume what I wrote above is theoretically what I imagine sex to feel like. We are, after all, too old and frail to partake in such activities.