Fulltime HEL: Episode 10 - Consistency Counts
In two short weeks my schedule has changed — again. Getting into a rhythm with just about anything at this point seems difficult. Sleep, exercise, time with the wife — they all occur at very irregular times throughout the day and even week. Much of my life has been in dispute, but that should be about to change.
But before that…
Welcome to episode 10 of Fulltime HEL, the podcast about startups, entrepreneurs, freelancers and co-working spaces in Helsinki, Finland. I’m your host Gregory Pellechi.
On this episode, me. Or more correctly, my thoughts on how consistency counts with regards to everything. In the previous episode I promised Elffe and don’t worry I still plan on airing their episode, but for now I thought an update about the podcast, blog, my projects and me is appropriate. Especially since this is Episode 10 — the episode at which most podcasts die.
It’s time to go a little more in-depth on me and what I hope the future holds. At the same time I say that, I feel cursed. Anytime I speak of something I’m going to do — it inevitably doesn’t happen. Jobs, plans, projects, trips — whatever it is, it doesn’t come to fruition. I know it’s an irrational fear to avoid mentioning such things but I’d really rathe be known as a person who speaks the truth. Not one who makes bombastic plans and never follows through.
I need something to show before I talk about it. Which is part of my problem. Other than this podcast I don’t have much that I’m producing, aside from a weekly or now it seems semi-weekly post. And even that is suffering of late for Return to HEL, the blog I run with my wife.
School, or more correctly my integration program, has kept me busy just about every day, all day. On top of that I had the gym and rugby to keep me sane and healthy. Those were elements of my day I couldn’t compromise on. Especially if I was at home all day or sitting in class, I needed to move. Rugby came to an end in October though, but will return in November with twice weekly games of touch.
With all that, I also had to look for work — doing so is a full-time job in itself with little in the way of satisfaction in the day-to-day minutae. Oh wow, I’ve sent in another job application… oh wait, I never heard anything about it. Thankfully that has come to an end, because I have a job.
I’m now working for a company, remotely, as their communications specialist. In essence my job is to produce. I’m writing and editing a range of materials for marketing, advertising, etc. It’s great because it means I’m writing everyday, even if it’s not personal projects and stuff I get to share with you.
Work means I have to end my integration program. Not right away, mind you. During my probation period I’m only working part time so I can still keep studying Swedish. I’ve dropped Finnish because the class was only twice a week, and I was more successful at Swedish. But come the new year, presuming I still have the job, I won’t be returning to class. Any language study will have to be in my free time — free time that really doesn’t exist.
Now that I have a job I need to get into a consistent schedule that accommodates various needs — work, school, exercise, wife, etc. That of course isn’t the order of priorities. And I want a consistent schedule, I want one to an almost boring degree. Why? Because consistency counts.
In everything we end up chasing consistency counts. Be it relationships, work, homes, cars, etc. We want all of them to be consistent in one form or another. For people we want them to be there for us, or to perform to an expected degree — not just once or twice but all the time. For objects like homes, cars, computers we want them to work — all the time. And it’s no different with my schedule, I want it to be just as consistent.
Establishing a regular schedule is going to be hard over the next month, given I’m committed to something different every weekend, I have the new job and I still need to study. Plus there’s the wife’s birthday.
Right now I’m trying to keep things consistent, not just in terms of my schedule, but the quality of what I write. This episode is coming out two days late which shows how well that’s going. But consistency all means more than just keeping a schedule or to a particular topic. It’s also the format. And the format of Fulltime HEL I’m very happy with.
It works, and for the most part I can assemble an episode quickly. The most time consuming aspect is listening through the interviews and selecting the relevant sections. Writing the script after that is a breeze, and to keep things even simpler I use the script as the post. I don’t see a point to rewriting something when I’ve pretty well said the same thing already.
This is a problem I’ve encountered in jobs though. There’s often countless duplication of things, in my case reports. When I was in Iraq we had daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual reports. Not to mention Facebook posts, press releases, brochures, booklets and other content. By and large all of it said the same thing — especially the reports. They either built on one another or were a summary of the previous reports.
In my mind that’s a waste of time and energy to rewrite them. If something is good enough to be reported to the government or the public, why not vice versa? I know you’re thinking the tone will be different, but by and large they were given the technical nature of the work.
Regardless, I try to save time where I can and create efficient systems for myself so that I can produce more. Life just keeps getting in the way. That’s in part why I’ve cut down on the number of interviews I’m conducting. I want to get through what I have and do them justice before I do anything else.
And by anything else I mean with the podcast. I’m still trying to find writing time, and it’s a demand I need to meet because I have some stories pounding at the inside of my skull to be written. Or other ideas that need to be expressed.
Which makes me wonder if I should shift to using something like Evernote to keep track of ideas. I do have a notebook and try and carry that everywhere. Though I’m not always successful but I usually have my phone, making it the practical choice. I’ve already switched to using Scrivener for writing because of the formatting options its provides. I can readily write scripts for movies, comic books, or even novels. It also keeps everything together in projects which is great for writing that novel.
I say I’m considering Evernote, because I’ve had it before. And I don’t find productivity apps all that useful. Especially when you’re trying to coordinate with others on a project. Whether it’s Yammer, Trello, Slack, Email, Skype, you name it there will be a problem. And that problem is people. Unless you’re in the same company and there’s a directive from on high, it’s nearly impossible to get everyone using the same service.
Not that any of that is a concern for my personal projects at the moment, but it’s something I’ve noticed when trying to maintain consistency with work and people. For now I need to produce something to share before I get to working with others. That is asides from my new job. But more on that in a future episode.
On the next episode of Fulltime HEL, Elffe, those plucky people looking to help and making it easier to do just that. This time I promise.