Archive of posts with tag 'habits'

Progress Report, August 2023

August 31, 2023 • #

Health & Habits


  • 17 activities
  • Distance: 87 mi
  • Total Time: 15:35:31
  • Average Pace: 10:43 / mi


  • Average: 7:04 / night
  • 8 hr nights: 7


  • Journal entries: 9; 7,009 words
  • Blog posts: 7
  • Newsletters: 1



Outlive, Peter Attia ░░░░░░░░░░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ 50-100%

Solaris, Stanisław Lem ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ 0-100%

Dominion, Tom Holland ░░░░░░░░░░▓░░░░░░░░░ 52-57%

The Wright Brothers, David McCullough ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░ 0-36%

How Buildings Learn, Stewart Brand ▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ 0-27%

Wool, Hugh Howey ▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░...

Progress Report, November 2022

December 15, 2022 • #

I’m late getting my November update posted. November (and still, in December) was a rollercoaster of a month. Just so much happening with professional and personal, I’ve hardly had a moment to do much at all — neither focusing on any personal progress goals, nor writing or other fun side deals.

My running performance was pitiful. I did 5 runs, but honestly I’m surprised it was even that many. Feels like I’m totally off the wagon on that. I did alright on my sleep, but I swing too much back and forth to be a healthy pattern. I’ll do a...

Making Mistakes Means You're Doing Things

November 2, 2022 • #

I talk all the time about trial and error. The freedom to let yourself make mistakes, and the skill to make sure they’re not too destructive, are superpowers. With every interesting innovation, company, or product, you’re seeing the late stage of a long chain of missteps and failure. As long as you have the right mindset, mistakes are learning.

We talk about this as a product team — short cycles, iteration, feedback loops — ways to navigate toward broader visions while surviving and building something increasingly useful along the way. I also talk about it with the kids. The more...

Progress Report, October 2022

November 1, 2022 • #

This time I’m including the previous month’s to see month-over-month change, so progress (or lack of) is visible.

Health & Habits


  • 8 activities (6)
  • Distance: 26.44 mi (17.33 miles)
  • Total Time: 3:59:24 (2:32:34)
  • Average Pace: 8:56 / mi (9:08 / mi)


  • Average: 7:32 / night (7:30)
  • 8 hr nights: 10 (8)

Slightly better on sleeping more this month. Very slightly. Probably would’ve been even better improvement without a cross-country trip in the mix.


  • Journal entries: 14; 6,428 words (14; 7,292 words)
  • Blog posts: 14 (19)
  • Newsletters: 1 (2)
  • ...

Progress Report, September 2022

September 30, 2022 • #



  • 6 activities
  • Distance: 17.33 miles
  • Total Time: 2:32:34
  • Average Pace: 9:08 / mi


  • Average: 7:21 / night
  • 8 hr nights: 10


  • Journal entries: 14 (7292 words)
  • Blog posts: 19
  • Newsletters: 2



The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer

░░░░░░░░░░░░░░▓░░░░░ 70-78%

A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander

░▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ 9-16%

The Captured Economy, Brink Lindsey & Steven Teles

▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░ 0-47%

Progress Report, August 2022

September 1, 2022 • #



  • 5 activities
  • Distance: 14.55 miles
  • Total Time: 2:06:54
  • Average Pace: 8:42 / mi


  • Average: 7:22 / night
  • 8 hr nights: 9



The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer
░░░░░░░░░░░░░▓░░░░░░ 68-70%

Termination Shock, Neal Stephenson
░░░▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ 17-31%

A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander
▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░ 0-9%

Scene and Structure, Jack Bickham
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ 0-100%

Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░▓▓▓ 85-100%

Underland, Robert...

Progress Report, July 2022

August 1, 2022 • #

Kind of a wild month. I had a good week in the middle with consistent running, but otherwise underwhelming. I did do better with sleep this month.



  • 9 activities
  • Distance: 23.2 miles
  • Total Time: 3:25:28
  • Average Pace: 8:51 / mi


  • Average: 7:30 / night
  • 8 hr nights: 8



The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L.Shirer
░░░░░░░░░░░░▓░░░░░░░ 62-68%

The Tacit Dimension, Michael Polanyi
░░░░░░░░░░░░░░▓▓▓▓▓ 73-100%

Progress Report: June 2022

July 1, 2022 • #



  • 13 activities
  • Distance: 28.67 miles
  • Total Time: 6:28:54
  • Average Page: 9:03 / mi


  • Average: 7:20 / night



The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer
░░░░░░░░░░▓▓░░░░░░░░ 52-62%

The Law, Frederic Bastiat
░░░▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ 17-100%

Underland, Robert Macfarlane
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░ 0-57%

The Tacit Dimension, Michael Polanyi
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░░ 0-73%

Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░░░░ 0-40%


Progress Report: May

June 1, 2022 • #

Another month is in the books. I had a couple of trips this month, but did slightly better on running. Still pretty far away from the regular habit I used to have.



  • 12 activities
  • Distance: 26.7 miles
  • Total Time: 3:53:14
  • Average Pace: 8:47 / mi


  • Average: 7:00 / night



The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer
░░░░░░░░░░▓▓░░░░░░░░ 38-52%

The Future and its Enemies, Virginia Postrel

Progress Report: April

May 1, 2022 • #

This month was a weak one on the health front. I think I only got 2 or 3 runs in, and my sleep has been garbage. Maybe I can do better in May. We have plans to join the gym nearby, so that should coerce at least working out semi-weekly. If I could get to 3 runs per week and 2 workout sessions, I’d be happy to build from that.

I did, however, make inroads on eating better and cooking at home, so that’s a plus.




2020 Goals Review

January 2, 2021 • #

I’m a few days late in getting around to reviewing how I did on the goals for 2020, but what’s new there in a year full of challenges? It’s an understatement to say that for anyone that set quantified personal goals at the start of the year had a rude awakening in March. We all encounter setbacks along the progress bar throughout any year, but this one was a doozy, and a protracted one that just kept dragging out.

Luckily here in Florida we’ve been able to have some normal(ish) activities the past few months. Even just taking the kids...

Goal Progress: November

December 1, 2020 • #

We had a hurricane blow up part of a week of productivity around here, but I still limped along with some middling progress on the year’s goals. I’m behind the targets this year late in the game, but I’m still happy with the results. I can still close the gap on the running target, at least.

I’ve been thinking about an idea Patrick O’Shaughnessy wrote about recently on “growth without goals” — setting up systems to be able to pursue and achieve personal growth without having hard numbers on a scoreboard. Using...

Goal Progress: October

November 1, 2020 • #

October is over already?

At this rate, it’ll be New Years in no time flat.

Anyway, let’s check in on the 2020 goals:

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 534.25 miles 543 miles 650 miles -8.90
Meditation 1070 minutes 2607 minutes 3120 minutes
Reading 23 books 25.07 books 30 books -2.07

I made middling progress in areas, like some better runs in the first couple of weeks. Felt good to have some overachieving progress. But then we did a week out of...

Two Years of Everyday Writing

October 19, 2020 • #

Earlier this month I passed the 2-year mark of writing on this site every day. If on that first day, deciding to embark on this streak, you’d told me that in October 2020 I’d still be going, 2018 me would’ve laughed it off. Doing it even for a few months sounded impossible.

What helped make it reality was converting writing into a continuous background activity, an ever-present filter for thoughts, ideas, and readings to pass through. Every time I read an article or have an idea, I filter it through the writing lens — Would this make a good article? Do...

Improving Sleep

October 9, 2020 • #

The last couple of weeks I’ve been working on improving my sleep. My running workouts have felt terrible lately, which I think is a combination of dehydration and fatigue, primarily from compounding lack of quality sleep.

With the pretty simple life I’ve got — a steady working-from-home schedule, and a quarantine preventing most interesting things from happening — a solid sleep schedule should be easy to build and maintain. Apparently that hasn’t been the case for me.

It’ll surprise no one to say that kids make sleep a challenge. Ours sleep well, but they don’t nap, don’t really sleep in...

Goal Progress: September 2020

October 1, 2020 • #

For the month of September:

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 484.26 miles 488 miles 650 miles -3.69
Meditation 1070 minutes 2342 minutes 3120 minutes
Reading 19 books 22.52 books 30 books -2.52

Good news is I closed the deficit a bit on the running goal, even though it didn’t feel like a particularly productive month there.

COVID makes time fly and crawl simultaneously, through some sort of perverse time distortion. There were just no notable events this month to break up...

Goal Progress: August 2020

September 1, 2020 • #

Another month down of quarantine life.

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 426.44 miles 435 miles 650 miles -8.08
Meditation 1070 minutes 2086 minutes 3120 minutes
Reading 19 books 20.05 books 30 books -1.05

Outside of widening our circles a little from shelter to family and one or two friends, we’re still spending most of our time at home or in outdoor activities.

The start of Elyse’s kindergarten over the last couple of weeks really put a dent into anything other than...

Goal Progress: July

August 2, 2020 • #

A quick touch on progress for July. I can’t believe it’s already been 5 months since the beginning of the pandemic.

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 371.27 miles 379 miles 650 miles -8.05
Meditation 1070 minutes 1821 minutes 3120 minutes
Reading 17 books 17.51 books 30 books -0.51

Nothing that notable this month. Steady upkeep on the running goals, but the summer time in Florida is brutal. Really restricts the scheduling if you can’t do early morning or late evening exercise.


Goal Progress: June

July 1, 2020 • #

These updates during the quarantine are weird. In some ways time feels like it’s standing still, in others it feels like it’s flying by. Every day feels mostly the same. Even though some has opened up in our area, we’re still basically in isolation from friends.

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 317.49 miles 324 miles 650 miles -6.62
Meditation 1070 minutes 1556 minutes 3120 minutes
Reading 15 books 14.96 books 30 books +0.04

It wasn’t that interesting of a month from...

Goal Progress: May 2020

June 1, 2020 • #

Just a quick update this month. With the pandemic still going, lockdown in a state of unknown non-committal from any authority, and the madness going on around the nation the past week, all of this seems kinda trivial. I’m sure we’ll power through past it, but I’m just doing my best to keep the habits going. I’m still fortunate to get to plow forward mostly unimpacted by it all.

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 257.89 miles 272 miles 650 miles -14.58
Meditation 1070 minutes 1308 minutes 3120 minutes

Goal Progress: April 2020

May 1, 2020 • #

April was the first full calendar month of COVID lockdown. In the beginning of the month I started getting comfortable with the working-from-home setup. I have a decent desk setup and a large master bedroom-slash-office space, which until early March I’d barely used since we moved in. It’s gotten a workout now for 2 months of all-day work. I’ve got one of these adjustable desks that’s nice and wide, with plenty of light in the room, so aside from the zero separation between work and life zones, it’s not too bad.

In this past week though the strain is...

Rolling Windows for Goal Tracking

April 26, 2020 • #

Since the beginning of 2019 I’ve been tracking ongoing goals using a Google Sheet I made, where I can enter each activity day by day and generate a rollup showing how I’m tracking on each goal throughout the course of the year.

Andy Matuschak put it well in this post where he talked about his system for habit-building. A calendar week isn’t great for tracking overall progress because it’s artificially-constrained.

Let’s take my current goal of running 650 miles this year. That averages to doing 12.47 miles per week to hit the number. With something like running,...

Goal Progress: March

April 1, 2020 • #

So March has wrapped, probably the longest month we’ve had in many years.

The shake-up in schedule, work-life patterns, and disruptions in everything from kids, to family, to day-to-day activities played absolute hell with my progress on goals.

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 141.04 miles 162 miles 650 miles -21.01
Meditation 860 minutes 778 minutes 3120 minutes +82
Reading 6 books 7.48 books 30 books -1.48

Let’s start with the “okay” news. On the meditation front I’ve been doing alright, but made...

Goal Progress: February

March 1, 2020 • #

A quick update for February. No big revelations or movements on goals, just slight progress.

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 97.76 miles 107 miles 650 miles -9.09
Meditation 600 minutes 513 minutes 3120 minutes +87
Reading 4 books 4.93 books 30 books -0.93

I’ve struggled with building longer meditation sessions into my routine. I think the only way it’s going to happen is if I can get a pattern of sitting down in the morning before the kids are up. At night...

Goal Progress: January

February 2, 2020 • #

The first month of 2020 is already in the books. 31 days blew by already?

It’s been a rollercoaster of a first few weeks, with some vacation at New Years, shot out of a cannon with a reinvigorated team at work, a trip to Miami, and a trip to Jacksonville.

I already fell behind on the targets with all that’s been going on. Once I can fall into a better rhythm with some normalcy in the schedule (which should be happening over the next couple weeks), I think I’ll be fine to catch up.


2020 Goals

January 2, 2020 • #

Last year was my first serious attempt at setting goals at the outset with structure and plan to hold myself accountable to each one throughout the course of the year. “Goal orientation” is not my native approach to motivation, but being able to quantify results in data-driven terms (for good or ill) is something I’m compelled by. If, for example, I can’t track a run with Strava, I don’t even want to do it. The inanity of this compulsion is not lost on me, but the way I think about it is that if any strategy keeps you going (even...

Goal Summary: Running Stats

December 28, 2019 • #

Continuing my summaries from a couple weeks ago, this post covers some statistics on running throughout 2019.

I track all of my runs with a Garmin fenix 5 watch synced to Strava, but also have been logging each one to a spreadsheet as I complete them. That way I’ve got an easy dataset to work with for analyzing and charting the results.

Here’s the overall breakdown of stats for the year:

Stat Total
Total Distance 615.55 miles
Total Duration 86 hours, 32 minutes
Total Activities 148

Goal Summary: Meditation

December 18, 2019 • #

First up on the year in review is the meditation practice. I started out doing short meditation sessions sort of randomly late last year. I’d only remember to do it occasionally, maybe a couple times a week. While that’s better than zero, it never became a habit or a thing that I would think about consistently. Not to mention that meditation itself is a skill you need to hone over time with experience to get the benefits out of it. Committed practice is the only way it feels useful. This year I set a target to do some meditation each...

Goal Summary: Wrapping Up 2019

December 17, 2019 • #

For the last couple weeks of the year I’m going to post a few wrap-ups to summarize how I did on hitting personal goals from the beginning of the year. At the beginning I laid out a number of attainable but aggressive targets for myself, having never really done this before in any trackable way. I’ve never been an extremely goal-oriented person, so I thought I’d experiment to see what sort of mental impact this could have and how it helps the habit-forming process.

I’ll briefly run through the targets I set up, with a status on my...

600 Miles

December 11, 2019 • #

The goal at the start of 2019 was to hit 500 miles running this year. Tonight’s run pushed me up to 602 miles for the year, with a couple of weeks left to go.

150+ miles more than any prior year 150+ miles more than any prior year

Through the mid-summer time I was only averaging 42 to 45 miles a month, which was barely keeping me over the pace mark week to week. I would log my runs and watch the moving plus/minus number I track and see myself float above...

Goal Progress: November

December 1, 2019 • #

This was a busy one. Between the All Hands earlier in the month and the week off for the holidays, those are brutal to maintaining the routine (though great to get a break and spend time with both workmates and family, respectively).

Here are the stats with one month left to go:

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 574.02 miles 457.53 miles 500 miles +120.53
Meditation 3503 minutes 3340 minutes 3650 minutes +163
Reading 51 books 45.75 books 50 books +5.25

Once I...

A Twitter "bestof" List

November 11, 2019 • #

The only content feeds I regularly peruse anymore are my RSS subscriptions and Twitter. I’ve been trying to pull away a bit more from looking at Twitter so often. This is a common problem these days that people are responding to in much different ways. You’ve got folks like my co-workers Bill & James coming at it with a sanitization strategy, trying to clean up their feeds in various ways. Then you have those on the “Waldenponding” end of the spectrum (like Cal...

Goal Progress: October

November 1, 2019 • #

The big achievement this month was the culmination of the half marathon training, ending October by finishing my first one.

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 520.12 miles 416.44 miles 500 miles +103.68
Meditation 3208 minutes 3040 minutes 3650 minutes +168
Reading 47 books 41.78 books 50 books +5.22

The other notable movement was surpassing the 500 mile goal, which happened on this run and I didn’t even realize it at the time. I was able to knock out the mileage...

The Every Day Blog

October 29, 2019 • #

Inspired by Fred Wilson’s AVC blog, I started posting something every day here last year on October 4th. The 1 year mark passed by and I didn’t even notice. It’s become such a part of my mental routine to keep up with that it’s become pretty painless.

Most of my posts are topics I find interesting or links I run across. I find myself zeroing in on themes that tend to appear in my reading patterns. Through the process I’ve also come up with a few recurring “series” type posts to do regularly:


Goal Progress: September

October 1, 2019 • #

In September the training push continued for the half marathon. I did a personal record 88 miles in the 30 days, for an average of just about 3 miles per day the whole month. Somehow I’m not dead yet, but the aches and pains were there to prove it.

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 460.88 miles 373.97 miles 500 miles +86.86
Meditation 2893 minutes 2730 minutes 3650 minutes +163
Reading 42 books 33.66 books 50 books +8.34

I think I’ve got the...

A Quick Running Update

September 27, 2019 • #

I’m almost at the two-month mark since upping my mileage at the beginning of August. I did about 72 miles in August, up from an average of less than 50 per month the prior months of the year. With 3 days left in September I’m over 80 miles, with a couple of runs left to do:

Running progress September

A few notes on how that’s gone so far:

  • Slowing down my pace has been essential to push the activity durations higher (obviously, to lower the average HR).
  • After the first couple...

Goal Progress: August

September 1, 2019 • #

This month I made a concerted effort to kick it into a higher gear with the running. Mid-month was the start of the Strava training plan I’m going to try and follow for race preparation.

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 372.51 miles 332.88 miles 500 miles +39.63
Meditation 2563 minutes 2430 minutes 3650 minutes +158
Reading 36 books 29.96 books 50 books +6.04

The longer mileage is feeling good. I wasn’t sure what to expect when doing longer times with only single...

Elevate for Strava

August 29, 2019 • #

Jason turned me onto this Chrome extension for Strava data analysis called Elevate. It’s a pretty amazing tool that adds deep analytics on top of the already-rich data Strava provides natively as part of their Summit plan.

Elevate fitness curve

In addition to having its own metrics like this fitness/freshness curve, it overlays additional metrics into the individual activity pages on the Strava website. My favorite ones are this (which Strava has its own simpler version of) and the year-over-year comparison graph, which lets you see your progression in total mileage...

Group Training

August 28, 2019 • #

Our SNI running club on Strava keeps expanding. We’ve got 12 members now and counting. Two people are committed to marathons in the fall, and two of us to half-marathons.

Somewhere in reading about marathon training I read that the community aspect of the training plan is one of the most important: finding a group of people around you for mutual support and motivation along the way. Proper training (aside from the physical effort) is time-consuming and requires consistency to get 4 or more activities in per week, without falling off the wagon. It certainly helps to have the visibility...

Long Runs

August 15, 2019 • #

When I committed to the half marathon for October, I also enabled one of Strava’s Summit training plans to keep me honest on the times and distances I should be ramping up with as I prep for that race. My personal goal isn’t to hit some target time in the half; it’s mostly to finish in a comfortable time frame. I chose a plan that has a 10-week training course, 4 activities per week with rest days and/or cross-training in between.

Over the last 3 weeks I’ve been trying to manage my activities...

Goal Progress: July

August 1, 2019 • #

I had surprisingly good results on goals this July given how much was going on all month.

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 300.57 miles 290.41 miles 500 miles +10.16
Meditation 2270 minutes 2120 minutes 3650 minutes +150
Reading 33 books 26.14 books 50 books +6.86

On the exercise front, I was able to get the same quantity of runs in even though we started out with the holiday weekend, which always makes sticking to patterns and habits challenging for me. Plus all...

Biking Again

July 21, 2019 • #

Last weekend I got the bike back up and running again. It’s been out of commission in the garage since the move a few months ago. Just had to clean it up a bit and put some air in the tires and it’s good to go. I’ve got a budding plan to start commuting down to the office, thinking I’ll start with a target of doing that two times per week to start. It’s about a 6 mile ride each way, which wouldn’t take much longer than driving, but in the summer heat here it’s plenty to require a shower...

Habits vs. Goals

July 8, 2019 • #

As I’ve written before on this topic, separating goal-setting from habit-forming is important to do if you want to have success at either. Often people set goals without defining the daily behaviors that will enable them to achieve said goals.

I felt the goals I set this year were firmly in the SMART category, but it’s required diligence not to fall off the wagon of the daily habits. I set some big numbers down (importantly, only in a few areas), so I needed to break down those into daily and weekly patterns to pace...

Goal Progress: June

July 1, 2019 • #

So that’s a wrap on the month of June. This was my best month so far in terms of a consistent plan and feeling more productive with staying on target. Even with an out-of-town trip to visit the Cape and Jacksonville for a few days, which threw a brief wrench into the running plan, I was still able to climb enough above the target line get to my highest mark so far.

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 253.54 miles 247.95 miles 500 miles +5.59
Meditation 1920...

The Reading Diet

June 26, 2019 • #

Books are one purchase I don’t restrict my spending on. I’m not a big buyer of “stuff” in general, but I don’t hesitate at all about my money going to reading. I do try to be circumspect to not overwhelm myself, and to limit that spending to ones that I’m highly interested in and likely to read. I tend to think along the same lines as Shane Parrish here (and, by extension, Charlie Munger):

Books contain a vast amount of knowledge and knowing what most other people don’t know is how I...

Run Shore Acres: Complete

June 20, 2019 • #

Earlier this week I finished up my personal challenge to run all of the street segments in my neighborhood, Shore Acres.

Completed Shore Acres

Here’s the breakdown of stats to get there:

  • Total distance: 125 miles — by my rough calculation there are about 39 miles of streets in Shore Acres, but it takes significant overlap running over past ground from my house to hit new streets
  • Total activities: 36
  • Average run: 3.5 miles
  • Longest run: 5.2 miles
  • Started: March 22, 2019
  • Finished: June 20, 2019

This was a...

Running Kit

June 12, 2019 • #

This year’s annual target for running (pinned at the 500 mile mark) has me trying to figure out my own personal flow — what it takes to get a consistent, comfortable process for building the habit. The number one factor consistency: making the appropriate time and not breaking the promise to myself is the foundation of being able to hit the target.

It’s also important to get your kit in place. One of the great things about running is its minimalistic nature. You truly need nothing but your own body and motivation to get started. As you get...

Goal Progress: May

May 31, 2019 • #

For the second half of the month I got into a good rhythm with every-other-day running. I was even able to push almost 5 miles beyond the pace target to end the month. I started running with the kids again in the jogging stroller, which I haven’t done really at all since Elyse was little (2015-16). It’s good because it gets them out of the house, adds some cargo to push for additional workout, and gives Colette a nice break if I take them when I get home at the end of the day.


Gates' Law: How Progress Compounds

May 24, 2019 • #

“Most people overestimate what they can achieve in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in ten years.”

My post from yesterday got me thinking about this piece I read recently on Farnam Street that dovetails with the thoughts on long-term benefit and the compounding nature of good habits.

The idea of “Gates’ Law”1 is that investments for the long-term can bear fruit sooner than you think. Why does this happen so frequently? And what does this have to do with playing the long game?


Forming Habits

May 23, 2019 • #

This year has been an experiment for me in how one goes about forming habits — at least those of the healthy, positive variety.

We’re all familiar with falling into negative habits and how easy that can happen. There are automatic gravitation-like forces pulling us toward unhealthy habits all the time. Eating junk food, lazing around the house watching TV, not exercising, not reading, spending too much time with social media. What all of these things have in common is short-term gratification. In fact, I struggle to think of any easy traps like this that only have a delayed, long-term...

Night Running

May 19, 2019 • #

With all my commitments each day between work life, kids, and other things, it’s hard to fit exercise into the schedule. Combine that with the struggles I have personally with rising before the kids to get running in, and the only option left is running at night.

For the past 9 months or so I’ve been pretty consistently running at night time after the kids are asleep — anywhere between 9 and 10:30pm. I actually enjoy it, even though it took a while to get comfortable making that commitment to still get out of the house that late. It’d be easy...

Goal Progress: April

May 1, 2019 • #

I was able to stay on track this past month toward my 2019 goals.

Activity Progress Pace
Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 164.51 miles 164.38 miles 500 miles +0.13
Meditation 1285 minutes 1200 minutes 3650 minutes +85
Reading 19 books 14.79 books 50 books +4.21

We’re still in the throes of prepping our old house for sale, so between that and work at the new house, that’s occupying a good bit of time. I have a goal to have the house listed in the next...

Goal Progress: March

April 1, 2019 • #

Month three is in the books. A seriously eventful month for us, so I’m surprised I was able to stay ahead of the curve.

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 123.65 miles 123.29 miles 500 miles +0.36
Meditation 975 minutes 900 minutes 3650 minutes +75
Reading 15 books 11.1 books 50 books +3.90

We closed on the new house on the 15th, had an out-of-town trip to Jacksonville right after. Plus there was...

Weekend Reading: Hurricanes, Long Games, and AirPods

March 30, 2019 • #

Hurricane Season 2017: A Coordinated Reconnaissance Effort

The NSF StEER program has been using Fulcrum Community for a couple of years now, ever since Hurricane Harvey landed on the Texas coast, followed by Irma and Maria later that fall. They’ve built a neat program on top of our platform that lets them respond quickly with volunteers on the ground conducting structure assessments post-disaster:

The large, geographically distributed effort required the development of unified data standards and digital workflows to enable the swift collection...

It’s Not About the Number

March 5, 2019 • #

As I’ve been pushing onward with daily meditation practice on Headspace, the “streak” number has been climbing higher and higher. I have mixed feelings about this in terms of driving motivation. Is the desire to increase a number a healthy way to motivate positive mental health? Is it pushing the right buttons for the right reasons?

Headspace meditation streaks

Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe recently wrote on exactly this topic:

Some people love this feature, viewing it as a source of motivation, a record of accountability, and a...

Goal Progress: February

March 1, 2019 • #

We just crossed month number two of the year, so here’s another pulse check on how I’m tracking against some personal goals for 2019. I’m tracking on all fronts, slightly better positioned against the pace marks than I was at the end of January.

Activity Progress Pace Goal Plus-Minus
Running 84.06 miles 80.82 miles 500 miles +3.24
Meditation 660 minutes 590 minutes 3650 minutes +70
Reading 10 books 7.27 books 50 books +2.73

With meditation practice I’ve widened my plus...

Goal Progress: January

February 1, 2019 • #

This is the first year I set some goals on a few things. I’ve never been strongly goal-oriented, so I thought I’d put some stuff down to hold myself accountable and see if it helps build some healthy habits into my routine. Also, I thought it might be fun, as long as the goals were aggressive but attainable.

For the month of January, here’s how things stack up with each area. We’ve got my progress in the first column, the pace mark I should be at to keep on target, the total goal, and “plus-minus” is where...

Meditation Progress

January 25, 2019 • #

Since late last year I’ve been keeping up with practicing every day. Mostly 10 minute sessions, but recently I’ve been upping that to 15.

50 days meditation

One important thing I need to work in is how to fit it more consistently into the schedule. I don’t have a set time when I practice; sometimes its before work in the morning, but sometimes also late at night (when falling asleep is a hard competitor). Comfort level is rising with each session. Mindfulness doesn’t feel natural, so the repetition at least makes that part go away...


January 1, 2019 • #

With 2018 in the rear view, it’s time to set some goals for 2019.

Here are some things I want to focus on, and some markers to aim at by year end.


  • Run 500 miles — At just under 10 per week on average, this feels achievable, but will require consistency. A fall off the track will be hard to catch up from. I’d like to do some races in here, also.
  • Eat better — Nothing specific here. More cooking at home, more plants, less grease/fat, less quantity, more fish, more variety.
  • Meditate 10 minutes per day,...

2018 in Review

December 31, 2018 • #

2018 was a good year, both personally and professionally. Rather than a long-winded post about everything that happened, here’s a brief summary of accomplishments, major events, family stuff, and travel.


  • Read 43 books. Check out my favorites of 2018: part 1, part 2.
  • Traveled to NYC, San Francisco, Atlanta, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Toronto, St. Augustine, and Boston.
  • Ran 214 miles in 66 separate runs. (This one is particularly special to me. Since I had two...

This is Water

December 26, 2018 • #

This is a 2005 commencement address delivered by the late David Foster Wallace at Kenyon College. Worth going back and listening to from time to time.

The Personal Security Footprint Review

December 12, 2018 • #

Once a year around this time I like to do some “winter cleaning” of my personal security footprint, mostly covering passwords and internet service accounts I have that may be out-of-date, unmaintained, or unneeded.

1Password is a dream for things like this. If you don’t maintain an account, it’s well worth setting one up for the family with their 1Password for Families product tier. Worth every penny1.

Good hygiene with passwords has been a perennial problem in internet-land, and the security risk only goes up with seemingly-daily announcements of the next...

A Couple Years with Todoist

December 7, 2018 • #

For all of the todo list apps out there, I’ve only seriously tried a couple of them. After using OmniFocus since its first version, I switched over to Todoist a couple years ago. There are many I haven’t even tried, but I’ve always tried to stay focused on doing the tasks rather than fiddling with my system. It’s especially ironic with productivity apps to be constantly messing with the workflow in search of some kind of optimization. As Tom eloquently put it a few years ago: “todo lists don’t make...

A Post Each Day

October 23, 2018 • #

I’m now a couple of weeks into writing a blog post every day. I started doing it sort of on a whim because I’ve wanted to write more often, and a forcing function of “something” every day at least drives me to do the behavior.

Writing out ideas helps me clarify and expand my thinking. For a number of years I’ve tried to keep a personal journal using an app, to varying degrees of success. I’ll go through periods of doing well, then fall off the wagon. My entries there have always had a more personal edge, like documenting...

The Map Collection

October 17, 2018 • #

I’ve been collecting paper maps for years. It’s one of the few collection habits I’ve allowed myself to keep (well, including books). Some time back I wanted to inventory all of them. So I built an app in Fulcrum to log the title, source, publishing date, and photos of each.

Map Collection

My collection’s up to 210 now. I’m working on a way to publish this. The other similar app I built a while back is a “map of maps”, basically a similar structure to my collection, but actually geotagging out in the world where...

A Week with the iPad

October 11, 2018 • #

For the last 7 days I’ve only been using the iPad. I’ve had a 12.9” iPad Pro for about a year, but have only used it in “work mode” occasionally so I don’t have to lug the laptop home all the time. Most of what I do these days doesn’t require full macOS capability, so I’m experimenting in developing the workflow to go tablet-only.

Slack, G Suite apps, mail, calendar, Zoom, Asana, and 1Password covers about 85% of the needs. There are a few things like testing Fulcrum, Salesforce, any code editing, that can still be challenging, but they partially...

Public Speaking

December 9, 2014 • #

Reading this post on the value of conference participation prompted some thoughts on the subject, from my perspective as someone who’s done it a couple dozen times, with a wide range of results.

A few years back, I had never presented or given a talk at a conference, but had attended quite a few. I’d always treated conferences and events with a focus on meeting people and absorbing the “state of the art” for whatever the industry or topic at hand. After a few conferences around a given sector, though, they begin to run together. If you’re a doer...

Rediscovering GTD

February 6, 2013 • #

For the last month or so, I’ve been readopting the GTD methodology for organizing my work, personal and business. I read David Allen’s book back in 2007, and attempted to adopt the workflow. This was before having any sort of smart device, so workflow systems were much different back then. My system when I initially jumped in involved pens and pads, inboxes, folders — most of the recommended elements from the book. I didn’t last long, and since then I’ve only dabbled around really getting back into it. Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin’s recent podcast series on...