Young Hands Club

December 4, 2019

RMD: Reconciling Plans and Execution

Filed under: Robinson Dorion — Robinson Dorion @ 5:15 p.m.

In taking The Pageboy's Pledge, I've submitted to asking my Master for help with killing whatever stupidity I'm carrying on sight.

As these pages well document, a primary approach in killing the false egos, feelings and inner idjits is prospective reporting on activities and reviews of how well one adhered to his plan. For context from the font.

mp_en_viaje: asciilifeform, looky, management is a rational activity. like medicine. when you go to the doctor's office, irrespective of what you say, he's going to seek the answer to a very specific set of questions, which he has pre-determined, and which he is not adjusting to you in any way -- on the contrary.
mp_en_viaje: if you proceed to explain to him how you don't feel urine tests are an adequate measure of your kidneys, because they're made of light and so something with a stroboscope would be rather preferable, he's going simply output a mental health specialist recommendation. because he does not care what you say ; he does not care what you think ; the process you are engaging in by going to the doctor is not open to your intellectual contribution in the s
mp_en_viaje: ense of revolutionarizing the fundamentals.
mp_en_viaje: management is exactly the same thing : a rational process. it is for the same exact cause just exactly as disinterested in your personality, your worldview, or the mask you put on things to make it possible to get out of bed in the morning.
mp_en_viaje: management is the art and practice of optimizing known processes, and of reducing all phenomena to known processes. that's all it is, and all it does. it is a mighty useful thing, too, but not for
mp_en_viaje: management is only useful for rational agents, which is to say, they who do not expect to form some kind of personal relationship with it ; but instead use it, which is to say, permit it to operate upon them.
mp_en_viaje: you have been, systematically if ineffectually (though i'm sure it looks exactly the other way from inside) attempting to escape management. this is an unhealthy state of affairs, and one that bars you from meaningful interaction with other people.
mp_en_viaje: it's not a matter of "mp". it is a matter that, alf as he finds himself, incapable of any rational process besides retrospective description, is not actually in a place where he can do anything with anyone else. exactly like the given example of the fallen rock.
asciilifeform: see, diana_coman , did not misread.
mp_en_viaje: yes, i'm very much aware "asciilifeform would rather roll out gossipd, trbi, sane comp irons, etc. ~with~ participation of mp_en_viaje" etc. the problem here is -- you will do no such thing. what you will do, instead, is reconfigure your own desk into some sort of shape you and you alone deem meaningful, and that's all. because it is not POSSIBLE, for the man who can't say either "i will do this" and then do it, nor "i said i would do this, but d
mp_en_viaje: idn't, so this is how i'll be different from now on", it is not POSSIBLE to do anything worthy of such lofty names as "sane computing" or even "programmed vcr".
asciilifeform: incidentally to tie in old thread,
a111: Logged on 2019-06-22 20:59 mircea_popescu: << what i find deeply irritating it's that it tends to be republican work that gets dropped in such situations.
mp_en_viaje: you HAVE TO be able to work with others in order to make things. there's no way out of this. and you HAVE TO be able to plan, and execute, and review plans and executions, to work with others.
mp_en_viaje: this is business 101, everyone who ever worked with people in any capacity understands it as a necessary part and parcel of what their life experience meant ; much like everyone who's ever been to
the doctor understands that such contributions as "gimme the white round ones, they're the best" are not proper.
asciilifeform: entirely willing to work with people, review plans, etc. but if mp_en_viaje declares ' i have snails here in terrarium faster than asciilifeform ' then i have no counter-argument, what sorta counter could there be.
mp_en_viaje: if you bother to review the source material, you might discover that is entirely ~your~ contribution.
mp_en_viaje: and yes, i get it, it irritates you to high heavens your work isn't moving faster. that's fine. but it is also not the topic here.
asciilifeform: mp_en_viaje: then what was topic ? the lack of a per-ch release calendar ? attempted already, all it did is to add to asciilifeform's reputation as charlatan. and for that matter i dun recall any successes among the other folx with day jobs re multiweek calendars for pro-bono worx.
mp_en_viaje: this pos sure picked the time to be flaky
mp_en_viaje: asciilifeform, you never discussed WHY it just added to reputation of charlatan. why did it ?
mp_en_viaje: what are you doing differently to avoid it ?
mp_en_viaje: wtf is this, "i don't like the way the tests results are coming out so ima impugn the lab" ? "i'm not fat, i'm just stressed and besides everyone this side of ozarks looks like this" ?
asciilifeform: left off making promises which i dun have the resources to make good on, is all of it
mp_en_viaje: gimme a break, the infantile copouts.
mp_en_viaje: you;re supposed to LEARN HOW TO make promises. much like you were supposed to LEARN HOW TO manage BingoBoingo
mp_en_viaje: not "run away to bedroom because nyah nyah"
asciilifeform: waitasec, he's the chair, why asciilifeform is to manage him ?
mp_en_viaje: << nope, real time is exactly not it. exact same shiot as retrospective, really, purely irrational. to be rational, it must be PROSPECTIVE. science makes predictions not "in real time" or after tjhe fact. BEFORE the fact.

While I have to and want to be rational, learn to keep my word and work with people, from the jump as a Young Hand, my planning has not been adequate and as Diana Coman, pointed out a couple weeks back, my reivews also left out a direct look at my results :

"but pointing it out to make sure it's pointed out by me" - heh, good for you; and no, it's not that it wasn't noticed, it's just that you've been allowed some extra time to speak up on it. Ftr, the convo on time management came up precisely because of *all* those missed and messed up deadlines + estimations, not just the one you acknowledged.

Acutely missing here is a direct look at your original plan vs how the week turned up, especially since you had already done some tweaks there - how well did those work & to what extent were they actually what was needed?

Here I sit two weeks1 and two deadlines later to make my review of the dysfunction to fix.

The original, high-level plan was:

As I failed to deliver multiple tasks last week, I've made the adjustment of stating deadlines for delivery.

1. Things my Master assigned me:

  1. (8h) Article on my experience living in Panama, 71 months in. Deadline: Wednesday, November 13th, Noon EST
  2. (8h) Convert Latex source of JWRD business plan to blog article. Deadline: Friday, November 15th, Noon EST
  3. My series of posts adding meat to the bones of The Fabled Outlines.
    1. (1.5h) 2.1-2.2: Prospecting from Prospect Point : recollect the process and struggle of settling into the islands, the pleasure of making new friends and the refuge of sanity provided by calling the lead pool.
    2. (3h) 2.3.1-2.3.{3,9}: How many Banks in a Bank : describe the layers of asset custody and the layers of data custody of the bank's infrastrucutre.
    3. (1.5h) 2.3.4-2.3.8: Learning to Work : Describe my n00bishness and how I worked through it with a good guide for the purpose.

2. Things I want feedback on/help with.

  1. JWRD Computing Business Plan.

3. anything else that takes up a significant amount of your time.

  1. (20h) JWRD : 3h of management. 11h2 of session preparation and delivery. 7h of local relationship development3.
  2. (21h) Following the forum and conversing when it's my time. I'm planning to block off 14:00-15:304 and 19:00-20:30 UTC to properly eat and engage the logs and blogs. Not sure if this is enough time, but think I need to work in blocks to maximize my focus.
  3. (7h)5 Daily Review/Preview to start up, wind down day.
  4. (3h) Weekly review/preview.6
  5. (5h 15m) 45 minutes of exercise each morning.
  6. (5h 50m) 20 min Spanish7, 30 min French each morning8.
  7. (5h) Begin packing for travels, preparing to be away 6 wks. My departure flight is a red eye on Wednesday, November 20th. Goal is to be packed Sunday to provide plenty buffer.

I made a more detailed plan dividing up the days into hours and scheduling the work to be done.

On Monday, November 11:

Morning: planned and executed: exercise, language practice, a preview of the day, log and blog reading/responses, and got an hour of drafting on my life in Panama article.

Afternoon: planned and executed: wrote emails to JWRD clients and prospects, arranged a sit down meeting for Tuesday and delivered a JWRD session.

Evening: planned and executed further two hours drafting of the Panama article and a review to wind down the day. I did not plan for, but ended up supporting Jacob in processing his bid making for the JWRD auction9. The later lead me to getting to sleep after I'd planned.

On Tuesday, November 12:

Morning: I woke up about an hour late than planned and executed exercise, language practice, a preview of the day, log and blog reading/responses. MP took interest in learning about Gales Linux and a talk was arranged for that afternoon.

Afternoon: I attended a meeting over coffee with local prospects that I'd scheduled from 11:00-12:00 than ran to 13:00, but was productive.

The Gales conversation in #trilema was not planned, and the anticipation and processing of the conversation took further unplanned time.

Evening: I planned and did sink 2 more hours into the Panama article10. Tuesday evening was planned to be the final drafting time, which Wednesday morning reserved for final review and publication.

I did a review of the day and preview of tomorrow to wind down, but my records are not good enough to tell me what time I actually did it and went to sleep. I'm pretty I was behind schedule.

On Wednesday, November 13:

Morning: I woke up knowing the noon deadline was unlikely to be met and provided an update in #o. I still got exercise, but left off Spanish and French practice.

I processed the morning log and I sunk 4 hours into the Panama article.


Evening: I burned 4 hours of midnight oil and missed the moved deadline by 5 hours, but managed to publish Life on the Isthmus, 83 months in with which I'm satisfied11.

On Thursday, November 14th:

Morning: I cut the planned exercise and language practice knowing there remained much to do for the JWRD business plan to be fit for publication, having a client session in the afternoon and keeping up with logs and blogs.

I sunk 2 hours between the outline and starting on the draft.

Afternoon: Planned and executed client session.

Evening:I had originally planned to have the JWRD article drafted and ready for Jacob to review here. I didn't manage that and spent the time catching up.

On Friday, November 15th:

Morning: I followed and supported Jacob in processing his bidding in the Pizarro auction, which I hadn't well planned. I chipped away at the JWRD article, but I let the noon deadline pass without a mention.

Afternoon: Midday I got a short exercise in and by late afternoon/early evening, I sent my draft to Jacob for review.

Evening: I processed Jacob's feedback and pressed publish on JWRD Computing: The why, how, what and way forward. ~11 hours after the deadline.

On Saturday, November 16th:

Morning: After paying off some sleep debt, I woke up to feedback that was more positive than I had hoped for. I went for a long walk in the morning city sun to begin to let the feedback sink in.

Afternoon: I responded to the logs and blogs and further processed the change in my situation. This primarily revolves around dead psychological weight I'd accumulated from the time I spent in the shadows.


A glaring problem degrading the quality of this review is my time and action keeping degraded as the pressure of the week mounted. Inexperience and inept planning left me without any actual buffers and I made cuts, e.g. sleep, exercise, clock time spent, etc., that are not sustainable.

I didn't manage to improve in the planning and reporting processes in the two weeks since. I allowed, travel, being in a remote area while hunting and spending atypical time with family and friends for the holiday further stress this weakness12. This week I have a lot more external stability and with my increased responsibility I must strengthen my hands at this fundamental work.

So help me my own intelligence and cursed be my own stupidity that is holding me back!

  1. Perhaps the two most dynamic weeks of my life. []
  2. 4 90 minute sessions + 2.5h of commute (walking) + 2.5h prep and review. []
  3. Touch base with as many relationships as I can within the allotted time as this is my last full week in Panama for the calendar year. []
  4. 9-10:30 local time []
  5. 30 mins in morning, 30 mins before sleep []
  6. Shift to publishing review by midnight UTC Saturday and plan by 15:00 UTC Saturday. []
  7. With so many English speakers in Panama and English heavy work, gotta keep the gears greased. []
  8. Currently halfway through Pimsler audio heavy with reading supplement course. Reaching out to French speakers locally. []
  9. Which included pricing courier fees. []
  10. I did find myself a bit anxious in writing the piece, fundamentally revolving around being real, i.e. striking the balance between highlighting the positives and negatives. On the one hand, I didn't want to oversell it and on the other, I don't need to unnecessarily aggravate locals with more power than myself. []
  11. The article I mean, not missing deadline #2 []
  12. This is not an excuse, but an admission. []


  1. To bridge in the follow through from the #o log:

    diana_coman: dorion_road: to what extent did the "specify deadline" approach work to improve anything there?
    diana_coman: to be precise, deadlines were supposed to help structure the work and make communications more reliable
    dorion_road: diana_coman it caused me to create a better schedule, not good enough, but prevented the task dragging on longer.
    diana_coman: if you mean it would have been otherwise even worse, I can see it, yes.
    diana_coman: otherwise though, those deadlines were clearly not enough/not well chosen; which of those?
    diana_coman: dorion_road: with those days previews/reviews, it sounded like you actually already had some experience with planning but now it's not that clear - was it only since coming here that you did this sort of thing?
    dorion_road: diana_coman I think they were not enough because there wasn't enough detail on the subtasks. And then I spent on unplanned actions.
    dorion_road: the inexperience in writing and the complexity of articles I tackled also contributed to the deadlines not being well chosen.
    dorion_road: we touched on this when you gave the rule of thumb of doubling the time you think it'll take.
    ossabot: Logged on 2019-11-13 16:54:26 diana_coman: dorion: hm, ok; as a basic thing though, esp if it's something new /you have no experience with, the hard rule is pretty much "estimate the time and then DOUBLE it", lol
    diana_coman: yes.
    diana_coman: dorion_road: did you ever plan similarly your time before?
    diana_coman: (similarly aka to same level of detail)
    dorion_road: diana_coman on the experience making plans. I have some experience, but not with a good guide.
    diana_coman: mind giving me a summary as to what you've got/learn from that experience? there are quite a few things I see there but it helps to know where you're coming from on this.
    dorion_road: a lot of the plans I've written for myself have been detailed, but they have largely been private these past couple years.
    diana_coman: private wouldn't be a problem in itself; the question is to what extent the events fit the plans.
    diana_coman: or hm, did you ever check that? lol.
    dorion_road: I did check, and I've made adjustments over time, but have a lot of strengthening yet.
    dorion_road: on what I've learned, do you mean what I learned writing the latest article or what I've learned through my experience making plans ?
    diana_coman: dorion_road: through your experience making plans.
    dorion_road: well, the first would be how much more meaningful life is when one plans and reflects on his plans.
    diana_coman: I'd rather think that has more to do with reflection than with plans :P but good for you anyway.
    dorion_road: when your plans are more ambitious, every minutes and everything you have to do has to be considered, like when and for how long you spend time eating.
    dorion_road: diana_coman hah. perhaps. but my plans have always been born during some reflection time :)
    diana_coman: dorion_road: hm; and do you enjoy that "everything you have to do has to be considered, like when and for how long you spend time eating" ?
    dorion_road: diana_coman to continue: when you're approaching a new problem or skill, try to find a guide who can help keep your plans in check with reality.
    dorion_road: diana_coman I enjoy it in the sense that it seems to me I'm making my best effort at getting the things done I want to see done.
    dorion_road: I also enjoy to relax, it seems responsible plans have relaxing time baked in too.
    diana_coman: that for sure but there's more to it there.
    dorion_road: my 97yo grandmother made the comment this weekend, "Boy, you really know how to relax. Every bone in your body looks calm."
    diana_coman: "I want to see done" is incomplete as such; there's "I want to see done at ANY COST" and "I want to see done within this/that cost"
    dorion_road: diana_coman that's a good point.
    diana_coman: ahaha; was she correct at least?
    dorion_road: she was at that time, yes. :)
    diana_coman: glad to hear it :)
    dorion_road: diana_coman then the planning should always try to score cost/benefit ?
    diana_coman: getting back to your review of the planning, on Thursday there's the "I had originally planned to have the JWRD article drafted and ready for Jacob to review here. I didn't manage that" - what happened there? ie was it just not enough time or did you get sidetracked or what exactly?
    dorion_road: diana_coman letting the Panama article get away from me pushed the JWRD article start time.
    diana_coman: dorion_road: not necessarily; it's simply that there's planning and planning; ie "at all costs" means one thing and that thing is mainly: ~everything else gets cut to the bone, until the main thing is done; the "within this/that" means that the plan will be itself more leniently made.
    diana_coman: not everything is really worth (and even effective) planning at the same level of detail either;
    dorion_road: diana_coman when I sat down to write it, I didn't find myself sidetracked, especially less than the Panama article. It did take longer than the 8h I had allocated, so not enough buffer to begin with either.
    dorion_road: diana_coman makes sense on the modes of planning given the stakes.
    diana_coman: dorion_road: you know, part of the reason why I asked you re past experience with planning is that otherwise you don't strike me as very... how to even say it, easily planned/plan-fitted; you clearly are/can be disciplined, yes but that's a different thing.
    diana_coman: anyways, back to your plan and review there: first thing is that unplanned stuff is a given really but you failed to make any provision for it, to start with.
    diana_coman: I don't know if this is because until joining here you found reality way more ..predictable or something (hah, did you?)
    diana_coman: but even if you did, that was just luck :P
    diana_coman: so, good plans are *not* extremely rigid and to-the-second-known-upfront
    diana_coman: because that's just planning to fail really
    diana_coman: how was it, failing to plan is planning to fail; but - adds diana - so is too-rigidly planning the unknown future.
    dorion_road: diana_coman for sure my life has consisted of many unplanned turns, but yes provisioning for the unplanned is something I need to strengthen.
    diana_coman: btw, this was mentioned before (if perhaps not all that clearly in this respect):
    ossabot: Logged on 2019-11-13 16:56:39 diana_coman: cool; nothing stops you otherwise from having a lengthy list to chew through in that happy case when you finally finish faster than you thought you would; but way better to do that then to constantly end up late.
    diana_coman: ie do NOT plan every hour of your day; because if you plan it ALL, you will inevitably end up snowballing stuff at the first unplanned event.
    dorion_road: diana_coman as for the detailed, yet not rigid approach, I think I can improve in thinking through the details prior and building in explicit buffer for both learning what I don't know and the unplanned that's sure to manifest.
    diana_coman: sure, have "time permitting" stuff in the queue to fill those buffers should the world turn incredibly tame that day, but that's an unexpected piece of good fortune, not the expected turn of events.
    dorion_road: diana_coman that's for sure a helpful shift in perspective.
    diana_coman: the learning/new part simply means that you double/triple/whatever your estimate because you clearly can't possibly estimate it correctly when you are not even sure wtf that thing is; then there is the above and the expecting-the-unexpected that comes on top and yes, it's more of a perspective shift indeed.
    diana_coman: basically this lack of space for the unplanned is what threw off your week starting with Monday there.
    diana_coman: btw you have a broken link on "update" in #o on Wed in there.
    diana_coman: dorion_road: the other significant part is that you really seem to plan more on the "I'd love to do this" than "it'll take this much", lol
    diana_coman: which makes you extremely pleasant to work with in first instance, granted, but doesn't help you otherwise a lot.
    dorion_road: diana_coman fixed the link, ty.
    diana_coman: dorion_road: overall, the plan (and especially the initial plan) is really meant to be a roadmap, not a straightjacket (and I seriously think it would hinder rather than help you if you make it all that rigid); so plan it as a flexible thing to start with: a guide to make sure you don't waste time, but not something so fixed that it can't/shouldn't adapt to significant changes as they happen.
    diana_coman: and honestly, if anyone started planning my time on meals, I'd go nuts.
    dorion_road: diana_coman yea, I'm starting to see with the writing generally the benefit of the it'll take this much approach.
    diana_coman: dorion_road: you also clearly need and benefit from time to process things; don't just discard/ignore that.
    diana_coman: it might seem "not productive" but that's not true.
    dorion_road: diana_coman that makes sense on the adaptable guide method. that and more humility on the time it'll take me will pay off.
    diana_coman: you don't really do humble all that well, do you.
    dorion_road: diana_coman you know sometimes other people want a time from you for the meals.
    diana_coman: fuck them?
    diana_coman: lolz
    dorion_road: well that's before the meal.
    diana_coman: that being said, a 24 old me avoided French for lunch because with them it would take 1 hour ffs.
    diana_coman: and then the coffee break!
    diana_coman: anyways, the point is not that it should take 4 hours or something but simply that whatever you do gets its proper time and attention, that's all.
    dorion_road: diana_coman on the processing: yes time helps me with that and no I don't see how I could discard it. if you can believe it the processing I've done has helped humble me from where I was..
    dorion_road: diana_coman "A place for everything and every thing in it's place"
    diana_coman: I can quite more-than-believe it, yes :)
    dorion_road knew she could :)
    diana_coman: ha! now to next week planning: how are you going to go about it
    diana_coman: ?
    diana_coman: you do know more than you think and then at the same time you think you know more than you do :P
    dorion_road: I'd tend to agree. On this week's approach, start with splitting into "at all costs" and "within this/that".
    dorion_road: then get most detailed on the requirements for the all costs and lay them on the schedule first.
    dorion_road: whatever buffer/unplanned time I make on the first pass, double it, since that itself is a weakness.
    diana_coman: plan for the unplanned; double the unknowns; DO adjust it if/when/as needed rather than keeping quiet like a mouse yes?
    dorion_road: yeah, updates on the progress for sure. seems like the EOD reports are helping whaack.
    diana_coman: that doesn't mean they'd help you; figure out what/if it helps you, don't just reach for whatever is around; if you say it helps you, then go ahead but do think it through, ok?
    diana_coman: and now: what part of your plan did I mess up with this long discussion today? :p
    dorion_road: ok, I will think it through.
    dorion_road: I had follow through planned. but haven't yet exercised today.
    diana_coman: heh, ruining your fitness then, I see.
    dorion_road though there may be snow to shovel today, but alas, only cold.
    dorion_road: thought*
    dorion_road: diana_coman if there's one thing I have to lean on it's my fitness ;)
    dorion_road: I'm going to run basketball practice with local high school tomorrow, we'll see how it goes, but that muscle memory takes a long time to die.
    diana_coman: hah; /me had school kill all basketball enjoyment, lol.
    diana_coman: dorion_road: any further questions re planning? does it all make sense/fit somewhere?
    dorion_road: diana_coman no further questions, it makes sense, thanks for the feedback and I'll work it in.
    diana_coman: re think it through, know that it's not just that/here; it struck me that you have quite the trouble processing the not-so-sunny side of things really and that's most likely the actual cause of your long deep-freeze too; but that can perhaps wait.
    diana_coman: cool then; (hopefully with some snow soon too :P ).
    dorion_road: yeah, the not-so-sunny side of things had my attention for a several years of my 20s. I made a lot of changes and have thawed, but for sure was part of the deep-freeze. sneak peak in the fabled outlines to be filled.
    dorion_road: there's been snow on the ground since I've been here, just no new blanket to today.
    diana_coman was seriously looking around for places-with-snow-to-go-to-already-ffs
    dorion_road has been enjoying the cold and snow, believe it or not.
    dorion_road: heh.

    Comment by Robinson Dorion — December 4, 2019 @ 10:28 p.m.

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