Checklists, podcasting, blogging and an app

I have recently began using checklists for things like podcasting, blogging, working out and rehearsing. I think checklists really begin to shine when you use them to walk you through a process you do over and over again. A checklist helps me eliminate mistakes, keeps me focused on only the task I’m currently doing, and raises the quality of my work overall. It also provides me with a method to review my work and improve every time I do a podcast, by translating what I learn into new steps.

I’ve never been the most organized person. I can be passionate, dedicated and sometimes obsessive about the things I love doing, but organization doesn’t come naturally to me. One thing I’ve tried before is little “To Do” lists, but it’s not something I’ve done often or methodically. Recently that has changed.

I first started thinking about this because of Checklist Manifesto, a book by Atul Gawande. I have not read the book yet, but I’ve heard several interviews of him. The book is about how checklists for complicated procedures help minimize mistakes and save lives. He is a surgeon and he has seen how a simple checklist for a surgical procedure can dramatically reduce the number of complications. I don’t do anything as grave as surgery, but there are a lot of things I want to accomplish each day. I thought checklists might help and started using them.

My first checklist was a weekly one. Continue reading “Checklists, podcasting, blogging and an app”

Updates – iPhone WordPress themes and podcasts

If by chance you are looking at this blog via a phone or other mobile device like an iPhone, you should notice something different. I have installed a new theme and plugin for WordPress called WPtouch. Basically it is a theme to make the site look good on mobile devices. It’s also includes the behind-the-scenes code that automatically switches your view if you access the blog using a small screen. If you notice any problems viewing this site on your phone, let me know. It looks pretty good on my iPod Touch.

Also, I’ve been working on the pilot episode of a podcast. I think it’s ready to go, but I want to wait to see how it looks through the iTunes store before I start plugging it. Come back tomorrow if you want to hear it. It should be ready by then.

Running and personal checklists

I wonder how many people out there keep personal daily checklists. I’m thinking of developing one. There are quite a few things I’d like to do on a daily or weekly basis. I tend to be someone who likes seeing progress in some chartable form and this ability to chart progress definitely motivates me.

For instance, I have long wanted to be a runner. I have many times started exercise programs and incorporated running or walking into the program. Last winter, when I was working out at the gym I realized that I especially like walking or running for long distances. Once I was on the treadmill, I preferred going for 45 minutes rather than just doing 20 and being done with it. But what I really wanted was to run and walk longer distances outside. I tried a few times to run outdoors in winter and I couldn’t stand it. The cold was simply too much.

Later in the summer, I decided once again to give it a try. This time I was walking and running outside and I was enjoying it, but what really got me hooked I think was when I started using Nike+ with my iPod. To use it, you need a small chip which you put in your shoe (or put inside a little pouch that attaches to your shoelaces). The chip acts like a pedometer, transmitting a signal, presumably whenever you take a step. You have several choices for a receiver to keep track of your progress. iPod Touches and iPhones have an app built into it that you can use to track your runs. You can also buy an attachment for other iPods or you can buy a separate bracelet to track your runs.

Continue reading “Running and personal checklists”

Did I Really Need to Tell You That?

I am not a private person. I like to talk about myself too much, not because my life is so fascinating, but because I have a compulsion to talk about whatever is currently on mind, no matter how mundane. If you give me the chance, I’ll bore you with details of my latest weight loss ideas, the electronic gadget I’m thinking about buying, what I just cooked for lunch or even what size underwear I bought at Wal-Mart.

Last summer I made a series of videos about such mundane aspects of my life as going to a movie or riding my bike. And it’s not like I’m able to spin it into some amazing anecdote. I’m sure if a random person comes across those videos, they will most likely watch it, shrug and say, “What was that?”

Sometimes I think I just never outgrew that stage in life when you come home from school and say, “Mommy, mommy, look at this picture I made at school!” as I hand over this pathetic still life made from shapes of colored paper, crayons and glue.

What’s most difficult about this now is that many of the details of my life revolve around illness and family. The details are mostly private and should be. Many of the things I do feel like sharing, should really be saved for personal conversations, not public postings on the web. But still I do want to share a few things. I can’t help myself.

Continue reading “Did I Really Need to Tell You That?”

Roads I’m Not Going to Take (an explanation)

I’m at a curious point in my life. Up until a couple of years ago, my life seemed to be on a particular path. I moved to Chicago to become an actor, discovered a passion for improvisational theatre and began a lifelong pursuit of teaching, directing and performing in the theatre. Then life started throwing me some curve balls.

I realized that I was unhappy in my administration job at the theatre where I worked, so I quit (although I kept teaching). I started winning at poker and began to think about pursuing it professionally. I found another new source of income when a hobby became a business. I left New York to spend some time with my father in Arizona, and finally I moved back to my hometown to take care of my mother. My old life has been completely interrupted.

This is not all bad. I’m very glad that I’ve been able to spend time with my family and being a caregiver for a parent does have many rewards. It’s hard not to feel a little lost at times though. Eventually, I will leave again, pick up my life and start over. And I’ll have many options in front of me.

Do I return to the theatre? If so, do I go back to Chicago, return to New York or join many of my friends in Los Angeles? Maybe I should go back to Arizona where the weather is amazing and theatre culture is still young, or perhaps I should reconnect with some of my oldest and best friends in Seattle. Do I teach for someone else like I have before or do I teach my own classes or even start my own theatre?

Continue reading “Roads I’m Not Going to Take (an explanation)”