People fascinate me. We are like black boxes. We show up to our family, to social gatherings, to work, and all this stuff is happening in the background that no one talks about. That’s the stuff that fascinates me.

I’m trying to bring my full self to the table. I recently watched Erin Brockovich. “Don’t take this personal!” She was advised. I loved her response–it IS personal.

We’re emotional creatures. Our passions can excite us and make us better, or, as Edmund Burke would say, “forge our fetters.” One thing I’m passionate about is exercise and being strong, flexible, and full of energy. This mental equivalent helps me guide my actions. It’s not flawless, but it’s pretty good. And today it was particularly good. I felt like I was in the zone.

Tonight I came home and our two year old was at my parents and my wife was nursing our newborn daughter.

I started heating water for rice and went downstairs and grabbed a kettlebell and brought it upstairs. When the water boiled, I added the rice and set my timer for 10 minutes (in which time I would check the rice) and launched into my workout. After 10 minutes, I checked the rice and pre-heated the oven for the chicken and then set the timer again for 10 minutes. After 20 minutes, I had finished my workout and the oven was ready. I put in the chicken and then cut the broccoli and then set the timer for 20 minutes for the chicken and broccoli.

Then in that time I documented my workout in DITA XML (nerd stuff) and wrote this blog post. It’s great when you feel those moments of extreme focus where nothing can distract and you get a lot done.

For exercise and writing, I’ve definitely learned to maximize my time and fit it in. Stealing moments here and there can be effective. It’s the kind of thing you have to do with two small kids and grad school.