Created Monday, June 20th, 2022,
Updated Sunday, Jan 1st, 2023,
Author: Mattanaw, Christopher Matthew Cavanaugh
Former Chief Architect, Adobe Systems
Current President/Advisor, Social Architects and Economists International.
The second section, after my section with concrete tasks for the day was the calendar section. Of course all are familiar with paper calendars. In business, one might depend on the calendar to organize meetings and to control scheduling, and to stay aware of the times of happenings, and perhaps even for time zone management. Since using the simple paper calendar to stay aware of upcoming events, birthdays and holidays, I’ve become much more adept and dependent on calendar applications, like Google Calendar and Outlook.
On returning to my personal form, and rational times, I’m wanting to modify my calendar based on some new observations, and to break out from traditional usage to a more sophisticated conception that can serve my other interests and not only interests in being reminded about upcoming days, and on organizing my meetings for work.
Firstly, I have changed the name from:
Cycles and Shifts.
One might wonder “What is wrong with Calendar?”
Consider that your use of the calendar is purely inherited and has not incorporated your intellectual views about what time consists of and how the calendar relates to your own personal cycles in your biology. It is unlikely that you’ve influenced the calendar with your own creativity, and like me before, in my use of my Personal Form, and my use of digital calendars, I have received but not contributed.
This newer version of my time management approach is not merely a copy of existing approaches at calendars.
One goal I had that I did not yet accomplish was to get off of using calendar management tools provided by large software companies that end up controling your activities and locking you into their software products, with the consequence that 1) You might be doing things in ways that could have been simpler, and 2) You might be supplying information that you could retain on your own, and 3) You might be able to own your own calendar solution, depending on your specific needs.
As a former software architect and consultant in digital transformation for large enterprises I ended up having some ideas of my own about how the calendar could be created in software differently.
Firstly, it can be noticed by the reader that a calendar amounts to a simple list, if one separates from the bias of the current table-like calendar view. Suppose instead of a traditional paper calendar hung on the wall, you had a large poster with lists of months as headings, and numbers for each day in each month, with an underlined portion that can be used for your own entries, which might also include text for certain special dates. For example, a portion of December might simply be:
The above really does provide your reminders of upcoming days and their significance in the same way that a print calendar does. Depending on how much you interact with your calendar, you may be missing tasks, goals, milestones, and if you use it for business, you would be missing your workday of meetings that would include details about how to join conference calls, and screen-sharing sessions and the like.
However, consider that those details are merely elaborations of things that must be recorded on each day. So instead of the above entries you could have entires like this:
It would be clear after viewing the above example that each day could be developed as much as necessary to include all that is needed to be done during the day.
I was wanting this year to have a text calendar that I would edit on my own that would work as a substitute for the digital calendar that I was using with work, and it is definitely achievable with some programming and some shifts in how I use my email. There are missing elements if one does want to rely on a text calendar. Firstly, how is one notified about changes? How are calendar invites from email transferred into the text calendar. Depending on how busy one is using the calendar, it could be somewhat infeasible to do such tasks manually by always returning to the text calendar to make updates. However, in my experience, calendar applications also have issues. Some issues could be resolved, and simplicity attained, even if the calendar is manually updated.
There are othe features of calendars that business customers would be wanting me to use, but after attaining greature stature and significance in organizations, I have reached a point where I can make simplificaitons and do somewhat less than employees of companies would have to do. I could get away with recording meetings into my own text calendar for my own use without relying on Outlook or Google Calendars, and my calendar would appear very simple, somewhat like the calendar above. I could also publish the calendar on my own website, here, so I can keep my site open to see what is upcoming in my life. In this way, the text calendar fulfills the same need as the digital calendar when used as a reference, and my calendar would be my own, fully-owned, implementation of my own calendar that nobody else would be using for anything that I’m unaware of. In business working at a company it is not clear if superiors can review your entire calendar without your knowledge.
What would also be missing is calendar invites. But again, I could implement a system in which I merely put something on my text calendar, and mail an invite that has the expected format for an Ourtlook or Google Calendar invite, and in that way, I can still utilize my email for calendar in the traditional way.
I have considered creating my own email system in order to control all more fully and more programmatically, using a system totally owned by myself.
Considering the above, one can also retain one’s complete calendar easily. It is simply a text document list. Your entire life of less than 100 years would be a list of 100 sets of 12 months, which would not even be much to print. You would never need to buy a calendar. Considering this it somewhat odd why one would buy a calendar, given it is nothing but a list of days. Particularly because they days are set and a predictable cycle, well-understood, such that there is no need of any expertise from any calendar creating authority to know what day of the week it will be, 60 or 70 years from now, on the same day of the year. You could create a calendar now and use that very same calendar for the remainder of your life, and it would cost nearly zero dollars, and very little time and effort. Except of course, actually retaining that list and finding ways to habituate the use (although that is handled by the personal form and this system here in the life categories and priorities.
So it has been seen that a calendar can be created easily on one’s own and that one implementation of a calendar might be a simple set of lists in print or in a text file. ”
That seems still to fit within the framework of a normal calendar system. What is this change of name in your particular usage to ‘Cycles and Shifts’?”
While it might appear that daily cycles are a really useful way of organizing one’s life on a regular basis, and a way of chunking pieces of time, I have found that there are many defects, and these defects relate to our tradition of being somewhat imprecise about our own personal cyclical behaviors. Here are some related defects:
Much more can be added. The point is that there is a much more intelligent and wise way to approach the calendar than to merely receive it as we have and do. Most conversation around calendars that I’ve been exposed to relate to desires to be meticulously accurate as to the duration of each year, and to account for anomalies on the year, and to provide watches and movements for watches that are better able to precisely match up with the calendar, and to synchronize to (if digital or radio) source authorities on time (‘atomic’ clocks).
This newest conception of the personal form and calendar will include this sort of awareness which would be more aware than it is if it were not hindered by existing traditional norms. In other words, if you had a gifted child, their development could be stunted to a degree by insistence that they rely on a basic calendar that has no conceptions blended with other disciplines, and no push towards greater scientific awareness and interrelation.
These ideas are still not at odds with having a personally owned calendar that is text based using lists. So there is a method of attaining greater simplicity and control, and ownership, and awareness, by adoptingn a more sophisticated view of calendaring of life’s cycles (and shifts. More on that later).
Another limitation on the calendar is lack of awareness of how long the calendar would have been applicable, and how it would change, from one place to the next, and one time to the next, on an astronomical scale, or at all scales that are available to our understanding realistically based on what is really observable.
One thing I wish to include in my personal calendar is a better understanding of my own biological cycles. For example, I’d like to include my own history onto the calendar, and my own history includes sleep patterns that do not match 8 hours per day, with sleep occuring at 10 pm. By doing this I think I can help clarify that certain ailments may not actually exist, or that they are more tolerable than they are, and perhaps provide a better conception of what a healthy human life consists of separate from template-like conceptions about how it should fit into a schedule.
[More to come!]
[Written in 42 minutes without edits. Finished at 12:16 pm]
There are cycles of human behavior that relate to tethering to particular regions for periods of time. If one decides to dwell at a city location for several months, or several years, one will find that on a cycle certain paths are traversed repeatedly. Even if one believes one is being somewhat non-repetitive in use of time at a particular region, much repetition will be found on examination of daily behavior, and paths traversed and locations visited, will be somewhat uniform, and patterned, such that the pattern would be somewhat related to the individuals behavior there and elsewhere, if that person leaves that region.
A method of changing cycles of behavior is to change location. While there will be similarities which relate to the individuals patterns of behavior, the change of environment alone will be adequate to change all paths and locations visited. Similarities in behavior between locations for an individual would probably be adequate to find analogies in behavior between the locations which relate to personality and durable aspects of a persons brain relating to learning, education, and brain physiology.
As I write this I’m in Darwin, Australia. After several weeks, my behavior has become highly routine. Reflecting on periods spent living in locations for longer times, I can see that my behaviors at those times were even more routined than my behavior at Darwin for much longer periods of time. My existing lifestyle and travel involves staying in one single location for not more than one month. After this time in Darwin, I will be living in several places in New Zealand. The simple change of location from one place to another immediately changes the cyclical behavior that will be exhibited, even if the behavior involves analagous behavioral patterns to those exhibited in another location. I will be visiting coffee houses, reading and writing, exercising, and going to the gym, and doing some walking and sightseeing. I’ve mentioned in Architecture of Ethics, in the attention management process, that the number of activities that an individual performs is not large. Some may object, saying that their behavior is really eclectic, and many different activities over the lifespan were done, creating a rich life. I do not disagree with that perspective which may involve comparison of different people and the amount of activities they have been involved in. What I’m here saying, instead, is that the number of activities done regularly, and all of them taken together, when listed, is not a large list to easily manage and recall. It is easy to list all the activities that any person is doing for an extended period of time. In a way this makes it appear that human life is simple, and I think this really does indicate that; however, it is relative to the minds ability to really comprehend its own range of activities. I think it is really easy for a person to completely understand the simplicity of their total number of activities performed. This is significant because some will claim that life is somehow not comprehensible; it appears that this is not the case, at a high level, if all behaviors are easily classified and listed. In any case these are things I already assume but think may be useful to convey to the reader.
Typically after two weeks I’m wanting to move on to a new destination, or location to dwell. If I stay in a single place for a month, already I’m feeling that my cyclical behavior is too routine. The locations visited and revisited are repeated after finding them initially, in a period in which decision making about fulfilling needs is required for a new place. Following that period of decision making, much feels “decided”, and there is a desire to use less effort deciding the same, once one “settles into” the location, which largely means, “moves around less and when moves moves to places already known”. While I am able to explore new locations, even the explorations include certain cyclical “ruts” of behavior. Typically it is quite welcome to move onto a new location to have very different cyclical behaviors related to regional change.
Sunday, June 24th, 2022,
Process of selecting what to do next. A process of choosing what to do next may appear different from taking a task. Taking a task may seem to lower, or somehow diminish, selections about what to do. “When I am in my free moments, wanting something to occupy myself, or enjoy myself, I’m not merely taking on a task!” And yet we have phrases like “occupy yourself” which would indicate there is some work to be taken on if one is idle. I think there is no issue with considering it is taking on a task, with the word task made more broad, to include simply actions that are selected that have some desirability, including selections of relaxation.
This is an early appraoch to “What will I do next” when there is nothing that needs to be done soon, and there is freedom to include in what gets done nothing that is clearly a part of an existing schedule, or timeline, for work or something related to ideas about responsibility.
If it appears that there is nothing obvious to do, then you can quickly resort to reading. While not knowing what to do, you are in a psychological state or mentality that is going to repeat. It is a state of unimaginativeness, or of decreased interest or motivation for one option imagined or another. Imaginativeness returns once one begins reading. It likely returns quickly upon initiating something else, but for now let’s attempt to quickly focus attention on doing something that is easily done, and easily initiated. Simply finding one of your books to read. Upon reading, you could quickly decide that something else was better. And with that it appears already you have a more general solution:
You only need something that would break the unimaginativeness or lack of motive force one way or another, with something that is easily resorted to, or easily initiated, even if habitually initiated for the purpose of not doing it further. For myself it appears reading is an easy thing to accomplish this goal of creating a general breaker on stuckness. For others there might be something better to choose. Maybe video gaming is an alternative, although with gaming one might get stuck being entertained over other tasks. However, then one can game, just as I can read. It seems there is a resolution one way or the other.
In piloting this could be considered a simple antidote to being stuck. Think “Read, and simply do that, but if something else comes to mind that is better, you can switch to that instead.”
This is only a start to a process of selecting what to do next. Typically you will have things that have some time sensitivity to accomplish or else you can choose from your backlog of tasks. However, you do need a better method that can be conformed to your life and integrated into your normal behavior. But that also is not necessary entirely at this stage in your life (speaking to myself). However, if a better way can be incorporated into your normal thinking and behavior, it would turn out that you would not have an inability to select, which seems like it would be a more comfortable result, than feeling like you have no solution, to something you have considered a problem because of some discomfort created.
Humans are mostly diurnal animals, sleeping much more at night than during the day, and sleeping and waking in alternation, which implies that attention cycles relates in an important way to daily cycles. Repeatedly, daily, your attention vanishes during the night, and returns during the day. You alternate between having no attention at all and having some amount of measurable attention, while you are awake. It does not appear there is any complete on state for attention, while it does appear there is a complete off state, when you are sleeping. People are diverse in their usage of their attention and their capacity for attention, as applied to specific areas of focus, and more generally, during time awake. People who are awake and are very elderly, or are in a state of cognitive decline, may feel as though their attention is much lower than at other periods in their lives. During these periods when people are using their attention, they are still not using it in any way that is a maximum for humans or animals. Instead, they are using it to a certain degree, in certain ways, in a way that varies over their lifetimes, and cyclically changes during the day. During the day we can admit also that we have periods in which we can expect a high level of attentiveness when we are energetically working, while we may have much poorer attention for certain things during the first couple hours of the morning, after work, or for a period before bed.
People who are wanting to increase their effectiveness and level of energy, and their goal oriented activity levels during the days are wanting also to increase their attentional abilities and usage. When one is beginning to run low on energy, one feels one’s attention flag, and oftentimes one must work to combat this with tricks and methods, to continue working for a longer period.
There are obstacles to attention which include chronic distractions. Some have situations in which they would like their attentions to be utilized for some kinds of preferred types of work and activities, but are unable due to commitments, responsibilities they think they have, and needs which conflict; and so their attention is used perhaps for things they prefer not to do, like do work at a job they don’t enjoy that is not related to their goals they want to fulfill, which are closer to their objectives for developing themselves. In this way one desires to have more power for allocating attention for things one would like to do and to remove distractions. There is an article I’ve written specifically on how to create a life in which one’s imagination is focused on what one wants to achieve, which I’ve also called Higher Order Attention. This small book which needs to be digitized is about how one can strategically improve attention at a macro level by changing things like where one lives, filtering who one relates to, and improving environments to be richer and more filled with things worthy of attention, relating to personal objectives.
Others may feel they have issues with procrastination, and may be unmotivated to do what it is they really would like to do, and this also relates to an inability to sustain and create attention for the things one would like to do. Even if there are few distractions, and plenty of opportunities exist for doing what one likes to do, there are still obstacles which relate to one’s ability to keep attention on what is believed to be worthwhile. I have written about this in two helpful articles, Procrastination, and Strategies for Managing Procrastination, Part I
More recently, I’ve created a process for which to use repeatedly and cyclically as activities are performed every day, for increasing attention to the activity underway, but also relating that activity to all life categories which include all that one does and thinks, that relates in various ways to one’s personal objectives. There is an architectural process in Architecture of Ethics, that describes how this process is used during the day to increase rationality, and direct thinking away from distractions to what is worth thinking about. This can be utilized when doing work or activities that are quite unrelated to the activities one would like to be doing, and so one can do one thing while developing another. As a retiree, I have lots of extra time. Having so much extra time puts some additional demands on me for deciding what to do next. This is different from when one has a job which more clearly sections days into chunks of things that one must attend to. I have hours and hours of extra time in which to do things I really want to do. That is not an accident, but the result of the work of this book, and the topics around attention already listed. Having more time to do what I really find valuable, I have achieved an important goal for removing distractions and removing responsibilities and needs which conflict with my desired life-pathway. However, having so much extra time does create a situation in which one more often has to think about what one will do, especially if one lives a lifestyle like my own that has frequent travel shifts, and changes of environment. Using this process, I’m better able to direct my attention to the activities I’m doing and increase my ability to rationally plan next actions, and develop my mentality to more closely approximate the processes and plans created. The process in this section is one really used. I used it for hours over many days, and used it today for an extended period of time, even just prior to sitting to write this section of this article.
This process is one that is used repeatedly and cyclically during days, with knowledge about what is cyclical over a number of days. It does not demand that one attends to too much in single days, but rather understands that a cyclical process of attention over many days, through the end of one’s life, is one that will comprise all that one wants to do if it is successful. Some tasks need to be left for later days. Motivation is cyclical. Attention cannot be for the same things every day. This however makes it more possible to cover all that one would like to cover, and believes one needs to cover, more often, sometimes more than once each day.
A way to simplify the above is that it is possible to slowly create a situation, and a mind, that utilizes cyclical aspects of life on earth, and human biological needs for rest and activity, and other repeated cyclical methods which are done over and over as part of habits, to have a more rational, fulfilling, and comfortable life, with greater likelihood of completing plans that are part of one’s goals to increase personal excellences.
I’ve had many personal successes related to this effort, and ideas I’ve utilized for more than twenty years. One can review my Bio and Stats page and my Related Accomplishments to see some of what I have achieved. Additionally, one can review my resumé which shows my history of success in business and in the corporate world globally, and in education.
The below process architecture comprises the attentional management cycle that is utilized on wakeful, daily and subdaily cycles. It can be utilized all day everyday for all activities that a human can peform. However, it is not expected that a user would be trained on this process sufficiently to have energy or lack of resistances to using this with that degree of frequency. “All day” requires an explanation on the basis of frequencies of reference and not continuity. If each time one recognizes a change of activity and utilizes this process, then exits it with a “bookmark”, or spot to return to within the same process, one is doing what might be considered a process to manage all activities during the day. The process, again is intended to allow for serendipitous spontaneous moment, moments of exit for unexpected events, and freedoms from utilization if it does not feel beneficial or is not utilizing energy effectively. One can have breaks from this process and still find value in and use the process. It has been found that this process increases rationality and probably opportunity for stimulation and increases imagination for thinking of alternative actions. In this way it increases freedom and increases opportunities for unexpected creative activities and responses, although it is understood that disuse may also be beneficial for feeling freedom. Again, disuse is part of the design!
Figure 1. Attention management architecture for self-improvement of brain/psychology for increased rationality, discipline in behavior, ability to focus and avoid distractions, and for moral and ethical improvement. For more on this topic see Architecture of Ethics.
Recently I’ve noticed that various goals I’ve set out for myself are either complete, will likely be completed in the somewhat near future (perhaps in the next five to ten years), and other remaining goals do not really include any need for completion, but rather concern things which are worth doing without any expectation of stopping. These are activities that I would like to do until death, like increase my artistic skill, continue to work on video and photographic productions, and continue writing. The work which was required to make it possible to do it for an indefinitely long period of time has been completed, or else there are some minor tasks which will soon be completed. Book and Journal related writing tasks are underway, and it is desired that these will be finished, but it is expected that these will be finished, again, within the next five to ten years. Improvements to this writing, additional writings, and various productions relating to the living categories I’ve written about would continue until death. This includes travel photography and writing, fitness enjoyment, and all else that is typical of my normal cyclical life behaviors that I’m here writing about.
I noticed while I was temporarily unable to recall specific priorities regarding what to complete next, that I had already laid it out correctly, and simply needed a moment to recognize what it was that I was going to recur indefinitely in my plan, and what really includes goals of completion still. These items that include goals of completion are so few there is no reason to feel, in any state of temporary mental disorganization, that certain work would not be completed that was desired to be completedd. Stress of non-completion was something I experienced much when younger, and now rarely experience it, but I did feel it when I was briefly unable to recollect what it was I was needing to do regarding planned productions that should result in completion milestones. It was somehow blended with tasks that have no completion expectations at all. Keeping these distinct clarifies that certain tasks should have no relation to a desired completion result (i.e. desire to finish articles that are needed for a cohesive work of ethics, versus continuiation of writing and work that would be related to ongoing endless development of the same work).
Above it was mentioned that a calendar can be created simply as a list of days. Below is a calendar created iniitally of days from January 2023 through the end of 2100. That’s 78 years of calendar. I was born on December 18th, 1980, so it is very unlikely I would live that long. However, it took less than 15 minutes to create this. It is somewhat interesting to document what gets used and what gets unused here, including any days left blank because of death. A life of 120 years is extremely unlikely but not totally impossible. I think likely it will be off by decades. A calendar such as this could easily be programmatically created for the next billion years. A number that would be unreasonable for the creation of the text calendar would be one that would extend further in planning than the days the solar system would exist, and could be created in minutes. With this it is hoped that the author has communicated how insignificant a calendar is. The traditional calendar is merely the same text calendar written as a grid.
A print version of this calendar would be 78 books long. It would include no less than 936 pages. It would be produced by someone else and would either include ads or I would have to pay for it. If I used software instead, I would be allowing the software provider to read my calendar and own its contents. It may not be easily exported between systems. Using this calendar there is no need for such export or migration to other systems. I will use this until death.
This calendar is imperfect by plan. It assumes 30 days per month, as it has currently been written. The author cares very little for the arbitrary arrangement of months. Since a calendar is intended to be used, months can be adjusted easily to add a day, or remove a day or two (for February). The months could be left off entirely and have lists of 365 days for every year, and 366 for “leap” years. Alternatively, it could be a list of days from now until an arbitrary future date starting from today or any day prior or later as a reference. I have not decided on a first day to use for a calendar in which I would want to commit to more permanently. I don’t accept a date of one set by any culture or nation or religion. My mathematical system in development also works without the usage of a zero.
Apart from any commitment to any permanent scientific calendar of my creation or the creation of another, this calendar is a practical one. Arguably, one may be very unconcerned with certain calendaring details given to us by our cultures. We could use a calendar starting with today as the beginning, using seconds or milliseconds in list format, simply counting onward without end, or with an end that is left off and simply continued. Hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, and millenia could all be added in later. Those are simply organizations of numbers. Notice that weeks are left out entirely here. In our system we are confused into thinking that there are not better alternatives to how we organize calendars that contain roughly the same information.
In the calendar below, actual timelines and plans can be found. This is my calendar in active use, when I’m not satisfied with tracking things entirely mnemonically, or using my activity process.
This calendar utilizes the browser or text-based search interface from the browser or operating system UI, or the keyboard, to find dates and years. It is easy to jump from year to year by simply using a text find for the year. After finding the year, a text find can be used to find the current month. After finding the current month the days near the present day are immediately visible.
i am a semi-retired social architect and consultant, with professional/academic experience in the fields of computer science, psychology, philosophy, and more recently, economics.
articles on this site are eclectic, and draw from content prepared between 1980 and 2022. topics include ethics, art, fitness, finances, health, psychology, and vegetarianism. the common theme connecting all articles is moral philosophy, even if that is not immediately apparent. any of my articles that touch on "the good and virtuous life" will be published here. these articles interrelate with my upcoming theory of ethics, two decades in preparation.
i welcome and appreciate constructive feedback and conversation with readers. you can reach me at email@example.com (site related), firstname.lastname@example.org (academic related), or email@example.com (intelligence related), or via the other social media channels listed at the bottom of the site.