Drug-Assisted Accomplishment

I had a pretty nasty cold this last week. I rarely take drugs for any type of illness. I don’t pop Advil or aspirin or cold pills or go to the doc for a scrip every time I sniffle. This time, though, was an exception. I hoofed it into a local Walgreens last Sunday, plopped down my ID and walked out with a box of cold pills fortified with pseudoephedrine.

I don’t know if it was the stimulant in those cold pills or what, but I despite the sniffles I got a bunch of stuff knocked off my to-do list. Including tasks that have been rolling around for years.


  • Finally finished the migration of old content from the “old” HTML site to the “new” microsite, for the Quality and Productivity Section of the American Statistical Association. I’m in the third year of my appointment as Q&P’s webmaster. I should have done this, oh, two years ago, but could never seem to find the time. Now, I’m done — and I’ve even offered an informal webinar for one of my fellow section officers on how to update the site.
  • Wrapped up a Joomla site transfer. A friend subcontracted the project out to me, and we finally got through the giant mess that he inherited from his client.
  • Booked the stuff for my Isle Royale trip, and even sent out a couple of query letters about it. I might — might — have a bite from one of the higher-profile hiking magazines to do a piece on the trip. I’d love to get the publishing credit on that one.
  • Completed, for the most part, a registration-productivity project at the hospital that’s bedeviled me for three years. Getting a license to Tableau — a data-visualization tool — helped immensely. With Tableau, we can pull in hours-worked payroll data as well as transaction files from our two primary registration systems. Tableau then lets us visualize — down to the hour — how many cumulative transactions and patient encounters we’ve performed, by staff member. Cool stuff.
  • Started the surprisingly complex process of moving my free-text notes for the local journalism text I’ve been working on with Alaric. I’m transferring the rough outline we collaborated on using OneNote, into Scrivener. Each section has a synopsis. The point of all this is to take the entire book and plan it down to the 500-to-2,000 word sections, thus making writing a modular process. The upside is that this approach puts pride of place on planning before writing. The downside is that, so far, the projected target word count will top 160k. Heaven help me.

Moral of the story: Apparently I’m more productive when I’m on stimulants.