A 365 day writing project.

This is day two of my attempt to write something, anything, every day for 365 days in a row. CW: Today's post is a mixed bag of positive and negative feelings relating to Mental Health. If that's not your bag feel free to skip today's post.

It could be down to tiredness, or simply stress but recently I have found my ability to concentrate in front of the computer on productive tasks has been severely hampered. I will often sit down to complete something and find myself an hour latter having done very little more than wiggled the mouse and mindlessly opened and closed random tabs without reading their content.

When discussing this with other people and having done some research myself the term brain fog crops up time and and again. With the symptoms that I am personally experiencing I think the term is spot on. It isn't like I don't want to concentrate or even that I have no passion for the task I am attempting to complete. It's for those two reasons why, for me at least, brain fog is a problem and one that increases the stress I feel from even thinking about doing work.

The perfect day for me would be one with zero distractions and a well planned list of tasks set out the night before. I continuously aim for hyper-focus otherwise known as flow-state or being in the zone. For me one day of hyper-focus can easily make up for a week of “normal” operation hampered by brain fog.

Hyper-focus requires effort to achieve and once achieved is as fragile as a submarine made of tissue-paper. Being easily broken by any distraction means it's near impossible to enter the state in an open plan office environment without the assistance of good noise cancelling headphones and even then you will find someone just has to come tap on your shoulder to ask an unimportant question.

If you asked me when I am most productive I would usually reply with “at night”. I can easily loose four or five hours to a project over night and there being literally zero distractions in my work environment at that time is the number one reason.

However recently with this Brain fog looming over me, I have found that even at night when I am usually at my most productive I find myself browsing, mindlessly clicking links, eyes glazed over.

What this has prompted me to do is look at my environment to see what, if anything has caused this. I think it's a combination of my home office space becoming increasingly cluttered, my browser gaining more tabs day by day and various other stressors causing me to loose sleep which in turn is causing a negative feedback loop.

Today I bookmarked the tabs I needed and closed all but my pinned email and I began to clear away the clutter that had begun to suffocate my work space. Going forward I am going to be far more mindful about what environmental factors are impacting my mood and productivity and work in a positive manor in order to improve them so they do not result in contributing to mental fatigue.


This is day one of my attempt to write something, anything, every day for 365 days in a row.

I remember being seven years old and eagerly watching through extremely tired eyes my Uncle as he showed my Father his new computer. My memory of what was being explained is fuzzy, to me it looked like they were tinkering with Windows 3.1 and I remember my Uncle talking about windowing and processes running in the background unlike PC-DOS.

Up until that point my interaction with computers had been limited to helping my Father type BASIC into his Commodore-PET and playing games on my next door neighbours Gameboy. Unbeknown to anyone in the room at the time my love affair with technology had been ignited.

It wasn't until many years later when in 1998 my Father brought home a dozen or so boxes and began building a mysterious device behind closed doors. A few hours later he ushered us in to show the PC that he had built for us. It wasn't anything fancy, even by the standards of the time, we couldn't afford much but to me it was amazing.

Soon after my Father brought home a 56k modem and along with my two sisters we shared a couple of hours of expensive pay by the minute internet access a week. From that moment on I became a blogger.

By today's standards my early websites were basic affairs with design that was in keeping with the period they were created – that is to say they wouldn't look out of place on Geocities. However they were mine and acted as an unlimited potential for creativity.

I wrote about drawing, the looming millennium, my Artist Grandfather, photography and pretty much anything that interested the 13 year old geek that I was.

In the years following I learnt a great deal about both HTML and CSS. At one point I moved to a free hosting provider that supported things called Server Side Includes (SSI). These where new and fancy and introduced me to the idea of page templates and partials; I was still at this time editing everything within notepad so anything that made updating components repeated site wide was exciting.

At the same time I was learning how to program in Visual Basic, having moved from Quick Basic on my old donated 486 when my Father built our first Windows computer. Soon I became frustrated with the limitations of SSI and wanted to include the same logic in my templates that I was used to writing in the games I made with Visual Basic. I wanted to make a web based game in a world where they were still novel.

Out of that frustration spawned an interest in server side languages. At the time the natural progression was to develop with .NET. However I couldn't find any free web hosting that supported it and was instead repeatedly directed towards PHP.

The web game that prompted my move to web development never did get finished, for those of you interested it was very similar to the browser game Planetarion. In the time between then and now I continued to learn as much as I could about web development and now programming with PHP is how I earn my living today.

Up until the past few years I wrote a weblog daily, sometimes more than once per day and ever since 2016, each New Year I make a promise to myself that I will get back into writing and come December that same year I find that promise broken.

This year 2019 is when I will finally make that promise, this is my 365 day writing project and you're welcome to join in for the ride. The rules are simple:

  • Write one entry per day
  • In my case each entry should be at least 300 words and no more than 800 words, feel free to change this to what you're comfortable with
  • Any subject is O.K
  • If you miss a day, just make it up another day – taking breaks is fine