Sunday, June 25, 2017

OMG, this is so fucking cool: Ancient engineering and Mayan counting

This week, I want to let the hyper-focus part of my ADHD run wild and each day write about something that is interesting to me. I don't know at the moment how this will turn out. I don't know if I'll write about something different every day, or write about the same topic each day this week, or even a combination of the two. It's just fells like it's been a few years since I've let this hyper-focus part of me go wild, and the blog posts I loved writing are the ones I could get super excited for.

I mentioned yesterday that I was made aware of a Mayan Culture lecture coming up near me in Moscow, and now when I start to think about it I want to talk about Mayans to anyone who will listen. Then I realized, I can just write it here! I get the possibility of an audience that might listen to me, and the sweet release of talking about something instead of leaving it bottled up inside.

Why do I find Mayan culture interesting? The very simple answer is that in the 6th grade, my teacher spent a month or so teaching us about the Mayans. Well, it wasn't as much as "teaching" as much as it was "having us watch 'The Second voyage of the Mimi' on VHS". Fun fact: that show stared a 14 or 15 year old Ben Affleck. And because I love you so much, here is an embed of the first episode on Youtube:

I currently have it on in the background while I work on this. Oh, pure old school PBS TV. I just don't even know how to describe it to people who never watched 80's PBS in person or reruns. It's too easy to pick on old shows though, and it did introduce me to a lot of interesting things. Like their engineering skills. They were able to build these super flat roads through the mountains. And they had  pyramids. These engineering feats are something that become interesting me now after spending sometime learning about Egyptian and Sumerian engineering.  Let me elaborate:

Egyptian architecture is the stuff of legends and is the topic of much discussion and conspiracy theories. Who built these ancient monoliths? A race of creatures from beyond the stars? It couldn't be that these structures stand as a monument to people wanting to push the limits of the world around them. Or it could, I guess. All those boring nerds called "archaeologists" have been taking the fun out of these things for years!

There is evidence of trial and error of pyramid building throughout the ages. The ability to build a pyramid didn't pop up over night, even if that idea sells books and TV shows to a mass audience. The construction of the pyramid of Giza is a wonder though, since they seem to display some understanding of math that was lost until the renaissance. Mainly the sides are slighty concave, said by a couple of people that they follow the curvature of the earth. Citation needed, since I'm finding some rumors of this this, but no actual good articles on it. This probably because of the knowledge we have of their math. . .

We do have some examples of Egyptian mathematics today! Sadly, they seem to be more basic problem sets aimed towards students. It does strike me as funny that homework has been around since the dawn of human history though. Thinking about Egyptian and Sumerian teenagers complain about homework brings a smile to my face. As much as I would love to talk about mathematics in these cultures, this is supposed to be about Mayans. I'll wrap this up by saying that while we have some mathematical texts from these cultures and, in the case of Mesopotamia, we have calculations, receipts, and such. But a study of the math of these cultures comes down to a study of the art and architecture.

Bringing it back to the Mayans, we have the structures, art and architecture to see examples of their knowledge of math. That famous calendar is something fascinating to look at. There is the geometry involved, the number system, and the understanding they had of astronomy. Astronomy and finance seem to be the breeding ground for mathematics. Probably because knowing when to plant crops and how to trade capital is two keys towards having a great civilization.

The first part to understanding the architecture an the calendar is the counting system. The Mayan counting system has a special place in my heart because it was the system that helped me understand how counting systems work. All of us know how to count in base 10. Start at 0, count until 9, then at ten we add a new place. 1st grade math gives us the places - 10, 100, 1000, 100,000, 1,000,000 and so on. Add a new zero after 1 to get a new place. Some of us can count in binary, where 1 = 1, 10 =2, 100 = 4, 1000 = 8, 10000 = 16, and 100000 = 32. And some of us that can count in binary, can also understand hexadecimal. How do any of these work, and what do they have to do with the Mayan counting system? Well, in binary, or base 2, each new place has a value of 2^x, starting at the first place of 2^0. The first slot is the 1's place, and any number placed there can be multiplied by 1. Since we start counting at 0, and in base 2 we have only 2 numbers, we only have 2 numbers to put in the one's place - 0 or 1. 000001 = 1 * 1. The next number after 1 overflows into the next place, becoming 10. This next place is 2^1, or 2, and a number in that place can be multiplied  by 2^1 to find it's value. 000010 is 1 * 2^1, or 2 and for 000011 we get (1 * 2^1) + (1 * 2^0) to get three. I'll skip over hexadecimal for the moment, and talk about the Mayans. They have a base 20 system, which is easier to grasp than a base 16 system. In the one's place we have 20^0, then 20^1, 20^2, 20^3, and so on. To those of us not interested in figuring this out ourselves, that's 1, 400, 8000, then 160000 and up and up and up. Of course, they used their own number system as well, since the Arabic numbers never made it there. They had a place holder for the number zero, which is very impressive given the time period, and it's what allowed them to do place notation for their numbers. That's really impressive, but might be something to talk about later because talking about how hard it is to try and do calculations with roman numerals is whole discussion in itself.  As a take away from this: in 900 AD, the Mayans were using a number notation that wouldn't be used in Europe for another 600 years. With this system, they had ways of doing calculations beyond the algorithms of the Ancient Greeks. By which I mean that European mathematical texts were descriptions on how to use geometry in order to calculate things.

I'm stopping here, mainly because there's so much more to talk about and get excited about, but it's already long and dense. I want to get excited about the art and architecture of the civilization, and I want to spend a ton of time talking about the math of these people. If I don't stop myself now, then it will become a long rambling unfocused text. That's never good. So I'll put it out to anyone there to leave a comment about their thoughts, because there are a few things I didn't elaborate on, or didn't talk about, or maybe their's something you know that I don't. I would love to here your feed back.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Week 3 end, Week 4 start

Week 3. Ok, well, I seem to have trapped myself into some negativity over the past couple of days. After going over my journal, notes, and things I've said to other people there is this frustration creeping in. The intial glamour has worn off a little, and I'm starting to feel frustrated at school, feeling like people don't want to see me, and the like. I have gotten out this week, and I have begun to accomplish things I can be proud of. Let's start with what I have done.

I got out mushroom hunting this week. The rain has finally begun to clear up a bit, the weather is warmer, and in it all I got to go explore the woods a bit. I didn't find much, but with this weather I was only expecting spring mushrooms. On top of that, I finally got to work on some math problems in a book I've had for 2 years now. It has some great stuff in it, and could be a great meetup. I've worked on the description and the idea I've wanted to do for the meetup for a couple of days now. It would work well as an online math group, I feel, because it's math, it's programming, and it is something that could be screen captured. And my Russian has kept improving. It's why I'm here. I knew it would be hard and I knew week three would be the week where I might get my programming done but the excitement of a new place would wear off. I would get programming done BECAUSE the excitement would wear off. Also, I have gotten word on a way to make a little money, which will be nice.

Today, I've trapped myself in the mind set of "getting the excitement back". That might not happen, not by force at least. Instead, it's time to look ahead at the week, and all the things I want to do, see and experience while I'm here. It's great, because I'm in a big city with lots to do and see and experience, it has a big nightlife, and if I want to be a different person, then doing so requires stepping outside of my comfort zone more.

Let's start with the knowns: tonight is a linux meetup. I'm nervous about this, because I'm wondering how much English I need to speak. In fact, where I am starting on week 4 is that my tendency to keep myself at home combined with a lack of confidence about speaking a new language has kept me from going some places. In an attempt to ease my concerns, I've sent a message to the co-organizer about what to expect. The excitement and the nervousness is the same thing, hopefully it's something I can enjoy. Cool. Feeling a little better.

There's an English language class I'm getting paid to go to. Nice thing about being an native English speaker here, there are a few events that incintives me to come with money or free food. What I'm hopping for is for this to help build steam in order to find more things. This is my dream, to be able to work in another country. So I've been trying to go out and see things, but again, having a huge language barrier stops me. This is why I want to improve my Russian.This is the reason I want to go into class on Monday and knock it out of the park.

Oh my god, have you ever had something coming up that you want to get really excited about, and all you want to do is talk to everyone about it? Mayan culture lecture. I learned about the mayan culture years ago when I was 11 or 12, and since then if I find something on them I go. I can't even begin to express everything I find interesting about them. I guess first the math. Learning about their counting system was huge step forward for me in my mathematic development. I guess because base 20 is easier to grasp then something like hexadecimal, the system was able to make various concepts about counting systems obvious to me. I remember learning that they new how to find pi, but they didn't have decimals. Now that I'm older and have seen a bit of Euclid's methods of calculations, along with other other classic geometry calculation systems, I'm begining to realize that these geometric proofs are in their art and architecture. Sort of like classic Islamic art and math. There's the fact they had an advanced knowledge of astronomy, and from everything left over there is proof that they were quite advanced in engineering. What I would love to know is more about their stories, and if anything else has been found on their math. They could build flat straight roads, so did they have algorithms and homework for students, like we've found in Sumeria? Oh my god I'm so excited for this and I want to talk about it to anyone who will listen.

I'm single in Moscow, and I'm interesting because of various things. This is the part where I plan on stepping out of my comfort zone. Usually when I go out, I go to places where there's mostly guys, things like tech meetings and math and science stuff. It's interesting, but everything here about trying new things and working towards being a person I want to be. Being single is a part that gets me, because yes, I am one of those people who don't know what I want. Well, sort of. For the last 5 years, I wanted money and to get myself out of the hole I was in, so I could begin to enjoy life again. Now that I'm in this situation, I'm working on doing the things I want to do again. I am rediscovering a passion for my interests outside of work, math and music. I want to get out and explore books, art, and the like. It's time to do stuff where I can meet other single people.

Have I've begun to pull myself out of the crap that I felt at work for the last few years? Yeah, it's slow going, but yes. Feeling trapped sucks, and depression happens. When the two combine, it becomes this whole mindset just focused on getting out of it. I did cool things while there, but it's just been the last few years at work that had me lethargic. The drive and the passion for life was gone. That's what I'm here for, to find that lust for life once again.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Week 2 reflections

I've been in Moscow for 2 weeks now, and am starting on week 3. When I first starting planning this trip, I wondered how I would "act" when I'm able to be my own manager boss.

For context, I always felt that setting my own goals, metrics, and such at my own job was hard, and I was always distracted from various projects. I based this idea off of when my higher-ups left for a month and I was allowed to have more control over my own schedule. Being the scientific and analytical mind I am, during these points I would start journaling my schedule, pay attention to my actions, find patterns, and act on them.

When the higher-ups left, my first week was spent in a re-adjustment phase. I still spent a ton of time on youtube, I stuck close to the scheduled tasks, but I started to think about what I wanted to accomplish. Looking back on it, I wonder if I did start to try new things during things during this point. Here in Russia, without a job, the first week spent re-adjusting. There was a literal physical readjustment to deal with; in the first few days I had to get used to where things were, take stock of what I have now, and getting over jet-lag. Mentally there is a readjustment as well, as I was spending time being excited about my new surrondings, seeing the work I would be doing over the next few weeks, and what there is to offer, I still spent my time by myself sitting around watching videos. I did start trying new things though. It's more like a horse or an animal testing the boundaries of its living space, but it's an attempt to see what is around. Things like trying to blog again, or testing the dating scene, or trying to leave the house. During this time period, I begin to think about WHAT I want out of the experience.

When people were gone for 2 weeks, at this point I began to see myself put more time into my own projects. In the past, this was things that were already my responsibility but became neglected. Neglected for various reason, due to "feeling busy" or "being busy" or simply being distracted and ruining the "work flow". When allowed to work on my own projects, go figure I did them in the space of a few days. This begins to lead into the next week, because the analytical part of my brain began to examine the projects and figure out how to make them more efficient. Translated to now in Russia, this becomes learning the goals of class, and obsessing over my thoughts on dates.

Now I'm starting on week 3, and I've a week to adjust and a week to test my boundaries. The natural thing to do at this point is to look at what I have accomplished, what I want to accomplish, and how to organize myself for 'longer' term success.

What have I accomplished? Well, I'm not broke. Cooking has become easier here because I know where to go to buy food and what to buy. I already have some tools for cooking, mostly just storage bags. Being able to keep leftovers is cheaper than buying food every fucking night, right? I'm actually finding myself working on my hobbies this week, I found some time to do Math, do some programming, and do some graphic design. Now, the results aren't much to brag about: I spent a couple hours on each but didn't get to a point of feeling completed. In the case of the graphic design, I deleted the file. In the case of the math and programming, I can continue to work on what I have. I went on dates. This is special to a workaholic nerd with trust issues. I started working on the initial steps of building a new resume.

Let's build off of this by beginning to plan the week out. Overall, what do I want out my experience here, and what are my personal longterm goals? Knowing these now will help me communicate to others. Of course, I'm here to learn Russian. At the moment, my original plan of getting an official certification from the Government has been sidetracked due to the testing center being closed until September. There is another testing institute however, and I need to contact them to see if they are open and able to take people. I want to keep the financial independence I have at the moment. No major bills beyond rent and groceries since last year, but without a source of income I'll be broke. So, it's time to move forward on finding income. Dating wise, I seem to have the pick here for the first time in my life. So let's fall in love and have fun. By just dating I can figure out what I want. The thing is, I still need to find my own identity here and my own activities.

Well, this a start to the week, at least. I guess next I need to start setting goals.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Grocrey shopping on budget and in another language.

Well, I was going to write something about financial organization and meal prep, but I was struggling with it and realized that instead writing advice for others it would be easier to organize my own thoughts and post that instead.

Part of this comes from a revelation of the struggles I'm having within the first few days of adapting to a new environment. Learning where to shop, what to buy, and what items are worth my money is something I should be reflecting on. Not having tools to make cooking more convenient and less wasteful. In that case, not knowing the words of said products (I spent a good 30 minutes trying to figure out the Russian word for Plastic Wrap yesterday. Of course I just gave up and tried to find it at the store. Bought a strange form of ziploc bags instead.) Budgeting is always important, but being in a place for a few years it's natural to learn the place to get the best deals. In a new city that speaks a different language however? It's time to reflect and optimize the life lessons learned.

Luckily, certain types of food look the same no matter what.
Chicken picture from Wikipedia

For example, that's a chicken. Thankfully, if your in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere Mongolia, that is still a chicken. The way it's served might be different, but that is a chicken. It might have a Mogolian name, but we all know that it will taste like chicken. The first step to surviving is learning what the natives call food, then. In the US, this was a simple as learning to ask for a "hoagie" instead of "grinder" when relocating from Vermont to Pennsylvania. Ask for a grinder either got me a toasted hoagie at best, and blank stares at worst. In Russia, it's learning to call chicken Курятина. Kur-yeah-tina, perhaps? Whatever, it took me three years to pronounce Lancaster like someone from Pennsylvania.

The next thing that I have to keep in mind is how to take basic steps to budget. As much as cards are awesome and convient and everyone and their mother uses them, cash is better for budgeting. As my mom used to say, you can't spend money that's not in your pocket, and when cash runs out, then I am no longer able to spend money.

My challenge this week is to build a grocery list with some Russian words, and set a simple spending limit for it. Short, sweet, and hopefully efficient. From there I can begin to decide what can made and how long it lasts me for. Any other shopping tips out there?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

New Chapter in life

I decided to start a new journey based on the crazy wild idea of "Quit my job to study Russian in Russia." Well, the "quit my job" part had to happen because I couldn't take a sabbatical or at least get 6 weeks off.

Man, getting back into the concept of this blogging thing is hard. Of course, I've never stopped writing for the past few years, just nothing seemed to be worth more than a journal entry. Of course, I've read other's blogs, and they seem like journal entries so how hard can it be. Starting now, for the next few weeks the only things that can distract me are my thoughts. This isn't Pulitzer prize winning stuff, mostly just a return to filling up this website with something for the time being. It's also an attempt to tell myself that I do know how to organize myself and my thoughts.

That right there. This is the thing that bothers me sometimes, am I organized but distractions at work keep me from realizing my potential, or am I still just struggling with this concept of organization because I have ADHD and am genetically flawed? The evidence to the first is that this was similar to a worry I had about finances and money years ago when I was dealing with a mountain of bills. In that case I worried that I knew nothing of keeping my finances straight and that I was just another spoiled millennial that mooched off an older generation of dedicated go-getters. To put my mind at ease, I read every book and article I could get my hands on, and it dawned on me that my parents had taught me all the basics of finances. The problem became apparent that even though I knew how to make a budget, and save, and make a grocery list, and do all the things covered in the literature, the problem was that I didn't make enough of an income in order to afford rent, a prepaid phone, food and bills. Once I got the income straightened out, I soon had enough saved in order to quit my job and go to school to Russia. To anyone wanting to mimic this success, it's easy: Don't date, don't leave the house, and only eat homemade bread, pancakes and rice for three years. It's simple!

Also in my favor, when my manager would leave for a month to help with the overseas business, I kept track of how productive I was with her and without her. I felt I was more productive, but now I have a slighty different hypothesis, and here is my reasoning. What the difference between setting my own goals and having someone set them for me, is that by setting my own goals, I also create my own metrics to gauge myself on how well I'm doing. Recently I've read "Is it You, Me, or ADHD" by Gina Pera which inspired me to read more about organization in ADHD in general. In her book, she spends a lot of time explaining how ADHD craves stimulation because the ADHD brain lacks the same pathways as "normal brains". And this craving leads to many classic ADHD behaviors, like impulsiveness, tendency to argue, and the drug abuse that tends to affect adults with ADHD. In a few of these cases, there's a chemical release that's happening, from testosterone to dopamine to adrenaline. What I'm getting at is that there are suggestions out there for getting a dopamine fix other than an 8-ball of coke. Making a list and crossing things off it gives a small fix. And looking at that completed list later is a small hit. And all these small hits make up a nice self-esteem boost when you've quit your job to live as writer in Jamaica after saving up the capital to do it. I've gone off track, but my point is that maybe I was just as productive working for other people rather than managing myself, but managing myself felt better because I was able to keep track of how well I was doing.

Look at this! I start writing and I just keep going! Nobody calling every few minutes about needless things. Before I go, I do want to think about goals I have this week, or at least the ones I can write here. I want to keep up on writing here, even if it's just small things about how my attempts at organization are going. I want to get some art worked on and I want to have some math stuff worked out. Maybe a paetreon for set up? Maybe that's further down the line. I need to think about the goals I have for this Russian course. And I addicted to setting goals for myself. I am a very goal orientated person because goals are my drug! Better for me in longrun compared to acid, at least. Any thoughts out there about organization or self esteem?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Summer Math in Philly

I've been working as a scientest and working on this math phase I've been in, but I figured this would be the first place to show off what's going on in the summer in the Philly  Math Counts Meetup. I made a poster, and I'll post what CJ Fernley, organizer of Philly Math Counts, wrote:

"We are excited about our next several meetups. One will explore the culture of mathematics, one will explore the history of statistics, and several will get into the nitty gritty practice of doing real mathematics (number theory to be specific). All should be fun! But each will require some preparation on your part. So we wanted to let you know what's involved early so you can schedule time to read a paper and a book and work on some challenging problems.
Note we open RSVPs for our events three weeks ahead. So you cannot yet RSVP for most of these events. We prepare the event descriptions early so you can plan your time to prepare for the topics you are interested in.
I wanted to highlight three events in order of more to less preparatory work needed. Check our web page for a chronological listing of forthcoming topics.
First, we have a book topic for Saturday July 9th. The book is The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century by David Salsburg. Is it a well written account of the history of modern statistics. But at 352 pages, it will take some time to get through. The book has no formulas, so it will be easy reading compared with most math books. Look for it at a library or bookstore now so you have time to finish reading it by July 9th. There is a lot of good mathematics in the book but it is told from a high-level point of view. Sam is planning to supplement it by exploring a few formulas and techniques in more depth to help satisfy our itch for mathematical details. The main thrust of the event will be a discussion of the history of modern statistics.
For the full event description on Statistics and The Lady Tasting Tea, please visit
Second, there will be a three part series on Chapter 4 "Induction in the Theory of Numbers" in George Pólya's 1954 book "Mathematics and Plausible Reasoning: Induction and Analogy in Mathematics". That book is free to read on-line. This short chapter (only 15 pages) is filled with formulas and variables and tables to explore its example problems. We have split the text and the 26 example problems into three events so that you will have some time to invest in really delving into each problem. The brilliance of this book is how Pólya helps us practice the doing of mathematics with challenging problems that though elementary (nothing more difficult than raising an integer to a power of two) are by no means easy. It is expected that even the sharpest participants will need to work for several hours on the problems over several days of concerted effort to fully solve all of them.
But you don't need to solve any of them to participate! All we ask is that you spend an hour or two on each. Then come join us and we'll crowdsource filling in the gaps and helping to make sure everyone understands the material. Collaborative mathematics: it's a great way to practice, learn, and discuss mathematics. It's what we do!
Here are the three event descriptions on Pólya & Number Theory:
Finally, our next event will discuss an exquisite and very readable 17 page paper by William P. Thurston: "On Proof and Progress in Mathematics". Thurston's famous "geometrization conjecture" (no, I don't know what that means either) led to the solving of the Poincaré conjecture, one of the $1,000,000 math problems. His paper provides a high class response to criticism of his geometrization conjecture wherein he examines the nature of the mathematical enterprise, explores the nature of mathematics itself, outlines some of the key tools and skills of mathematical thinking, looks at the motivation to do mathematics, and critiques the nature of proof and mathematical communication. The paper is extraordinary and I look forward to discussing it with you on June 25th.
See the full event description on Thurston's paper:"

Friday, February 12, 2016

Organization and thoughts on ADHD

I have some thoughts on how to organize life. I need something light hearted and friendly because recently it seems the only thing that motivates me to punch out a post is when I'm feeling politically motivated, and honestly that's how I feel now. This should keep my mind occupied and maybe give me some time to prep a well thought out post about radical education.

Organization. ADHD and organization is a constant struggle for me. First, organization was never a concept that came naturally to me and at 28 I'm still learning basic skills others learned during adolescence. Second, the existence of ADHD is still debated by non-physicians, so I've spent my life dealing with people who think I'm rude, lack discipline, and just never learned how to organize myself. Because in 28 years of life, they are first people to ever come to that conclusion about me. Oh, the memories.

I don't hate it, I just think of it as more of a misunderstood super power. Have a wide arrange of interests is one of my symptoms, I just lacked the control and organization to use this to my advantage. In the four years since my diagnosis, I've picked up tricks to handle it. The most basic of these is feeding your self and keeping yourself hydrated, problems that cause a lack of focus in people without ADHD. Meditation and the ability to turn the eye inward to solve problems is beautiful. I'm still bad at telling people what I'm thinking, but that's because I can't write to everyone. Writing is a wonderful medium because it forces me to stop and think about what I want to say. Even one of my poorly written texts or posts take some sort of thought and organization. At the end of a post, I can read and edit points that are unclear, something I can't do when verbally communicating with people. It's not my fault people choose inefficient means of communication.

What I want to talk about today is something that I feel most people struggle with. Lists and organization. Since becoming a researcher that also helps with a math group, I have found the beauty of keeping records. It's better than sex, really, because why else would mathematicians choose numbers over sex? Filling excel sheets with data is a daily task at work. When I first started, it wasn't my favorite job. My favorite job was analyzing the data. I discovered the connections between the two tasks pretty quickly.

To all the writers out there who spend their time reading regular books and not every book about statistics they can get their hands on, I'm going to let you in on a secret. Data tells stories. Let's take something simple, like a ledger for budget. That little book of numbers contains a journal written in a foreign language. Maybe it says "For 6 months I saved for the Bahamas. It must have been something, looking at all the purchases I made when I got there." There could be a story in their about a loved one's sickness. Or maybe it's just a reflection on the monotonous routine of everyday life.

It turns out storing data in other ways tells stories. I keep a calorie chart, but not as often as I should. Looking back on it however, I can tell time of depression or when I was low on funds because I stop eating good food from the grocery store and spend more money on take out and pizza. Today I went back through my journal to discover that last year around this time, everyone in my life was on edge due to cabin fever. Just like this year. It has confirmed my thoughts that February is in fact the worst month, and valentines day started as a reminder to not kill each other.

Which brings me to my point. I cannot tell you how many times I have started to-do lists over the years. I tried it in school, but it never caught on. I try it every three months or so at this job. It usually falls through. I've finally decided to stop using to-do lists and start using a time card setup instead.

As I mentioned earlier, I have a thousand interests, and I'm probably working on at least two of them at any given point in time (one in the real world and a second in my head.) Picking one task to do in a day is impossible, but keeping track of all my tasks is hard as hell and I usually end up feeling depressed because I'm not working on everything I could. The time Card set up just requires I write down what task I did, when I started and when I finished. At the end of the week I move all the info to a handy color coded table, then I can look at everything I accomplished and decide what and how to change over the next week. The beauty is I stop thinking about what I could be doing, and I focus on what I doing and what I have accomplished.

The system is large at this point, but I'm interested in hearing how others might organize their time.