How I Will Proceed
Being a mental exercise, one of the first things I did was reach out to a friend who is a business consultant. He has done a lot of research on paradigms, ways of thinking, strategies, and (I correctly assumed) eidetics (the ability to accurately recall visual images, otherwise known as photographic memory). He suggested an exercise akin to a mental weightlifting set: "look at something, close your eyes, recreate it internally, hold the image, open your eyes, look again, make adjustments/add fidelity...keep doing it routinely. Each time you do it, it's a set. Do like 8 sets and see how your brain feels."
So with this in mind, my desire is to keep something akin to a weightlifting journal (this blog), and to track different mental statuses to see how that impacts my performance and (hopefully) growth. So each time I will track: W+-, Rest, Meal, and of course the duration and type of each exercise.
W+- is my distance to-from my 24 hour shift. I work 1-on-3-off, so if I work on Mon, I work again on Fri. If I practice on Tues, that is W+-1/3, Wed is +-2/2, and Thurs is +-3/1. A shift is pretty exhausting so I assume that W+-1/3 will see the least growth.
Rest is a scale of 1/10, a subjective assessment of how rested/alert I feel, with 10 being the best.
Meal is the hours after my last meal, so I had breakfast at 0730 today, if I practice at 0830, that's B+1. Lunch and dinner will be L and D, so L+3 or D+1 and so on.
As for the exercises themselves, I have two ideas: practicing following an annotated game mentally, without the use of a chess board or pieces; and my friend's memorization sets, taking positions from a book, locking them into memory, and probably recreating the position on a physical board.
To help with this, I wanted to grab a book with good, annotated games with a decent number of pictures, but not so many that it defeats the purpose of the exercises. I chose:
I will likely move to Kasparov's volumes eventually for more material.
For the second type of exercise, I just need a ton of positions, so I chose Polgar's tome:
The section of combinations seems the most dense, although some mate in # sections seem promising as well.