My friends and I do a quarterly accountability group. We come up with our own individual goals and pair them with punishments and rewards. For this quarter, I have a list of ten things to do on CruiseSheet. It's halfway through the quarter, and although I've made progress on a few, I haven't completed any of them.
This is alarming for me, because I pride myself on not procrastinating and on getting things done. But recently I haven't lived up to that standard.
When I'm at my most productive, I have a strict routine which I follow. I set times for things like meals and tea, and the rest of the time I spend working. Besides giving me structure, my routines are organized to give me an optimal environment in which to work. Over the past few weeks, my schedule has not been optimal. I've flown to Japan and back twice, and I spent a week on the island.
I've noticed a troubling pattern. I sit down to work, take a few of the first couple steps, and then decide to finish later, when things are more conducive to work. Excuses I've come up with that I can remember on the top of my head are:
-- I'm too tired
-- I will run out of power on this flight before I finish
-- It would be easier to do this if I had internet
-- I don't have enough time to finish this
-- I should spend time with people instead of working
None of these are terrible excuses, but combined they have prevented me from doing much work over the past few weeks. Now I'm behind schedule and am in the uncomfortable position of having to really sprint to get things done.
This all came to a head last night when I finally got back to Vegas after a month of traveling. I have this place fully set up to be the most productive place possible, and yet I didn't do any work all day. I was too tired or too hungry, or just didn't feel like it. And it made me realize that this perfect time to work that I had been fantasizing about while traveling wasn't going to happen. The right time to work is now, whether outside factors are working for or against you.
It's eight in the evening now. I'm a little bit sleepy, and some part of my brain is telling me to just push work off until tomorrow, when I have a longer day ahead of me. But I know that's not the best thing to do. The right time to work is now, while I'm able to, not in some imaginary future where working is easier.
I think the general lesson here is to be extremely skeptical of excuses you give yourself. Always test them. I feel tired, but am I really too tired to work? If I test that and start working, I'm going to find that most of the time I'm sufficiently awake.
Photo is a cool sculpture at the Honolulu museum of art
I wrote this around a week ago. Now three of my ten things are done.
One thing that helps me with programming work is to leave a piece of code that I know how to fix...unfixed. So I intentionally leave work undone. This does two things. It keeps my mind slightly engaged in the work until I get back to it, and leaves me feeling excited about getting back to the work. The other is that it gives me a "quick win" when I next sit down to work. Which makes it highly likely that I will continue to work in that session and not get easily distracted.
Something else that helps is before logging off, I always lay out what the next few things are that I want to work on. That way I don't have to waste "decision making energy" in that critical "getting started" portion of doing work.
So back in January, I wrote out my 7 goals for the year. It's been two months, so let's see how I'm doing :
1. Become FULLY polyphasic
I'm close on this one. Many days I go perfectly, sometimes if I have nothing to do I oversleep and then skip some naps during the day. I'm actually pretty satisfied with that, as I'm only sleeping 2.5-4.5 hours per night, I'm never tired, and can always count on being awake early and staying up late. I'll keep pressing to be more consistent, but I'm satisfied with where I am.
I love getting better. I love learning. I love the journey towards some level of proficiency with any skill. I'm thinking, that you, my dear reader, can't be that much different?
I have on my Bucketlist to master an impressive body feat, swim to Sweden and be able to do 100 push ups. In the body feat department, I'm thinking something along the lines of handstand pushups, one armed pushups, onearm pull ups or maybe backflips, you get the picture, something that will strike awe in most and be really cool to learn doing.
One of my passions for a very long time, has been working out physically. When I was a kid, I was a competitive swimmer, I had a great time doing all the fun and physical work in the army and I have been doing physical training in one way or another more or less my entire life.
The 9th of June 2014, I set out on a new journey in my training after, reading a book by Mark Lauren called "You are Your Own Gym". I'm not a calisthenics fanatic, nor a dedicated crossfitter, strenght-lifter, body builder or anything like that. I just like to work out and feel strong and healthy. Also, I like the thought of having a functional and healthy body as I grow older. I am now on my restday after two days of the beginners program, lasting ten weeks in total. My muscles are sore in a way I know to be good and almost can't wait to kill the work out when I awake in Cancun tomorrow morning.