Improving yourself and your life, getting shit done, becoming a more optimal person, all of those things can be described in very simple terms:
How do you go from A to B.
To move at all, you need fuel or energy of some sort. So How do you use what you have to go from where you are to where you want to be. Let’s say “what you have” is X.
So all of life is getting from A to B, using X.
I can talk for hours about my B. A better world, truth, beauty, elegance, excellence. I can talk quite a bit about my X, too. I have all these skills and perspectives and insights and connections. What I rarely talk about is A: who and where I am at a given instance.
I’m done talking about B and X. Let’s talk about A.
My first bad decision of the day: I typically wake up at about 10am. Sometimes I wake up earlier. I recognise that I would like to consistently wake up early. When I wake up, the first thing I usually do is grab my phone. I fill my starving brain with useless random information. What I really ought to do instead I’d prepare for the day. (The day after writing this I woke up and went straight to the shower. I’m now on the way to work and relatively early and fresh. This feels great.)
I don’t have a breakfast routine: Because I wake up at that time I rarely have breakfast. Lunch is usually the first meal of my day. Knowing my body, I should probably have a meal earlier in the day. I should have more than two meals a day, which is the current dominant configuration. (Didn’t have breakfast, but had a glass of water and a fish oil tablet. Lol).
I don’t read quality stuff regularly anymore (internet snacking has taken its place) I seldom if ever read books anymore. I should make them a part of my morning routine before leaving home. Or maybe I should read in spaces at work.
Writing on the commutes: There was a period of time where I’d write religiously during my commutes to and from work. This hasn’t happened in a while. I spend time on Facebook and/or Twitter instead. I’m not sure why I stopped writing… it got a little harder, I started running out of things to say. I had already spoken at length about B and X. I needed to do something about A.
I need to extricate myself from social media. Social media is a huge time sink for me. According to RescueTime I spend about 4 hours on it. I need to make that time go down. I need to spend more time writing for work, more time reading and writing for pleasure. Those were things that I said I ought to have done when I’m school. I should do those things now. I should maybe deactivate Facebook altogether. For the time being I’m logging out and making sure I’m as logged out as possible.
No system of “first things first”. Start with social media. (Bad.) I don’t have an order or system or process in place for figuring out what’s the next task I ought to be doing at any given time. When things get a bit tough or messy I tend to swap over to Facebook, which is essentially a social video game for me. In the absence of Facebook I tend to go to Twitter, where at least I can have some “work conversations”. But even then that is a copout.
Do work over tidying workspace. I tend to spend a lot of time tidying up work spaces instead of actually doing work. I wrote about this with a positive slant on Quora, and it actually got me featured on TIME- but that’s an overly rosy picture. I don’t just do it when I’m bored. I do it when I’m trying to avoid work.
Monotask not multitask. Basically, work doesn’t get done when I’m distracted or multitasking. And I use that to justify my general inefficiency. I didn’t do well because I didn’t study. I didn’t work well because I was paying attention to too many things all at once.
As few tabs as possible. So I need to make sure that I never have more than a couple of tabs open. I need to monotask as much as possible. Maybe I should start with 1 tomato a day.
I need to change the way I ‘take breaks’. I tend to ‘take breaks’ in the middle of writing to check on something else- Facebook, Twitter. I used to visit Quora quite regularly but it’s gotten a little less interesting these days. I think I’m going to start spending more time on GrowthHackers and Inbound. But that’s besides the point- the point is that I need to train myself to finish things in single sittings. Or I need to get up and walk around and get back into it.
Poor sleep hygiene. I tend to be on my laptop or phone until right before I go to bed. This strikes me as a bad habit and one that’s technically easy to reform as long as I acknowledge it as suboptimal and decide that I want to be better. I should read a bit of any of my hundreds of books. I usually write my best stuff after some idea collision, so I should schedule that throughout the day.
I don’t have a “okay, first things first”. My usual habit is “first let’s check social media”. That’s how I rack up the hours. That’s a quarter of my waking life. I spend a quarter of my waking life on social media. I think that’s definitely too much.
Reintroducing exercise into my life. I used to not exercise at all. Now I’m making it a point to ask myself on the way home from work “should I run?” And if the answer is yes, I put on my socks and shoes and get out of the house for a short jog and quick sprint. Then I drink a can of hundred plus. It’s a short simple routine and it feels really good. It gives me a clearer head. It’s an injection of pleasure and clarity. Deep breaths and oxygen to the brain and endorphins in the blood. A brighter, clearer world.
I typically get an iced tea at lunch and a latte at about 4pm. I need to drink more water.
Actionables, takeaways, starting points?
- First step is to start and end my day better. I got out of bed without checking my phone, and I got myself a glass of water. I can surely do that again tomorrow.
- I want to do a little bit of reading before I sleep, and start going off the grid. Like exercise I think this is actually non-negotiable.
- Weekly date nights with the wife. Also non-negotiable. It’s my responsibility to figure out how to time this so that it doesn’t clash with my work. Relatively trivial to fix, significantly better life.
- Work writing practices. I need to get substantial chunks of writing done at work. This requires partitioning my time better. It begins by partitioning my time at all. I guess before I do that I need a “first thing when I get to work” habit. I’m about to get to work. What’s the first thing I should do? NOT check social media, ok. Check email? Check GH, Inbound?
My gut tells me I should start with a burst of writing. So I’m going to do that now. I’m walking towards work. I’ll sit with my notebook, figure out how to pour out a couple of thousand words of writing/thinking and then think about what to do next from there, on the sofa (so I don’t end up on social media or multi tasking).