0430 – needed changes and a perfect month

I’m writing this vomit by picking something from my to-do list. Somewhere– maybe a few vomits ago– I thought to myself that I need to sit down and think about the changes that need to happen, and write very specifically about that. I didn’t really feel it too strongly at the time.

But right now, I don’t really feel about writing about anything else, either. I don’t feel like writing about big picture things, I don’t feel like I have the right to, and I don’t feel like I have anything interesting to say right now. [1]

So… what are the changes that need to happen?

I think the most important things are– I need to plan my days. I need to have daily reviews at the beginning and end of each day. I need to have a more deliberate routine after I wake up, and a more deliberate routine after I get to work, and in both cases I need to make sure that I’m prioritizing what’s important to me.

I’ve written about this many times… for these things to work I need to have some sort of stakes. I need to see very clearly how it’s going to make my life better. To get a bit meta– I don’t really feel like doing a word vomit right now. I’m tired. It’s late. I’m writing anyway because this project is important to me.

Ugh, something about that sentence bothers me. I know, I know, actions are all that count, good intentions aren’t very useful. Good intentions are wisps, imaginary, weightless. I have good intentions about writing 1,000,000 words, and I’m executing on that intention every single day. I also have good intentions about helping to grow my company at work, but somehow that’s something I’m not making as much of a difference to. I’m putting in the word every day, but not with the same sort of persistence, not with the same sort of intensity.

I don’t believe that it’s simply a matter of how badly I want it. I’m pretty sure I want to be successful at work every bit as much as I want to successfully complete my word vomit project. I think the disparity between the two really, really boils down to how I’m managing the respective projects. The 1000 word vomit project is beautifully designed– so simple, so elegant. 1000 words a day, that’s it. It’s irrefutable.

In contrast, what I need to do for work is far more nebulous. There are many more such tasks. What I need to do is to associate my work with something as discrete, as specific and irrefutable as writing a word vomit.

Here’s what I’m thinking. For a period of time I was using a spindle, both at work and at home, to keep track of tasks that I was doing. Everytime I did a task, I’d write it on a post-it pierce it on the spindle. But after a while I started to feel less strongly about the spindles. They were “diluted”, because I was piercing all sorts of simple things like “did the dishes”. A year’s worth of doing the dishes isn’t really an accomplishment worth celebrating. It’s not a stretch goal.

I definitely enjoyed the spindle while I was using it. So I think I should be able to re-create that habit. So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to restart both the spindles– at home and at work. The goal is to start a streak of having daily reviews. I’ve been doing work reviews at the end of the day– this is too reactive. I should be more proactive. I should plan my tasks at the start of the day, using my stated priorities as a guide. If I just work on 3 things that are at the top of the list– whether they’re all sub-tasks of the highest priority thing, or it’s one sub-task per each of the top 3 things, then I’d have earned the right to pierce a task on a spindle. And I’ll attempt to have a streak of 100 post-its pierced on the spindle.

Am I missing something here? I’m not as excited about this as I ought to be. When I first conceived of the 1,000 word vomits project, I remember being insanely excited. It was so clear that it was going to be something magical to overcome. 100 work plans somehow doesn’t feel the same. It’s something that I should do, I know, but I have a long list of things that I should do. What’s something that I really, really, WANT to do? Something exciting? That I could tie together with my daily plans?

I need to remind myself why it’s important, what happens when it works, what happens when it doesn’t work.

And maybe I should just commit to making August a great month. When I’m done with this month, July would’ve been short of 1 day to have been a perfect streak of word vomits. I intend to have August have a perfect streak. Might as well have daily reviews to accompany it. The Perfect Month. That’s something that’s pretty exciting. That’s something I feel like I can get behind.

I might be wrong, I might change my mind. One thing I’ve been innoculated against in these vomits is making overly grand promises, because I don’t know what I can or cannot do. But I intend to try. A perfect streak in August it is, then. Well planned, well-rested. Let’s do it.


[1] I was just tweeting about language and tech and media this morning, and I got that out of my system. But I don’t really want to sit down and write essays about it. Essays are for proper exploring… and I’m not in the mood for exploring ‘the stars’ when I haven’t explored the area in my immediate vicinity.

Also, “I don’t feel like I have the right to” and “I don’t have anything interesting to say right now” is a passing mood. It’s interesting to observe. It’s a function of how I’m feeling at a given time. And this isn’t my dominant state, obviously. It’s interesting to think about how I feel this way. I suppose it’s because it’s after feeling a little unproductive.

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