I’m sitting in my hotel room in Krabi feeling a little guilty, a little anxious. I had this vague idea in my mind that I was going to write like mad during my time here – maybe get 50,000 words out. I know that it’s technically possible. But at this rate it looks like I’m barely going to make it to 5,000. Which is weak. I’m going to make sure I get to at least 10,000, because that doesn’t feel so bad.
A part of me isn’t surprised. First of all, a holiday is a holiday. I’ve needed one for about half a year now, and I’m finally taking it. It’s a good time to just rest from everything and let my subconscious recover. I think that’s been happening. Simply sitting around and staring into space, looking at the beach. That’s definitely helped. Eating good food. Getting lots of sleep. Trying something new (scuba diving, which it turns out I’m pretty terrible at because I’m a lousy swimmer and not very comfortable in water). Now the bulk of the holiday is over. It’s Thursday afternoon. Then we have Friday, and we fly back on Saturday. I have Sunday to prepare for work, and then on Monday it’s back to the grind. All in all a rather uneventful, pleasant holiday. A little voice in my head does wonder if I could’ve done more, but I know that that’s the voice of hindsight bias. Before the trip, I was looking forward to simply unplugging, being in a new place, operating on my own time. I have had that experience, and it’s been good for me.
So, what’s next? The word “changes” come to mind. As I sleep and wake early these few days, I find myself thinking – why isn’t this the case when I’m at home? And I know that a big part of it has to do with the Internet. I have pretty spotty Internet access here – and when I can’t get to it, I’m a lot more zen. When I do get some, I fall into some of my old patterns and routines – just loitering around on the internet, on social media. I tell myself that I’m sorting through my bookmarks, which I DO do a little bit of, but mostly it’s just clicking around mindlessly. This is not good for me. This does not help me achieve my goals. I did it in a small amount today, and I know that I do it to a larger extent every day when I’m back home in Singapore with reliable internet – at home, at work, on commutes on my phone. This is the single biggest impediment to me living the life that I want. And what IS the life that I want?
I want to be fit and healthy. This means I should not be smoking at all. It means I should be going to bed early – over here in my hotel room it feels quite natural to get in bed at 10pm. Why is that? I guess I’m lounging around my hotel room, and the bed is the main feature, and the toilet is prominently displayed. And there are no chores to do. What do I do instead at home? I tell myself that I should do some chores, or do some work before I shower. I don’t really want to do either, so I end up procrastinating and killing time on the internet. I do this for hours sometimes. Next thing I know it’s 2am, 3am, 4am. I shower and go to bed, and wake at about 11am. This will not do. I cannot go on living like this. I need to sleep earlier. To sleep earlier I need to turn off all my devices and shower earlier. There is something pleasant about being decisive about “okay, I am switching off now, I will no longer be contactable, I will no longer be replying to things on social media. The next thing on my plate is sleep.”
What else? I need to be exercising more regularly. I’ve done a lot of walking this week, and spending time in the water was particularly strenuous for me. Back on my regular schedule, I tend to work out maybe about once a week if I’m doing well. I have a squat rack at home that allows me to bench, squat, deadlift, shoulder press, effectively whatever I want. I have running shoes and I can go running whenever I want (but I definitely prefer to run in the morning before the day has begun). Sometimes workouts just seem really daunting – which is silly. I want to do a little bit of a workout every day at minimum. At the very least, it’s entirely possible for me to do 10 pushups every day. I could do multiple sets of them, too. I can actually get a decent workout in the gym with just 30 minutes – which seems like a lot of time before I do it, but it’s actually so short in reality. I spend far more time on irrelevant things that don’t matter.
Next, writing. I need to be writing every day. It’s so easy to make excuses to avoid writing. It’s especially easy to skip writing at night because I need to rest and go to sleep. So I think I should get my writing out of my system first thing in the morning, before the day begins. There’s very little excuse at that point if I’m up early.
Let’s describe the situation again – I tend to sleep late because of random distractions and general procrastination, trying to do a little bit of everything and getting nothing done. I should acknowledge this as a suboptimal state of affairs. Things simply don’t get done when I’m tired and it’s late. So I should stop trying to get anything done at all after 8pm or so. If things need doing, I should do them early in the morning, before going to work. To achieve this I need to make sure that I’m going to bed before 11pm. So I should be in the shower by 10, and then maybe reading a book or writing some notes on pen+paper by my bed. That can be a good way to figure out what workout I want to do next, what writing I want to do next, what my top priorities for each day are going to be. Then, SLEEP. Oh god, sleep is so important. I keep putting it off as though I don’t deserve it or something. A part of me feels like I need to “earn my sleep”. I can see how that might work in some configurations, but for me I think the temptation to just linger on indefinitely is too strong. So I need to have some hard stops. 10pm, get in the shower. No ifs and buts. I’m going to try and make this a hard-and-fast rule for the remainder of the year. Let’s test it for 30 days, at least. 10pm, get in the shower, then get in bed. The improved quality and quantity of sleep should help me make better decisions in the rest of my life.