Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Using Nooks and Crannies of Time

I think one of the problems I’ve faced recently is my own ambition. It’s easy to desire the creation of many things, but it is more difficult to find the time to complete it all. The routines that help us keep the world spinning are not always in the same rotation towards our goals. This means that you need to sneak in creation wherever you can. That can be tricky as you may not be able to start quickly on your topics. That means that you’re “rev-up” time makes a lot of time slots non-workable.

If you keep refusing these time slots and are not able to get work done, then guilt can set in. Once that happens, you might start making compromises on your goals. The more you do that, the more you feel worse about yourself. This can continue downwards until you are extremely angry with yourself or you become depressed.

Here are some tricks I’ve found to help with this:
  1. Make some 0-Rev activities towards your goals
  2. Go through a quick “why” drill
  3. Meditate in a way that restores

The first trick, making 0-rev activities, is fairly simple. If you’re goal is to put down a certain amount of words every day, you might need some prompts or structure to do that. However, if you haven’t made those prompts, you’re going to pause and not want to write. (Or you’re going to need additional time to start) However, if you make ‘side writing habits’ that don’t require research or structure, you can quickly get into writing without a specific plan. This is a trick of ‘pantser’ writers, they just push everything into a direction and follow where ever it goes. If you can’t do that with your main stories, then just try writing some blogs (like I am doing now) or write on a platform like Hubpages or Medium. I am not saying these don’t require work, but getting a raw word count to play with later can be very helpful. Ultimately, you want to be able to launch into your goal as quickly as possible, no preparation needed. If you make activities designed this way, than you can fit in the activity into the nooks and crannies of your day.

The second trick, a quick “why” drill, is like a little kid asking you a bunch of questions. You take your goal and plan, then apply a why to it. Why does doing this activity solve the problem/achieve the goal? After you have your answer, ask why again. Why does hitting this goal solve the problem? You continue down several layers (often times people stop at 5 why layers). The purpose of this activity is simple. You want to find the most gain for the least amount of work. Once you’ve identified this, you can achieve your goals quicker, which means the nooks and crannies of your day go farther.

The final trick, meditating in a way that restores, is something fairly new to me. In the past, I’ve used meditation in a way to focus. I am focusing on going to sleep or focusing on my daily to-do list. However, there is a method to meditate towards restoration. If you’re brain is getting tired, recognize that and don’t try to fit in a complex activity. Instead, look to focus on what will bring your brain back into “the zone”. This can be completely off-task, but don’t get too zoomed into anything else. This is a meditation where you find a way to relax you’re overworked brain, but don’t let it completely check out. Once your brain is relaxed, then focus the meditation on a method to get it revved back up. Here is an example of how this works: You can start by listening to some of your favorite songs. Then start singing along with them. As you feel more relaxed, switch the station over to some more interesting music. That might cause the creative side of you to come out. Once that side is out, you can go back to building wonderful things.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Measure Twice, Cut Once on Resolutions

‘Measure twice, cut once’ is an adept expression for all of life.  New Years resolutions are easy to build for a lot of people, though more and more are turning away from the idea. I think it’s an interesting paradox myself. People try to fix their indulgences at the start of a year, promising this is going to be ‘their year’. They cut out coffee or desserts to get into better health. I am not above this practice, though I usually do the ‘cut out an indulgence’ at the start of lent.

What makes this interesting to me is that people don’t appear to take a holistic view of their entire life. Instead, they focus on the micro area that is bugging them. If they can just fix that one tiny area, they should be able to tackle all of it, right?

However, that one tiny area may not be the area with the most need for improvement. Furthermore, it might not yield the best results. For example, cutting out coffee may help reduce calories from cream/sugar… but what about those donuts you had for breakfast? What’s more, what kind of goals have worked in the past and why?

Looking to build new patterns in the new year must be based off past success. To me, it’s bizarre to start fresh without really looking at your past. This is what I want to show in this article. Having trend data can really help a person get a better grasp on goals.

For example, I’ve tracked the last 17 years of new years resolutions (since 2003) and can tell you the trends within the data. That allows me to build goals that are not only attainable, but inspiring. The goals are flexible enough to achieve, but have enough of an impact to have a drastic effect in my future going forward. To me, that’s ultimately what you want in a New Years resolution: attainable major change that inspires you. I don’t think a lot of people are willing to track it down to that level. That being said, I am glad I am willing to do this! I look forward to an amazing year of growth!


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