So, it’s been four months since I started this life reboot endeavor. In some ways I feel I’m gaining traction, but in others, I still have a lot to do. I’m committed to working on this for a year, though, so I am trying not to be too discouraged by not getting everything right. Being too hard on myself is probably something else I need to work on…
Anyway, on to the actual point of this post…
Month 4 of my life reboot was not good for my actual life reboot goals, but was great for learning more lessons, as you will read below.
The lessons I learned this month are below.
Routines Don’t Have to Feel “Routine”.
As I discussed last month, I got a little off track with my routines. This was partially due to several projects that converged and caused me to panic and work about 12 hours a day for a couple of weeks. This was not a time I’m proud of, but I managed to muddle through and tried to get back to my regularly scheduled programming as soon as it was done. For the most part I succeeded, and I learned something really surprising.
I actually like routines. Believe me I am just as shocked as you are. I used to think routines were just… well… routine and boring. That if I had a life that was filled with routines that it would also feel routine. I want my life to be better than routine. I want my life to feel meaningful.
Then I realized one day that everyone, even me, already has routines. Just because they are not tracked or you are not aware of them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Everyone has things that they do or don’t do regularly everyday. That is, in essence, a routine.
The reason I found I actually like routines was also a surprise. I like routines because they make me feel in control. Actually, let me amend that. I like the routines I work to implement, because they make me feel in control. I feel like I’m accomplishing something, which makes me feel more confident and centered.
Probably, the most surprising aspect of all, was that I actually craved getting back to “the usual stuff” after being completely overwhelmed. Actually, it’s not so surprising now that I think about it. That’s normal. I guess the surprising part is that I went back to the routines I’m trying to establish and didn’t slip back into my old bad habits.
Sprints, Not Overwhelm
[Last month] I talked about being overwhelmed and how I dealt with that. This month, I caught myself again feeling a little overwhelmed by some projects that are a little behind and by the other projects that I didn’t think I would have time to finish.
This observation and a recent email from Mike Vardy of the Productivityist gave me a better way to think about these times. I should think of them as times to sprint through my work, not feel overwhelmed by it. Sprints are times of intense focus, that allow you to finish projects. Unfortunately, that also means that other things get pushed aside. The nature of sprinting, though, is that you go full bore towards your destination.
When I really sat down and thought about it, I realized that sprints are actually important to the way I work. They always have been. I don’t know if it’s because I regularly bite off more than I can chew, or because I know how to put my nose to the grindstone when I need to. Either way it’s a natural part of how I get some of my work done.
Why is thinking about these times in a different way important? Because mindset is everything. The longer I live, the more I have realized this. Not only is there research to back this up, but I’ve also experienced it first-hand.
Change is hard, but it gets easier.
I’ve talked quite a bit about change since I started this endeavor. When I first started, I referred to change like being in the middle of an ocean and swimming towards a far-off unseen shore. I still feel like that sometimes, but I also feel I’ve glimpsed the shore a couple of times. It’s still very, very far away, but I can actually see it now.
I also know more about swimming now, so it feels easier to actually do the swimming. Sure, sometimes I get tired and depressed. When will I ever reach those sandy beaches? Maybe never… Then I remember that I can’t go back. That would be tantamount to drowning. Since I’m afraid of drowning (in real life) that would be very, very bad. I just have to “keep swimming” as Dory would say. A very wise, if forgetful, fish.
One day I will reach the shore and be able to rest for a moment before continuing on.
You Cannot Prove What You Don’t Track
I’m slowly getting better at tracking. This last period I tracked a little more than I did the month before, but I’m still off by quite a bit. So this next month, I will try and track and everyday. Since I tracked last night (and yesterday was the first day of the new “month”) then I know I’m already on track.
I’m also slowly expanding what I’m tracking and how I’m doing it. At first, I was just tracking my focus areas for the life reboot. As I’ve realized that working on other areas could also help me improve, I added those as well. Below is an actual screenshot from one of my daily journal entries. It’s one of the better ones, since I wanted an example of one that was fully filled out and showed progress.
At the top are my normal focus areas, but for the last couple of months, I’ve also been working on my nighttime routine, which I try to do just before I go to bed. It’s really helping me improve in that area and also other parts. Then this last month, I added the “In Pursuit of Happyness” section, because I wanted a way to track what I was doing to push my vision forward. I’ve found that this section gets filled out less than the others, but when it does, I usually have a lot of things to report at once. It’s another area where I need practice, but I’m happy with what I’ve done so far.
So, now the question is, should I keep adding to this or just focus on what I have? I think I will add one more section to the daily journal and try to leave it where it is for a couple of months while I work on actually tracking everyday. The new section is just an outline of my morning routine, which I’ve also been working on, but haven’t been tracking.
So now for the actual check-in.
Exercise More Consistently. I’m not exactly sure what happened this month with this goal. Last month I was actually making progress and feeling like this month would be just as good if not better. For some reason, though, I did not workout hardly at all. Obviously, this is an area that needs lots of work. So, my goal for this next month is to do at least 10 minutes of exercise everyday.
Eat better. Eating better was also an area where I utterly failed this month. I could blame Halloween candy for that, but I know it has more to do with my self-control and willpower.
Write more. Ok, so apparently there’s a theme this month, because this area is also worse. I didn’t write hardly at all last month.
Read more nonfiction. After reviewing my daily journals, I feel like this is one of the only areas of my actual life reboot that I continued to make progress on. There still wasn’t as much as I’d like, but it’s fairly consistent with last month.
Enjoy just being more. Another area where I fell down this month. Of the days I tracked, I only took time for myself (outside of reading and video games, which don’t count) on one of those days.
Ship more. More backsliding in this area. I did manage to ship a multitude of things on the days I actually pushed stuff out, so I don’t feel like a complete failure.
I didn’t do so good on my actual life reboot goals, but I did make some progress in other areas of my life and in also understanding myself. It makes me wonder if reflecting more internally means I’m less productive externally. I suppose only time will tell. I still have eight months of this to go, and I’m sure there will be more months like this.
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