In my efforts to become a better person, I constantly set new goals. I want to be stronger, smarter, faster, fitter; I want to learn new skills and get better at the skills I currently have. That makes sense. Who doesn’t want to get better? The hard part is putting enough time in to get better.
This isn’t even my busiest week.
You have to put enough time in. You have to. There’s no other way to get better. Time is a universal currency. You get 168 hours a week … and often you look back and think, gee, I only spent one hour working on a particular skill all week. That’s not a good ratio. True, you can’t spend all those hours on one thing, but you can spend more than one, right?
Even worse, sometimes you get really busy doing other things. Important things, certainly, but other things. Then you look at the calendar one day and realize you haven’t practiced anything in nearly three weeks. Where did all that time go? It just vanished. That’s not a good way to spend a universal currency.
And that’s exactly why, after some trial and error, I’ve come to what I call ‘my structured day.’ Continue reading →
Do you know what’s fun? Doing fun things. Do you know what’s not fun? Not doing fun things. Sorry for stating the obvious, but it’s important for the point I want to make. A lot of life isn’t fun. I don’t know, maybe you find shopping for groceries fun, but it’s not the highlight of my day. Same with doing taxes or cleaning or working out; these things are important, surely, but they aren’t exactly fun.
This person appears inquisitive and healthy, but not having fun.
In general, life can be divided into categories, things that are fun and things that are important. I will admit right away there is a lot of subjectivity here. What I call fun, say chess, you might find completely boring. Similarly, what I find to be very important, learning to write better, you may find only moderately important, or not important at all. That’s okay, it’s natural, and it won’t detract from my main point.
Here’s the issue: very often, we put off doing what is important over what is fun (or easy or convenient). “I know working out is important, but I just want to sit and watch TV today. I’ll do it tomorrow.” And then that gets pushed to tomorrow and tomorrow and, opps, it never gets done. Continue reading →
We all know fitness is important to our health. Working out keeps us in shape, improves our physique, enchances our immune system, makes us feel better and has countless more benefits, both large and small. Why, working out sounds like the best thing we can do! We should do it every day! Multiple times a day! Every few hours!
What time is it? Workout time!
And if you follow this line of reasoning, you pretty quickly find that too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing. In this particular example, you spend all your time working out, which means you don’t have any time to do anything else, including rest and recovery. You push your body so much that it has no chance to repair, and soon instead of building yourself up you begin tearing your body apart.
This actually happens with just about everything, including most of my life right now. Continue reading →
Something rather terrible has happened the last three days. Well, maybe terrible is an exaggeration. It’s not as if anyone died or had any health complications. In fact, not a heck of a lot has happened, but that’s exactly the problem. For three days I’ve done not a heck of a lot. I’ve went to work … and that’s it. I have done nothing else.
If I had mad photoshop skills, I’d change that to 24 hours.
I have goals. I was super excited to start 2016 and to start realizing them. For the first five days or so, I absolutely rocked them. I did everything I wanted to and then some. Then I had a busy day at work and seemingly lost any sense of motivation or desire. I have been ‘relaxing’ for three days. Nothing wrong with taking some time to yourself, but 72 hours is a little excessive. I need to get back on track … but I seemingly have to force myself. I have lost all motivation, somehow. Continue reading →
I wrote yesterday how some inventions become ubiquitous, to the point we can barely imagine life without them. Computers are the obvious example, as they have and continue to revolutionize the way we do everything over the last 30 years or so. Advances in travel, safety and medicine all fall in the same category.
It’s hard to believe, but this was once the height of technology within most of our lifetimes.
In my post yesterday, though, I used the example of cell phones and smartphones. You will be hard-pressed to find someone under the age of 30 who does not have one of these devices. They go everywhere and they do everything. In less than a decade they have completely changed how we interact with people and institutions. They may be the most important technological advancement ever. That might seem like an exaggeration, but think about it: you have a portable device that lets you communicate instantly with virtually anyone and access a wealth of information at any time, assuming you have service. That’s pretty incredible. Continue reading →
I stopped doing that rigid approach in mid June, as it was no longer realistic. I’ve since adopted a new approach, and it’s been … good. Not perfect, perhaps not even great, but good. I procrastinate much less while following this system, and I’m still mostly productive. I want to make it sound like some grand innovation, a miracle of time management, but is actually quite simple.
This picture was made by Matt Groening, creator of the Simpsons!
In one sentence, I have a weekly goal checklist as well as a daily to-do list. That’s it. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s been very effective. Not perfect, but effective. Continue reading →
I wrote yesterday about my experience with a very strict, set schedule. I feel I did a good job describing why I chose to do this, but afterwards I felt I may not have stressed the pros and cons enough. I aim to rectify that now.
Why are these buttons apparently in the middle of the keyboard? You can see J to the right, I on top and B underneath, which makes this a four-row keyboard.
Just to recap, I spent six months of my life following an incredibly strict personal schedule, in which I would wake up, go to sleep and do several other things all at the exact same time every single day. I really do mean every day. In some ways my days resembled the movie Groundhog Day, though the changing weather and my variable work schedule kept things fresh. At a minimum, four hours of my day every day were set in stone.
This may sound terrible, almost like a prison sentence, but it was a rather rewarding time of my life, and I’m quite happy that I went through it. It had cons, of course, but I’d like to focus on the pros first. Continue reading →
I wrote yesterday about my struggles concerning procrastination. It is by far my biggest weakness, my biggest vice. If I can overcome this, I would be as close to my potential as I likely could get. Over the years I’ve tried different strategies and approaches to combating procrastination, and today I’ll share my most recent way. I don’t know if that was more successful than my other strategies, but I certainly stuck to it far longer, and it worked.
Let me describe the situation and tell me if you know the feeling. You go online to look for something, maybe check your email or something else relatively trivial. No worries. You’ll be done in a few minutes. One of your emails has a link to a YouTube video. Okay, no problem, let’s watch that and then get back to whatever you were doing. After watching, you see the list of recommended videos after it. Oh, that one looks good, better watch it as well. You watch one video, then you watch another, and another, and the next thing you know it’s been several hours, it’s one o’clock in the morning and you’ve wasted your entire evening.
Let’s look at another possibility. You go to search for something online, and naturally you check Wikipedia first. I’m not saying you completely trust Wikipedia, you certainly wouldn’t use it as a source in a university paper, but it can be an informative read on some things. You read the article and feel more knowledgeable because of it. That said, there were a couple of things that you wished were explained in a bit more detail. Fortunately, those things are links on Wikipedia, and you can now learn in that depth you wished. While reading you click a few more links, because they sound interesting, and then those links beget more links, and the next thing you know it’s one o’clock in the morning and you wasted another evening. When will the madness stop? Continue reading →
One day, you decide to change something about your life. Maybe you want to start exercising or learn how to code computers or whatever. Because you are a smart person, you go online and start researching the best way to do this, and you find information. Lots of information, often completely contradictory.
With the exercise example, you will find a billion search results. Most of them are trying to sell you something. If you just try to find free information, you soon feel lost at sea. Do you lift weights, or is bodyweight better? Should I run, or will that delay or even reverse my muscle growth? Bodybuilding or functional training? Do I need to know my body type, my BMI, my resting heart rate? And which one of these questions is the most important?