It’s day one of 2018 and I’m up before my wife and son. I want to carry this and several other routines, behaviors, and goals over from 2017. Here are a few notes so I may look back on weak days and remember what it takes to eliminate contaminated time and be a happy world beater.
– Wake up early seven days a week. This isn’t just about extra time, it’s about a set routine that reduces mental clutter. Here’s an example: rising early on weekends let’s me get all that’s hanging over my head done before family even rises and then I can be totally present. This truly made me happier in 2017. Rest isn’t always sleep, it’s eliminating that “contaminated time” when you’re preoccupied by sh*t you’re not doing. I do this by getting that sh*t done before quality time with family/friends starts. Seems like a breeze when stating it so simply here, but it’s incredibly difficult for me to clear my head, and waking up early is the best solution I’ve found.
– Be grateful and be vocal about it. I wrote down 3 things I’m grateful for 365 days from July 2016 to July 2017, and it taught me two things: telling people you’re grateful is harder than it seems, and being grateful truly does change the way you think about every daily situation. As I’ve gotten better at the second point (it really took me a full year of actually writing them down rather than just thinking about them), I found that my gratefulness about a certain situation would be overtaken by cynicism and/or negativity very quickly if I didn’t vocalize it to make it real. This was (and often still is) very hard for me to do. With family/friend situations the fear is that it comes off cheesy, and at work the fear is that you don’t want to make people complacent. Those fears are both unfounded, and telling people you’re grateful for small things along the way is nothing but positive for them and for your own mindset. Need to remember this.
– Eat a comically large breakfast. Double serving of steel cut oatmeal, 2 bananas, and 4 egg whites is a new routine I began mid-2017. I changed nothing else about my diet—which is ok but far from great and includes way too much sugar and starch—and I lost a full inch on my waist for the first time in my adult life. I’m not overweight and didn’t set out to do this, but it’s pretty cool, I’m not looking to add it back, and I feel great. To build on this in 2018, I must find a way to eat better lunches. My days are too fluid, varied, and fast to pack or give much thought at all to lunch, so if anyone has solved for good-energy, on-the-fly lunch during the workday, please let me know.
– Body weight exercises 7 days a week. Situps, pushups, bridges, calf raises, and squats are all hardcore workouts, fast, and totally excuse free. You can do them literally anywhere, anytime and I think this also has something to do with my losing an inch off my waist. Still must do cardio and fresh air stuff too, but body weight stuff is totally excuse free. Anyone who has more than I’ve listed here that you like, please let me know.
– Use social media to engage, not scroll. Mindlessly scrolling feeds kills precious hours, makes me feel terrible about myself, and fries my creativity. Engaging kills way less time, makes me feel great as I network and make friends, and it gives me great ideas. Engagement can be positive or negative, and one thing I did in a particularly poisonous social 2017 was focused overwhelmingly on positivity. Jumping in the poison only poisons me, so I’ve enjoyed how I feel when I ignore all that and focus on complimenting people and finding areas where I want to spread positivity. Need to build on this.
– Remember my two audiences on every post I write. My goal for 2018 is to write every day, but I’m not going to commit to a hard goal of writing seven days a week because then all time—especially family/friend time—has too much risk of becoming contaminated time where my brain spends too much energy thinking about what I’m not doing. But if all other routines are maintained, it’s not hard to write every day. More important, I need to remember who I’m writing for. Each of my blog posts has two audiences: one other person I have in mind, and my future self. Of course target audiences can and do expand way beyond that for certain posts, but remembering this 2 audience rule makes for much better writing and reading.
– Make at least one hard phone call per day. This is another way to eliminate contaminated time for me, colleagues, and family/friends where something huge is hanging over my/our heads. Whatever hard calls or meetings I need to do that I’m delaying are usually the next step in some huge breakthrough that makes everything move better and faster after I finally do it. I’m terrible about this because I spend too much time thinking about the sequence of how I want things to play out. But every time I just jump in an stop worrying about sequence, it always works out. I think sequence, strategy, timing is more innate for me. Now I need to work on speed, and this simple tactic is the key.