My day to day routine has become very fragmented and scattered over the course of the past few months; and I don’t like it. I don’t necessarily dislike the lack of structure (starting a day with no set plan and a willingness to take whatever is thrown at you is incredibly appealing and liberating) but I do dislike knowing I’m not being as efficient with my time as I can be.

“Time is money” not in the sense that time costs money and you’re losing money by not doing something. But that time is equal to money in that it affords the ability to do and experience things (not that everything should cost money).

To help form better habits in the past I’ve used an app called Lift. The only reason I’ve not used it in the last few months is because the original aspects I set out to change in my life became so routine and natural that I no longer needed to check a list item each time I did it. I was able to add flossing, “inbox zero”, commiting code to GitHub, and a few others to my daily routine. While I don’t meet the goals every day they have become enough of my day to day life where I no longer need the reminder or motivation to add them to my schedule.

I have become more aware of some personal weaknesses of my own and realizing and actively fixing these is very important to me. My day to day life right now basically consists of working and exploring whatever city I’m currently in. While this is great, even something as “exotic” and freeing as that can become too routine and inhibit personal growth.

Lift has added some great new functionality to their application since I last used it including the ability to set a weekly target. Before a goal was something that needed to be done every day or you would lose your “streak”. Now you can more gradually introduce yourself to new habits by saying “I want to make sure I do this three times a week”.

Some things I want to work on personally over the next weeks/months:

  • Work no more than 5 hours a day
  • Don’t drink caffeine that day (three times a week)
  • Spend 20 minutes on Duolingo learning Spanish (five times a week)
  • Listen to an hour of an audio book
  • Introduce myself/start a conversation with a stranger (three times a week)

I cringe when people are proud that they work 80 hours a week. If you really need to work that many hours to accomplish what you set out to do then I think you need to redefine your goals, or redefine how you work. Sure there are exceptions; and power to passionate people (I’m certainly one of them). However, I can guarantee that the vast majority of office workers do no more than 5 real hours of work a day. And it’s probably more like 3-4. So I try not to feel bad about working only a couple hours a day if that’s all I need to get done what’s needed that day.

The nature of my work means that there is always something that can be done. There can never be “nothing” to do because something new can always be created. But at a point you have to step back and realize things can wait. Everything requires moderation.

My very good friend, Pj, while she does many amazing things, the one that has always stuck out to me the most is her ability to not need caffeine. While I love the taste and the entire experience of drinking/making coffee or tea, the majority of the time my end goal is the caffeine. It comes back to moderation again though, because there will be weeks when I’m drinking 3, 4, 5 cups a day to keep the headaches away.  So I want to start curbing that.

Duolingo is another site/application I’ve signed up for recently. An amazing UI/UX plus really great software and gameification of learning. I want to spend time in South America so I want to know a bit more Spanish, and I just want to know more in general.

I can honestly (and shamefully) I’ve probably only read 3-4 books cover to cover my entire life. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I have always had a very hard time reading. Not a difficult time reading the words, but a difficult time sitting and focusing on what’s in front of me long enough to be able to finish, and intently enough to be able to comprehend. Audio books make sense for me because I can put them on my devices so they travel well.

But at this stage it’s less about the book and more about the act. Just sitting and listening. Not looking at my phone, not thinking about what I’m doing next. Just listening. And it is excruciating for me. I did it for an hour before I started writing this (and to be honest I could only get to 55 minutes) and every two minutes I had to remind myself I what I was supposed to be focused on and rewind the book. I would be flicking the cord of my headphones and be absorbing none of what I was hearing. Or thinking about that line of code, or this flight I need to book, or “man the weather wasn’t the best today”. Surrendering that hour of time to one single act and fully immersing myself in the situation is very difficult.

I’ve been able to cut out a lot of white noise by removing Facebook and other apps from my devices, and I need to do the same with a few more. The meaningless distractions of the day fragment my time too much and decreases the value of it. When I buy something I will always spend more money to have a better quality item. I see my time the same way: I can do something a few times for a short amount of time and have an “okay” experience. Or I can save up my time a bit longer and spend it at once and be happy with my investment.