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Halrloprillalar

You can call me Hal.

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Incremental Change
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prillalar
I've been thinking a lot about personal development lately and the changes I want to make in my life. Essentially, I want to unclutter. Unclutter my living space, unclutter my schedule, unclutter my time and attention and brain. I'm not good at making sweeping changes like "clear out the whole apartment in one weekend" or "start doing a full workout three times a week". I've never been able to give up caffeine for any significant length of time.

But I've been having a lot of success making incremental changes. These are a couple of my current personal development projects:

- Stop taking cream in my coffee. I love cream and I think it's good for you. But I was taking in way too many calories via cups of coffee and it also made it hard for me to caffeinate on days I'm not eating until supper (intermittent fasting). Not to mention the coffee whitener they gave me on the plane last time -- fucking corn syrup! My rule is that during February, my first cup of the day has to be black. The rest of the day, as I choose. But it's been amazingly easy to switch! Halfway through the month, I wasn't just tolerating the black coffee, I was enjoying it and even preferring it. And you can taste the nuances of good coffee so much more this way.

- Don't stand in the curb cut while waiting to cross the street. I'm trying to train myself to do this without thinking about it, so as to leave the curb cut for people who need it.

- 20 minute relaxation after work. This is to help me transition from work to home, to be less stressed, and to work up to starting some meditation later on. I lie back in my recliner with an eyeshade on and do a 20 minute pzizz energizer nap. It seems to work pretty well. I'm trying not to begrudge the time it takes.

- One thing at a time. I just started this today and it is going to be so fucking hard. But I feel like I've completely lost my ability to concentrate and be productive. So, no more trying to multitask (which humans are lousy at anyhow). No surfing the web while watching TV. No reading while eating. One thing at a time. I hope it helps me be more productive. Of course, this one may turn out to be a sweeping change. If so, I'll break it down into smaller steps. Maybe just "no doing something else while eating".


What are your personal development projects?

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What are your personal development projects?

I am attempting to figure out what the heck to do with my life. I want a major, large-scale career change, but I am not sure to what.

While I figure it out, I am growing a baby. So that's fun.

That's pretty big! Congraulations on the baby. :)

These look like interesting projects! I like the one-thing-at-a-time one in particular. And intermittent fasting! Tell me about that, how's it working for you? I've been thinking about trying it.

My own projects are mostly related to health--I'm trying to cut out processed sugars and carbs and rely on meat and veggies for the majority of my meals, and it's going pretty well. Expensive as all fuck, but I feel great and I'm losing weight without much effort at all.

Another project I've been working on is work-related. Gradually, over the last couple of months, I stopped goofing off online at work, and recently I made the (big for me) step of not checking my personal e-mail at work and focusing completely on my task. And it's so clear in my work product! It's actually helping me like my job better, just actually giving it my whole attention.

The fasting has been going pretty well -- I think it keeps me sharp. If you're adjusted to eating low-carb, it will probably be not too difficult for you. I just don't get the same feelings of oh-my-god-must-eat hunger that I used to when I ate high carb and so I can go 24 hours without a lot of distress. You'd probably want to work up to that, though.

My current weekly IF practice is roughly: 2 24-hour fasts (7pm - 7pm), 2 18-hour fasts (7pm-1pm), and 3 ad libitum days. I don't restrict the amount I eat when I break the fast. If I were a breakfast eater, I might not do the 18s, but I rarely want to eat until later in the morning at least.

Ping me if you want more info! It's great to find someone who doesn't think IF is crazy!

That's such a good point about the email at work. I should stop checking gmail on my iPhone. Hmm, maybe next month...

I am eeking back my wake-up time five minutes at a time. I still have about ten more to reach my goal. And then...I am going to add in Tuesday and Thursday to the mix. (This is all in the pursuit of more early morning exercise. I've been pretty consistent so far in the four months since I've joined the Y.) My goal this year is an injury free triathlon summer.

I want to unclutter my music collection. And my space. I don't know if that's working though.


That's a good plan! I don't use an alarm myself; I sleep until I wake up, which usually works pretty well.

My music collection fills me with despair. I can't keep up with rating it at all.

fucking corn syrup!

This makes me laugh because I keep seeing these ads from the corn growers of America about how "corn syrup is totally not bad for you guys omg please eat it!!!!!!!!" and I now think about it every time I hear about corn syrup.

They are so desperate. Desperate to sell us POISON.

So many things, augh. Baby steps. Which is probably what I should do with this daily routine thing I'm trying to do and having trouble getting it off the ground, start by just making up part of the list and add stuff in gradually.

This pzizz thing sounds interesting. I have other binaural beat stuff too, but don't have good headphones; possibly I should take advantage of Circuit City having all those going out of business discounts.

Yeah, the baby steps work a lot better for me. I've had the pzizz app for a few years -- the nap thing works pretty well for me.

Getting up earlier. I started off with 5 minutes early. I'm up to 10 now. My goal is to get up early enough to lift weights in the morning before work.

Cutting back on alcohol and sugar consumption. Not easy! I love my wine. But it's got too many calories, and I'm trying to lose weight.

Good for you! I need to add some weight training in but that's a ways off for me.

Making a big shift in my eating habits is one of those things I did over a *long* period of time. But well worth cutting out sugar if you can.

I started walking 5 minutes every afternoon while carrying weights. and doing 10 minutes of yoga every morning. The last few days killed that but I am hoping to get back to it.

of course this led to me wanting to shave the cats and/or throw away everything I own.

I take my coffee with milk and like it that way, but black just makes me gag. I've tried, but I cannot do it - so kudos.

Over the weekend we had a discussion on how someone the person we use to be got lost in .... something. and how it is really really time to get that person back.

Yeah, being sick can really derail those routines. Maybe yoga with the mustard plaster on will help.

I thought the black coffee would be a trial but it's actually delicious for me. I still have lattes some days in the afternoons. I'm kind of gearing up to try a month of no dairy and see how that makes me feel.

Oh, interesting. Are you working on that now?

I was with you all the way until "no more reading while eating." OMG, how do you stand it? I'm like, gimme the fucking cereal box!!!

The pzizz link is interesting. I don't think I could sleep with sounds on, but I'm intrigued.

And my only personal development projects at the moment are to get back to the gym three times a week (2x is no problem, but 3x always seems to be impossible for some reason), and to grow my own vegetables.

Yeah, well, we'll see how well it works out! Maybe once I become a person of perfect mindful balance, I can start reading while I have my supper again. But for now, I think I need to work on the focus more.

I don't actually sleep during one of those naps; it's more just relaxing. I can export mp3s, so I'd be happy to shoot you a couple if you like.

I love your vegetable project. :)

Speaking of the vegetable project: the garden is being put in on Sunday, so I won't be able to meet with you at our usual time; All Edibles arrive at 9am.

Next Sunday? Or do you want to reschedule?

I have one aim: get a job that will not render me useless after four months. That's it, really, but it's a doozie.

That is! I wish you great luck!

I can really relate to feeling unproductive and unable to concentrate. I've been thinking this week that I would like to make lists of the things I'd like and need to get done, from the must-do things like paying bills to the little things like writing fics or straightening my bookcases. I feel like I waste so much of my free time because I don't remember what I need to be doing.

I like your one thing at a time plan. I've also been thinking about this when it comes to reading, that I'd like to start one book at a time and finish it before moving on to the next. I'm usually juggling so many books that I've gotten into the habit of not finishing them, and I'd like to change that.

Edited at 2009-02-19 04:51 am (UTC)

I found a really simple productivity system that I'm thinking of trying, to keep better track of my to-dos. http://www.markforster.net/autofocus-system/ Of course, I haven't started because I want to use a green notebook exactly like Inui's and I haven't found one yet. :D

I'm like that with books too -- good point about that. And shows and games, etc.

Have you gone the route of Getting Things Done by David Allen? I actually think I have that as an ebook PDF file around here somewhere.

I've read the book and it's a very alluring system but ultimately too fiddly for me to actually set up. Maybe once I get a simpler system going I'll get organized enough to get, well, organized!

Yes on multitasking (or reduction of it)--that was one of the biggest changes for me going from an academic/grad school culture to a corporate one, and it's killed my ability to focus. I'm hoping the new job will be better in that regard, and if not I'm determined to make it that way. Not just for increased productivity, but for general mental health and sense of balance.

Hm, other personal development projects. I've been doing really well with the gym lately. I'd like to add yoga and/or pilates back into my workout schedule, but overall I'm pretty happy with it. I'd like to focus more on doing things that make me happy in the moment and stop worrying about future stuff. Stop worrying about stupid stuff in general *g*. It's all very abstract! But I'm looking forward to getting into a new environment, and I think that will help with my overall mood and outlook.

I hope that works out with the new job! I think it depends so much on the office culture. I really have no hope of being able to single-focus at work -- if I turn off my IM client, my co-workers just come to my desk and bug me there. So I'm going to work on the rest of my life for now.

Good job with the gym! You are my inspiration. :)

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The belly dancing sounds great! And, yeah, fandom can be a bit crazy-making at times. I always struggle with how much I should be involved.

Good luck with your weight-loss! It sounds like you've done a great job so far. ♥

THAT ICON IS SO MUCH WIN ♥ I kind of want to write a MomoKai mouse!AU now ...

My current personal projects involve drinking more water, trying to go to sleep at a reasonable hour and moving abroad (OK, that's not such a small one.)

What's a curb cut?

Isn't it cute? don_amoeba made it for me.

The bed-time thing is something I'm working on too. Life is definitely better if I'm in bed by 9pm but something always seems to prevent it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curb_cut

That reminds me to stop pressing the button for the pedestrian crossing, rushing across the road when no traffic is coming, and then leaving cars to wait at the red light for no reason. And stop being too lazy to look things up by myself ;)

I've written the mouse!AU, so at least I did something vaguely productive today.

ATM? "Don't be crazy" is at the top of the list. Everything else is just bonus.

That said, what I need to do is:

*Practice my Russian, even if it means lugging Ken the Dictionary back and forth between home and work every day. The textbook obviously isn't working for me, so I need to actually crack some of the fiction I've acquired.

*Stop checking LJ before work. Email, Penny Arcade, etc. are okay, but I need to not be running out the door just in time to make my lesson, and multiple comms full of interesting links do not help me do that. (I may add The Ten Doctors to my exception list, tho.)

*Stop eating when I'm bored.

*Stop falling down. This will improve markedly once all the ice melts, in, um, April.

You always seem to me like someone who accomplishes a lot!

LJ is the hardest thing for me to schedule -- if I don't check it twice day, I can't keep up. It will probably be one of the things on the uncluttering list later on this year. (That is -- cut down and find a reasonable amount of involvement, not drop LJ completely.)

The eating-when-bored thing is so hard to stop! I haven't found a good substitute for it yet.

See, the thing for me is, I teach. So the be-at-work portion of events is done by, at the very latest, three o'clock (and often earlier). Add in the fact that most of my flist are in North America or Europe and thus between five and fourteen hours removed from me, time-zone wise, I really don't have to check it at seven AM my time. I can wait until I'm home from work. The Internet won't wander off while I'm not looking. If I keep telling myself this, I might eventually believe it. :-)

I had burnout two years ago and I still get intermittant episodes of eye strain and migraines and other symptoms when work gets stressful, so I've started limiting my after-work online and screen time (including video games and TV) from 6 pm on. I've been finding myself actually enjoying stuff off-comp again, which I haven't in several years.

That's great to hear! I expect it helps a lot with sleep as well.

Taking care of my body. So, standing up from the computer every twenty minutes (which is hard when you're on a roll!), and actually eating breakfast.

It's so difficult to break the flow, isn't it? I guess I could stand up anytime one of my co-workers IMs me.

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How's the soda ban going? I'm, once again, working on giving up caffeine. I don't expect it to last more than a couple of months, but I try. :)

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