20 for 2020: week 11

Week of 9 March

My 20 for 2020 list.

Monday was a public holiday (yay) so I let myself sleep in a bit (which is code for lying in bed and thinking about how great it feels not to wake up slightly hungover because I am into week two of 30 days without alcohol (thing 5)) before I went for a walk and worked on my photo project (thing 1).

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I found some funghi in the compost heap

I actually finished three 15-minute photo editing blocks on Monday. I got this app called Forest, which is meant to stop you doing stuff on your phone when you’re supposed to be working. You plant a tree and set the timer for how long you want to work, and if you leave the app to do something else on your phone, the tree dies. Who wants to be responsible for killing a tree? Over time, you build a up a forest and the more work you do, the cooler trees you can unlock. Of course it doesn’t stop you doing other stuff on your computer than what you’re supposed to be working on, but it does discourage you from doing stuff on your phone, which can be a pretty big distraction. And who wants to kill a tree!

I think there’s another feature on there where you can join up with friends and you can set it so if you go onto your phone while you’re supposed to be working you kill your friends’ trees as well. How’s that for accountability?!

I’d heard of this app before but never tried it and decided to do it as I was flicking through chapter 18 of Indistractable (thing 13), which is “hack back your phone”. In this chapter, Nir encourages you to get rid of apps you don’t use that clutter up your screen, and to reconsider what you have on your phone that distracts you. Nir uses the examples of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter in the book, which he says he took off his phone and now only accesses on his computer so he can still stay in touch with people and watch videos, but isn’t tempted to get out his phone and start scrolling when he gets bored. Nir shares a photo of his phone’s home screen, which has Forest on it, so I decided to give it a try. I’ve only killed one tree so far and that was because I left the app without thinking about it. Ooops.

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Sad little plant. Not the one I killed in Forest

As well as removing distracting apps, I’ve also heard of people who remove email from their phones and only look at it at fixed times on their computer to avoid the distraction. I actually like to have it on my phone because if I get a few spare moments, I can go in there and delete any emails I know I don’t want to read, so I have fewer to deal with when I do go on my computer.

Another part of this work is to move things off your front screen that distract you so that you only see apps that you actually need. The idea is if you put Instagram into a folder and put that three or four screens deep, it will take you more effort to get to it and you’ll be less likely to go on it because it isn’t right in front of you. At least it forces you to make a choice to get to it instead of having it right in front of you to tempt you. That’s the theory. I don’t find it makes much of a difference to me. I still find it! The only way I would really stay away from Instagram would be if I deleted it altogether and I’m not going to do that. If I want to stay off it I’ll plant a tree!

The final part of this chapter talks about turning off notifications that distract you, which is something I have been doing for a while, and I have very few notifications on my phone now. And if I really don’t want to be disturbed, the Do Not Disturb feature makes sure I don’t get any notifications at all.

If I’d had “get the gazillion tests that my optometrist keeps insisting I have” as one of my things, I would have ticked that off the list this week too.

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Waiting for tests at the optometrist

I worked on my uni personal development plan (thing 8) early in the week as a way of avoiding doing work on my assignment, which is due in two weeks but then I spent several hours over the weekend working on it to makeup that time. It’s going okay at this stage. I have a lot more to do though.

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Saturday afternoon

I stuck some more of my 2019 photo collages into my journal (thing 4) and even stuck in the tab stickers to mark the months. I have 12 more collages to stick in and this will be done. For my wellbeing course (thing 3) I listened to this month’s bonus webinar about moods and moon phases, which I found really interesting.

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 5 (6, 10, 15, 16, 18)
  • Things I progressed: 7 (1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 14)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 3 (7, 11, 22)
  • Things not started: 7 (2, 9, 12, 17, 19, 20, 21)
  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit this week: 7
  • Days I scheduled (and did) 50 or 25 minute blocks of time to work on my projects:  None
  • Days I read on the bus on the way to work (or another time for at least 15 minutes): 7
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