Week 20/2022: Joining (some of) the dots

Week of 16 May 2022

A rainbow over the cliffs at the beach in the morning light
Morning rainbow

Joining (some of) the dots

If you’ve been with me for a while, you might recall that one of the items on my 22 for 2022 list is to create a “Deep Work” handbook (thing 12) to experiment with some of the ideas in Cal Newport’s book Deep Work. My plan was to figure out what advice worked for me and keep it all together in one place.

I still want to do this but, as I’ve been reading other books and listening to other people, the concept has expanded to include ideas from other sources, including ones that have made me question some of my original thoughts.

Some of the ideas from Daniel Sih’s Spacemaker book and webinar, which I wrote about in the last post, are definitely going in there.

I’ve also been reading the book Four Thousand Weeks, which I’ve mentioned a few times on here. It’s completely changed my perspective on time management and getting things done and I need to take what it says seriously.

As well as that, I’ve been taking some great ideas from Christian Rivera’s INTP Productivity Master Quest, which has been great at explaining why traditional “productivity” hacks don’t always work for people with my personality type, and suggesting what I might do instead.

I’ve realised that this handbook needs to be more of a toolbox that I can take things from when I need them, rather than a “this is the way I have to do things forever from now on” set of rules. And just like a toolbox, I’ll add new things to it as I need them and toss out old ones when they break or they’re no longer any use to me. So it’s a constant work in progress, not a thing I can actually complete.

What did I want to do this week?

  • Hand in TAFE assignment 2C (thing 8)
  • Finish TAFE assignment 3A (thing 8)
  • Do some more work on my “deep work” handbook/toolbox (thing 12)
  • Keep working on the blog post for the book Four Thousand Weeks (thing 12)
  • Do the week 4 activities from the Mindspot program (thing 1)
  • Take some more photos of the windows

Did I do it?

I handed in the first TAFE assignment, completed the second one (and handed it in a day early) and did some work on the Mindspot activities. I kept reading for my reading challenge (thing 21) and did some more work on the “deep work” toolbox.

All good!

I didn’t take any more photos of the windows. I’m not sure how much longer I have to do this before the window people come to replace them but it can’t be too long now.

What did I want to try this week?

Last week I said I wanted to experiment with changing up my morning routine a bit.

What I do normally is to go for a walk first thing, do a meditation session when I get back and then get myself a coffee and write in my journal. But without the early jolt of either caffeine or another hot drink, I often find myself falling asleep during my meditation. (Don’t blame my bedtime on this, I’ve been consistently going to bed on time for months! Staying asleep, however, has been another thing altogether and is something that is right outside my control. But that’s a story for another post.)

So I started to switched things around. I had coffee and worked on my journal first, then did my meditation session and finally went for a walk, trying to keep off my devices for anything other than my online journal and the meditation app.

It felt weird though. Going out walking feels like what I should be doing first thing in the morning, probably because I’ve been doing it so long and if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. (But also, shift things around a bit because my brain likes novelty and not being stuck in the same old routine over and over. How do those two ideas compute, then?)

Journalling first was my way of getting coffee first. I’d decided to do that because it’s something I do at some point in the morning anyway, and it takes about the same time as it takes me to drink a coffee. But after hearing Daniel talk about the daily pause on Friday, I wondered if being on a screen for that activity, especially first thing in the morning, is really being “offline”, even if I’m not engaging with the digital world. It’s still a screen after all.

And, really, I haven’t been “not engaging with the digital world”, have I?

Even though I don’t charge my phone in my bedroom, which is one of Daniel’s daily pause suggestions, I have an unfortunate habit of picking it up as soon as I get into the room where it’s charging, and getting side tracked on Instagram and email. Doing this early in the morning defeats the point of not having the phone in my bedroom.

However, if I don’t have email and Instagram on the phone, I can’t check them right?

That’s easily solved, and neither of those things are on my phone any more. I’ve shifted my apps around and set it up so my first screen just has the apps I’ve been using for meditation and mindfulness.

So that problem is solved, I think. Pick up the phone, open the meditation app, do the meditation, put the phone away again.

But that still hasn’t answered the question of whether online journalling is a good activity to be doing first thing. I think it would be better to find a completely offline activity while I have my pre-meditation coffee. Not sure what that might be but I’m certain it won’t be chainsawing, as Daniel suggested on Friday . . . .

Alternatively, I could go back to walking first, then doing a coffee-related offline activity and then doing my meditation practice.

Or . . . I’ve seen a dog-walking lady out in the mornings with some kind of hot beverage. Maybe I could walk and caffeinate. That would have the bonus of keeping my hands warm!

Okay . . . . I am completely overthinking this!!!

Next week is going to be a week of tweaking.

22 for 2022 summary

  • Things completed to date: 5 (10, 11, 13, 18, 22)
  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things I worked on this week: 4: (1, 8, 12, 21)
  • Things in progress: 4 (1, 8, 12, 21)
  • Things not started: 13 (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20)

What do I want to do next week?

Besides my week of tweaking my morning routine, I need to

  • Finish TAFE assignment 3B
  • Work on TAFE assignment 3C (and 4A if I get the opportunity)
  • Work on the 4000 Weeks blog post
  • Do the final part of the daily pause blog series
  • Work on Mindspot week 4 activities
  • Work on the Deep Work toolkit

Weekly summary

What did I learn this week?

I learned the definition of “pithy”. Don’t ask.

I think the main thing I learned was the ting Daniel Sih said in the Spacemaker webinar that our brain doesn’t distinguish between being online for work and for play, and that we need to really rest.

What was the best thing about this week?

I did some fun things with Kramstable.

What I’m reading this week

Belonging to the Earth: Nature Spirituality in a Changing World by Julie Brett
Menopocalypse by Amanda Thebe

Habit tracker

  • Days I went for a walk in the morning (Goal = 7): M, T, W, T, F, S, S (7)
  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): M, T, W, T, F (5)
  • Days I did controlled breathing (Goal = 7): M, T, W, T, F, S, S (7)
  • Days I did jaw stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 5): M, T, W, T, F (5)
  • Finish work by 5.30 (Goal = 5): M, T, W, T, F (5)
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): M, T, S (3)
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): M, T, W, T, F, S, S (7)
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 5): T, W, T, F, S, S (6)
  • Days I shut my computer down before 9.30 (Goal = 6): M, T, W, T, F, S, S (7)
  • Weekly review at work: Yes
  • Weekly review at home: Yes
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