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Downtime, Time to Ruminate!

With family holidays and long weekends or short work weeks which is typical of April in Australia, there is plenty of time to ruminate, which is one of my favourite words this year, on what I could do over the next month to solidify my thoughts on different aspects of my life, at the moment I am building out my thoughts on the issues that keep arising (the barriers) that is limiting my ability to solve a few tasks within some projects. This had lead me to read a few different types of books this month, the three main ones that have influenced my new thought processes on overcoming these barriers are;

  1. The Gap and the Gain: The High Achievers Guide to Happiness, Confidence, and Success by Dan Sullivan & Dr Benjamin P. Hardy (add link)
  2. Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success & Happiness by Jeff Olson (add link)
  3. Personal Socrates: Questions That Will Upgrade Your Life from Legends & World-Class Performers (add link)

The two key learnings I have taken from these books are;

  1. Focus on the Gain each day and each week, like most people I overstretch my goals and then get disappointed during my weekly review that I haven’t achieved my goal, which is the norm. What I have now done, is to focus on the gains I can make from the start of the week, when I do my weekly planning to the end of the week, not the goal I actually wanted to achieve by the end of the week. A good example of this is my weekly running, I’m currently 46km behind on my progress graph, to maintain my position on the progress graph I just need to run 21km in the week, so my initial goal is just to run 21km, that is a neutral week, which I’ll be happy with, now if I make 28km or even 35km, I’ll be happier and would have reduced the deficit on my progress. In the past, I would aim for 35km and 90% of the time I would miss that goal, albeit I generally always make somewhere between 18 & 25km. By focusing on the gains I am making I should hit my goal 90% of the time and only miss it occasionally, and on achieving this I’m going to be feeling good about the gain I have made. With 34 odd weeks to go in the year, I only need to get 1.5km above that neutral goal of 2km and the deficit is gone! Wallah 1,282km run for the year.
  2. Don’t miss the mundane tasks each day, just do them. I have 11, let’s call mundane tasks and most of them are really just habits I would like to do each day. If I was to miss any of these on a single day, it really has no real impact at all on my day but if that continues for a week or more, then it becomes harder to get back into the habit and I also never really get to my end goal. Some of these tasks are so small that they don’t even take up a second of thought, they are choices, like only eating when hungry or don’t check slack or email when I’m stuck in a deep work block. Others are bigger and take longer, the one I miss most days is progressing every one of my priority projects, there are 4 of them and most of the time the task only takes 10 mins, max 20. I use time blocking and I block 1 hour each day for this, generally late in the afternoon and by the time I get to that time, I’m behind on my day to day or something has inserted itself into my day by someone else and these projects don’t move forward until the weekend and then I still only do the hour on all 4. I am now going to rotate the 4 projects, so I have one each day, Mon to Thu for an hour and see if that makes an improvement.

Now these are only a few of the learnings I have made from these books, try reading them yourselves, and yes reading for 30 mins each day is one of my habits and you will be making the gains I am now making.

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