Day 735: Tech-Free Sundays

It’s a goal, but not entirely attainable – among other things, I just spent a few minutes trying to figure out how to set up auto-replies to texts on my iPhone. It can’t be done!

The challenge is (a) to go tech-free, because I loves me my devices, and (b) to figure out how to navigate the social burden of just not getting back to people. Which I guess is pretty easy — I’ll just get back to people tomorrow.

I’m’a get up from the desk and leave my phone in my office, and try to keep from touching it for as long as possible. There may be something I need, technologically — we’re making some things today, so there may be some stuff that needs to get looked up — but I’m going to attempt to power through sans electronics as much as possible once this is uploaded.

Day 734: I Packed a What?

Day Two of Cat Bonkers — I slept in the guest room with the second cat last night, as we felt bad that he has to be locked away until the cats re-familiarize themselves with each other. Pets!

My wife was up at 4:30 thanks to First Cat deciding that in my absence she was a suitable target; she was, obviously, because she got up at 4:30 and decided to share that joy with me. Fed the cats with her around 5, and packed a lunch.

But it’s the weekend! I’m eating at home! Why pack a lunch?

Because I think it might help.

It’s not something I’m committing to on the regular, but I’m really enjoying salads for lunch, and I am trying my very best to adhere to the “plan it in the morning and stick to that plan”… er, plan. The best way to do that, I figure, is to actually pack my mid-day food and whip up supper before I leave for the radio show, and thereby know my food for the whole day before my day really begins.

So I guess I’d better get cooking!

Day 733: Cat Madness, 10 Minute Rule

Today was a good test of the “10 minute rule” for exercise — one of our cats somehow got her sanity reset at 3 a.m. and decided the other cat was Enemy Cat; they were on the bed at the time, so this involved my wife getting her face scratched and a rolling battle over two floors of our house as the older cat tried to straight up MURDER the younger one.

It’s settled down a bit now, and no permanent damage to my wife’s face, but we were up from 3-4. I used that time to pre-pack lunch, but then back to bed and up late — this is exactly the kind of day where 2018 me would have said “no time to exercise”.

2019 me says “there’s always a little time to exercise.” So a quick round of pushups/situps and just 10 minutes on the spin bike. Is it a workout? No. But it’s a tetch of exercise every day, which is the important thing. Gets the blood going.

I have time for 10 minutes a day (15 with faff on either side) to exercise. I must. Most days I’ll do more, but I’m determined to not do less.

Day 732: I Made A Box

I made a little box for my nightly checklists; I don’t have Checklist v2.0 to share on this computer, but it’s pretty much the same as Checklist 1.2 but with space for a one-sentence journal entry, a “gratitude/meditation” space, and a dedicated space to doodle something.

Is it useful? Is it helpful? Well, not super much so, but it’s substantial, and I think the physical act of taking a blank piece of paper out of it, writing on it, and putting it back on the “done” side is a ritual that feelsĀ good. It feels like I’m doing something.

“Productive” is out of the phone app race immediately — if you don’t set up 100% of your desired habits when you set up the first time, the “add a new habit” feature just drops the “buy now!” screen in front of you and if you clear it, it goes back to the main menu. My wife is trying HabitBull, and I’m taking a look at Momentum (Apple only, sorry).

To be honest, though, I’m not sure these things are for me. The checklist at night feels like plenty, and the “Flow to the Door” system seems like the optimal way for me to get my days started.

Oh — and I’m already altering the “flow to the door” thing. The cats have to get fed when I get up or it’s just not tenable. So now it’s not a perfect flow — up, clothes, then all the way down to feed cats / pack lunch, then back upstairs for exercise and flow resumes. The perfect is the enemy of the good!

Day 731: Starting Strong; Flow to the Door

A good start to 2019 yesterday; a natural outgrowth of trying a new “best of” morning routine is the return of the old “flow to the door” idea. Basically, “no backtracking” is the philosophy there. It’s pretty simple, but very powerful when I do it right.

The one downside is that the cats get fed downstairs, on the “last station,” so I’m expecting more kitty riots in my near future. And I might be leaving for work stupid early some days, to do personal things from the office to avoid the downstairs-upstairs-downstairs of a traditional morning.

So far, the cats are doing well, and I’m pretty jazzed about the new/restored routine. I feel like there are going to be mornings where a little bouncing around is inevitable, but if I make more use of my iPad and keyboard, and/or bring my work laptop home so I can do things from the kitchen, maybe not. Is going up and down stairs a bit deal? Not at all. But it’s a little psychological thing that does seem to help me feel like my life’s in order.

Day 730: New resolve!

All right! New year, fresh start. I’ve really set up for this quite well, I think, with a prior week of reading my first two years of this blog, giving things some thought, consolidating notes (see the “Lessons Learned” link in the main menu), and more.

How to summarize? Thusly:

  • Stick to an established morning routine of exercise and food planning
  • Stick to an established evening routine of instrument practice and self-reflection
  • Quit bad food using the “quit drinking” model: one day at a time, and just say no rather than trying to moderate
  • Move to a “practice an instrument and project of the month” approach with minimal other volunteer commitments

Those are the big notes for 2019! My wife is also on board and excited for a big year. Here we go!

Day 729: Setting up for 2019

Last day of the year! Checking in from my office, which is kind of strange, but I dropped my wife off at work at 5:30 (I have a rental car today) and am getting some things done for return to work.

Despite feeling like a Jan. 1 change in lifestyle is a bit cheesy, I am also kind of stoked: I have a new system for evening checkouts, some reasonable goals, the whole Lessons Learned approach buoying me, and what I think is a great balance of vegetable and candy hobbies with the Project Of The Month thing.

My wife is on board with all of this — we’re actually trialling a couple of productivity apps to compare notes later — she’s doing Habit Bull, and I’m trying Productive. We both thought the other “Fantasy RPG” one, Habitica, was a bit too…well, Fantasy RPG.

Off for another year! Tally ho and all that!

Day 728: Books

Following up from yesterday (and a pre-record — I’m at my folks’ place), I’m getting books. What books? Tons of books! Here are the first three: two bought, one library. The goal is to treat this like a course — serious! — and have hours set aside to honestly work at these things. I’m looking forward to it.

Reading ho!

Day 727: Lessons Learned

I did it! I read the whole blog yesterday, and I’ve condensed the whole pile into a “Lessons Learned” page, now linked in the main menu at There’s a lot there, but the key things are:

  • Weekends are bad;
  • Sleep is actually my key recurring issue that throws me off (well, and weekends);
  • Work/volunteer stress drives insomnia, which throws me off;
  • Food is really a problem as well, driven by the top two;
  • I spend a lot of time talking about these problems but very little time working on them.
  • I don’t celebrate triumph very often.

This has actually helped me figure some things out. One is that I need to work more aggressively on sleep issues. I’ve ordered a recommended book on it, and also Kindled myself a workbook on impulse eating by a real brain doctor rather than a diet thing.

It’s hard not to get ambitious when I start going through this stuff. I want this regimented, ideal life where I wake up at the right time every day, do the right things, and then go forth to continue sticking to a plan. These tightly calibrated plans seem to work pretty well for me, too. I tell myself that they are also too difficult and go off the rails faster, but… that actually doesn’t seem to be true. My streaks last longer and seem “stickier” when they are a bit tough. The laissez-faire periods are where things go wayyyy off track.

Good food for thought. Pre-record tomorrow, then back to set up 2019 on Monday.

Day 726: Read The Blog

So “eat real food” went off the rails over the holidays. VACATIONS ARE BAD. I always intend to do well, and then… don’t. And “mutual encouragement” sounds nice on paper, but feels like nagging when somebody is asking “did you exercise today?” and you didn’t, and don’t want to, even though you know you asked them to ask.

We’re going to do the cheesy January 1 resolutions, I guess — but what I’m going to do today, is I’m going to re-read this thing. 726 entries of it. I’m going to make a list of everything that’s worked and resonates, and see what kind of master toolkit I can build between now and January 1.

What started as a sobriety project never successfully transformed into a… transformation project, I guess. But the relentless blogging/podcasting is kind of a work in itself, and as long as I’m doing this every morning, hope isn’t actually lost. Change is possible! I’d be bold enough to say “inevitable,” as long as I’m doing at least this every day to show I’m committed to it.

Today: read the blog. Review the toolkit. Figure out 2019, and this will be the year that things flip. One year for sobriety, one year for self-discovery, and now one year for change. That sounds right, right?