Day 185: 10-Day Challenge Part 5 – We’re Going To Need A Bigger Challenge

All right, so I’m halfway into my “get back on track” 10-day challenge, and it’s not all THAT challenging. I’m starting to feel a bit distracted. I think “doing what I should be doing in the first place” isn’t good enough. I need a bigger challenge.

My wife suggests 10 days without any sugar, which seems like a good haul. Maybe that’ll be the next re-up of 10 days.

It’s not that I’m not proud of getting back on track. I am. My weight has taken a weird sharp turn up in the last couple days — I suspect because I’m drinking more water — and I’m not feeling, well, like I’m accomplishing much with this challenge.

This is the eternal problem that I wrestle with: try hard, and get overwhelmed and burn out. Try too little, and feel like I’m not trying hard enough. Maybe that’s the thing. Maybe you never get it right. Maybe life is a constant flux between “working too hard” and “working too easy.” Is the bigger challenge just finding a level of work to settle at?

A bigger challenge: finding a personal productivity system

I made a couple of lame swings at process planning last night — mainly refreshing my memory of Gantt charts. But the projects I’m working on are solo, so there’s not much point to it. It’s a system to track dependencies. When I’m the sole dependency, it’s not very useful.

So I might look at other project systems today, but now I’m wondering if my to-do list future is more of a calendar problem than a list/chart problem. Maybe I just need to lock key dates into a calendar, set deadlines for myself, and crunch that way.

I’ve got a kayak lesson tonight, which I’m excited about. I’ve always been a canoeist. But again, this feels like — too many hobbies? Hm.

Day 184: 10-Day Challenge Day Four – To-Do Lists

The challenge is on! Yesterday’s food tracking and finance tracking was hard. I actually just looped back to adjust yesterday’s food entries, which I should not be doing. Today is back to work, though, so a much more controlled food experience.

Yesterday I started to open up the idea of re-starting my to-do list again. A personal one. I haven’t really had one for years. And I’m not sure if they’re helpful, ultimately.

I’ve been a sporadic to-do-lister in my life. I’ve tried pen and paper, various computer schemes, a variety of apps. In the end, I always wind up falling off.

I think, ultimately, and given everything on my plate, I’ve got an aversion to to-do lists for two reasons.

  • They’re terrifying
  • My brain is a natural triage machine

To-do lists scare me.

They do. Because things pile up so fast and so hard that I start to feel claustrophobic and panicked. And then there’s the freaking out, and waaaugh. Because I know I take on too much; that’s a given. But seeing it doesn’t help me get things done, necessarily. It just keeps me in a state of anxiety.

My brain is a triage machine.

The other thing about not having a to-do list is that it lets me organize myself naturally. As long as I’m not dropping any major balls, and nobody’s shouting at me, I’m probably all good. Other than owing people songs from months ago, which weighs on me daily, I feel pretty good about my commitments these days.

So maybe I’ve talked myself out of to-do lists again. I don’t know.

I think a project-based approach might be better… something like a GANTT chart to keep track of things like major volunteer duties and my side hustles.

So I might dip my toes into project management tools for some of my larger personal projects, but leave the day-to-day to-do lists for my brain to sort out.

To be continued…

Day 183: 10-Day Challenge – Day Three

Day Two went well, once again; the biggest challenge remains pre-logging food. It’s hard when you have a partner, and on weekends or non-working days.

Workdays are pretty simple; I can control my day, and my food intake, pretty much from waking up to dinner. But when you’re out and about with somebody, plans can change pretty quickly. Lunch gets pushed back, they want something different for dinner than what you had in mind, etc.

So keeping on track takes an extra helping of willpower and forbearance on not-work-days. I can do it, it’s just harder.

Still pretty excited about the half-marathon training, but I’m starting to move from “easy ramp up” to “longer, more difficult runs” in the next week or so. Eventually I’ll be doing long mileage on weekday mornings, which will be an interesting bridge to cross in terms of getting to work on time. I’ll also be crossing some interesting bridges, come to think of it.

Minor food quibbles aside, I’m not feeling a lot of pressure from this challenge, largely because it’s “do what I should,” not a great personal sacrifice or anything. So I’m happy to keep my nose down. One good aspect of it, is that it’s keeping me from having my usual holiday weekend food troubles.

I’m also back on track with my daily weight, but I suspect that might be dehydration from a big day out yesterday and not much water.

One thing I’m finding is that I might need to get back into personal to-do lists. Work is going well, with a stable, static to-do list I keep on my desktop there. I’ve never managed to make personal to-do lists work. I don’t know why. I feel like my life sort of stays on track; but with a chunk o’ stuff going on right now, it might be time to re-investigate that.

I had something pretty good working for a while, with Sublime Text 3, PlainTasks, and Sublime FTP. I was keeping a task file synched on my webhost and bouncing back and forth from home to the office. Then the sync stopped working, and it all became kind of a pain. I might try that approach again, but with Dropbox as the common point.