Wow, that was a pretty quick 30 days huh?
As I wrote last week, not wasting time is a pretty amorphous aim, and apparently it’s easier to add a habit or change a habit if it’s something concrete.
When I started this 30 day challenge, I wrote:
No pfaffing around on the internet, no spider solitaire, no seven-tabs-open-I’ll-read-it-later. If I click on a link I have to read it all and then close the tab. And I’ve downloaded freedom so I can block my internet access.
Well, I used freedom once but found that blocking everything just meant I ended up with a list of studies to look up later. On Lauren B’s suggestion I tried leechblock, so I could choose what to block (twitter and email, I’m looking at you) and still have access to the uni library. That was much better because I could look up a study when I came across it and quickly decide if it was a keeper.
But this is about more than just my doctorate – it’s also about doing the things that are always on my list but never get crossed off. So, when I write in my diary (the 2011 type, not the Dear Diary type) things like “go for a walk” and “call the builder” and “call Wendy”, I’m putting a time next to them and at that time I will do those things.
Yeah, I didn’t end up any better at this. But I did get to tell you a story last week about my Dad, which probably gave him a smile before he and Mum went off to Tajikistan.
But I have been better – more focussed – about my research. I’ve been reading, and writing, and thinking.
And I’ve also been free.
At ManFriend’s Masters graduation yesterday (yes, we are now a Master Master household), Alex Malley, the CEO of CPA Australia, gave a speech about how you shouldn’t be afraid to fail. When you’re scared of failure, it’s easy to forget that it isn’t going to kill you. He also said you shouldn’t be afraid to quit a job if it goes against what you believe in. I was nodding so hard I almost pulled a muscle in my neck. I had been working two days a week in a newsroom whose entire approach to news I fundamentally disagreed with, and for someone I had absolutely no respect for. I kept telling myself that it paid the bills, but it was making me feel sick with myself for doing it. I felt dirty, and not in the good way. That’s disappointing. So I quit. And it feels so good. And that person I didn’t respect? They’ve been reading my blog every day to see if I write about them. Talk about pathetic.
Anyway, removing that – I feel like saying “impacted bowel” – has made me feel a lot lighter. And this lightness has allowed me to give more of my thinking time over to my doctorate. So while quitting that job wasn’t directly related to this 30 day challenge, it has been a part of it. I haven’t become Super Productive Person (that would have to be a nerd superhero), but I am more productive than I was 30 days ago. And since it apparently takes 66 days to create a habit, I’m halfway there. (But don’t worry, I won’t keep blogging about it.) The hardest part of the challenge has been to keep the idea of it in my attention. Maybe I should have used some post-it notes?
I want to finish with a bit of shameless self-promotion. I’m a finalist in the 2011 Best Australian Blogs competition, in the commentary category. I’m up against four great blogs so it’s very flattering that I’m in that league. I’ve also been nominated for the People’s Choice award. Hint hint. The blogs are listed alphabetically and I’m under T, which is where I should be. (I have this argument with friends all the time. When alphabetising cds, The Cramps should be filed under T because The is a significant word in their band name. If they didn’t think The was an important part of their name, they’d just be Cramps.)
So, how did everyone else go? With the challenge, not with alphabetising their cds.