January 31st, 2006



I've realized once again the importance of focus. It seems that every once in a while, I go on a self-improvement kick and realize dozens of things, most small, that I want to change about myself. But of course, the small things quickly add up and pretty soon I'm overwhelmed with trying to make lots of little improvements. After a couple of weeks it just devolves into a big mess and then nothing changes.

So last time this started to happen — a couple of weeks ago — I decided to focus on one thing for the rest of January and leave the rest be. It's not so much that I completely stopped trying to improve other things, but they became less of a priority, freeing up some (much needed) mental energy. The thing I focused on was exercise, since that already was going quite well. It still is (cf. fithukuma), and I have enough faith that it's going to stay that way. So it's time to pick a new focus. I'm considering a few candidates:
  • Work on Getting Things Done. This is something that I've played with on and off for about a year and a half, and I can see a lot of potential benefits to the system. I still spend too much time sitting and thinking about what should be done next (though a little less now), and a lot of time worrying about forgetting something important i have to do. But I never had the discipline to collect all my tasks and put it into the system; currently, I have a sea of index cards with half the items crossed off. This is my favourite pick since I need to get a lot of things done in the next month.

  • Lose weight. I have some 35-40lbs extra compared to my weight of about a year ago, and that really needs to go. The exercise, while improving my health and energy levels, has been entirely unhelpful with losing weight. Diet change is clearly the way to go, but that requires a lot of discipline. This is high on my priority list, but on the other hand, if I can at least keep my weight stable and put the diet change off another month, I won't have lost much.

  • Go to bed early. Ever since the semester started, I've been behind on sleep. I've managed to get nearly 8 hours a couple of the nights, but usually it's more like 6.5, and, especially with the exercise, it's just not enough. I'm toying with instituting a policy of "in bed by 11:30 unless there's a deadline," since there's a hope that may increase my productivity.

  • Handle email better. My current goal is to check email at most 4 times a day, and respond to as much of it as possible in that sitting. This may be a subgoal of the GTD goal, though perhaps a little more within reach.

There are a few others that I didn't put on here for various reasons, like flossing (the perennial resolution, but has less tangible benefits than all of the above), or quitting coffee (something I'd like to try, but definitely not this month). If you're familiar with my policy of using LJ to make life decisions, you know it's time for a poll. Approval voting here, check as many boxes as you like.

Poll #664264 Resolutions

What should my february resolution be?

Getting Things Done
Lose weight
Go to bed early