2 years ago I wrote A schedule resolution. Actually I had many schedule resolutions in my head which were evolving during time, but it was interesting to find one that got a persistent form. Currently I have another schedule resolution (probably a grand-grand-grand-child of v.1). Let's see what's the current resolution and how does it differ from older one.
Now I consider myself a closer - a person who finishes things he starts. This is partially due to my current resolution. Now I keep smaller lists of ToDo things and I complete more of them. There are not many rules and they are not strict but they help to make efficient decisions. So here they are:
Schedule resolution (v.2):
- Involve actively in 1 project at a time
- Allocate few hours in a row for secondary projects (pet project, open source)
- Have only 1 secondary project in active development
- Read 1 book at a time
- Read news only in weekend
- Use social networks only to communicate with people and plan/attend events
- Disable all disturbing notifications (alerts, pop-ups) on all devices. Leave only one way to be disturbed in case of an emergency (phone call in my case)
- Sleep during the nighttime (when is dark outside)
- Procrastination is fine as long as it is not in front of a display (tv, laptop, phone, tablet...)
These are not exactly schedule rules but these things help maintaining such a schedule. Main rules are:
- Eat well and healthy
- Do physical activity + walking every day
- Power-nap during the day
The rationale behind some of the rules
Allocate few hours in a row for secondary projects
You can allocate for secondary projects a small amount of time from each day or you can allocate a bigger amount of time once in a week. I prefer second solution as usually you need some time to focus on the project and to get into the zone. So if you have 4 hours allocated for the project then most probably you’ll do useful stuff 3 hours of 4. But if you allocated 1 hour then most probably you’ll do meaningful work for 20 minutes, if any.
Read news only in weekend
News (including social networks) are a huge distraction for our daily life (there are exceptions when your job is to know all the news). It is not only distracting while we read news, it also takes some amount of our memory, focus and ability to daydream.
I’m sure that one can stop reading news at all as most of it is pure noise. And if there is any important information that you have to know - in most cases you’ll find it from your friends/colleagues as they’ll discuss that.
Sleep during the nighttime
This sounds like a natural thing but it seems that not only the duration of sleep is important, but also its period. 8 hours of sleep from 2am to 10am is not the same as 8 hours of sleep from 10pm to 6am.
A nice result of my sleep habit change was that now I can wake up without an alarm. All that I need is the rising sun.
Power-nap during the day
Because of the sleep/wake homeostatic mechanism need for sleep is accumulating. It is highest at the end of the day but it has one more peak in the middle of the day (1am - 3am). Getting a 15 minute sleeps gives a feeling of freshness and crisp thinking. Some say that a power-nap may move short-term memory into long-term storage thus leaving more space for new memories.
Procrastination is fine as long as it is not in front of a display
This is a very biased opinion but it feels that laziness/with to procrastinate is a signal from your body that you got tired and your brain wants some rest. So why not to give it some rest? But the biggest mistake people do is to rest your body while forcing your brain into even more work (watching tv, reading, playing video games…).
ToDo lists are split into few categories. Many of them are not exactly todos but more of reminders, pool of ideas or long term goals:
- Short-term todos for that day or for an ongoing task. For that I use simple textarea from this page. The fun part is that this is not meant to be a long-term or high priority task list. It is just a temporary free form text that often gets erased when browser restarts.
- Reminders are things that should be done in following days
- To buy are things that should be bought and I forgot to buy them few days in a row
- To build are ideas of small projects that can be done when I have free time (or I'm willing to procrastinate) and I finished previous project. Few examples: sew a leather wallet, update my website or build a coins collector machine
- Learn/Try contains my list of technologies, books, articles or any other educational stuff that I'm willing to learn or try. It is not for small things that can be read in 15 minutes. It is for things that may require few days or weeks of passive involvement
- Long term is more of a list of long term goals like getting a driver license or swimming every week at least once
- On my phone I have few unread books. I do read them one at a time and when one is done I can move to any other book. I do never specifically search for books to read, it just happens that from time to time you discover a book that seems to be interesting to read and you add it into your collection. Currently I have 6 unread books in my library.
Differences between old and new resolution
From what I can say there are some superficial differences in schedule resolution but mainly the core idea is the same: less distraction and more focus. Now I have less strict rules allowing some things to settle down by themselves. However there is one aspect that appeared during the time - strive more for natural things: food, effort, rest and sleep. And it feels natural to be in sync with nature.