Category Archives: sleep

20 for 2020: week 37

Week of 7 September 2020

My 20 for 2020 list. 20200910 Mr Ogilvie masked up

Mr Ogilvie’s Covid outfit

What did I want to do better this week?
Following the training course I went on last week, I wanted to use some of the things I learned to streamline my weekly and daily planning and review processes.

So, how did that go then?
I find making myself sit down and do a weekly review really forced and I struggle with getting distracted and trying to do things that I identify during the process instead of adding them to the to-do list and focusing on just doing the review. This ends up making it take ages and is probably one of the reasons why I don’t like doing it. So I guess the goal is to be more disciplined, to know what I have to do and to do only that in the time I’ve set aside to do it.

On to 20 for 2020
On Monday afternoon, I got my mark for my assignment (thing 8) that I had submitted on Sunday. I am impressed with that for speedy turnaround. I wasn’t completely happy with the mark but the facilitator told me I had put too much in (who would have thought I could ever do that?!) and that what was supposed to be a proposal was starting to look like the beginning of the project.

Hmmmm.

On the positive side, it means I’ve done some of the work for the final report that I now don’t need to do again. 20200912 Paul Kelly book

I finished reading this book this week.

What did I achieve this week? 
I’m still keeping up to date with my weekly photo journal and my street corners project.

20200910 Harrington & Macquarie St 742am

Harrington Street Thursday morning

One of the ideas that I got from the training course I did a couple of weeks ago was making time to just think. Actually scheduling time to sit and think, and being comfortable with not doing anything, especially not checking your phone. It relates a bit to the Bored and Brilliant challenge (thing 12) that I started last year (and still haven’t finished).

The presenters suggested to find something you already do and add “thinking” in to that as a way of starting. So it could be exercising without music, or going to the coffee shop without your phone. I decided to make my morning walks tech-free as a way of starting this exercise. I reset my “morning walk” habit in my habit tracker to zero. I mean, tracking a habit that I have done every day for the past (I’ve forgotten how many) years and that I don’t skip on is a bit meaningless now. So the incentive to get back to 100 per cent will be a lot stronger now that it says zero, and having to go out without the phone will make me be more mindful about checking off the habit.

What didn’t go so well?
This packing up at 10.00 thing I want to do. I’m finding that now, because I’m working on my project most nights and doing what I used to do, which is turn off the computer, get ready for bed, read in bed and fall asleep, isn’t working for me now. Because I’m focusing on the project until the time I turn the computer off, I’m not giving my mind time to wind down so I’m finding it harder to fall asleep. Previously, when I was working on photos or journalling last thing before I turned the computer off, the part of my mind that wants to stay awake wasn’t being stimulated as much and I could quite easily fall asleep. So I think what I need to do is to set a time to stop work on the project and, even if I have the computer on, I need to be doing things that use a different part of my brain that help it wind down rather than keep it alert and focusing on the project.

That’s the theory anyway.

What do I want to do better next week?
What I just said!

20200911 Leaf on the ground 1A traffic light leaf

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 12 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20)
  • Things I progressed: 1 (8)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 5 (7, 11, 13, 17, 22)
  • Things not started: 4 (9, 12, 19, 21)
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I was in bed by 10.30 (Goal = 7): 5

20 for 2020: week 36

Week of 31 August

My 20 for 2020 list.

What did I want to do better this week?
Go to bed on time. 
Have a proper lunch break

So, how did that go then?
I mean, it’s not like I’m going to bed near midnight or anything. Except on Saturday night. And the four days this week I wasn’t in bed by 10.30 I’d been working on my uni assignment, so it’s not like I was spending the night vagueing out on Facebook or anything like that.

However, I went back to my list of “rules” I made for myself at the start of the course, and right up at the top is “protect your sleep”. I had made a promise to myself I wasn’t going to stay up late to get this work done. Sleep has to a priority for me and it currently really isn’t. Ideally, I’d like to go to bed with enough time to do my reading before 10.30—otherwise what would be the difference between reading in bed until 10.45 or staying up reading and going to bed at 10.45?

So next week, I’m going to start packing up at 10.00 instead of 10.25. Or 10.30. 

And I didn’t do the lunch break thing.

Tuesday clouds

On to 20 for 2020
My sole aim this week was to finalise my workplace project proposal (thing 8) and submit it on Sunday. It’s worth 40 per cent of the mark for the unit, so I wanted to make sure I did a reasonable job of it. 

I met with my project sponsor (we have to have one of those) this week to go through my draft and I got some very encouraging feedback about how well I had refined it after our initial discussion a couple of weeks ago. 

The main thing I was struggling with was identifying which of the plethora of tools we had been learning about would be most relevant to my project, as part of the assignment was to outline how I was going to use the tools in my analysis and recommendations. My sponsor wisely pointed out that what I think I might use might not actually be that useful when I get the information I need to analyse. She suggested it might be better to identify just a couple of tools now that I’m fairly sure will be useful and reserve the right to use others as it becomes apparent that I need them, rather than include a whole bunch of things that I don’t end up using. This makes sense to me, though I don’t know if it will satisfy the unit facilitator when she’s marking it.

On the other hand, the assignment is limited to 1500 words, and there’s only so much I can include in that limit!

After a solid weekend of work (punctuated by a small shopping trip and a Father’s Day lunch), I got it done and I submitted it on Sunday night. I’m not going to tell you that after I had shut my computer down (at 10.15) and was getting ready for bed, I thought of something I should have done differently . . . and turned everything back on (a tedious process that takes ages) to make a small change, which, once I’d done, I realised was going to need more work than I had time to do, and I turned everything off again and went to bed.

What’s done is done.

A view for not much longer

What did I achieve this week? 
I submitted the assignment and so far I’m keeping up to date with my weekly photo journal and my street corners project. 

I attended a training course called Priority Samurai, which was, as you might imagine, about setting priorities. There wasn’t a lot of material in the course that I wasn’t familiar with, but the course presented it in a different way that helped me to understand how I could actually use it in my weekly and daily planning. I think it will be really helpful, especially in the very intense period I’m in right now with the assignment. 

What didn’t go so well?
Bumping a random key combination on my computer that closed my project plan after three hours of work that I hadn’t saved. On the positive side, I learned how to recover a document that you haven’t saved . . . .

What do I want to do better next week?
Following the training course, I want to use some of the things I learned to streamline my weekly and daily planning and review processes.  And I want to make having a proper lunch break away from my work a habit.

Today, I dressed to match the flowers on the ground

Summary for the week
Things completed this week: 0
Things completed to date: 12 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20)
Things I progressed: 1 (8)
Things in progress I didn’t progress: 5 (7, 11, 13, 17, 22) 
Things not started: 4 (9, 12, 19, 21) 
Days I worked on my art: 2
Days I read a book: 7
Days I did yoga stretches: 0
Days I was in bed by 10.30: 3

20 for 2020: week 33

Week of 10 August

My 20 for 2020 list.

What did I want to do better this week?
Start packing up at 10.15.
Schedule 15 minutes of creative time every day and do it.

So how did that go then?
That did not go well. By the weekend I had I only gone to bed on time on Monday. One night I didn’t get to bed until 11.30. I didn’t sleep well that night and I woke up at some stupid time in the morning beginning with a 4. Not surprisingly, my sleep score has been down this week too.

I’m also struggling with the 15 minutes of creative time. I had it scheduled for 5pm, which is probably a completely unsuitable time so I need to rethink this one. The days I have stuck to it, it hasn’t been at 5pm and I’ve worked for a lot longer than 15 minutes because I was enjoying it. I’ve probably done the whole week’s 15 minutes in one or two days. Much as I appreciate the idea of doing 15 minutes every day, I’m not making it work, so I need to review that one as well.

On to 20 for 2020
I got a phone call from the sewing machine guy on Monday afternoon (thing 2). He said he was leaving his last job and asked if now was a good time for me. It was fine. I was home and I’d finished work, so I told him to come over. Because it was so unexpected, I started freaking out that someone was coming to my house in 20 minutes. Frantic moving things off the sewing machine cabinet for him to be able to access it. Wondering why I have never put my graduate diploma on the wall and just left it propped up against the cabinet since I’ve been in this house. (Thinking that, all going well, in three months time I will have a newer one to put next to it.)

People who haven’t known me long are surprised when they find out I have a sewing machine. I guess I don’t talk about it now that I don’t actually use it. In the past, my one sewing job a year was a Book Week costume for Kramstable but I stopped doing that around grade 5 when he started to put his own costumes together. Long-time readers might remember that these were long, drawn-out affairs, where my vision and enthusiasm were unmatched by my skill, but somehow I managed to pull off some pretty good costumes. I’m not sure if I was more proud of the cat outfit (for the Cat in the Hat) or of the Dame Washalot outfit that I designed the pattern for myself based on illustrations in the Faraway Tree, having absolutely no clue what I was doing.

And I don’t think I’m creative. Pffft. Begone, doubters.

The sewing machine guy arrived. After giving him a vague description of the problem (“It doesn’t work”) I left him to it.

(It is a slightly more specific problem than that, for which I had initially sought advice from sewing friends and the internet, because I thought maybe it was a setting I’d mucked up somewhere and that I just needed to move a few dials and everything would be back to normal. Clearly, given I had to call in an expert, this was not the case, though I still had doubts about my ability to use the machine properly and set it up to work.)

He spent a bit of time doing fidgety-looking stuff to it and pulling bits off. This involved a highly vile smelling oil that I feel is going to linger in my room for the next week and him holding various bits and pieces up to the light. I heard him say a few things like, “oh, that shouldn’t happen”  and, if nothing else, I was relieved that there actually was something wrong with the machine and it wasn’t just me not knowing what lever to move.

The verdict, after all that, was that it was a workshop job, not something he could fix at my house. He would have to pull it apart and it would cost at least $150, more if any parts were needed. I don’t know how much the machine was worth as I got it as a gift, but his advice was that I’d be throwing good money after bad if I tried to get it fixed and that for not much more than the repair cost I could buy a new machine that would be more suitable for what I use it for. It wouldn’t have all the features of this one, but given that I never used them anyway, this wouldn’t be a problem.  From what I understand, this is a lower-priced machine trying to cram in features of a higher-priced machine and not succeeding very well. Apparently, this brand performs very well at the high end of the market with machines that do fancy stitching and embroidery but that this doesn’t translate to the lower end of the market, which is where I am firmly planted.

So there you have it. After two years and two lists, I have still not got my sewing machine fixed but at least now I know it isn’t worth fixing and can decide where to go from here.

I also had to borrow some money from Kramstable to pay for the service call because he’s the only person in the house who has any cash. How awkward is that!

20200811 Sandy Bay Rd & Queen St 356pm

Sandy Bay Tuesday afternoon. From Hobart Street Corners.

The only other thing I worked on this week was my uni work (thing 8), which is going to have to be my focus for the next nine weeks. This mostly involved a very long, agonising process in which I made a decision about the workplace project I want to work on for this unit. I had to submit a draft 500-word project proposal on Sunday so that the unit facilitator could give feedback and direction to make sure it’s on the right track and is gong to be manageable in the time I have to do it. (Did I mention that it’s only nine weeks? No pressure.)

500 words.

Hahahahahahaha.

I spoke to the facilitator on Friday about it because I wasn’t sure if what I wanted to do was appropriate, especially since it’s not a project that is directly relevant to my workplace. She said it absolutely was, so all I had to do was get an official tick from the relevant person at work and submit the proposal. As of Friday afternoon, I hadn’t been able to make contact with the manager I needed the okay from and I had a 1500-word proposal. This left me with the weekend to think of all sorts of reasons why work wouldn’t support me and to cut 1000 words out of the document.

One of these things I had control over and one I didn’t. I decided to focus my attention on the one that I did have control over, hard it was to try and put the doubts aside. What reassured me was that other people I had spoken to, including people in the area that the work most directly related to, were positive about the idea and thought it would be valuable work.

And if worst came to absolute worst, the facilitator said that if I don’t get my work’s support to do this work, it will be possible to throw the whole thing out and start again with something else.

I hope it doesn’t come to that!

And I submitted the proposal, without having any authority to do it, but minus 1000 words, on Saturday afternoon. A whole day early.

Now, I wait.

What did I do well or what did I achieve? (Did I do what I said I wanted to do better?)
My biggest achievement this week was to make the decision on the project I wanted to do. This might not sound like much, but making that decision was actually a huge thing for me.

What didn’t go so well?
I think we know that already.

What do I want to do better next week?
Go to bed on time.
Plan my days and stick to the plan. This will be really important over the next two months as I complete my uni work.
Abandon the idea of 15 minutes of creative time every day and find two time blocks within the week when I can work on my creative projects.

20200816 The Sea Priestess

This week’s reading. This had been on my bookshelf unread for at least 15 years.

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 11 (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (2, 8)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 5 (7, 11, 13, 17, 22)
  • Things not started: 4 (9, 12, 19, 21)
  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit: 2
  • Days I read a book: 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches: 0
  • Days I was in bed by 10.30: 3

20 for 2020: week 32

Week of 3 August

My 20 for 2020 list.

20200803 Hinsby Beach 10

Why is that photographer coming back from the beach with a giant lens? Ohhhh! There’s a giant pink full moon out there! Why didn’t I bring my camera out?

We got the reading material for our final unit of the uni course (thing 8) on Monday. I spent a couple of hours organising the material and making a study plan so I know what I need to do over the next 11 weeks. I’m trying to be more organised with this unit so that I can get more out of it than I did the last one.

 

I have three weeks to work through the first three modules (there are six) before our face to face workshop. I thought that working through a topic in each module a day (most of them have five topics) would be a good pace. That would mean I’d need to set aside roughly an hour a day to work on it.

That sounded fine in theory, but finding that hour wasn’t as easy as I thought. I found myself drifting through my days without a plan and finishing the day without having done any of the work, so by Saturday morning, when I wanted to have completed the first module, I’d done exactly no readings.

It’s amazing how easy it is to not do the work when there is no real consequence of not doing it. I found with the assignment in the last unit, I could focus on that all day because I had to do it, there was a hard deadline, and there were major consequences of not doing it (i.e. failing the unit). Whereas with the course reading material, it’s all self-directed and you are responsible for doing it: there’s no one to check up on you, nothing to hand in and no mark at the end.

Clearly, if I want to get something out of this unit, this isn’t the way to do it, so I made it a priority on the weekend to complete the first module and to schedule regular time each day to work on the material. This fits in nicely with the work I am doing to better organise my workload at work and to try and prevent my role of being that annoying person in the branch who manages all the coordination requests (I mean, being my branch’s coordination superhero) leaking over into the rest of my day and affecting my ability to focus on the projects I’m supposed to be doing.

That’s a whole other story and perhaps I’ll write a post about it one day, once I get it worked out.

The other thing I need to do for uni is to decide on a workplace project and get started on planning that so I can hand in my draft project plan next week. This project will decide my final mark so there is a real consequence of not doing that. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about since the start of the course back in September 2019 but now it’s time to take my thoughts and put them into something that I’m actually doing to do. I have ten weeks to plan it, do it and report on it. No pressure, then.

20200803 Cherry blossom 1

Spring started to spring . . .

I didn’t hear back from the sewing machine people (thing 2), so I’m not sure where that’s at.

I had a conversation with one of my workmates this week, which turned into a conversation about our art (she’s a proper artist who has actually had shows). I was telling her about my Photoshop work (thing 7) and a vague idea for a project I want to do but how I feel a bit overwhelmed about getting stuck into it because it’s all so new and there is so much to learn. She said the same thing to me as I’ve heard and read so many times that it should be ingrained into my mind and something that I just do. That is, it doesn’t matter what you do, just do something. Make a commitment to do just one thing every day. She said for her it might be something as small as making a decision on the thickness of a hem. And she said that sometimes just doing one thing will lead you to do something else and something else and, before you know it, you might have completed a piece. Which is great. Or it might not, which is fine too because you’ll still be one step further than you were before you did it.

That’s the point of my 15 minutes a day creative habit. Just like my uni work, I need to schedule this and then actually do it. I know I can’t commit to doing huge chunks of the Photoshop course during the next ten weeks. I’ve already agreed with myself that I can’t possibly take on two huge study projects at the same time and that the Photoshop work is going to take a back seat for now. But 15 minutes a day, I can do that if for no other reason to reinforce to myself that I am creative and that I make art. Even if it’s bad art. To quote photographer David duChemin, everyone starts ugly. But without the ugly start, you’re never going to make anything beautiful.

I went back over my monthly review and picked up on the things I didn’t quite get through when I did it last week. In particular, I wanted to set some goals for August:

  • Complete all of the readings for Unit 4.
  • Decide on a workplace project and submit the proposal.
  • Commit to 15 minutes a day to creating something.
  • Finish two chapters of a book I’m working through.

20200804 Davey & Murray St 503pm-1

. . . and winter hit back

I also decided to ask myself three questions at the end of each week:

What did I do well or what did I achieve this week?
I can’t think of anything.

I need to pay attention to small wins and accomplishments to remind myself of the good things I did. And knowing I’m going to be writing about it each week is going to inspire me to think of at least one thing I did well . . . it’s going to look like I’m pretty down on myself if I only write about what didn’t go well!

Actually, now I think of it, I did do something well. I overcame my fear of speaking in meetings and contributed to a national meeting of about 40 people, most of whom I’ve never had anything do with, on a subject I am not very familiar with.

What didn’t go so well?
I’m still struggling with going to bed on time and getting up with the alarm instead of lying about in bed for half an hour or more. My Fitbit sleep scores are mid-80s. I want this to improve.

What do I want to do better next week?
Start packing up at 10.15. Set a reminder for this.

Schedule time to create something every day and actually do it.

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 11 (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (8, 22)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 5 (2, 7, 11, 13, 17)
  • Things not started: 4 (9, 12, 19, 21)
  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit: 3
  • Days I read a book: 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches: 0
  • Days I was in bed by 10.30: 6

19 for 2019: week 31 update

Week of 29 July 2019

I’ve not made a lot of progress on my five remaining 19 for 2019 things.

I really should contact the sewing machine repair person (thing 10), especially as Kramstable says he’s enjoying his textile work at school that he’s started this term.

With my photo folio (thing 2), as I’m already sorting my photos each week (or thereabouts) for my 2019 photojournal so it makes sense to pick out the ones that are potential folio material at the same time. That way I only have to review the week’s photos once.

I did a bit more work on my photo project (thing 16).

Early bedtime has become a bit of a dream, I think (thing 6). I’ve been writing up my bedtimes on my whiteboard so I can see how well I’m not doing at going to bed by about 10.30. The last two weeks, I’ve never gone to bed before 10.50. I think I need some new strategies to make this happen. On the positive side, I haven’t missed a day’s walk for a long time, even if it’s just been to the bus stop at the end of the street (because I didn’t get out of bed because I was so tired from staying up too late). I’m also revisiting some of the work I did earlier in the wellbeing course to try and re-establish some of those habits.

Bonus thing No-buy July, which got extended into August because I slipped up, is going well. I haven’t bought a single book, item of clothing or new pen or signed up for any class (not even free ones). One week to go with that one (actually, four days) before I can *happy dance* buy the book I’ve been eyeing off the last couple of weeks. It’s one I’ve thought about a lot as it will complement some of the work I’ve been struggling with in the wellbeing course. So it won’t be a spur of the moment purchase. It’s one I’ve considered carefully.

Here’s a photo of a lost shopping trolley of Hobart waiting for its morning coffee.

20190731 Lost trolley waits for its coffee edit

Status for week 31

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 14 (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 18, 19)
  • Things I progressed: 3 (2, 6, 16)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 0
  • Things not started: 2 (10, 14)

19 for 2019: week 25 update

Week of 17 June

A couple of conversations with people this week have reassured me that I’m not the only one who is feeling miserable and downcast during these short, dark, cold winter days and I’m not the only one who prefers to hibernate rather than be around crowds of people at Dark Mofo. Instead, I went to a simple Winter Solstice candle ceremony with my yoga teacher and a small group to welcome the returning light. I know we have a long way to go to get through winter, but this was a lovely way to pause, reflect and think about what I want to shine my own light on over the coming year.

I made a little progress on my 19 for 2019 list. I watched two videos for my photo class (thing 1) and then I hid myself away for an afternoon to work on some assignments in Lightroom (thing 19). I completed four over the weekend.

20190624 Week 25 1

My wellbeing work (thing 6) has been around getting an evening routine into place and going to bed earlier. I’ve been trying to do this for years and have never made it stick. I wrote about a previous attempt in 2016, where I looked at the bedtime routine structure that Lisa Byrne put together in her book Replenish.

Lisa describes the bedtime routine as “a bridge from where you are at the end of the day to a place where your body and mind are ready to fall into a deeper level of rest”. Its purpose is to “slowly disengage you from the world and bring you back inward to yourself to ready your self for deep restorative sleep”.

She outlines four basic steps. First you cut your connection to the world for the night, by finishing up the jobs you have to do and turning off your screens and devices. You should have a fixed time to do this.

Then you move a step inward and do something to calm your body – it might be having a bath or a shower, washing your face, doing some light stretches, something gentle like that. Another thing that many sleep experts suggest as you start your bedtime routine is to dim the lights around the house to make sure your melatonin (the sleep hormone) production isn’t disrupted by artificial light.

The next step inward is to calm and soothe your mind, so Lisa suggests things like inspirational reading, meditation, calm breathing or journalling can be good to get thoughts out of your head before you go to sleep.

The final level of transition is to nurture your spirit. Lisa says that she loves “including something before bed that aligns with [her] spirit and symbolises what [she wants] to bring more of into [her] life”, so she might do some gratitude journalling or prayer.

Lisa shows it as going a bit like this: World >> Body >> Mind >> Spirit (but she has a pretty diagram rather than words).

So I’ve been focusing on the time I turn off my screens and devices and the things I do in between that time and bedtime. I’ve been trying to get back to a more consistent bedtime of 10.30 and to get to this I worked out I need to turn everything off by 10.00. So my first strategy has been to move shut down time back by 10 minutes every night, which worked well earlier in the week but not so well towards the end of the week. Not to worry. Today is another day.

20190624 Week 25 3

Rather than design a multi-step routine that’s too complicated I decided to set up a few things that I’d do using Lisa’s basic structure as a guide. Some of them, like brushing my teeth, I already do but others are new, like doing some light stretches. I also decided that, since I managed to break my morning meditation habit a few weeks ago and have been unsuccessful in re-establishing it, I’d try and do that in the evenings as part of the “calm your mind” part of the evening routine. I keep forgetting! And finally, a new breathing technique I learned at a yoga workshop that is supposed to help you drop off to sleep easily.

I thought if I only do a few things, once I’ve built the habits up then I can start to add in other things, like reading or gratitude journalling if I need to. Or this might work just fine as it is and not need any more changes. At the moment it’s a work in progress and I will keep trying to stick with it every night.

I worked on the list for the bucket list journal (thing 18) some more and I stuck October’s photos into my 2018 photo journal (thing 11). I also got up and walked every morning this week, although on Wednesday either my alarm didn’t go off or I slept through it and my walk was basically to the end of the street and back (it counts because I actually went out and did it). I’m slowly starting to feel like I’m getting back to normal with my walks and am hoping that’s also a sign that my winter mood might be lifting.

20190625 Week 25 3

Status for week 25

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 9 (3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15)
  • Things I progressed: 5 (1, 6, 11, 18, 19)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress:  3 (2, 16, 17)
  • Things not started: 2 (10, 14)

19 for 2019: week 23 update

Week of 3 June: Sunday 9 June 2019

My work has been incredibly busy the last month. I have been putting in long hours, not taking proper breaks and not taking very good care of myself. I haven’t been walking, I haven’t been drinking enough water, I haven’t been creating and I haven’t been going to bed on time. Some other stuff has been going on too that’s been emotionally draining. I’ve been feeling terrible.

As you might imagine, I’ve made very little progress on my 19 for 2019 things since my last update, which was about four weeks ago. I haven’t had the energy to do anything and when I have, I haven’t had the energy to write about it.

It’s a long weekend now, the immediate work deluge is over and I am exhausted. Saturday I spent doing very little. I didn’t even get out of my PJs, let alone go for a walk. I couldn’t even remember the last time I got up in the morning and went for a walk.

What I know is that not walking is not good for me. I could possibly excuse myself if I were getting extra sleep instead of walking but I’m not. I’m waking up at my walking hour and lying in bed trying to justify why I can’t get out of bed. I’m worrying about things that are worrying me and I’m overprocessing everything. It is not restful. I am doing myself no favours.

I realised this when my friend posted on Instagram a few days ago that walking for him is non-negotiable. He does it, rain, hail or shine because walking is his only exercise. It’s my only exercise too and I’m not doing it; therefore, I am not exercising. At all.

Exercise, so they say, is good for you and it is especially good for you when you are feeling as horrible as I am right now. So laying around in bed feeling sorry for myself has to stop when I can get up and go for for a walk in the sub-antarctic temperatures and have a real reason to feel sorry for myself because it’s so fucking cold. I can overthink all I like when I’m out walking and it won’t matter because I’ll be moving. I don’t care about steps, kilometres, any of that. I don’t care if I’m on Instagram or Facebook the whole time (sorry, Bored and Brilliant challenge). I care that I get out of bed and I walk.

This morning (Sunday), I let my alarm go off and I lay in bed thinking about getting up. I thought about every reason I had to get up and every excuse I had not to. I lay there for an hour with the excuses winning. I did not want to get out of bed. I finally told myself that I might as well get up and get it over with because I was going to do it anyway. I had committed to doing it last night. I was going to do it. I thought about what my friend had written and I told myself that I am no longer sick, I have no excuse.

It was painful, but I did it I got up, got dressed and went outside. I walked. I actually went for a walk. I know it doesn’t sound like a big achievement but it was so hard. I had only walked three or four mornings in the last month and it’s no longer a habit.

20190609 Week 23 2

Sunday sunrise

Now that I’ve done it once, I have to get back into making it something I just do, not something that I have to force myself to do. I suspect it will be a long, slow road back, but I have to do it. I have no excuse. If I don’t walk, I won’t move at all and that’s not a good thing for my physical health or my mental health.

None of that is in any way relevant to any of my 19 for 2019 things but I needed to write all that down, to acknowledge what’s been going on. Our lives ebb and flow through busy times and relaxed times, hard times and easier times. There are times we can work hard, play hard and then there are times we need to rest. And when the times we need to rest roll around we need to respond to that need and rest, because if we don’t, the wheels fall off the wagon and we start to lose our anchors and we end up in the place I’ve been for the last couple of weeks.

I don’t know if I’m fully okay now but I know that today I’ve done the one thing, out of all the things I could have done, that is going to be of most benefit to me right now. And tomorrow I will get up and do it again.

One day at a time.

And I did catch up on some of my things this week.

I watched a video for the photo course and completed an assignment (thing 1). I did some work on my photo project (thing 16) and then decided I needed to learn some more Lightroom skills before I actually do this work, so I’m focusing on that (thing 19). I think the rest of the photo course videos are Lightroom techniques, so I will be making progress in two things as I work through them. I stuck three collages in my photo journal (thing 11) and I did some planning for how to finish some of the outstanding tasks in my wellbeing program (thing 6). Yeah, I know, planning is not really progress, but I feel better having a plan.

20190609 Week 23 1

An assignment

Status for week 23

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed: 8 (3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15)
  • Things I progressed: 5 (1, 6, 11, 16, 19)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress:  2: (2, 18)
  • Things not started: 4 (4, 10, 14, 17)

 

19 for 2019: week 13 update

Week of 25 March

On Sunday I completed the month without alcohol challenge (thing 13). I went for a whole month without a drink. Yay me!

I’ve written a lot about doing this over the month and I’m not going to go over it all again other than to say I feel a whole lot more energetic, I get tired earlier and go to bed earlier, which was my goal for the month. I also lost somewhere between 3.5 and 4.5 kilos, depending on which day I weighed myself.

I was listening to the Happier podcast over the weekend, where Gretchen Rubin and Liz Craft were discussing, conveniently, giving up something for 30 days.  Liz mentioned that she had given up alcohol for 30 days. She said that she felt she was drinking a lot of wine mindlessly so she decided to eliminate it, and that if she decided to bring it back in, she would be more mindful and less habitual about it. She considered it a good way to break the habit and see how she felt without it.

Something Gretchen observed was that people give up something for a period (like 30 days) as a way to get into a new habit of not having that thing and that the 30-day “without” period helps them to rethink their patterns associated with the old habit. But she also found that sometimes people give up something and think they have created a habit whereas, in reality, they have just achieved a goal, that is, the month. And that if they want to keep going it’s harder, because having reached the goal they have to start again, which she suggests can be harder than the initial abstinence. To avert this, Gretchen says you need to think of the month as a milestone in a bigger change that you’re making, not as an end goal.

In the chapter on rewards in her book Better than Before, Gretchen discusses this topic and she observes that “the real test of a 30-day blast is what happens on day 31”. She recommends that if you do this type of thing with a view to kickstarting a new habit, you should decide in advance what you’re going to do to keep the habit going after you’ve reached the milestone.

Last time I gave up alcohol I hadn’t thought about this at all and day 31 was Friday and there may have been a very large can of a product I very much enjoy consuming waiting for me . . . and it ended at 30 days.

This time, day 31 was actually day 32 and it was Monday and I’d already decided that I’m going to reinstate the habit I’d been trying to bring in for many months of not drinking on a school night. Like Liz, I want to be more mindful about drinking and make a deliberate choice about when I am going to do it, and how much I will drink, not just sit down at night and fall into that deadly trap of drinking and Youtube.

I have some more to write on this over coming days but right now I know the first danger time will be the day I decide to have my first drink.

This week’s numbers:

Day 25 (Monday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 16,2447 | Bedtime: 9.55

Day 26 (Tuesday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 16,292 | Bedtime: 9.55

Day 27 (Wednesday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 17,474 | Bedtime: 9.30

Day 28 (Thursday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 22,208 | Bedtime: 10.00

Day 29 (Friday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 18,485 | Bedtime: 10.00

Day 30 (Saturday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,707 | Bedtime: 10.00

Day 31 (Sunday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 20,645 | Bedtime: 10.00

With that step count, I finished the Cancer Council’s March Charge fundraiser with a grand total of 373 km for the month (73 km over my target distance) and I raised $420.62. And I achieved my goal of going to bed before 10.30 every night. Now there’s one I really have to keep an eye on maintaining!

I didn’t make a lot of progress on other things, but here’s what I did in week 13.

Thing 6: Wellbeing: I made a cabbage salad to have for lunch (actually that was last week). It was really good. Will do again. I added quinoa to it this week.

Thing 12: 33 Beers: Complete. I finished Book 10 and added in the beers I have tried in book 11 for a total of 345 beers. The idea is if I’m out somewhere and want to know if I’ve tried a beer before I can look it up on my fancy Google spreadsheet and find out.

Thing 19: Lightroom: Still using it.

Status for week 13

  • Things completed this week: 2 (12, 13)
  • Things completed: 8 (3, 5, 7, 8. 9, 12, 13, 15)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (6, 19)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 5 (1, 2, 11, 16, 18)
  • Things not started: 4 (4, 10, 14, 17)

Water, water and more water

On Tuesday I wrote about how I was going to attempt Chris Bailey’s water experiment that he wrote about in The Productivity Project. Chris gave up coffee, alcohol and soft drink for a month and drank only water. A lot of water. He says he drank four litres of water a day and nothing else. As far as I can see, he doesn’t say specifically that drinking nothing but water (and a lot of it) gave him more energy; it was more that cutting out the other drinks did. He discovered that for him, four litres was what he needed. He suggests that if you drink three (women) or four (men) litres a day you will be “surprised at how much energy you have”.

My challenge was to increase my water intake to three litres a day for the last week of my no-alcohol challenge to see if Chris’ hypotheses that doubling my water intake would make me feel better.

It actually wasn’t hard to drink that much, and even more, water, especially when I wasn’t drinking anything else. I always drink 500 ml when I wake up and am usually thirsty when I get back from my walk, but don’t usually drink anything then. So it was easy enough to add in another 500 ml when I got home from my walk. One litre before 6 am. Easy.

I have a one-litre water bottle at work and most days last week it wasn’t difficult to fill it twice during the day, which made up the remaining two litres. At home, most days after work I also indulged in carbonated water with lemon juice. Yeah, I know. Not quite the same as a late afternoon cider but very refreshing.

I’m surprised at how easy it was to drink three to four litres a day when previously I often struggled with two. It was almost like the more water I drank the more I wanted to drink.

Interesting.

I’m not sure if I can say after a week that drinking more water increased my energy. I certainly didn’t have any more energy last week than I did in the previous two weeks when I started to notice an impact from the other things I was doing. I’m sure that drinking less alcohol has increased my energy, as has getting more sleep, and I think the two things are related.

However, I think there’s a point during the afternoon or early evening when you need to stop drinking water or you’ll find yourself waking up at stupid hours in the morning needing the bathroom and being unable to get back to sleep. And when that happens and you’re back to the five or six hours of sleep you were getting before the no-alcohol month, all the benefits of going to bed earlier are wiped out and you have a lot less energy the next two days until you get so tired you crash and eventually get a full night’s sleep.

Or maybe that’s just me?

I know there’s lots of ideas floating around on how much water you need, the potential side effects of drinking too much water, what happens if you don’t drink enough . . . it gets very overwhelming trying to work out what’s right! I think the key is to figure out what works for you and that might be different on different days depending on what you’ve been doing, the weather and a heap of other factors I can’t think of right now.

For me, I don’t think that drinking more than two litres of water a day (and nothing else) had any real benefits so I’m not going to make any real effort to continue to do it. If I want a herb tea or a brewed cacao drink I’ll have it. If I want water, I’ll have that. If I want a beer, well . . . stay tuned for more on that.

19 for 2019: week 11 update

Week of 11 March 2019

Week 11 has been interesting. I’m halfway through my 30 days of no alcohol (thing 13), which I wrote about on Thursday and onto day ten without coffee.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I’m also tracking my energy levels over the course of the day, which have so far been rather erratic so I’m not sure what conclusions to draw from that other than my body is probably still settling down after its rude removal of caffeine. The big thing that I’ve noticed is that most nights I’m tired and feeling ready for bed by 9.00, which I put down to my tiredness not being masked by the fake energy that drinking alcohol gives me in the evenings. So, getting to bed by my goal time of 10.45 hasn’t been a big challenge at all.

Here’s how my week has gone.

Day 11 (Monday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 17,401 | Bedtime: 10.15 pm

Day 12 (Tuesday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,879 | Bedtime: 10.15 pm

Day 13 (Wednesday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,610 | Bedtime: 10.10 pm

Day 14 (Thursday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 20,566 | Bedtime: 10.00 pm

Day 15 (Friday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 16,046 | Bedtime: 10.10 pm

Day 16 (Saturday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 16,527 | Bedtime: 10.45 pm

Day 17 (Sunday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 34,443, | Bedtime: 10.10 pm

According to my trusty Fancy March Habit Tracker™, this week I succeeded in turning my computer off an hour before my allocated bedtime of 10.45 five out of seven nights. The goal of turning it off and disconnecting an hour before my actual bedtime, which has somehow become closer to 10.15 most nights, is nowhere near happening and I don’t know if that’s realistic at the moment.

Turning off your screens anywhere from an hour to two hours before you go to bed is a big favourite of the sleep gurus. For example, the US National Sleep Foundation says that using devices (including computers, TV and phones) before bed can mess with your body’s internal clock, reduces the amount of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin released into your body and makes it more difficult to get to sleep. The main reason is the blue light emitted by the devices. It claims “using these devices before turning in delays the onset of REM sleep, reduces the total amount of REM sleep, and compromises alertness the next morning. Over time, these effects can add up to a significant, chronic deficiency in sleep”.

I don’t think I’ve read anything ever that says using devices right up to bedtime helps you sleep better, and most articles on sleep suggest turning off devices as part of an evening routine to help you get ready for sleep.

Even though I’ve tried developing an evening routine in the past I’ve never really made it work, and my evening routine is basically turn the computer off, clean my teeth and crash into bed. Given that most of the stuff I want to do is on my computer, I don’t know what else I might incorporate into an evening routine after I’ve shut the computer down and turned my phone off. Reading comes to mind but that’s about it. Anyway, I’m going to use this week to play around with bringing my bedtime back to 10.30 and my device off time to 9.30 and seeing if that makes a difference to my sleep quality. Since I haven’t gone to bed later than 10.15 this week I don’t see 10.30 as being a problem, but the 9.30 shut down might be!

It’s one to work on in the coming weeks.

Here’s how I’m tracking with the rest of 19 for 2019:

Photo course (thing 1): I completed the day 19 lesson and assignment.20190310 Assignment Day 19 05Walk from Taroona to Moonah (thing 3): I did this on Sunday! I walked over 34,000 steps, or 22 km, and I took heaps of photos.20190317 Moonah sign 1 editReading (thing 5): I finished book 13, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick, which is my sixth fiction book, so I have now finished this thing!20190314 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? editWellness (thing 6): I watched a video and I have a couple of ideas on what to do this week.

Photojournal (thing 11): I have now made all the collages for 2018 and they are ready for printing. All I have to do is stick them in the book.

33 Beers books (thing 12): I entered books 7 and 8 into the spreadsheet. I have two more to go.

Bucket List book (thing 18): I didn’t write anything in the book but I made a new note in Evernote with the heading Bucket List and I put one thing into it. The idea is when I get to 100 I will go through the list and pick 50 that I am really committed to doing and put them in the book to start with. I think I’m paranoid about putting something in the book that I’m not actually ever realistically going to do, and then failing to complete everything in the book. It’s the same thing as the fear of making the first mark in a brand new notebook, I guess! I think I have to take the perspective that this is a bit of fun, not a lifelong commitment to ticking off 100 things, and just start writing.

Lightroom (thing 19): I made some workarounds to avoid an issue that is constantly frustrating me. I edited some photos for a blog post.

Status for week 11

  • Things completed this week: 2 (3, 5)
  • Things I progressed: 7 (1, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress:  2 (2, 16)
  • Things not started: 4 (4, 10, 14, 17)
  • Things completed: 6 (3, 5, 7, 8. 9, 15)