19 for 2019: week 14 update

Week of 1 April

After my massive week of achievements in week 13, I wasn’t anywhere near as productive in week 14 with my 19 for 2019 list. In fact, I can count the things I progressed on one hand. One finger, even.

Status for week 14

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

Not to worry, I have the whole year to finish the 11 unfinished things and I can’t expect to do everything at once.

Besides, I’ve been busy with the Bored and Brilliant challenge. Well, I’m not sure if that’s actually an excuse. After all, the point of that challenge is to get me off my phone to give me more time to come up with creative ideas and get things done. I’ve not been on my phone as much as I had been before I started the challenge, but I’m not sure I’ve done anything super productive with the time.

It did make me think maybe I could add some bonus things to my 19 for 2019 list for significant things I do over the year. That would give me a nice picture at the end of the year of some of the big things I did.

So what did I do instead of my list?

Well, I wrote three blog posts about Bored and Brilliant, I went for a whole day without taking any photos and I deleted Instagram (and Tweetbot) off my phone.

20190403 No more social combo

Now you see it . . . now you don’t

I visited the Plants of Tasmania Nursery with my sister.

20190406 Plants of Tasmania Nursery edit

Plants of Tasmania Nursery at Ridgeway

I went to a local living festival in our area.

20190407 Lunch from Honey Child 2

Smoky Creole goodness from Honey Child’s Creole Corner

I went to a union stop-work meeting

20190403 Stop Work

Public sector unions stop-work meeting at City Hall

and I got my poor old teddy bear repaired.

20190402 Pandy back from the Dolls Hospital

He got his leg stitched up and some extra stuffing but I left his nose because that’s his ageing personality

Plenty of things to do!

Advertisements

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)

19 for 2019: week 10 update

Week of 4 March

Well, things took an unexpected turn this week, with a no-coffee experiment being unexpectedly thrown into the mix. You can read about that in Saturday’s post.

Everything else is going slowly, with my main focus this month on getting more sleep, avoiding alcohol (thing 13), and doing at least 15,000 steps a day for the Cancer Council’s March Charge fundraiser.

To get more sleep, I’m attempting to move my bedtime back from sometime between 11pm and midnight to closer to 10pm, with my interim goal being 10.45. I achieved this every day last week, and most of those days I was in bed well before 10.45 but decided to read for a bit before I went to sleep, so the times I’ve recorded are the times I’ve turned the light off, not the actual time I was in bed.

I’ve also been trying to turn my computer off no later than 9.45, to give myself an hour of screen-free time. That has been less successful, so I’m looking at things I can do to make it easier to do.

Here’s last week’s tracker:

Day 4 (Monday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,618 | Bedtime: 10.45

Day 5 (Tuesday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,421 | Bedtime: 10:45

Day 6 (Wednesday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 28,311 | Bedtime: 10.45

Day 7 (Thursday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps:19,963 | Bedtime: 10.30

Day 8 (Friday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 16,775 | Bedtime: 10.45

Day 9 (Saturday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,825 | Bedtime: 10.45

Day 10 (Sunday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,916 | Bedtime: 10.15

I’m also tracking my wakeup time and my computer off time, as well as keeping an hourly record of what I’m doing and what my energy levels are as Chris Bailey describes in Chapter 3 of The Productivity Project. The purpose of this is to determine what my times of highest energy are so I can make sure I’m working on the things that are most important to me at these times. After ten days, the results are inconclusive. There were a couple of unusual things that probably threw a couple of days’ results off, and Chris also notes that if you’re making a switch to no alcohol and no caffeine, the first few days might not be entirely accurate as your body adjusts to being without those stimulants. So I’m planning to keep this up for a month and see if things become more consistent later in the month.

So much tracking!

20190308 Waterfront from Mac 2 3 edit

A morning walk

Onto other things on the list.

  • Photo course (thing 1): I watched two videos (day 17 and 18) but haven’t done any more assignments.
  • Reading (thing 5): I finished three books this week, one fiction and two non-fiction (The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey and The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz). I’ve now read 12 books this year but the brief was six of them had to be fiction and I’ve only read five fiction books, so I don’t consider this thing to be complete.
  • Wellness program (thing 6): I guess cutting out alcohol and coffee should contribute to reducing my stress levels and helping me stay calm, even though they are not specific issues that have been covered at this time. My main focus is on building up strategies I can call on when I get overwhelmed so I can better deal with those situations. I haven’t done a lot this week.
  • 2018 photojournalism (thing 11): I stuck a couple of collages in the book.
  • Beer books (thing 12): I entered one more book into the spreadsheet so I’ve finished six books, with four to go.
  • Explore a track on kunanyi (thing 15): I already did this in February but I got another opportunity this week to accompany a group of kids from Kramstable’s school on a day bushwalk on the Pipeline Track so I can tick this one off again!
    20190306 01 View from the Pipeline Track edit

    Pipeline Track, kunanyi

    20190306 07 View of the Mountain from the Waterworks edit

    Looking back at kunanyi from the Waterworks after the Pipeline Track walk

  • Lightroom (thing 19): I haven’t done anything specifically new; I’m just getting familiar with it by using it.

Status for week 10

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

19 for 2019: week 9 update

Week of 25 February 2019

After my two mid-week posts, it’s time for my regular weekly update on 19 for 2019.

You most likely would have seen my posts last week about starting my 30 days alcohol-free (thing 13) and how I’m using that to try to get to bed earlier. Cleverly, I picked one of the longest months, which also happens to have five Fridays, five Saturdays and five Sunday, which are the days I’m intending to restrict drinking to once this month is over. (No drinking on a school night!)

March is also the month I’m taking part in the Cancer Council’s March Charge fundraiser by walking 300 km in March (15,000 steps a day) as well as trying to get more sleep by going to bed earlier. The three are all linked, because to be able to walk 3000 steps per day more than I normally do (that’s about an extra two km), I will need more energy. To get more energy I need more than six hours sleep a night; to get more sleep I need to go to bed earlier; and to go to bed earlier I need to cut out drinking so I don’t get caught up in that “just one more”, “oh, I’ll just watch this YouTube video”, “I’ll have quick top-up because the video hasn’t ended,” “this video looks interesting, I’ll watch that while I finish my drink” . . . “oh no! It’s 11.30 and I have work tomorrow . . .” spiral.

So. Today is day four. Day one was helped a bit by the fact that I felt really unwell on Friday and didn’t want anything to drink.

Day 1 (Friday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,180 | Bedtime: 10:40

Day 2 (Saturday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 15,858| Bedtime: 10:50

Day 3 (Sunday): Alcohol: 0 | Steps: 19,324| Bedtime: 10:00

It’s a bit soon to be drawing any conclusions at this stage. I also need to work out a fancy tracking system so I can keep track of things.

In other things:

  • Photo course (thing 1): My flash arrived so I completed assignment 11.
  • Read 12 books (thing 5): I completed book 9 (2001 A Space Odyssey), which is my fourth fiction book. I’m now reading books 10 and 11, both of which are non-fiction.
  • I got a new electric oil burner to replace the one I smashed and am keeping it in my room rather than the bathroom so if it gets knocked off it won’t shatter. I’m trying out different scents to see if any of them affect my mood or my state of mind. I did some of the journalling work this week (thing 6).
  • Photojournal (thing 11): I printed weeks 30-48. I stuck a couple of collages in the book. This is really a low-energy task that I have to remember to do if I get a few moments when I’m not sure what to do, rather than reach for my phone and get sucked into social media.
  • 33 Beers (thing 12): Book 5 completed. (5 down, 5 to go) I appreciate the irony of the fact that I am having a month off alcohol yet spending time updating a spreadsheet of all the different beers I have tried over the past four years.
  • Lightroom (thing 19): I’m still using it.

Status for week 9

Things completed this week: 0

Things I progressed: 7 (1, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 19)

Things in progress I didn’t progress: 2 (2, 16)

Things not started: 6 (3, 4, 10, 14, 17, 18)

Things completed: 4

  • Thing 9 (9 January)
  • Thing 8 (21 January)
  • Thing 15 (1 February)
  • Thing 7 (12 February)

You can expect me to be posting more frequently in March with updates on the no-alcohol challenge and how I’m going with my walking.

19 for 2019: more sleep, less booze

Quite some time ago, I don’t remember when, I heard about Chris Bailey’s Productivity Project, in which Chris set out to conduct a year-long series of productivity experiments on himself to find out how different strategies and tips affected his work. He wrote a blog about his experiences and followed that up with a book in 2016, which I’m currently reading.

20190302 Productivity Project edit

Who wouldn’t want to become more awesome?!

I’m a big fan of experiments like this and even tried it out myself in 2016, inspired by Kylie Dunn’s Year of TED project, though I wasn’t quite as successful as Kylie in sticking with it for a year and it all rather fizzled out in the end.

I’ve decided to try my own experiment in March that combines the idea of Kylie’s 30-day experiments; one of Chris’ experiments, my 19 for 2019 thing 13 (an alcohol-free month); my ongoing wellbeing work that will give me the energy to be able to do all the things on my list (thing 6), in particular getting more sleep; and an increased level of exercise.

I wrote in Wednesday’s post about my goal for March being to move my hours of sleep from six (probably less) closer to seven a night and how one of the main things that will help me do this is to quit drinking for the month.

The second thing I’m going to do is try and move my bedtime from after 11pm to somewhere closer to 10pm.

A key reason I want to get more sleep is to improve my energy levels throughout the day and to become more aware of when I naturally have more and less energy. I’ve been reading about ultradian rhythms, the gist of which is that our bodies have natural cycles of energy and rest (or high energy and low energy) that last about 90-120 minutes. The theory is that we have a period of about 90 minutes of high energy, which is followed by a period of low energy of about 20 minutes (similar to sleep cycles of 90 minutes of non-REM sleep and 20 minutes of REM sleep)  and that this continues throughout the day.

This is where Chris Bailey’s experiment comes in. In chapter 4 of The Productivity Project he writes about how, if you know the times when you have the most energy, you can schedule your day to work on the things that are most important to you at those times and take breaks and work on things that require less energy and focus at times when your energy levels are lower.

To get familiar with his natural cycle, Chris kept a log every hour of every day for three weeks of what he had been working on and how much energy he had during that hour. To make it as accurate as this kind of thing can be, Chris cut out all alcohol and coffee, ate as little sugar as possible and tried to wake up and fall asleep naturally, without setting an alarm.

I won’t be following Chris’ experiment to the letter. I’m already good with the no sugar thing, so I don’t have to worry about making any changes there, and am committed to the no alcohol month. But there is no way I am giving up my first coffee of the day, at least not at the start. (My second, I have plans for, but that can wait.) And I can’t sleep in on weekdays mornings and do all the things I want to do (and need to do) and still get to work on time. I know, I’ve done it a couple of times accidentally. So I have to set an alarm. But this is an experiment, not a regiment, so I’m just trying it out. The first week of March will be my adjustment period—Chris recommends cutting out the three stimulants (sugar alcohol and caffeine) a week before you start tracking.

The main thing I’ll be focusing on in the first week will be to have a shutdown for the evening routine that will make sure I’m in bed by 10.45. If I move this back by 15 minutes a week, I should achieve the goal of a 10pm bedtime before the end of the month.

Sounds easy, right?!

The final piece of the puzzle is increased exercise. I am taking part in the Cancer Council’s March Charge, and have committed to walking 300 km in March to raise funds for this very worthy cause, which is the equivalent of about 15,000 steps a day. My daily goal up to now has been 12,000 steps, which I’ve been meeting on most days but not every day. So I’ll have some extra work to do there.

Of course, I just made it all the more difficult for myself by falling down my front stairs on Tuesday and hurting my back, which has made walking (and moving in general) an uncomfortable exercise. Fortunately, it seems like nothing is seriously damaged. My doctor said that I’m still walking around is a good sign and I haven’t broken anything (since confirmed by the x-ray). I keep thinking how much worse it could have been if I’d tumbled rather than slid!

19 for 2019: mid-week 9 update

Week of 25 February

Whatever is the world coming to? A mid-week update? This never happens! Next thing you know I’ll be returning to blogging every day.

Maybe not.

This is an update about getting ready to take on thing 13 from my 19 for 2019 list, which is to go alcohol-free for a month.

I did a 30-day alcohol-free challenge in 2016.

I discovered that it wasn’t that difficult to do because I’m what Gretchen Rubin refers to as an “abstainer”, which means I find it easier to give up something entirely than to set limits on how much of it I can have.

This may sound extreme to those who push the “everything in moderation” barrow, as that obviously works for them. It does not work for me. Example: If I open a packet of chocolate, I can’t just have one or two pieces. I have it all. If I don’t open it, I won’t have any. If I don’t have it in the house, I don’t want it and I don’t go out and get it.

So back in 2016, once I’d made the decision not to drink for a month, I didn’t have to think about it again. I wasn’t going to drink. I would always refuse.

I noticed benefits in doing this. No seedy feeling in the morning from having one extra wine the night before. I felt like I had more energy and I felt less weighty. I also managed to get to bed earlier most nights because I wasn’t staying up having that last glass of wine that contributed to the morning seedy feeling.

And, for me, going to bed earlier is a good thing. I normally get up around 5 am to go for walk, so staying up past 11.00 or even until 10.30 (or 10.00 . . .  *squirms nervously* *emits small squeak* . . . let’s not go too far here . . .) means I don’t get the recommended seven to eight hours sleep or whatever it is. I’ve read different accounts, but none of them say that fewer than six hours sleep a night, which is what I do most nights, is okay.

Based on my experience last time, I think that alcohol-free March (no cool names like Dry July or Ocsober here) is the perfect time to start putting steps into place to get more sleep. So in March, my goal is to get my hours of sleep closer to seven hours a night than six. Normally, I wouldn’t try to do more than one 30-day challenge at a time. But if I look at getting more sleep as being my goal, then going without alcohol is one strategy I’m using to get to that goal. So yes, it’s a thing in itself, but it’s more than that so I don’t feel like I’m taking on two separate challenges.

Unfortunately, 1 March is a Friday, and starting this challenge on a weekend is probably not ideal. Also, there are actually five weekends in March so I really drew the short straw there!

I’ll be posting more than normal in March as I work through this. There are a couple of other experiments I’m going to try out at the same time that are also connected to getting more sleep and I want to keep myself accountable and have a record of how it’s all going. It all links back to thing 6, which is taking better care of myself so I have the energy to be able to do all the things on my list. I’m interested to see how it all pans out over the month.

19 for 2019 update: week 8

Week of 18 February
I’m enjoying doing these posts. It’s a nice way to end the week: to look back over what I’ve achieved (or haven’t), what I’ve learned and what I’ve done. And, of course, what progress I have made with my 19 for 2019 list.

It ties in nicely with my Sunday afternoon (sort of) ritual where I write up my week’s notes in my photojournal. This is connected to Thing 11 (complete my 2018 photojournal).

I want to explain this a bit more . . . What the weekly photojournal involves is a Travelers Notebook (formerly Midori Travelers Notebook) weekly dated diary, which I use to record a couple of important or interesting things that happen each day on the dated page and then I create a 4” x 8” photo collage of the week’s photos to stick onto the other page so I can see my whole week on two pages and my whole year in two small notebooks.20190223 Weekly photojournal

It’s a big move away from Project Life, which I did from 2010 to 2016, and scrapbooking, which I haven’t done for several years. Most of my Project Life albums are incomplete, with a lot of photos waiting to be sorted, printed and slotted into the page protectors, and I may never get to them. This way is simple, and so much less bulky than the massive 12″ x 12” albums that I have for scrapbooking and Project Life.

There are also blank pages in these books that I could make additional collages for, to better cover events that have lots of photos (holidays, school sports days and that sort of thing) or that I could stick little pieces of memorabilia onto. I haven’t done that for any of them yet so there are a lot of photos that are sitting round unsorted, mainly from major holidays. I’m also thinking printed phonebooks might be a better way to store these photos and memories. They’re on a master list of projects I haven’t started.

So the idea with the collages is that at the end of each week, I’d look through the week’s photos, choose the ones I want to go in the journal, save them to a separate album and sit down during the week and make the collages for that week in the Pic Stitch app.

2018-41-01

2018 week 41

2018-45-02

2018 week 45

Because of the odd size, I find what works best is to make two square collages with anywhere from three to seven or eight photos in each and then put them together, slightly smaller than 4” x 4” on a 6” x 8” canvas in Photoshop and print them at that size, trim the edges and stick them in the book.

2018-44

2018 week 44 combined

Last year I never quite got the routine mastered and ended the year with about nine months of missing photos—hence the thing on the 19 for 2019 list. (I also didn’t keep up with the writing and ended up having a marathon session on a very long and boring plane trip to catch up. As I said earlier, I now try to make time Sunday afternoons to do each week’s notes so I never get that far behind again. It’s not a big job, five, ten minutes at the most.

I initially thought I’d try and fit making the collages into spare 10-minute blocks that I had during the day but I’ve found it easier to just sit down and power through them in a batch. There’s a bit too much friction associated with sitting down and doing it in five spare minutes because I need to be in front of the computer and actually see the collection of the week’s photos so I can work out which template to put them into and how to best lay them out. That’s easier than trying to flip between apps on my phone.

This week I printed weeks 20 to week 29. I made weeks 46, 47 and 48 collages and got weeks 30-48 ready for printing. I still have last week’s printed photos to trim and stick in the journal, but the editing stage is almost over. Trimming and sticking is something I actually can do in 10-minute blocks, like when I’m waiting for water to boil or I have a few minutes before I have to leave to catch the bus.

Some good progress there.

Other things I did this week were:

  • Entered book 4 of the 33 Beers journals into the spreadsheet (Thing 12)
  • Currently reading book 9 (non fiction) and 10 (fiction) (Thing 5)
  • Learned how to make a still frame from a video in Lightroom (Thing 19)
  • I added avocado into my breakfast smoothie. Yum! And I bought some ingredients for one of the other breakfasts I want to try. (Thing 6)
  • Defrosted my freezer. (Not a Thing but I just wanted to make this known. It was so much fun.)
20190223 Hinsby Beach 07 edit

Saturday afternoon walk

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

  • Thing 9 (9 January)
  • Thing 8 (21 January)
  • Thing 15 (1 February)
  • Thing 7 (12 February)