Week 04/2022: Still settling
Week of 24 January 2022
We’re four weeks into 2022 and I’m feeling exhausted. I’ve got my three main areas to focus on (body/mind, meaningful work and exploring) and my 22 for 2022 list of things to help me make progress in those areas, but there’s stuff going on outside this, which is taking a lot of my headspace.
I don’t want to say too much about this because it’s not my story to tell. All I can talk about is the impact it’s having on me, which, right now, is significant and it’s distressing. It comes on top of my anxiety about the covid situation, which hasn’t eased up, and I’m doing my best to do what I need to do to keep myself safe and as healthy as possible, mentally and physically.
I’m glad I quit drinking a couple of years ago because I suspect if I hadn’t, that would be my chosen method of coping right now. Fortunately, I now have healthier options to help me deal with things.
While this all plays out, I need to be patient and not overwhelm myself by trying to do too much. I don’t need to take massive steps. I need to work within the limits of what’s possible for me right now and I need to keep reminding myself of this.
So with all of that in mind, my goals for this week were to
- Identify a habit for each of my focus areas
- Make a plan to do the things I want to work on from the 22 for 2022 list in February
- Make a list of actions from the book Deep Work to feed into my “deep work” handbook (and find a better name for this!)
I reviewed my habit list from last year and picked out a couple of new ones to work on while I maintained my existing keystone habits, which are walking in the morning, reading every day, exercising in the afternoon, and shutting down everything by 9.30.
I’d had morning planning and after-work packing up in the list for last year but I stopped doing them because they weren’t working, so I spent some time this week reviewing and refining those routines so they’d be easier to do and I’d be more likely to do them. Modifying these routines has been part of my “deep work” handbook (thing 12). So they are retained but revised.
The other two habits I added were both from the area of supporting my mind and body: practising controlled breathing and doing jaw stretches.
Controlled breathing is an activity from the Mindspot wellbeing program (thing 1). It’s a variation of a breathing technique which seems to have endless variations. This one is to breathe in for three seconds, hold for three seconds and breathe out for three seconds, but other variations I’ve seen include
- 4 in, 4 hold, 4 out,4 hold
- 7 in, 11 out
- 5 in, 2 hold, 5 out, 2 hold
- and so on.
You’re supposed to practise this technique when you’re feeling okay so when you get into stressful or distressing situations, you can breathe to calm yourself down.
It’s one I never have much luck with, but I keep forgetting to practise it, so I’ve set it up as a habit to track and set an alarm on my phone to make it easier to incorporate it into my day.
22 for 2022 update
I started making my plan for the things I want to work on in February. This includes the new and continuing daily habits and some revised weekly routines.
The new weekly routines are around making time to do a review and planning session at work and at home each week. In the past I’ve been guilty of making these processes so long and complicated that I never get through them all. So part of my handbook (thing 12) has been to simplify these routines so they aren’t 40-something step processes that take hours and that I hate doing (and, therefore, don’t do).
I simply want to take a look at my week, assess whether I did what I wanted to do, identify what went well and what I can improve, and decide what to focus on next week. I don’t need 40 steps to do that!
So thing 12 is underway. I’ve also taken my notes from Deep Work (thing 10) and Priority Samurai (thing 11) and included them in the handbook, and I’m working out which actions to start doing now and which things I can leave until later. The key thing from Priority Samurai was to identify my “big rocks” each week, which are the three to five most important things I need to do each week to make progress towards my goals, and schedule time to do them. I’ve built this into my weekly review.
The Big Rocks idea comes from a source unknown but was made popular by Steven Covey (who wrote the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which I have never finished reading). The idea is that if you don’t make time to do the most important things, you’ll never fit them in around all the less important things that crowd out your week. I am actually terrible at this. I schedule time to do things in my calendar and then when that time comes around, I find I’m more interested in doing something else, or finishing what I’m working on at the time. I’m hoping Cal Newport’s time blocking system, another action from Deep Work, will help me get better at doing this.
This means that things 10 (Read Deep Work) and 11 (Review the Priority Samurai course material) are done, as they are now incorporated into thing 12 (the handbook). Along the way I’ve been sorting out the tasks in my Todoist (thing 13) and streamlining it to make it a more useful tool.
As I mentioned above, I’ve also been working on the Mindspot program (thing 1), as well as working through the reading challenge (thing 21) and the Cosmic Calibration course (thing 22).
22 for 2022 summary
- Things completed this week: 2 (10 and 11)
- Things completed to date: 2 (10, 11)
- Things in progress: 6 (1, 12, 13, 18, 21, 22)
- Things not started: 14 (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20)
What do I want to do next week?
- Finalise my weekly review routine and do it on Sunday morning
- Identify actions for February for the things I want to work on next month
- Keep building my handbook
What I’m reading this week
- The Founding of Hobart 1803-1804 by Frank Bolt
- Circle of Nine by Josephine Pennicott
- Clapperland by Terry Aulich
- What Really Happened in Wuhan by Sharri Markson
- Days I went for a walk in the morning (Goal = 7): 7
- Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 0): Reviewing this routine
- Days I did controlled breathing (Goal = 0): New habit
- Days I did jaw stretches (Goal = 0): New habit
- Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 0): Reviewing this routine
- Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 5
- Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
- Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 5): 6
- Days I shut my computer down before 9.30 (Goal = 6): 5
- Weekly review at work: Incomplete (I was still working out what this needs to look like)
- Weekly review at home: Incomplete (I was still working out what this needs to look like)