Archive - March, 2013

Getting to Malaysia

I brushed the topic of what is going to happen now to me in my previous post. I know that the most likely I’ll be staying in Finland at least until end of the summer. But what after that?

I think it was as early as 2009 I pledged to myself I wouldn’t stay in Finland for another winter. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Finland. I enjoy every summer here. Emphasis on the word “summer”. Winter, on the other hand… Not so much. I’ve really grown to dislike cold. So even as early as that, I made the pledge to get away from here, to live somewhere warmer and more pleasant. Well, rest is NOT history. Winter after winter I’ve struggled through here.

Now it has to stop though, and I have gotten a girlfriend in MUCH warmer country. At least it makes the choice of what warm country to go so much easier. I have to get to the Malaysia – not only to avoid harsh Finnish winters, but also to finally end the period of torturing long-distance relationship.

So what’s stopping me? The same thing as always – finances. I made finances one of my main goals for 2013 and everything is converging in such a way that they will be pivotal in anything else I do from now on. I have to finally get this thing done.

The Plan

What I’ve always lacked, really, is a plan. For the most part the sporadic action that I do take has been a bit aimless, lacking thrust behind it, cause in all honesty I really have had no fucking idea what I’ve been doing. So now for once I’m going to plan this thing, starting with the end in mind, instead of just taking aimless action and seeing where it takes me. No more wandering around, it’s time to decide a destination on the map and figure out what route takes me there.

Destination, as said, is easy to figure out – Malaysia. But it is beyond just pointing out a place in the map.

What Would It Actual Entail to Move to Malaysia?

To move to Malaysia, a few things have to happen first. I’d need…

  • Some regular income to sustain living there.
  • Nest egg of money to get set-up.

Or in short, money. Of course there’s lot of other things to consider as well, like visas and stuff like that, but I’m no expert in that, so I’m not going to get to that.

I myself figured I’d need around 2000 € nest egg and at least  1000 € of regular income a month. Malaysia might be cheap country to live, but I’d rather aim for having extra instead of trying to penny-pinch my way through like I’ve always done.

I think earning 2000 € before end of summer is a realistic goal for me even if I don’t do anything. If I just keep up what I’ve done so far, which is the occasional day of manual labor, and doing sporadic writing gigs on Fiverr, I’ll probably accumulate enough by the end of summer. Not to be arrogant though, I nearly screwed up Japan because of over-estimating these avenues. But lets say that I don’t need to do that much of effort to achieve that goal, it more or less becomes automatically achieved if I just achieve the latter, given I have practically no expenses at the moment.

Setting Up 1000 € / Month Income Stream

Well, there’s basically two alternatives to this. Let’s go through those. I either…

  1. Create the income online using the methods that have already brought me results (Kindle, Fiverr).
  2. Get a job in Malaysia.

I would say that “no prices for guessing which I’m gonna go for”, but actually my choice isn’t as straightforward – actually I think I’m gonna sort of go for both.

I would be all for Kindle/Fiverr income escalation but the thing is… I’m not sure if it’s gonna scale up to 1000 € a month or more that easy. If we consider my aim to get to Malaysia to be at the end of August,  I only have a bit over 20 weeks. Of course I’m not starting at 0 – I’m starting at something like 100 €/month, but it still means I should get my income up by 50 € every week.

Is it possible? Sure. But I have a bad tendency to fall short of my goals, and also it’s not entirely in my hands. Sure, I can work hard to create passive and active income sources, but in the end that kind of income is always susceptible to external influences so no matter how hard and well I work, I might not make it. That’s why I intend to incorporate getting a job in Malaysia as a part of my strategy.

The good thing is that in all of this I can still focus on one main thing – writing.

How come, you ask? Well obviously all of my Fiverr gigs pretty much are, what… writing, exactly. And, when I create books for Kindle… yes, I’m writing again. And what kind of work would I look for in Malaysia… yes, you’re starting to get it, writing work! So no matter what I were doing, all of it would in the end be writing, so my focus wouldn’t be splattered all over the place.

Of course getting a J-O-B wouldn’t be easy for a guy like me. I look a little bit sketchy, I have absolutely no credentials, am introverted and not socially most smooth person you could come across… But I still believe it’s possible. I at the very least believe I could easily pull off writing work in Malaysia.

Putting It All Together…

I already put it all together – in a sense, anyway. I already formed my daily schedule. In essence, this plan would be the contents of the work-modes scheduled there. But lets get more concrete here. How am I going to form 1000 € of income doing Kindle and Fiverr?

Well, using the estimate of every Kindle book earning me 50 € / month on average, I’d need to write 20 books. That means book a week. Well, not impossible, but incredibly arduous. Also, in the end the average might turn out to be too optimistic (though my current only book is earning actually much more than that, but you can’t form a principle on basis of one instance).

It’s unrealistic for me to expect that I’d write that many books. So instead I’m going to aim for 10 books in that same time frame. In other words, every other week I’d need to have to release something new. Meanwhile I’d slowly increase the influx of Fiverr orders by adding to the number of gigs – last time I went up to 17 gigs and found myself overwhelmed by work, so I know there’s opportunities out there, if I just work hard.

I will be writing my books under a pen name and it’s certain type of fiction I am natural writing at, thus making the book every other week pace possible. I won’t be publishing them here, but I will be keeping you updated how that goes.

All Three Prongs of the Attack:

Kindle

  1. Start a platform under my pen name and create some free short stories on bigger sites hosting this kind of fiction.
  2. Constantly create new content during the week
  3. Edit and revise the material during weekend preceding the launch
  4. Launch the new book
  5. Rinse and repeat

Fiverr

  1. Do good work, deliver early, keep up with the orders
  2. Increase workload by adding gigs
  3. Keep doing good work and keeping up.
  4. Increase workload.
  5. Rinse and repeat.

Getting a job

  1. Create a profile to major job search sites of the area.
  2. Write a good CV.
  3. Start applying on any interesting positions.
  4. Get to interviews
  5. Ace them and get a job or rinse and repeat

There you go. Now the hard part – actually following through with the plan.

Self-Discipline Challenge Week 1 Report

More than a week ago I posted up my new schedule here. I started an extremely rigid schedule for my day-to-day living, at least until the end of summer.

Now I’ve decided I’m actually gonna call the efforts to living up to this schedule “Self-Discipline Challenge” and I’m going to be tracking how well I’m faring here on week-to-week basis. Cause let’s face it – you can’t do this forever. I mean I guess there’s some personality types who would enjoy living in a very regular, routine style of life, but I’m not one of them. Ultimately I want to have enough willpower and self-discipline to get work done without needing to adhere to strict routines.

However, now, as I told you in my previous post, I am just looking to get moving back to right direction and living with a tight routine for an extended period of time feels like it could be a worthwhile experience to me. I’d imagine it can teach me a lot of things. So without further ado, let’s get to what happened during my first week of attempting to follow my schedule.

Self-Discipline Challenge Week 1 Report

Morning routines completed: 7/7

Evening routines completed: 6/7

Daily goals completed: 1/5

Weekly score in my point system: 31

I’m planning to track a lot more numbers regarding this, but we will see how I will implement it. You can see couple of things straight away from my numbers – the starts and finishes to the days have been decent, but the in-between part, the most important one, has been a constant struggle. Also, as the point score indicates, the productivity has been extremely low.

Well, not exactly. You see, answer for ridiculously low score (equivalent of bit over 2 hours of writing) is not that I’ve been that lazy (though I have been), but that I punish myself severely in points for my vices, like eating junk food and playing games. Both of which I’ve done abundantly in last week. So take my point score with a grain of salt, cause ultimately it is also a proxy for measuring healthiness of my life (overall how close I’m living to the ideal I have).

But let’s examine the issues with daily goals. Why I only completed one of them all week? Shouldn’t the two work-modes of the schedule, both of them 2 hours in total length, be plenty to work with and finish even fairly big daily goals? Yes, if I had worked those four hours I would have almost certainly completed every single one of my daily goals.

That also is the point where my adherence to schedule starts teetering. First issue is the old time issue – the three hours I have for morning routine after wake-up barely is enough. So I run a bit over which compounds over the time designated for breakfast and showering. By the time I get to computer, ready to work, I might already be 1½ hours behind the schedule.

But you know what, in the end, that’s okay. I have three hours of free-time at the end of the day, after all. I can always stretch to that time. But I tend to not even get started. Here we come to the other stumbling block, much bigger than any other time issue ever could be – distractions and lack of discipline, and frankly this biggest issue with my whole schedule.

You see, timing of my work-modes couldn’t be any more awkward. Why, you ask? Well, let me be frank about what I’ve been doing most of my work-times last week: Skyping with my girlfriend. Yeah, cause my afternoon is her evening and time after work due to time zone difference.

It has made me think of even scrapping the whole schedule, or restructuring it. But then again, I’m adhering to every other component of it almost perfectly, which makes me feel like this schedule might still be good, if I could just circumvent this time-zone thing somehow. This experiment would be easier if I’d just be in Malaysia. Oh well. I’m not going to magically teleport to Malaysia any time soon.

So in the meantime I will have to keep figuring it out. Ultimately, I don’t yet have an answer for it, and I know that the second week will hold similar numbers to first week, but I will thinking of it. But I will keep my efforts up. I’ve decided this experiment will last at least to end of summer. But I’ll talk about it more in my next post.

Flow vs. Rigidity – Jarkko Launches Into Huge 2.5k Word post and 7-minute Video In First Appearance Since Japan

I can’t believe I went over two weeks without updating! Time flies when you’re… lazy. No, I’ve definitely not been busy since Japan, I’ve been more or less as lazy as before it. Here’s a video I shot on Saturday, exactly week after returning home:

I know, I’m even more scattered than I was in front of people in Japan. Then again, maybe being in front of people forces you to kind of try to be coherent. In any case, as I tell you in the video, Japan didn’t propel me into the kind of life momentum I was hoping for. Then again perhaps it’s a lazy way of thinking that I could just throw myself out of my comfort zone once and expect my life to change. Becoming Awesome is a continuous process, that has to be gone through every day. You earn your awesomeness every day – or don’t earn it. Lately I’ve not been earning it. I’ve been lame and lazy.

But things are about to change. As I discussed in this video that’s now over a week old, I was struggling between kind of “going with the flow” type of productivity, and having a very rigid schedule. Since then, I’ve decided that I will need to form a super rigid schedule to snap myself out of the lazy rut I’ve been in lately. So I’ve basically formed a timetable for my whole day, that I will follow rigidly every day, as long as its possible. I will go through it in a minute, but for now, let’s focus on discussing about this kind of productivity.

I can see that having to use a schedule that tells you when to do what and forces you the times to be productive being a bit of a crutch. I mean, you want to be able to just snap into productive and creative mode, at any time, any place. Not having to need a specific time every day and a timetable that tells you to do it for it. But you know what? I don’t care. I’m at a level where I just need to get moving. I don’t have the inner self-discipline to just go with the flow and trust that I will work hard enough by only doing that. No, if I go that route I’m just going to play fucking FIFA all day. So fuck it, let’s script my days. I can go with a very rigid template cause I don’t really have a social life or any other external commitments. So this is not something that would work for you. It’s not even certain it’s even going to work for me.

This is where Japan comes in. In Japan, I tapped into some weird, stubborn, resilient and determined part of my mind to complete a video every day, even when it totally wasn’t easy. Sometimes I’d stay up until 2 am. to edit, knowing I’d need to be up at 7 the next day. Now I need to tap into those same resources to find same hellbent attitude to following my schedule as well. That no matter what, if it somehow is possible, I will follow my schedule. Of course, like in Japan, I’ll be reasonable, if it some days isn’t possible I’ll try to not crush myself about it.

So yeah, I think you now understand why I’d want to form a tight schedule. Now we are ready to move into the schedule itself. If you’ve read some of my old posts, you remember I have tried to formulate a schedule like this before. So when I created this, I already had some experience and knew what works, and what doesn’t in terms of almost completely timetabling your day. Also the last week since the video I already betatested a schedule resembling the current one, that even in itself is unlikely to be the final schedule. So this is not some stuff just slapped together. No, every action has a reason behind it and I’ve made some tweaks to make sure I can follow it. I must say also that the time limits are not super strict, but guidelines.

As a final note before we get to it, I’ve also included some stuff related to my point system into the schedule (in italics so you can quickly distinguish them). You can just ignore this, but for those who give a little bit of a fuck, you can kind of see how I measure my productivity. But without further ado, lets get to it.

My New Schedule

9:00 – deadline for getting up
1 point bonus if I’m playing footy or working out within 15 minutes of waking up, 1 bonus point for naturally getting up before 8 (my alarms, yes I need multiple, are set to 9)

Why did I choose my waking up point to be 9 am? I struggled with the balance for a long time, cause probably my dream schedule productivity-wise would be waking up at 2 am. I know, ridiculous, but that’s when I have insanely productive days – by the time other wake up I’ve already completed much more than most of the will all day. But that’s not a sustainable sleeping pattern for many reasons. I tried many earlier wake-up times, but ultimately they all failed. Reason for this is simple – sometimes I stay up late to watch football. And in those days, if I stick to my early wake up time, I simply cant get up. 9 am is good balance – it is still in the morning, but I also can get up after going to bed after late matches that end at 1 am. Of course, if my body decides to wake me earlier (and I feel rested), more power to me, I’m just gonna get up earlier then.

Once I’m up, I will move to my morning routine – however, I’m exempted from morning routine on the days I will work with dad – it will make it simply impossible to complete such amounts of stuff before work. As long as I still do the habits in my morning routine at some other points of the day, I’m okay.

MORNING ROUTINE (-10 points for failed completion on days that are not exempted)

  • Minimum of 45 minutes of football(2 points)

What can I say? I just love football, and want to make sure I’m practicing daily. While I enjoy playing football I’d always skip it due to lack of time if I didn’t force it. Why do it first thing in the morning? My reasoning is simple – I just need something easy and low mental effort thing to start my day with. That is why football is the perfect start.

  • Minimum of 30 minutes of working out (separate from football) (6 points)

I run at least 5 kilometres already in my football session, why’d I do another separate work out as well in my morning routine? Well, football, while great, is not well-rounded exercise. I want to train my upper body as well and hit the weights or bodyweight exercises as well to really get those testosterone and growth hormone responses out of my body. Also, morning is the best time for all working out because your stress hormone cortisol is naturally up, as I tell you in my book, Healthy Eating.

  • Washing dishes, heating the house. (2 points)

Basically doing the house chores so I don’t have to deal with them during rest of the day.

12:00 – deadline for finishing morning routine. Breakfast.

Not eating the breakfast first thing in the morning is a very conscious choice. I generally have no appetite just after waking up, and to get maximum momentum into the day I want to get going right away. Also, doing work out and football with empty stomach is said to positively affect fat burning – not that I have much fat to burn, and I also am a bit sceptical about the whole theory, but since it works for some people and fits my plans, why not?

One of my fitness goals at the moment is (and has been for a long time) gaining muscle mass. That is why I know I need to eat a lot. I’ve also learned that I can’t down that much protein per meal, so I simply will have to eat a lot of meals. However, breakfast will be after around 12 hours of not eating, so it will be a big meal.

WORK PHASE OF THE DAY

13:00 – 15:00 first work mode of the day. – 28 points
15:00 – second meal for the day
16:00 – 18:00 More work mode. - 28 points
18:00 – Third meal of the day
Around 20: Fourth meal of the day

I’m timetabling all my meals cause if I don’t, I simply forget to eat. For real. I do that all the time. I forget to eat and end up with 1 or 2 meals a day. No wonder I struggle to gain mass. So to really make an attempt at it I need to make eating frequently a habit. Now I said the breakfast will be a big meal – that wont be a problem since I’m used to big meals and my stomach will be empty. As for other meals, I’m aiming to get minimum of 400 calories and minimum of 25 grams of protein each meal – in fact those are meals requirements. For most people the restriction would probably go other way, limiting calories, but as I said, I’m trying to gain mass here. (1 point for every 25 grams of protein ingested)

But work-mode, being productive, that’s what this part of the day is really all about, not just consuming calories. I will set a daily goal for every day and look to complete it. Daily goal will be somehow related to my weekly goal, which again is related to my main goals, so that way I make sure I’m making progress on my bigger projects. However, I do afford myself weekends off, there will be no work phase as such on Saturdays and Sundays. (Failure to complete daily goal -10 points)

Why do I want to timetable my work-modes so rigidly? Simple – I want to eliminate procrastination as much as possible. When I force myself just to sit down and start working at a set time, I don’t give myself a chance to procrastinate. “Going with the flow” so to speak allows room for all kinds of procrastination. While I will certainly be working the time, what kind of work will depend on any given days commitments. I might, for example, be busy with Fiverr orders, or if I’m having quiet time in Fiverr, I’m working on my next Kindle book, or improving my site, or anything like that.

I also left 18 onwards empty so I have some room to move around in my schedule. This time can be used for whatever is needed. (If I use this time for working even more, like a workaholic, I can score further 42 points for the 3 hours of work)

21:00 – Deadline for starting evening routine. 1 extra point for shutting computer down early at 20.

EVENING ROUTINE(-10 points for failure to complete)

  • Shut down computer, dim the lights as much as possible.

Reasons for this were explained in my book, Healthy Eating. I want to lower my body’s cortisol response and trigger melatonin production to become tired early enough. I want to be sleeping by midnight to maximize growth hormone secretion.

  • Stretch for 30 minutes or yoga. (8 points)

I have to say yoga is much more effective than regular stretching, but it requires more effort and concentration as well. On some days I just rather stretch – but in any case there’s a benefit and it’s the perfect way to prepare to going to bed.

  • One final small meal.

Mostly protein and maybe veggies, just a small meal to cap off the day – but it still has to go over the minimum requirement of 400 calories and 25 protein grams. Just following this minimum plan, I will reach by the end of the day at least total of 2000 calories and 125 grams of protein – however because my breakfast is bigger and I will try to consciously go over my limits consistently, the hope is the end numbers are over 3000 calories and around 150 grams of protein per day. I should gain some weight with those numbers.

  • 20 minutes of meditation (5 points)

Meditation doesn’t need much explanation. It’s another perfect activity done to calm my mind on the way to bed, as well as it having cognitive benefits, as well as lowering blood pressure, stress, etc. I’ve tried to get meditation habit down multiple times and failed, but as a part of a bigger routine I think I should be able to finally pull it off. It’s something I really need, cause I’m trapped in my thoughts more than anyone I know. Then again, I don’t really know how trapped in their thoughts anyone I know is…

After this evening routine will be finished and I’m ready to bed. If I’m not tired I will dedicate rest of the night for reading.

1 bonus point for falling asleep before 23.

So there we go, that’s my daily schedule for as long as this phase of my life continues. Likely at least until end of the summer. If I fail to follow it… Well, guess writing this post was a big waste of time then. But no, I’m not going to give up easily on this this time. Even with occasional failures I will always restart this. For once in my life, I actually feel I have a good schedule that I’m actually able to follow. Only break I get from the schedule is weekends, or rather the work phase is removed – I still need to complete the morning and evening routines.

Final note regarding points: just by completing the minimums of this daily routine, I will earn 84 points – 79 for actions I take, and 5 points for eating protein. 84 points would score 7th in my current top-10 most productive days of all time (my record is November 30th 2011: 114). So the bar is set kind of high – I’m now expecting top-10 all-time productivity for every day. Scoring the 84 points just 5 days a week would bring a total of 420 points, which would bring me 2nd place in my all time most productive weeks, and leave me only 81 points off my most productive week ever (Week 45/2012). So just by following this rigid schedule, I stand to score to the region of my current record points every week. Just by looking at this it looks likely I will have some slip-ups – but like I said, I won’t give up, so probably by summer all my top-10 weekly scores will be above 500 points.

I think my current absolute maximum for a daily score lies in somewhere around 150 points, but that would take a really dedicated, undistracted and industrious day.

What do you think of all this? Do you use a similar system? Or do you “go with the flow?” Let me know in the comments!