Archive - April, 2013

Another Restart of Self-Discipline Challenge

Alright, so I’ve kept failing with my schedule numerous times, and as the week is changing again, I’m going to have an another attempt. I’ve seen my productivity take a slight turn for the better over last few days, so I have feel I might be turning a corner from this slump that, in reality, has been going on since early December. There’s a lot of stuff I’m having to focus on so I should finally be able to crank up the productivity to be able to deal with it.

I’ve made another few tweaks to my schedule. As I said in the original post, the schedule is sound and I like it, but naturally real life experimentation has prompted me to change a few things.

One of the key changes is changing my sleeping pattern a little bit. You see, my most productive times in general coincide with me taking up some polyphasic sleeping pattern that sets the structure for my life. I used to experiment with polyphasic sleep a lot in the past and while I never found a working schedule, I learned a lot about sleep and wrote of my experiences back in the day at blogger. If you want to read some really old stuff I wrote half-delirious under serious sleep deprivation, perhaps that’s something you’d like to check out.

Anyway, I’m not going to go balls out back to polyphasic sleep like I did back in the day. I’m not looking to sleep deprive myself AT ALL. I’m merely forcing a sleeping schedule on me that’s both sustainable and rigid. The sleep schedule will be the skeleton that the day’s will be worked around. At the same time I need it to be more flexible than going to bed at elevenish and waking up at nine. So simple answer is getting up at the same time every day and having two slots for powernaps.

During my polyphasic efforts I learned I could consistently sleep as little as 3½ hours a night, if I just took a nap during the day. Now eventually after few weeks this led to crashing, but the key point is that I functioned. That’s what I’m looking for here – maintaining my ability to function even if sometimes night’s sleep  gets short, yet achieving regularity in my schedule.

For this I’m using flexible polyphasic schedule that I’ve devised based on my experience with polyphasic sleep.

Core: As long as possible but at least 5.5 hours. Wake up at 7 am.

Nap 1: 11.30 – 12.00 am.

Nap 2: 17.30 – 18.00 pm.

That means, that even if I for some reason decide to stay up late, 1.30 am. is the deadzone I will have to be in the bed by. Core sleep can be full night’s sleep as well and ideally it should be that. As for naps, notice how they coincide well with my original schedule, one of them at the end of morning routine, other at the end of work mode.

In polyphasic community 4.5 hours + 2 naps is a very commonly accepted schedule. My minimum core sleep is even longer than that though. Why’s that? Two reasons: First, adding more sleep obviously helps if something doesn’t go as planned. Second, I’ve noticed my sleep cycles are a bit longer than for general population, so that’s why the adjustment. Finally remember this is a new schedule even to me that I’ve not tried, so we will see how my body reacts to it. Again, real life testing might end up with me tweaking it.

In any case, neither of the naps are mandatory. If I’ve slept full night and feel fresh once noon rolls out, no reason to go bed. But if I instead had a long night and slept poorly and feel destroyed, then I’ll take that half an hour respite any day. From my experience just that one nap might be incredibly invigorating. That said, it’s not failsafe either, so sometimes it makes you even more tired. The same rules go for second nap as well.

This schedule has one significant advantage that it shares with other polyphasic schedules – you’re never too far from another sleeptime if you’re tired, making it easier to push through. But in general polyphasic sleeping patterns are rigid – this doesn’t have that problem. If I don’t feel like taking a nap, I simply won’t. Generally speaking polyphasic sleeping patterns are for limiting sleep time while maintaining functionality, but for me the time I sleep doesn’t matter too much. I merely am looking for it to create the structure for me to form my days around.

While this is the only major change, I’ve made minor tweaks to both morning routine and evening routine.

As said, I’ll get up earlier now. However, instead of adding to my morning routine, I’ve taken things off from it. I no longer force myself to work out in addition to playing football. I mean think about it. Football alone suffices for physical exercise. I don’t mean that I stop working out – I just don’t require myself to do it in the morning any more. However, I will still keep doing it most days. Just not every day.

To evening routine I’ve added 10 minutes of cleaning up my room for every day. I’m a chaotic, dirty and messy person. That’s why taking just few minutes at the end of the day to tidy up the places will be a major help to keeping my environment from getting cluttered.

Week 1 Preview

So that all being said, let’s talk about the forthcoming week. As earlier, I will keep tracking the following metrics to measure my progress with my self-discipline challenge:

Daily goals completed ? / 5

Morning routines completed ? / 7

Evening routines completed ? / 7

Points scored ?

Also, I’ll be adding a measurement of hours worked during the week, as the points scored don’t always tell the whole truth. I could score amazing points by just doing yoga all day, which is all fine and dandy, and probably would be really beneficial for me actually… but it doesn’t get stuff done. So that’s why I’ll also follow the work I do.

Another change I’ve decided to do is to start pre-deciding the daily goals before the week and to publish them here – that ought to make me post here at least once a week.

My overall goal is to get to Malaysia by end of the summer, and to achieve that I’ve been looking to build passive income by writing books for Kindle. That’s why my focus is going to keep that way for next week. Cause this is the first week I’m not looking to have very intense daily goals – I just need to start building the habit of succeeding on them, instead of trying to reach for too far. So here goes:

Week’s goal:  Add two finished stories to your platform and keep growing it.

Monday: Finish up the story currently on the works, proofread, edit and upload it to your platform (preparing book launch with free content).

Tuesday: Do some mailing list tweaks, brainstorm at least 15 story ideas.

Wednesday: Add at least 2000 words to your upcoming book.

Thursday: Write a full, short story for your platform.

Friday:  Add 1000 words to your upcoming book, pick 3 story ideas out of earlier brainstormed ones and further prepare them for next week.

I’m intentionally bit vague as this list is primarily just for me. I think I mentioned the reasons why I’m being a bit secretive about this in one of my earlier posts.

In any case, I hope this was interesting, if not, just as well, as I needed to write this to get a bit clearer on my own ideas anyway.


Back After Falling Out

What’s up? It’s been nearly a month since my last post, and I haven’t even posted updates on my self-discipline challenge. Why’s that? Well, simply put, I failed miserably.

Also I didn’t just fail my challenge miserably, my whole life fell out of hinges. I fell off all important habits that keep me on track like working out, stretching, meditation… My sleeping pattern flipped around and I was doing nothing productive all day or night. So I’m no closer to getting to Malaysia than a month ago, and I do feel disappointed with myself.

I’m not gonna give off excuses as to why this happened, in fact I think I should look into it more after the fact, now all I need to focus is getting back to track. I’ve been contemplating a few days whether I should get back to my self-discipline challenge, and I think I am going to, at least to some extent. However on some days life just really gets into way of trying to follow a tight schedule like that.

So I’m not going to obsess over making it perfectly every day, instead what I’m aiming for is simply returning to at least basic levels of productivity. I need to stop striving for perfection on 10 % of the days and being completely off on 90 % of the days, and instead maintain consistent effort on 100 % of the days, even if it isn’t perfection.

Some might say that they saw this coming, that a schedule like that is impossible anyway – but I really went beyond just failing that. At the moment, I’m completely failing life and I’m not okay with it. Basically it feels that I’ve returned back to 2010 – it wasn’t any longer than that when all I’d do during my days would be reading blogs, playing games and maybe occasionally writing something. I’m not in a much better place now, let me tell you.

But just like when I don’t stretch for few weeks and restart I feel as stiff as I was years ago and I’m dismayed of it seeming like I’ve lost all the gains of the years of doing it, it only takes a few weeks to come back to that old peak level. It just takes some consistent effort. Any positive effects Japan trip could have had on me were killed off by the fact that I wasn’t putting enough effort in to sustain that momentum.

Another thing that needs changing for me is overthinking where to be productive. Fact is, any productivity is better than no productivity.  So for instance, I hope to post more on this blog as well, even if this blog is anything but a priority to me right now. In any case, it’s time to start hustling my ass off.

On another note, I’ve also kept pounding out record negative point weeks on my points system… Yeah. Tells exactly how unproductive I’ve been. To beat 2012 weekly average I really need to find a whole another level of self-discipline soon.