Monday was a rare kind of day, for three different things coincided. First of, it was start of both a new week and a new month. Also, I just failed my previous challenge. So why not start off the new one right away?
The whole long time struggle with my points based challenge gave me plenty of time to think what kind of challenges I would like to have. So what now happens is a basically eternal challenge where I look to build up by habits towards the ideal kind of days that I would have. Indeed I have a whole productivity stack designed for myself.
Funny enough it is something similar to what I designed years ago for a challenge yet then failed miserably. While I just failed my previous challenge, I can totally see myself being able to adapt to that kind of routine now.
Here is what I am looking to build towards.
The Productivity Stack
4 – 7 am: 2.5 hours of effective work with stretching in between the breaks (30 min work 5 min rest cycle)
7 – 7.30 am: Stretching 15 min.
7.30 – 9:00 am.: Breakfast, 1h of reading, 15 minutes of stretching
9.00 – 12.00 am. 2.5 hours of effective work, stretching, same as before.
12.00 – 12.30 am: 750 words of writing.
Lets overview what I wrote above a little bit. Broken down into 4 little segments there is a full hour of stretching, that is my personal limit for enough exercise for a day, that being said after twelve I am free to spend all day in the gym should I please so, but at least this stack fulfills the bare minimums in that regard, regardless of what I do after that.
Aside that there is five hours of effective work. Now in terms of time logged in, it might be closer to 5.5 hours of 6 hours, but your effective work time is never exactly the amount you spent sat down working. By working 30 minutes at a time I make sure I have high focus and that I am blasting away every moment I spent working.
For me personally five hours of effective work per day translates to 35 hours of effective work per week. Might not sound so much, but if you have followed my statistics, even my super productive weeks rarely even reach this amount. Most people who work 40 hour weeks actually do barely 20 hours of effective work, so 35 is actually already above average.
Also the writing counts as work too, so there is basically 5.5 hours of work per day when that is taken into account as well.
I threw in an hour of reading there too cause I feel that the hour I spent eating my breakfast could be better spent than mostly watching nonsense youtube videos. But that might never come to fruition, cause I truly enjoy that moment of break in my mornings. Will see about that.
Now you know what is my long-term goal to make my day look. However, obviously if I just jumped into trying this it would fail. Instead what I have in mind is a gradual approach where I add a layer at a time to it.
Also the times on the clock, while intentional, are not set in stone. Some days waking up at four is impossibility, some days I might have a good reason to be doing something else at that hour. The times are to be held onto most of the time but parts of the stack can be rescheduled as needed.
The Challenge Eternale
So why do I call this with such a bizarre name? Well, as you might guess it is bit silly way of acknowledging that it is an eternal challenge for me. Every month I set a new target, but the challenge never ends. Should I fail, the negative consequence is for me to have to sell my computer. Yes, I recently bought a new gaming PC for myself which probably directly contributed in the previous challenge failing.
To make sure the damage it causes stays limited, it will be the sacrifice should I keep failing my challenges.
As established in the earlier challenges, for a thing, whether it is a reward or a punishment, has to matter to me for it to keep me moving on those hard days where I really feel like doing something else.
One of the problems with the previous challenge indeed was that I simply did not care enough of the rewards to be inspired. In the May Madness challenge, on the other hand, I was very motivated cause the reward excited me. So losing my PC works for sure in this regard for getting me moving whenever that early work is too much.
Now obviously I do not start with doing everything at once, though I will use what I mapped out there as a guideline, but for this first month it will be all about getting that morning work phase adjusted to. So the goal is to do 2.5 hours of work every morning before breakfast. Whether I hit the exact timing is not important as long as it is around four, and like I said earlier some moving around is acceptable, the only thing that is important is that I get it done before breakfast.
Now that should be a fairly easy goal, for I have done something similar numerous times before. So to make sure it does not get too easy, I will also go for going out every day. It is another habit that I also had setup few months ago already, and is not hard to do, but combination of these two should provide some challenge – and ample amounts of points, easily clearing 60 points today, for instance.
The important thing is to get back to the right ways of doing things after succumbing into bad habits as my previous challenge crumbled down. You gotta always start small and build up from that.
So that is it for August. I did not come up for any rewards, I figure just the potential punishment for failing is enough to make sure that I keep at it. Also I do give myself some leeway through there being acceptable one missed day per month without failure – two missed days though and it is all over.
As said this will be an eternal challenge to which I will add to once September rolls around. Hope by then I have a good foundation to build on.