The Hard Work Challenge – Half Way Report

What’s up, people? My Hard Work Challenge has already hit the halfway point – feels so funny to do this short challenge after how long the Spiral of Awesomeness ran. It feels still like it has only barely begun, yet I’m already halfway over. Nonetheless, as usual challenging myself has sparked some insights, and we are going to go over them next.

Week of Two Halves

In my past challenges my days would be very homogeneous. Every day would be very much alike given same daily requirements. But this challenge has been quite different. First four days of the week are a stark contrast to the latter three days of the week.

On the positive side, blasting away for ten hours every day for four days gives you plenty of momentum for rest of the week. After coming from that strain, doing a four-hour day – which would have been tough for me in itself in the past – just feels like a vacation. That’s only the beginning of the difference in the first and latter half of the week, though.

Another major difference I’ve noted is how hard it is to get moving on my off days. Since I don’t have that same urgency to just get up and start working as on ten hour days, I inevitably lack focus, indulge in procrastination and am just generally lazy. During my work days I absolutely have to get moving right away, otherwise I simply won’t have time to complete my ten hours a day.

In many ways the off days are like my life used to be for me – well, except doing a whole bunch of habits that I used to do.

Getting Used to It

I’ve had my moments of resistance to working so much, but at the same time I’m also starting to get used to it, even getting a bit of a high from it. You get up every morning with determination, a goal in your mind to accomplish that day, and at the end of the day you are tired and go to bed with satisfaction.

Almost, anyway. To be honest the only part I’ve been procrastinating about during the weekdays has been going to sleep. Instead, I just watch videos until I fall asleep at the laptop. I imagine this is actually what most people do anyway, but I’ve always been against stuff like that. I wish I had an answer to the inevitable question of why that is, but I’m still figuring out what makes me fail my personal standards and need watching videos when I am supposed to be sleeping – when I figure it out you guys will be the first to know.

My workload is not a problem anymore. It is definitely still very challenging, but I’m very much capable of handling the strain. I’ve also found myself loving the whole four days of work, three days off rhythm. Helps washes off any resistance you might have when you know that it is only four days that you have to hustle, and then you are going to be off for three days. Not that I have a lot of resistance – as anyone should, I can find enjoyment in the work I do. However last week I did endure a bad bout of what I call “Sunday Resistance” – I’m sure many of you that work regular five day week or are still in school have experienced what I’m talking about – that feeling of dread on Sunday evening after a weekend of relaxation. The dread that you have to get back to work once tomorrow rolls around. Apart from that, I’ve been fairly resistance free though.

Now that my body and mind are getting accustomed to even higher workload, I’m trying to start to incorporate even more to the routine.

Pushing Yourself Never Ends

I don’t know about you, but I have to keep constantly pushing for the razor’s edge. If I start to relax and ease, I immediately plunge into the Spiral of Lame Shit. That’s why even within this challenge I’m not stopping for a moment to try to find a little bit more ways to input or output more. That’s not to say that I don’t relax – obviously I do, and as I said I succumb to procrastination constantly too. The point is that I never stop putting in the effort to improve my focus, to improve my discipline and get a bit more willpower out of myself.

So naturally I’m trying to re-incorporate all the habits that I would have in the past into my current routine. On the long-term I want to retain a high work output, but I also believe almost all of my daily habits that I had in my Spiral of Awesomeness Challenge are necessary. But let’s face it – you can’t do everything all the time. That’s fine. Doing stuff every day without fail was just an easy rule for myself to follow. Now I have to learn to do this stuff as I can, which doesn’t come as naturally to me. It is either all or nothing for me.

On top of working ten hours a day, there’s not really much you can do besides working out, stretching, writing a bit and talking to your girlfriend. On those other three days, I on the other hand much more room – that’s when I have to make the magic happen.

In other news, I’m also altering the initial “contract” of the challenge. I know, it’s lame, but this time there was an additional exception that I really should have taken into account – my eccentric sleeping patterns. Whenever I’m on a “transitioning” day on my sleeping pattern I can’t expect myself to work for 10 hours – so when it coincides with such work day, that will simply be a day of exception.

In the end, the key part of challenge is to have four ten hour days within a week and 12 hours of work besides that – how exactly that is spread out isn’t all that important.

Have any insights? Starting your own Hard Work Challenge? Let me know in the comments.

One Response to “The Hard Work Challenge – Half Way Report”

  1. Sergio Felix October 22, 2013 at 12:50 am #

    Hey Jarkko, seems like you have kept yourself pretty busy lately my man.

    I have been a victim of falling asleep at watching videos on the laptop (I have it permanently hooked up to a big TV screen on my bedroom) so instead of watching TV like most people do, I just browse marketing videos or something else until I can no longer be awake (Note: I got rid of my tv years ago but I had to get a new one for my girlfriend).

    Working for 10 hours a day is very hard man. I use something called “RescueTime” to track down my productivity and even though I have it set to only four hours a day I normally never reach that goal.

    Not because I procrastinate or something else but because that software tracks active time on a program that is considered “productive” so I’m not all the time on Camtasia or Fireworks or whatever.

    Anyway I know you are a gamer, a thing that allows me to work more efficiently is if I reward myself with something not just one full day a week but a little reward each day.

    For instance I love beer but know I can’t be living on it the entire time so instead of just gulping one down randomly on an afternoon just because I felt like it, I work to earn it.

    If I did all my tasks for a specific day and I feel like having a cold one at the end of the day, I GO FOR IT.

    So always schedule rewarding time for your activities, don’t just focus on work or you’ll burn out at some point.

    Really cool to see you trying to find the perfect balance for you man and can’t wait to see what the outcome will be on this challenge.

    Go big or go home right? ;-)

    Sergio

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