The Hard Work Challenge

I just won’t give myself any respite – all the previous challenges have barely ended, when I’m already ready to put myself to the next ultimate test. Let’s get right to it – no sexy names this time, the challenge for the next four weeks is called simply “The Hard Work Challenge”. ┬áBoth the challenge and the stakes are huge this time…

An Exercise of Single-Mindedness

When I started Spiral of Awesomeness Challenge, it seemed quite hard initially, and many aspects of it indeed were very challenging. The thing about it was though that in its very nature, it was a challenge that required me to do “a bit of everything” every day. Sure, there wasn’t a million different things to do every day, but there was multiple habits to keep up with.

It was a very balanced way of life, in a way, but ultimately it is also something that will wear you down a bit, even when every habit of the challenge starts to become automatic. So completing the challenge was no easy feat in the end. This time, though, I will go for something completely different. The challenge this time will be completely opposite, yet in many ways much more challenging.

So if Spiral of Awesomeness was “a bit of everything” type of challenge, The Hard Work Challenge will be an exercise of single-mindedness. After all, that’s what so often you see cited in successful people’s principles to succeed – single-minded approach in whatever they are doing.

The Gist of the Challenge

So let’s not circle around the topic any more – what is the Hard Work Challenge all about?

Simply put, there’s only one parameter that I really care about – hours of work put in. Yes, I won’t let myself drop some key habits from Spiral of Awesomeness, but key thing here is work.

For the next four weeks, I am committing to working ten hours every day from Monday to Thursday. For Friday, Saturday and Sunday I’ll give myself days “off” so to speak – I will only work four hours a day on those days.

So in effect, I’m committing to 52 hours a week. Seems simple, right? Doesn’t seem too impossible either. After all, most people work forty hour weeks anyway. It is just the relentless ten hour days, ones that I’ve certainly not used to and ones that I have never before done that will be very difficult. You should note that today, the first day of the challenge, will certainly be my all-time most productive day if I just complete my goal. I’ve never worked equivalent of ten hours a day (it is worth 140 points alone, just the work, and my record is only 114 points). Again, if the last sentence didn’t make any sense check the point system post (though I will be completely re-hauling and publishing my complete productivity tracking system in the near future, probably at the change of year).

The point is this – I’m basically expecting my record hard-working days every day.

What’s at Stake?

So for me to dare to publicly put such a challenge on myself, I must feel confident at completing it, right… RIGHT? Well no, I’m not at all confident, but this is going to really push me to my far limit and it is the feeling that I’ve started to learn to yearn for this latter part of the year.

You might notice this is much harder challenge than the Self-Discipline Challenge I put on myself early on in the year. Some of you who still remember are probably yawning by this point of the post, fully expecting me to fail this one. I’m not thinking of that though.

Not only has my willpower reserves greatly expanded, I now have an external structure that will keep me working hard, and I am also going to set a massive reward for myself to make sure I won’t allow myself to fail. When you remove the option to fail, you are bound to succeed.

So what is this massive reward? Well you know I’m all about travel, and my financial situation has improved, so I’ve been starting to plan in my mind a trip to New York and generally exploring the East Coast of US in December. But no, I’m not going to just allow myself to do it – that will be at stake for this challenge. It is here in the public now, so should I fail in my simple, short four-week challenge, that trip is off. Considering how much I’m wanting to make it, in my mind that should make success a no-brainer. Let’s make a simple rule listing of the trip to kind of wrap it all together:

Rules and exceptions of the challenge

  • Put in ten hours of work every day Mon-Thu (“Word days”), and four hours every day Fri-Sun (“Off days”) for next four weeks. Exceptions allowed if…
    • Dad needs me to work – I can put my 10 hours in some other day of the week (yes working for dad doesn’t count as work within context of this challenge)
    • My brother comes over and wants me involved in some activities during the day (happens EXTREMELY rarely).
    • My friends want me to be involved in some online gaming (has not happened in nearly a month).
  • The exceptions can be applied maximum of two times per week. So say Tuesday and Thursday can be turned to off days, as long as I then work Friday and Saturday for 10 hours.
  • Same exceptions apply to off days, if the two allowed exception days haven’t been already used for work days. Then whatever work is left undone just has to be covered on other days, so that the total work done during the week still reaches 52 hours for the week)
  • What constitutes as work for the challenge during work days:
    • Any paid work done for someone else but dad.
  • What constitutes as work during the off days:
    • Any paid work done for someone else but dad.
    • Blog writing
    • Fiction writing
    • Working on ebooks
    • Creating videos
    • Other work related to this blog or my other websites or my book.
  • Besides just completing my work hours according to the above terms, I still commit to maintaining the following daily habits:
    • Working out (minimum of 20 minutes a day)
    • Writing fiction (minimum of 750 words a day)
    • Stretching / Yoga & Foam rolling (minimum of 30 minutes a day)
    • Eating minimum of 100 grams of protein every day.

Should I fail the above terms, I commit to:

  • Not travelling to New York
  • Not travelling outside Finland until my move to Malaysia.

Should I succeed in keeping up with that for next four weeks, I am allowed to:

  • Complete my plan of doing a trip to New York in December, pending my finances allow it (and if I work total of roughly 200 hours in coming next four weeks, I fail to see how they would not allow it).

Unbalanced Approach

So yeah, as you can see, it is not balanced at all. Gone is meditation, gone is hours of writing every day, and gone is reading as well. Instead there’s just single-minded work, every day from waking up almost to going back to sleep. Sure, there’s sixteen awake hours per day, but if you want to spend some talking to your significant other and other friends, eat a few meals, work out, stretch and write in addition of working ten hours, it won’t allow much time for dilly-dallying around. Furthermore, winter is around the corner, which means that I will have to take care of heating up the house as well, which again will sap my already limited time reserves.

I have never been as busy in my life as I will soon be, but I already have no sympathy for people who are bored. How can you be bored? How do you have time to be bored? I wish I had that luxury! But oh wait, I do have that luxury, I just choose to not use it. I choose to not have any time for boredom.

After the four weeks I will have much better insights as well from two different approaches – of well-rounded and balanced approach and of more single-minded, pig-headed approach that doesn’t leave much room for anything. I mean the difficulty level increase is significant – from ~7 hours a day commitment of Spiral of Awesomeness to ~12 hour a day commitment of The Hard Work Challenge.

Time will tell if I am able to pull it off, but as you can see from the 1,4k words written, I’m determined, excited and a bit intimidated (that one’s always a sign of a good goal).

Let me know what you think in the comments, as always. I reply to every comment. At least when I have the time. Which might be until weekend in this case :)

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