One of the things that I do at this time of year is to look back at the past year and evaluate how it went.
2017 In Retrospect
2017 was a good year for me personally.
I wrote myself out of a job at one client (an excellent thing as an IT consultant), and landed another client that is fascinating, intense and absorbing. Both clients are low-stress, and highly satisfied with my work. This led to a stellar performance review. I finished NaNoWriMo, and am working on a draft of a book like no others I have ever written. It was a push to get it done, but I hit the 50,000 word mark on 11/30. I had time to work on home projects, read, go camping. I spent time with daughter and husband and as a family. I celebrated a milestone birthday surrounded by the people I care about, and whom give vibrancy and energy to my life.
Yet even as I look back at all these wonderful things, I find myself less than enthused with them, and feeling dissatisfied.
It was a good year. Why does it not appear so?
I can sum it up in two words: distraction and energy.
I am dissatisfied because I am very conscious of the level of distraction in my life. It led me to put off projects that could have helped so many people. It led me to read mountains of trash. It led me to playing hours of pointless video games. It led me to procrastination and overwhelm and general dissatisfaction.
I am dissatisfied because my energy is not what it should be. I don’t eat well enough, exercise enough or manage my sleep. This has led me to collapse after work, unable to resist the distraction of low-energy activities. It has led my energy cycles to get out of whack, and I am wide awake at midnight, and unable to function in the morning. My lack of energy shows itself in wanting to stay sedentary instead of being up and about with my family and interacting more than I did.
So as I considered these things, I decided that in 2018 I would be focusing on streamlining my life.
Streamlining, to me, brings a picture of a fast train to mind. It moves through the air, staying on track, slowing only when needing to by the conditions around, and then getting back up to speed. It moves fast and sleek and has little resistance to oppose it.
I want my life to be sleek with little resistance.
Wouldn’t it be nice to expend energy and time only on those things that truly matter? Without getting sidetracked, waylaid, bamboozled or dragged down a rabbit hole?
Wouldn’t it be nice to know the path you were on and where you were going, even without knowing every inch of the journey in between?
Wouldn’t it be nice to be relaxed and present, instead of worrying about what wasn’t getting done?
To me, this is all streamlining.
And to that end I need to start tackling the things that pull it away from that goal.
Whole Life Productivity in 2018
I’m bringing this journey to the blog. After all, this blog is about whole life productivity (hence the name). That means getting things done in all areas of my life.
On Whole Life Productivity in 2018 you can expect to see articles that are going to focus on weeding away the excess of many things, from stuff to projects to systems to balance. You can expect to see the chronicles of my journey to streamline my life. And the successes and failures as well. Because I know that there will be both.
No Road Map
Since I only have an idea of what I want my life to be like, I don’t have a specific plan to get there. I know where I want to be, and I know where I am now (and what stands in my way the most).
I don’t have a grand plan, and I am going to take this as it comes.
Normally at the beginning of the year, I know what topic I am going to cover each month on the blog. But since I don’t know what I will encounter, I can’t do this. It will very much be a series of experiments aimed at getting my life streamlined.
I do have a starting point, though.
So much of my attention right now is easily pulled away. Thus my first effort will be to tackle distraction. This is what pulls me off the track of my goals and causes a lot of disruption in my life.
Distraction appears on the physical, emotional and mental levels. It is in my environment, in my processes, in my hand (in the form of my phone). This first month or so I am going to be tackling the various areas of distraction.
Since energy plays a lot into my distraction, I will also be working on managing my energy. This involves diet and exercise to lose the weight I piled on after going back to a desk job. It involves managing my blood sugar better, so that I am not floored by drops caused by poor eating. It involves making sleep a priority.
I am not a fad person when it comes to any of these things. You won’t see me talking about polyphasic sleep patterns, cabbage diets or purges. I know what I need to do to make all this happen, and none of it is new or interesting. I will be recording what I eat, exercising every day, and making sure I get to bed (and not reading half the night) at a decent time. Since all this is pretty much common sense, you won’t be hearing about it here on the blog as a main topic.
Managing my energy will help me along the path that I am going to walk this year, though, so it will be very much a priority to me, even if you aren’t aware of it.
This year on Whole Life Productivity is going to be a whole series of experiments that mirrors my life changes with the goal of streamlining my life. In this process, I know that I will be getting more productive, and it will involve all the areas of my life.
Are you interested in streamlining your life too? Drop me a line on Twitter (@LJEarnest) and use the hashtag #streamline