Creating a New System?

An everyday system, TM, is a simple, commonsense solution to an everyday problem, grounded by a pun or metaphor. Propose/discuss new systems here.
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mitchell
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Creating a New System?

Post by mitchell » Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:26 pm

I'm almost finished my first 21 day habit: going to bed at 11:30. In anticipation of (and to reward myself for) this glorious event, I would like to plan and implement a new habit: an AM ritual.

As it stands, I wake up, and hit the 'net. Bad, bad, bad. So I'm thinking about throwing together a system that would:

a) avoid surfing the 'net first thing
b) start my day off with a bang

I'm a solopreneur (family therapist, podcaster/blogger and public speaker ) so my work ebbs and flows depending on what is scheduled. Hence my days rarely resemble a 9-5 format.

Things I would like to include in my AM "system/habit":

* some meditation/prayer
* breakfast
* possible exercise
* reviewing my task lists (I use Mark Foresters AutoFocus)

Question:

1) At what point am I overburdening the system i.e. throwing too much at it?

2) What elements from Reinhard's other systems would you include to ensure compliance and success?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Spudd
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Post by Spudd » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:06 pm

Personally, I would simply make the habit "Do not surf the net until 10am" or whatever time works for you. Once you've got that down, if you find you haven't been doing all the things (meditation/exercise/etc) you planned, you can start a new habit for "Meditate every morning for 10 minutes" or whatever your goal is. Add in additional things once the previous ones are established. But just by eliminating the net surfing you may fill that time with productive things without over-regulating. That's my thoughts on the matter, anyways.

mitchell
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Joined: Sun May 10, 2009 11:30 pm

Post by mitchell » Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:46 pm

Thanks Spudd.

Anybody else? Anyone create their own system?

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reinhard
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Post by reinhard » Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:34 pm

Hi Mitchell,

I'd recommend adding just one rule at a time, at a rate of maybe one a month. If you go much faster than that, you're going to have trouble determining what works and what doesn't, and (as Spudd pointed out) risk piling on too much.

As for the rules themselves, I'd keep them as concrete and specific as possible. "Don't surf the net first thing" is a tad vague. What do you mean "first thing?" If you brush your teeth "first thing," is it OK to surf the net after? No "No surfing the net before 10 AM" (as spudd suggested) or "No surfing the net until after breakfast" might be better ways to express it.

Besides being clear about WHAT you're doing, be clear to yourself THAT you're doing them. Keep yourself accountable using a todo list, index card, or the habitcal. At the very least, write your rules down somewhere and formally commit to them. Writing them down in one place also helps you get a sense as to how much you're doing -- a check on your ambition. If it looks like too much, it probably is too much.

I'd also keep each task VERY unambitious: don't set out to do much, but really do what you set out to do. For example, give yourself a small minimum=maximum number of minutes that you have to/are allowed to spend on a given task. I'm fond of "14." Though it may seem insufficient -- can you really consistently do more? For the rest of your life? Probably not. And I think you'll find, for a surprising number of activities, a consistent 14 minutes-ish is plenty.

I might even recommend starting out with less than 14. Meditate/pray for a mere 5 minutes. Exercise for a mere 5 minutes. If you can do that every N-day for a month, then as a reward for your compliance, go to 10 minutes, or whatever. But I wouldn't ever crank it up to much more than 14. Throttling unsustainable enthusiasm is going to be at least as big a challenge as drumming it up to begin with. Humility is the key to productivity.

Not every task is best measured in minutes, of course. But the same basic principle applies. If you're studying a foreign language, for example, a better unit might be "a lesson per day," if the lessons are roughly equal in length. Or if you're doing a set yoga routine, the full routine could be the unit. But whatever unit you're using, it shouldn't translate to much more than 14 minutes.

Reinhard

mitchell
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun May 10, 2009 11:30 pm

Post by mitchell » Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:54 pm

reinhard wrote:Hi Mitchell,

I'd recommend adding just one rule at a time, at a rate of maybe one a month. If you go much faster than that, you're going to have trouble determining what works and what doesn't, and (as Spudd pointed out) risk piling on too much.

As for the rules themselves, I'd keep them as concrete and specific as possible. "Don't surf the net first thing" is a tad vague. What do you mean "first thing?" If you brush your teeth "first thing," is it OK to surf the net after? No "No surfing the net before 10 AM" (as spudd suggested) or "No surfing the net until after breakfast" might be better ways to express it.

Besides being clear about WHAT you're doing, be clear to yourself THAT you're doing them. Keep yourself accountable using a todo list, index card, or the habitcal. At the very least, write your rules down somewhere and formally commit to them. Writing them down in one place also helps you get a sense as to how much you're doing -- a check on your ambition. If it looks like too much, it probably is too much.

I'd also keep each task VERY unambitious: don't set out to do much, but really do what you set out to do. For example, give yourself a small minimum=maximum number of minutes that you have to/are allowed to spend on a given task. I'm fond of "14." Though it may seem insufficient -- can you really consistently do more? For the rest of your life? Probably not. And I think you'll find, for a surprising number of activities, a consistent 14 minutes-ish is plenty.

I might even recommend starting out with less than 14. Meditate/pray for a mere 5 minutes. Exercise for a mere 5 minutes. If you can do that every N-day for a month, then as a reward for your compliance, go to 10 minutes, or whatever. But I wouldn't ever crank it up to much more than 14. Throttling unsustainable enthusiasm is going to be at least as big a challenge as drumming it up to begin with. Humility is the key to productivity.

Not every task is best measured in minutes, of course. But the same basic principle applies. If you're studying a foreign language, for example, a better unit might be "a lesson per day," if the lessons are roughly equal in length. Or if you're doing a set yoga routine, the full routine could be the unit. But whatever unit you're using, it shouldn't translate to much more than 14 minutes.

Reinhard
Thanks Reinhard. I appreciate the time you take to answer my questions.

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