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Groundhog Day Resolutions Review, 2021-03-03

Twenty-nine days have passed since Groundhog Day and we’ve come to March 3rd. It is time to review my Groundhog Day resolutions. A quick refresher, this year I decided to focus on three identities and the habits you would associate with them. I’ll look at them in order from least successful to most so far.

In my research into time management and productivity, I’ve interviewed over 200 billionaires, Olympians, straight-A students and entrepreneurs. I always ask them to give me their best time management and productivity advice. And none of them have ever mentioned a to-do list.

Kevin Kruze

My least successful identity is as a person who uses a calendar to schedule their life. Instead of trying to do something crazy like 8 am to 8 pm Sunday through Saturday, I decided to start off simple. I have been totally scheduling 8 am through 6 pm on Tuesday only. Why Tuesday? Because it is the only day of the week I have no fixed duties at my day job. Every other day of the week I have either the midday calibration, which begins at 10:30 am. I cannot tell you when it ends. Usually, it ends around 12:30 but sometimes can last past three. The reason it is so open is its primary purpose is to find issues that are breaking the process. I do that Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Wednesday and Thursday, I also do the end-of-day calibration, which starts at 3 pm and normally ends between 5:30 and 6:00. Even on days, I don’t have end-of-day calibration, I have to be available. That is the origin of the 6 pm end of the schedule.

While I have written schedules for Tuesdays, I’ve had done poorly in following them. It just is not a habit I have. I have also attached times to my win, place, and show tasks. Again, I’m not used to a “work on this at this time.” What scheduling has done, though, is set a rough time for various tasks. Sure, I don’t “make an appointment with Dr. K at 10:30 am”, but around 10:45 I think, “Didn’t I schedule something for 10:30?” I look and then make the appointment. I am a little better at win, place, and show as a result.

One change I have made that has helped keep the schedule and task list front and center is using org-mode in emacs. I am learning emacs to use org-mode. I already have a habit of keeping my org-mode master file open and refreshing an agenda display.

So, my self-grade for being a calendar person is D-. I won’t fail myself as I have maintained something of a calendar. I just can’t follow it very well.

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.

Stephen King

The second best identity so far is being a writer. As I discussed Monday, I’ve been having trouble getting writing done, so I have set out to blog daily for March. While actual word production has not been great, I have done a lot of ancillary tasks. I have gotten a rhythm back in fiction reading, the first step, as Stephen King noted, in finding time to write. As Ray Bradbury pointed out, it is also how you fill yourself up with things to write.

I have also gotten back to studying writing. I signed up, and half attended the Life, The Universe, and Everything writer’s conference. I’m calling that a successful failure. The conference was good, but I learned Zoom conferences don’t work for me. I hope next year I’ll be able to go to at least one in person. Even though I didn’t do many sessions, I have access to them on YouTube and listened to a few.

The structure session I attended led me to purchase the eBook and audiobook of The Story Grid. The book covers a method of editing more than one of writing, but it took things I’d heard and read before and structured them in a way that resonates with me. I have a start on a novel from reading it. I have confidence in finishing a novel for the first time since the NaNoWriMo I won. The reason for the confidence is I have a better sense of where I’m going and the major landmarks on the way there.

That confidence and study have resulted in the most regular fiction writing in months. I have written fiction for four of the past five days. I will see if I can get a minimum of 500 words of fiction each day in March in addition to a blog post.

Being a writer is a D+. I’m still below average, behaving more like a U list writer than an S-lister, but I’m moving in the right direction.

But now I’m different. I’m constantly checking in and out of the Hospital of No Luck. I’m older. I need luck to be constantly transfused into me or I run out of it.

James Altucher

The best identity has been someone who invites luck. As I covered, there are four things I aim to do daily to invite luck: write down 10 new ideas, connect with someone in my life I don’t live with, get some exercise, and pray. While I am not consistent in doing all four each day, I am consistent in doing at least one each day. Prayer has turned out to be the most constant with exercise second.

Each of those has some advantages. Prayer has two main advantages. The first is returning to an old habit, listening to The Morning Offering with Abbot Tryphon and The Path with Father Tom on Ancient Faith Radio Monday through Friday. The second is one of the most popular prayers among Orthodox Christians is the Jesus Prayer, which is easily added to daily life. For exercise, playing disc golf with D on Sundays, I get a twofer connection and exercise.

Ideas seem to be the worst performer. This is ironic as I found James Altucher, who sparked the whole inviting luck identity, due to suggestions about finding ideas for writing.

Overall, the inviting luck identity is a C. I’m doing about average for someone who has known about the idea for a little over a month.

So, with a D-, D+, and a C I have a “Groundhog Day GPA” of 1.33 or a D+. There is plenty of room to grow and improve in March and beyond.

Thanks for being with me to review the first month of resolutions.

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