Monthly Review: January, 2019

January 31, 2019

Reading sessions

30 days out of 31 (30 points)

Books read

7 books.  Monthly target = 5 (31 points)

Daily writing ritual

30 days out of 31 (30 points)

Green Shakes

17 days out of 31 (17 points)

Deep Work Session

29 days out of 31 (29 points)

Gym Sessions

7 session out of 12 (18 points)

155 out of 186 (83.3%)

Summary of My Performance this Month

In terms of work productivity, this has been a really good month.  Probably one of the best I've ever had.  

I've managed to get through and take notes on 7 books while doing at least 2 hours of focused work per day.  This has resulted in me creating 33 specifications documents for my team.  That's really helped us get ahead in terms of planning and the development team seem to appreciate the clarity and direction.

The daily writing ritual, something that I've been doing for the best part of three years now, is already a very consistent part of my daily schedule.  No surprise to see that I only missed a day.  And that was due to sickness.

I fell behind a little bit on the health side of things, only hitting 7 out of 12 gym session and 17 out of 31 green shakes.  Both of these things have suffered as a result of travelling back to England from Asia, where I didn't have a blender or a gym membership.  Note to self: in future sort both these things out on day 1, when I land.

January Reading Summary

Here's a quick summary of the books I read in January:-

The Wisest One in the Room  (recommended)
Thomas Gilovich and Lee Ross

This book will open your eyes to the cognitive biases that we all have.  It will elevate your consciousness so you're one of the few people that don't fall prey to the most common pitfalls that they can cause.

Atomic Habits  (recommended)
James Clear

I like this guy.  He writes a lot of good stuff often on similar topics that I'm interested in.  Somewhat similar to my own habit system, this book will highlight the power of small habits and teach you how to stick to them.

The Slight Edge (recommended)
Jeff Olsen

Simple productive actions, repeated consistently over time.  That's the essence of the slight edge.  Jeff turned his life around from beach bum to starting one of the largest solar companies in America, hit rock-bottom again, before bouncing back.  He attributes his success to the Slight Edge.  What's your personal philosophy?

Ten arguments for deleting your social media accounts right now (recommended)
Jaron Lanier

Social media companies serve the advertiser at the expense of the user (you and I). Jaron has a very strong and hard-hitting set of reasons that will make you think twice about using such "BUMMER" (Behaviours of Users Modified, and Made into an Empire for Rent) platforms.   

If you don't have time to read the book, this 20 minute interview covers his most important arguments:-

The 1% Rule (recommended)
Tommy Baker

A 1% improvement every day leads to a 3700% improvement over the course of the year.  Simple disciplines compound over time to create huge results.  

The code:- Fall in love with the process, do it every single day, celebrate your commitment, track your metrics and data, master your craft.  

Simple, but powerful concept, similar to both Atomic Habits and the Slight Edge.

The Miracle Morning (recommended)
Hal Elrod

I can attest to the power of having routines and rituals to make sure you day goes well.  I find that if I start my day off badly, then it's really hard to correct my trajectory later.  This book is all about having a super productive first hour of the day.

Hal lays out 6 things to do, as soon as you wake up, to create your "Miracle Morning": meditation, affirmations, visualisations, exercise, reading and writing.  

If you've never had a morning routine before, this could be a life changer for you. While I haven't done the template that's laid out in this book, I have consciously been following my own morning routine and have been amazed at how effective it is.  

I recommend giving this book a read and either following the regimen that he recommends or creating your own personal one.  Commit to it for at least 30 days.

The Five Second Rule
Mel Robbins

The only book that I don't recommend this month; not because the "5 second rule" isn't a useful tool in certain situations, but mainly due to the unnecessary padding that comes with it.  I'm pretty ruthless when books contain too much fluff.

The rule is designed to thrust yourself into action before analysis paralysis stops you from taking action.  It reminds me of the "3 second rule" in pickup:-

The 3-second rule is a guideline that many guys into Game use when they see an attractive girl. It simply means that upon seeing that girl, they have 3 seconds with which to open and interact with her. The main reason for the existence of this rule is to get you to approach quickly.

Useful tool if you find that you commonly can't get yourself to do the things that you should be doing.  This video below sums it up quite nicely:-

What Could Have Gone Better

My trip to England, to visit my parents, is always a particularly challenging time of year because I don't have the streamlined environment that I usually have:

  1. My workspace is smaller and more cramped
  2. The chair and desk available to me are poor both poor ergonomically
  3. The internet barely reaches so the office, so disconnects regularly
  4. The gym is a 20 minute drive away and costs an arm and a leg (because I'm not a member)
  5. ... wah wah wah.  Cry me a river.

Noticing that things weren't in order made me really appreciate the power of having an efficient environment to support my daily disciplines.  

There are a few things I could do to increase the chances of sticking to my habits:

Use Implementation Intentions 
  • I will go to <<name of gym>> at <<time>> on <<day>>
  • If the internet fails too regularly at home then I will go to <<name of local coworking space / coffee shop>>

Having a plan in place, before I even touch down, will help me to get things done, even when the environment isn't ideal.

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