I spent last week focused on identifying bad habits I had fallen into and working on changing one by making sure I got up from my desk and went outside at lunch each day. I wrote about it in last blog post as well.
Well, it may just be coincidence, but I had a terrific week. I felt like I was running on all cylinders. I was in the zone. I was on fire. Pick your metaphor to insert here. Things were great overall, but here are two things I specifically noticed by simply getting up during the lunch hour and taking a walk.
– My afternoons felt more energized. I didn’t start slumping in energy at 3pm like I usually do. My head didn’t start to hurt around 5:30 as it was often doing. I was able to focus better this week than I have for awhile, and without adding any more coffee either. Truly a late Christmas miracle.
– I found it easier to concentrate on Handmade Quake in the evenings. I had been starting to feel a little tiresome when it came to doing the research I needed to do for each video. The recording is lots of fun, but I need to make sure the content is there first. That work came easier, and I was enjoying the process more. It felt more creative and fun, like game programming should.
– Hey, here’s a third one, free of charge! My goals for the videos felt quicker to come by. I felt like I had a little extra clarity of thought, and the conclusions came maybe 10-20% quicker than they were in weeks past. That made me feel good about the work, leading to me wanting to get back to it sooner, and I also had some extra time to hang out with my wife. Bonuses all around!
Could these be coincidental? Certainly they could be. It was also pretty warm here in Atlanta, with temperatures in the 70s already. (Why didn’t I move to the south sooner?) That probably was a factor in how I was feeling, and it’s tempting to say that this outside force was making me feel good.
But I’m pretty confident that my choices played the biggest role. It’s funny how easy it is to frame this as though I ‘added‘ a break to my day, but I feel like I was subtracting something instead. I was taking out some time that wasn’t being very well spent anyway, and clearing my mind instead. It just so happens that this allowed me to think clearer and get more done in the day overall, so it was a net gain, but I achieved that gain through subtraction, not addition.
I’m riding high on motivation right now. I had a good week, I was happy to focus on this habit, and it gave me a small thrill at lunch each day. But that thrill will pass – it already sounds a bit ridiculous to call a five minute break a thrill. When this dip in motivation comes – when I’m busy and pressed to make every minute count – will I remember that it’s a net gain to step away for a few minutes? Will I keep this habit up, or will I let it drop, and fall into my old habits again?
The work here is not just in that initial week. The work sets in now. I aim to make sure this stays as a habit. Now the good news is that a small lunch break is clearly not a hard habit to keep. Oh, and just to note, I am doing this to myself, my job is not pressuring me in any way to work through lunch. So it should be pretty easy to essentially take a short lunch break instead of no break.
This kind of training is important though, because the next habit I work on will probably be a tougher one, and I need to remember what long term dedication feels like, so I don’t drop the ball with the next one.
As a program note for Handmade Quake, expect three videos this week to make up for only doing one a couple weeks ago. I’m still attempting to get my recording done at the same time every week, but no luck yet. That’s why I never do anything live by the way. I like the idea of bumping up to three videos though, and it may just be the motivation of this week talking, but I think I can handle it. You’ll find out for yourself soon enough.
One last thing: do you have any habits that you feel help you get more done, feel more rested, or enjoy the day to day a little more? I’d love to hear about them if you do. I’m looking for ideas on things to incorporate!