On a whim, I committed to 30 minutes of writing for 30 days. Really I came up with the 30 minutes myself, but the idea was from this website: https://www.lift.do/plans/323220-500wed
The prompt given for Day 1 was “Commitment”. A bit of a bitter pill to swallow… but I’ve done worse things.
Here it is:
Day 1: Commitment
Prompt: What’s your relationship with commitment? Are you great at it? Or are you like me, and absolutely terrible at following through on things?
My relationship with commitment… what an interesting juxtaposition of words. I think of commitment as a relationship with something so that question is really asking me, what my commitment to commitment is? Hmmm…
I am committed to whatever is in my face first that gives me the most energy! That spontaneous definition of commitment startles me. It makes me wonder then, what is the right way to be committed? The right way to be committed is to be responsible: to not over-commit and to not sacrifice or hurt yourself in the process. That makes the most sense to me in theory, although I don’t do that. I see something in front of me that gives me energy and I hurdle 150 miles per hour towards that thing.
Another way I commit is based on the people that care about me. If they tell me to spend time with them, pay attention to something they’re doing, or just start talking to me, I commit to that conversation, that time, and give them that attention. Sometimes it is forced but I give it nonetheless. How can you not give it? It makes me think that you have to be committed to have the conversations that lubricate our day-to-day lives.
A better way to commit would be to think about what gives you the most energy, and commit to those things and people that give you the most energy. I recently broke up with my girlfriend of 2 months for that reason. I know – 2 months wasn’t a very long commitment at all, but it was immensely long for me. It was 2 months of dating and then 2 more months in a committed relationship (so maybe 4 months), that slowly started to become strained because I had other things and people and activities in front of me that I had to commit to instead. Mainly work…But let’s correct my suggestion: a better way to commit would be to think about what gives you the most energy and commit to those things and people that give you the most energy and enthusiasm for life, and commit what you can realistically commit to those things and people. An example of that is this exercise of writing 30 minutes every day. It’s not 9 hours a day – that would be way too much. I would get bored, there would be no more energy to be had after perhaps hour 2. Not to mention, I would be missing out on doing other things in my life, that currently give me a lot of energy.
I think I have something now, so let’s summarize. My relationship with commitment is that I am committed to whatever is in my face (!) that gives me the most energy at the time. I commit to people that care about me in the same fashion when they reach out to me or ask for time & attention. Reaching out takes energy and I respect that. So I give some energy back. A way I could improve my relationship with commitment is to define what currently gives me energy in my life and define an amount of time that is suitable for that thing or person. I’ve done so effectively with exercise. I work out 15 – 30 minutes, 3 – 4 times a week, effectively doing 4 hours of exercise/month. I am appropriately committed for the results I want: I stay lean, healthy, and energetic, and most of all, it keeps my appetite in check – I get hungry three times a day. On the other hand, I continue to commit ineffectively with work, in which I put in 10 – 12 hours a day, and then feel compelled to work more to try to get even more energy out of my job. I’m over-committed for the results I want because I see there are more results or rather because I am committed to being responsible, and I don’t always work in the most responsible of environments. Often times, clients are riddled with issues that are a result of poor decisions and irresponsible leaders. I feel compelled to fix that and it requires that I be responsible to the nth degree. But usually, I have no more energy to give to work, and I spin my wheels.
So, in short, commitment, means investing in yourself. You invest in your own growth, and everything you care about, because you know that energy will be returned back to you.
To help manage my commitments better, I am going to take a commitment inventory, and do so week-by-week, so I can see where there are clear deficits. Here’s this week’s inventory:
- Week of Sunday 11/2 – (I guess my week starts on Sunday now)
- TOTAL – 24 hours/7 days a week = 168 Hours
- Do work
- Work at Client A – 10 hours/6 days a week = 60 hours
- Work at Client B – 1 hour/5 days a week = 5 hours
- Release Management role – 3 hours this week = 3 hours
- Consultants Assembly – 30 minutes/month = 30 minutes
- Additional Reading – 30 minutes/day = 3.5 hours
- TOTAL = 72 hours
- Eat Food
- Breakfast – 30 minutes/7 days a week = 3.5 hours
- Lunch – 45 minutes/7 days a week (I like to take an hour) = 5.25 hours
- Dinner – 1 hour/7 days a week = 7 hours
- TOTAL = 75 hours
- 8 hours/7 days a week (I wish…) = 56 hours
- Work out
- 15 minutes/4 days per week = 1 hour
- Shower/Shave/Get dressed
- 1 Hour/7 days per week = 7 hours
- Write 30 minutes a day
- .5 hours/7 days a week = 5 hours
That’s just the basics but let’s do the math: 168 – 151.75 = 12.75 hours left
That leaves me with about 2 hours a day to do something to commit to, assuming those .75 hours are work/travel time…
Some initial observations:
- I poop while I sleep or eat food or do work (just kidding! but that time is somewhere in there haha).
- I work too much. I do have a tough week ahead, but I have lots of tough weeks.
- Every tough week means I can’t be committed to anything else.
- I need to reduce the amount of tough weeks, and punish people for making my week tough.
- I have 1 to 2 more commitments I can make a day. I need to do something social.
- I don’t know what I should commit to my relationships…
- I can’t write anymore today, or I’ll have over-committed. Or perhaps appropriately committed to writing, but will now be over-committed to something else as a result… I don’t know.
Thanks for reading – your thoughts and comments and criticisms are appreciated.