Day 2 of the new year. I have always been a resolutions kind of girl. Some years have been very specific like “Stop biting my nails” (an ongoing battle). Other years, they have been grander like “Be focused” (I think this related to both work and personal life). I have always had relatively healthy habits so I figured I could stick to resolutions I made, but like the best resolutions, most fizzled by spring.
This year, making resolutions seems to be in conflict with a new style of working I’m trying to adopt, Zen To Done (ZTD). Zen to Done is nothing new–I’ve been trying to work simply, efficiently, and cleanly for as long as I have been a working person. However, in the Zen to Done philosophy, you focus on only one goal at a time.
While I have plenty of personal goals, my only professional goal right now is to finish my dissertation. So professional resolution, check. Under the ZTD philosophy, once you’ve completed your goal, you make a new one. And believe me, I have plenty of professional goals on the proverbial back burner right now.
As for personal non-resolutions, I just want to re-establish some healthy habits I used to have. I used to exercise with regularity and now I make excuses. I used to menu plan to alleviate dinner-time stress and now I just throw something together. These little things make a difference in my personal life. So instead of a life overhaul (in resolutions), I just want to slowly slowly re-establish the routines and strategies that make my life easier.
I got the best text ever on New Year’s Day from a good friend. I feel a palpable energy and excitement in the air and luckily it seems like I have lots of support around me too.
YES! I think I am going to reblog this because I am in the same boat. I also like this Zen/Goal thing. I need to check it out.
How far are you in your dissertation process?
I’m ABD as of this past May. I have been working on the project for over a year (I had a baby in there somewhere too so there was some down time). I have nearly my entire project written in initial draft stage. I’m going through feedback from my advisor and editing together a full draft (to be finished some time before next semester begins). Getting closer!
Reblogged this on A Daily Journal of my Comp/Rhet Dissertation and commented:
I LOVE this post by a fellow dissertation writer whose primary 2013 goal is to get it DONE!
I went to the ZTD info you posted and have a question about the following: “8 simplify. Habit: reduce your goals & tasks to essentials. One of the problems with GTD is that it attempts to tackle all incoming tasks. But this can overload us, and leave us without the necessary focus on the important tasks (MITs). So instead, ZTD asks you to review your task and project lists, and see if you can simplify them. Remove everything but the essential projects and tasks, so you can focus on them. Simplify your commitments, and your incoming information stream. Be sure that your projects and tasks line up with your yearly and life goals. Do this on a daily basis (briefly, on a small scale), during your weekly review, and your monthly review.”
This is a major problem for me. Since I am at the beginning of the dissertation stage, the beginning of a new teaching semester, and the beginning of the year where I feel like I have to really make some lifestyle/health changes, I am not sure how to focus. There are so many things I want right now.
Maybe prioritizing will help other things to fall into place.
Does the information you posted on the Zen thing cover it, or should I get the entire book?
I agree–eliminating all obligations and such is really challenging. The way I’m adopting the ZTD principles is to carry a notebook nearby to “capture” any and all stray thoughts, keep a running list (I use the Stickies on my laptop–I have a to-do list divided up by major task like “teaching,” “Long-term,” “publications”), and I to try and spend undivided attention on the tasks I have to accomplish during my work time. I don’t do this “set big rocks” thing every day. Right now, my only job is to finish my project and prep my spring course. But if it were teaching time, I would dedicate writing time and only write during that time.
I think the beginning of the year is a really tough time when you want to make lots of changes to your professional and personal lives. I am going through the same challenge right now. I’ve found it’s more realistic to change one thing at a time (so instead of going to the gym every single day, work in a class or one workout and stay consistent and then gradually add in more). The same for work–it would be crazy to think you could just overhaul your entire work ethic. Right now, I’m working on focused attention and less wasted time. This is a goal I actually adopted last year and it started with DVRing television programs so that when I had “free” time, I wouldn’t mindlessly click around trying to find something to watch. After months of adopting this habit, I don’t really mindlessly watch TV anymore. The same goes for my work style. I don’t mindlessly check my email after every sentence I write. I dedicate “inbox” time every hour or so and I take care of matters then. Eventually, I’ll “inbox” only three times a day–at least that’s what I’m working towards.
This is a long an inelegant way of saying that you have to take what works for you and see how you can gradually adjust habits. That’s what’s worked for me. As for the book, a friend lent me an e-copy and I read it in two sittings. I think the blog has just about all of the same information on it.
Support from those around us will always help us prevail, but what about those days when we don’t have others and we must rely on our own internal drive for support? Do we squabble with this person and push through the resistance or do we listen and not go on that run? Read that extra article? Follow our heart?
Keep beating that resistance. You are on the winning side!
Build Your Dream,
Mr. Matt Pieroni
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