Day 52: Post-Vacay Adjustments

We’re home! I really needed that week away from all obligations, but I’m also ready to climb back in the saddle and get to work.

It’s nice that it’s bittersweet to get home from vacation–I’ve done it the other way as well: gotten home from vacation with a deep sense of foreboding about Monday.

I’m extremely grateful not to feel that way getting home from this vacation. Yes, next week will be challenging as I try to get caught back up, but I’m grateful for the work I get to do. I feel very fortunate.

Vacation-Induced Clarity

As I alluded to in my last post, vacation brings a degree of clarity. This vacation was no exception. Compounding that clarity is the fact that I read Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins while on vacation.

If you ever want to feel like the softest, laziest, weakest person on earth and be motivated to get your ass in gear, then I recommend Can’t Hurt Me wholeheartedly (I’ll write a short review of the book in the next day or two). I will temper that recommendation with the caution that you need to be very comfortable with the word “fuck” if you’re going to read the book (as in: “get your fucking ass in gear,” that sort of thing). I’m not a big user of the word, but also unaffected by it, so no-harm, no-foul on my end. But if you don’t like the word, steer clear, or track down the clean version of the book (yes, there is one).

Anywho, as I head back into my normal routine I’m feeling motivated to make a few adjustments to my routine in the interest of being the best version of myself possible.

Ruthless Email Culling

Email takes all-together far too much of my time and sucks up far more energy than it’s worth. This is my shot across the bow: if an email isn’t really necessary I’m going to be blocking, unsubscribing, and generally ruthlessly culling all non-essential email.

Ditching Social Media

I hate social media.

I’m also somewhat addicted to it. It’s not unusual for me to pop open Twitter “just to see if I have any notifications” and find myself furious and stressed thirty minutes later fuming at the Twitter trolls.

In the past, I had rules around social media use. They worked! They allowed me to minimally engage in social media as needed without allowing social media to become a time suck or to bring me down. It’s time to roll back those rules.

My social media rules are simple: no use of social media, Mon-Fri, period. The only exception is if there is something directly work-related I need to check out. If I need to do that, I use an incognito tab, log in, check it out, and close the tab.

To give this commitment some added power, I’m going to reinstall a browser extension I’ve used in the past to help make it easier to avoid mindless social media use: Leechblock.

I’ve also uninstalled any social media apps from my phone and logged out of all social media networks in my phone’s browser.

The only exception I do have to make is the Messenger app. I help with communication for our local Little League, and a lot of that happens over Facebook Messenger, so that will needfully remain installed. Thankfully, Messenger alone sans Facebook has never been much a time suck in my experience.

Modest Dietary Adjustments

I have a really bad habit of eating late at night. Almost without fail, I grab something snacky at about 10:30 PM: a bowl of ice cream, chips and salsa, popcorn, you know the drill.

So my first dietary adjustment is that I’m going to limit late-night snacking to the weekend. That means that Mon-Thurs, supper will be the last time I eat each day. Depending on how this goes, this may have to become an all-seven-days embargo. We’ll see.

I’m also going to cut out alcohol, with the possible exception of Friday and Saturday evening.

I don’t drink much, but I do drink a little and I’ve definitely noticed that drinking (even just a single drink) can affect my sleep and mental clarity. I want to do my best work Mon-Fri, and that means sleeping well and being mentally sharp, which means no alcohol Sun-Thurs.

Finally, I’m going to rein in my black coffee free-for-all. For the past year or two I’ve drunk most of a full pot of black coffee every day. I’m going to cut that down to a mug (~2 cups) of coffee, 3 times per day: 7:30 AM, 9:30 AM, and 2:00 PM.

I’m actually not concerned about how much coffee I drink, but I am concerned about the psychological impact of my free-for-all approach to coffee consumption. I’ve found self-discipline to be an all-or-nothing endeavor. If I’m undisciplined in one area, it makes it harder to be disciplined in other areas.

While I don’t personally have a problem with the amount of coffee I drink, I have a problem with the way that I drink it. I’m pretty close to just tapping in an IV and keeping it pumping right into my bloodstream from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM Mon-Fri. That’s not a good mental habit to build.

I’m not going crazy on cutting back on coffee, but I am going to put some reasonable guardrails in place around it.

More Cardio

The last personal adjustment I’m going to make is in the area of exercise. Currently, my exercise regimen consists of bodyweight exercises 5x per week, and running 1-2x per week.

I want to make progress on my running but I also don’t want to hurt myself and I do have a history of overuse injuries from running. So rather than run more, I want to add in another form of non-weight-bearing cardio.

I’ve landed on indoor cycling as my best option (riding a stationary bike). My wife has been dropping hints about wanting a stationary bike anyway, and spousal buy-in is always important when making a largish discretionary purchase.

This adjustment is going to take some time to work through. I need to research my options and talk them over with my wife before diving in with a purchase. My goal here will be to start up with some indoor stationary bike workouts at some point in the month of July.

Professional Adjustments

I also need to make some professional adjustments, though I’m not going to delve into those too deeply here in this public forum.

I’ll just leave it at the fact that there have been some points of frustration I’ve been coming up against recently that I think come down to organization, communication, and prioritization issues that I need to work through myself. So my adjustments on this front will be basically private (though I’ll definitely bounce a few ideas off of colleagues) and focused on prioritization, organization, and communication.

Post Vacay Adjustment Summary

I’m wrapping up the last few hours of my weeklong vacation and getting ready to get back to real life. Vacation has a way of providing clarity on certain things and while that clarity is still strong and focused, I’ve settled on four adjustments I need to make in the coming days.

  1. Ruthless culling of non-essential email.
  2. Ditching social media during the week.
  3. No more late-night snacking Mon-Thurs, no alcohol Sun-Thurs, three cups (mugs) of coffee per day.
  4. Get an exercise bike and add cardio to my workout routine.

As this week goes along, I’ll refer back to this post until I can positively report that all four adjustments have been made.

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