All posts filed under: Inward

How I invested 8760 hours in 2017

Inspired by Kunal Gupta’s How I Invested 2504 Hours post, I decided to perform my own audit for 2017. My goal was to compare how I actually invested my time to the ideal 24 hours I imagined back in 2016. This way, I could decide if I wanted to change my time allocation for 2018 and implement habits to help me do so. Back in 2016, here’s what I outlined for a typical day: Sleep and restorative (sleep and naps) – 7 hrs / 30% Creative and productive (content creation, workshops, culture) – 7 hrs / 30% Eating and social (meals, coffee, drinks) – 5 hrs / 20% Active and physical (exercise, walking, sex) – 3 hrs / 12% Quiet and reflective (meditation, reading, bath) – 2 hrs / 8%   The results. All in, I was able to account for about 80% of my time in 2017. Of that time, a third was scheduled, a third was unscheduled estimates and a third was sleep. While the math is obvious, it was still surprising to internalise that …

Standing the test of time

It’s been over 9 months since I adopted 3 ‘networked’ habits to test if I could make them more resilient than stacked habits in the face of change. This is one of the four intentions that I set for myself during my 2016 yearly review. Since then I have: Transitioned from being single to having a partner Moved from East London to North London Managed a new commercial partnership Traveled a total of 8 weeks In the past, any one of those situations would have thrown me off the wagon. Changes to workload, routine and certainly life stage have historically had a big impact on my foundation habits. However, this time I’m thrilled to report that I am still consistently eating healthy (38 AmazonFresh orders placed in 2017), walking (at least 1:30 hour ~4x/week), and meditating (~4x/week). The walking is either to commute, attend meetings or even as a meeting itself). Of course, I’m still linking the new activity to another one that was already deeply embedded. The difference is that I’m not layering other new …

Eight weeks of ‘networked’ habits

Gotta celebrate the little wins! At the end of last year I completed another year in review and identified 3 areas that I wanted to focus on for 2017. One of areas of focus is intensity, where I’ve asked the question: How can I make my foundation habits more resilient to changes in my life’s intensity and rhythm? Limitations of habit stacking. I’ve had the ongoing issue of stacking habits only to watch them fall like a house of cards in the face of change. When I fall off the wagon, it can take me months to get back on again. The only foundation habit I consistently maintained in 2016 was sleeping 8 hours a night. In Q1 I kept an incredibly aggressive physical training schedule. In Q2 I ate healthy and cooked consistently. Most of Q4 I meditated regularly. There was no stretch of time when I managed to consistently incorporate all 4 into my life together. Enter networked habits. Yeah, I know, if your tool is a hammer everything looks like a nail. However, I do find that my most resilient habits are connected …

Nesting

So, it turns out that I had quite a few things in that Hong Kong flat mentioned in my previous post. Not only that, but I had a fair number of items in my mother’s storage unit back in the States. Thankfully the London flat absorbed the majority of the stuff that arrived in April without issue. I won’t bore anyone with another itemised list, but safe to say I have more sets of dishes than any one person could possibly need. However, it’s wonderful to have everything under one roof and I’m slowly but surely editing. If I had to describe the design theme emerging in my new home, it would be “industrial repurposed”. There are a wealth of clearing houses, restaurant supply stores, second hand shops and other treasure troves filled with used industrial equipment and furnishings, all at reasonable prices. I’ve added many of them to my Local London map. Constraints breed creativity, and it’s been so much fun figuring out what I can make out of my finds. Hard to believe that none …

24 hours

Inspired by Benjamin Hardy’s recent blog post, I decided to picture my ideal day so that I can use it as a consistent, visual reminder of my priorities. A few of his probing questions caught my attention: If you repeated today every day for the next year, realistically, where would you end up? One of the best ways to consciously design your ideal life is to start with your ideal day. What does that actually look like? How often do you live your ideal day? With those ideas in mind, taking into consideration basic constraints around work, this is the current design for my ideal day: Activity type. While the activity types in the diagram don’t directly correlate to the dimensions I use in my  annual reflection, there are parallels. All of the active, reflective, and restorative habits fall within the “inward” category, while creative & productive are part of “outward”. Eating & social straddle the two categories because it’s an efficient way to achieve both within 24 hours and they’re such a natural pairing. Often I pair exercise & social time. Also, I gravitate towards …

A new year, a new tool

It seemed fitting to spend New Years in the home of an accomplished clockmaker and ironic that not a single handcrafted-clock accurately announced the arrival of 2016. What the home lacked in terms of punctuality it made up for in English country charm and wood-burning warmth. It was the perfect place to quietly reflect on an eventful 2015 and prepare for the year ahead. In the company of a very reflective friend with a well-developed set of personal development tools, I attempted to glean some wisdom and adapt his methods to fit my goals. Until now, I had only two simple processes that I employed to reflect on my year and set future priorities. For the last 6 years I’ve kept track of my happiest moments and tried to identify any patterns, trends or shifts among them. I also regularly set personal themes to guide my actions over a set period of time, which typically lasted 3 months to a year. My friend introduced me to the idea of using radar charts to rate aspects of life on …

What remains

Visualisations can be extremely powerful. I vividly remember reading this Wait But Why post, appreciating how it cut through the noise and compelled me to evaluate priorities. When they revisited the topic a few weeks back it struck a cord, generating a lot of discussion among my network. As a result I decided to make my own version of the visual, focusing only on the time I might have left (acknowledging that each of the moments is a gift and certainly in no way guaranteed). The resulting graphic is above and highlighted stars are explained below. 2028: The year I’ll be 48, the same age my father was when he passed away 2038: The year my mother turns 90 2040: Providing I reach my 90th year, I will still have 1/3 of my life to look forward to 2058, 2061, 2066: My age will be the same as the average life expectancy of a US, UK and HK female (respectively) 2070: My 90th year Seeing the quantity of years laid out in this manner can be startling. There are an infinite number of estimates you …

One year of deliberate self exploration

Hard to believe that it has been 12 months since these 3 ideas shifted my mindset and sent me down a path of deliberate self exploration: Your relationship with yourself is the most important of your life. Why are you using other’s level of self-awareness as a barometer? Don’t you wish you knew what you’re truly passionate about? You would operate at an entirely different level if you identified that passion. Learning can be accelerated. You don’t have to learn about yourself or your passions at the rate of your own experience. It’s amazing to reflect back on all of the change (both obvious and invisible to the naked eye) that has occurred as a result of this ongoing process. New career direction, new city, new habits, new level of self acceptance and new learning tools just to name a few. While I’ve mentioned aspects of these changes in various posts (city, habits, learning tools), I haven’t clearly drawn a line between the process and these decisions. One of the most obvious shifts is what I’m paid to do. …

Starting from scratch

It’s not every day that you have the chance to begin with a clean slate and choose every aspect and detail of your daily life anew. Of course, the opportunity rarely comes without it’s own set of constraints (perhaps geographic, financial or otherwise), but constraints are exactly what designers thrive on. As you may have guessed, that is exactly the situation I have found myself in, hence the recent radio silence. Luckily it has provided ample opportunities for applying design to life, which I hope to share over a series of posts. Location location location. For me, the most important decision is where to live. Few decisions have more impact on daily life and require a clearer set of priorities. For me it boils down to the following criteria: convenience (access to public transport, green space, shops, ≤ 30 min commute), neighbourhood (safe, diverse and vibrant street-level culture), space (“good bones” and efficient layout, outdoor space a plus), community (close to groups with whom I want to be active, such as friends, fitness programmes, makers, startups) and cost (≤30% of salary is a common reference). There were a …

Identifying motivations and setting goals to match

88 Days, 248+ kilometers, and 1 ger later I have a second ultra marathon under my belt. Actually, I fell off the wagon somewhere between 88 and 60 days before the race, so all of those kilometers were clocked within the last 8 weeks. While I initially hoped to compete in the 100km category, I didn’t log enough distance during my training to have confidence that I could walk away injury-free. As a result, I stuck with the 60km category, where I managed to place 3rd overall among women and 1st in my age group with a time of 7:36. I have to admit, I’m proud of my results and the fact that I was able to “maintain” my fitness level despite returning to a full time job in January. If you’re curious what falling off the wagon looks like, Nike+ does a great job of visualizing that information: The first thing people ask you when you complete a event like this is, “what’s next?” The pressure to up the stakes and seek out an even tougher endurance race is strong. While there …