Saturday, September 29, 2012

September 2012 Review

Overall my new set of goals has proven to be well aligned, with efforts complementing one another.

1. Move better - I did all planned exercise, with some unplanned extras, enabled by time not spent on the internet.

I setup a spreadsheet for my 5/3/1 program, loading the main work set for each workout over the last 10 months. I used this to plot trendlines of both my projected max and work weight, allowing for more immediate feedback on progress and more realistic goal setting.

Since I was walking as a replacement for the internet, I ended up doing it almost every day. Unexpectedly, these long slow walks improved my cardio, causing a dramatic leap in my ability to keep up during yoga class.

Since I completely stopped gassing out during yoga, I have been able to go more deeply into a number of movements. In one class, I even managed to do wheel. I was able to do yoga 3 days in a row one week, with limited soreness. I attended a 2 hour yoga basics seminar, and got through the meat of the book Yoga Anatomy. I have yet to see if there will be long term benefits from those.

All the energy spent on yoga and walking impeded my lifting progress. Next month, I need to make a deliberate choice between the two. Yoga is favored by a light diet and heavy activity. Lifting is favored by a heavy diet and light activity. I am leaning towards yoga, since my interest is there right now.

2. Beat the internet - This goal was my primary focus in September. At first I succeeded in time boxing and tracking my work hours, but then a high visibility project with a tight timeline got the better of me. I am scaling back to normal hours now though. In any case, tracking my work made me more effective, which was valuable in a crazy month.

Cutting my internet use did lead to withdrawal symptoms, which I primarily dealt with by walking and eating in circles. They balanced one another out, but I actually managed to get sick of frozen pizza and ice cream.

I also decided to use the internet for personal reasons only once a month, except streaming audio and Netflix. This has been hard. The biggest key is accepting I have to give up some good to eliminate the enormous time waste. I had to dispute a credit card charge over the phone - blech. Cutting email met some resistance, but people got over it. I do have a monthly internet chore list that will take hours to complete. Hopefully that shortens with time.

I am working on replacements for the time I spent online. I've setup a couple magazine subscriptions (whisky advocate, wired, mit's technology review), so I get current information on my interests. I verified the library will call me when a book comes. Video games have served me well. I do need to get better at setting up social activities.

3. Make my money work - I managed to buy a little time, mostly by suggesting the use of cabs when my wife and I have scheduling conflicts with the car. I bought more prepared foods to reduce cooking time, but ended spending longer shopping for and eating food, with no net time gain. I had fun though

More notable progress centered on taking care of the investment in the house. My wife followed through on setting up repairs with a contractor. His rates are reasonable and work is scheduled. I suppose this also counts as buying time, but I am paying a heck of a lot more than $10/hr. Also, since I was not doing anything around this before, the limited time I am spending feels like an extra burden on my schedule.

I did nothing around investment analysis. The workout spreadsheet satisfied my need to play with numbers in Excel.

4. Socialize - The only social activities I did that were not consumption centered on exercise. I made it to yoga class 2-3x a week and attended a yoga seminar. My wife and I walked more with the nice weather. Counting that as social is not really in the spirit of the goal though. We did setup a trip to the arboretum in October, but that's just the two of us again.

I passed on the chance to attend Riot Fest in downtown Chicago. I do not like loud noises or crowds, and that trumped my desire to socialize.

Consumption based socializing went well. I shared meals with a lot of people - friends, family, coworkers. I went to a party. My wife and I setup a party for November. Still, I'd like to see us do better than just eating and drinking for entertainment.

I did find that without time spent on the internet, I am more open to engaging in small talk. I actually made conversation during a haircut, instead of comfortably sitting in silence. Maybe it was a fluke, but if not, it would be very positive improvement.

Overall, without the internet, I am getting a lot more out of life. It is important I turn this change into a permanent behavior.