Sunday, April 5, 2015

March 2015 Review

March centered on a new approach to time management.

1. Pain Free Daily Yoga – Practice happened 5-6 days a week. Meditation every evening, until the last week of the month, when I switched over to pranayama.

I completed the meditation class. The abstract lessons are hard to articulate, but class definitely motivated me to set aside 30 minutes before bed to center. I believe my mood and sleep quality have improved as a result. Well worth the time and money investment.

Sitting for meditation did cause knee pain. I learned to switch my positions day to day, even sitting in a chair at times. I had to back off on my physical practice to avoid making the knee pain a long term problem. It has faded with the shift to nightly pranayama.

I am attempting the course from Iyengar's Light on Pranayama. The initial sessions consist of a 20 minute laying practice. Doing such “basic” work tempts my ego, but I learn every practice, and see daily benefits. The course lays out a multi-year plan, so I know what next month holds.

Asana improvements remain minor. I did side crow without propping my hip on my elbow. Headstand is becoming more stable – I did it for 3-4 minutes most evenings, as the start of my centering. There is a subtle posterior tilt of the pelvis that anchors some inversions and backbends. The Iyengar teacher lead me to it during forearm stand. I need time and practice to understand it fully, but I think it will lead to long term improvements.

Reading focused on Edward Bryant's Yoga Sutras book. I'm about 40% of the way through. It is a dense, slow read, but also fascinating. Like the Pradipika, it will make me a more discriminating consumer of yoga teachings. I expect to finish in April or early May. I'll need to revisit it in a year or two.

I considered attending a 4 day Iyengar workshop in the summer. It covers the more refined aspects of pranayama and yoga philosophy. They are getting low interest, so I'm unsure if it will happen. I think the chance to learn from and with senior practitioners would be rewarding.

April will consist of nightly pranayama, daily asana, and reading the yoga sutras. It also includes workshops on Yoga Nidra and the rope wall, from senior teachers at my local studio. I expect the intensity to back off as summer approaches, and I can spend more time outside.

2. 1 2 3 at 145 - I finished a 5/3/1 cycle this month, peaking with a 307 deadlift, which is a 5lb lifetime PR. Weight creeped up to the mid-160's. Whoops. I guess need to track my calories, even if I eat mostly unrefined foods.

No lifting related pain. No cardio. Supplements were protein twice a day, creatine, flax oil, DHA, D3 and a multi-vitamin. Creatine might account for a couple pounds of the weight creep.

I was successful in making rice and beans every week. Apparently they were delicious, because I ate more than I needed. I did bring my food to both work events in March, and will continue that pattern. Beans and rice are taking more time than I want, so I'll cook them less often.

I need to resume tracking calories. I will start April with 2500 a day, adjusting based on weight. With summer approaching, the office is getting hot, so I want a slight calorie deficit - maybe 1/2lb to 1lb drop in weight per week. I'm also going to try shortening my lifting sessions from 90 to 60 minutes. I have a lot of wasted time in there, and I'd like to recover it.

3. Advance my Profession - I will devote 100% of professional development in 2015 to my current employer. This will no longer be a public goal.

4. Connect – I hit about 40% of my objective metric. I am changing my strategy.

For some time now, no matter what I am doing, I feel like I am failing to do something else important. It prevents a sense of ease in my day, and distracts from the task at hand.

Historically, my time management strategy has been one of hope. I list everything I want to do in the day, then do whatever appeals to me until I run out of time. Often, at the end of the day, important tasks are left behind. Yet, early in the day, I'm happy to spend 30 minutes browsing the internet on my phone.

I decided to model my days. I setup a Google calendar, blocked off work, activities of daily living, yoga, lifting, time with other people, time with my wife. I made time for my wife purple. There was almost no purple. It was all coming from my sleep. No wonder I feel unproductive.

So every week I've been refining the model and living against the schedule. It requires a consistent bed and waking time. It means shorter transitions between tasks, more focus during tasks, saying no to tasks, saying no to people, etc. Taking an honest look at my time, and aligning how I choose to prioritize it with what I claim to value, is eye opening.

March did not feel so great from that perspective. My behavior was inconsistent with the values I believed myself to hold. I am working to change it. The process is slow and challenging. It is offering a greater sense of ease. I do see more of the things I value getting done. Staying regimented is very difficult, however. I need to evolve the model until my schedule feels natural.

Time with family and friends was consistent with prior months. I think eventually, the shift in time management will make it is easier to remain present with others, leading to greater authenticity and stronger connections.

Between the nightly centering and change in time management, March may represent a pivotal month in my life. I will continue the approach for April.