small reset

One of my goals for 2019 (and a 60before60 item) was to not read any personal development / self-improvement books for the year.

I am going quite well with this, but hit pause on that briefly this weekend to read Petr Ludwig: The End of Procrastination.

I came across this book while I was searching the library catalogue for Cal Newport: Digital Minimalism. There were 10 people on the wait-list for that one. 10! That’s at least 30 weeks waiting time.

I did put myself on the Digital Minimalism list, but grabbed Procrastination because I felt like I could do with a personal development fix on a cold June long weekend.

It’s very cute, earnest and cheerful. The original is in Czech and I suspect the translation made it somewhat stilted in places, but it was an enjoyable read. Not everything resonated, but I got some good, actionable ideas from it.

The major take away for me: intrinsic journey-based motivation will increase happiness and satisfaction much more than intrinsic goal-based motivation.

With my endless (endless!) action lists for every possible moment, I’m definitely in the goal-based motivation camp. But of course the joys of achieving these goals are fleeting – reach a goal, bask momentarily, surprised to still feel a bit empty, so move on to the next goal and the next &etc. “As studies indicate, goal-based motivation can improve productivity, but it does not lead to long-term happiness. Instead it contributes to unexpected frustration and a strange form of addiction, not unlike being hooked on cocaine”.

Well, probably not quite like being hooked on cocaine.

It’s all fairly sensible and probably quite obvious stuff, but it had never occurred to focus my efforts and attention on the journey – and to build that journey around things I enjoy.

This coincided nicely with conversations I’ve been having with Don recently. We have a (very) stretch goal to retire in #2026. I’ve been asking myself what I expect to do with all that time and how I want to spend my days. Realistically I could have 40 years to fill! So far I haven’t come up with terribly many ideas.

While pondering the hopefully very long years of retirement I’d never even considered applying the “how do I want to spend my days?” thinking to the now.

What exactly do I want to do with my days outside of being at SML?

I’ve recently established that SML takes up way too much (read: all) my brain-space outside work and am making slow inroads to freeing myself from that self-enforced tyranny. During this 3 day weekend I have barely thought of SML. This is both superb and unprecedented.

I’m really looking forward to thinking some more on this – and recapturing some of my life.

I can’t even say how much positive impact getting decent sleep for a week has had on my mental health! Of all the things I’ve done for my brain in recent years (discovering exercise, quitting drinking, quitting chocolate), a new bed has to be one of the best.

I didn’t even think I was getting particularly bad sleep – but this is magical.

Two short runs probably haven’t hurt either.

4 thoughts on “small reset

    • Petr! You’re very welcome – and thank you for writing it!

      I really enjoyed the book and got some great ideas from it – I’m already using the habit tracker – such a great format which I hadn’t seen before. I also loved your description of the Dunning-Kruger effect and your illustrations are just adorable (that smoking elephant! delightful!).

      Thanks for commenting!

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