Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ditching the Distraction: Day 1 Status Report

WELL.  It has been one day, almost two.  I don't have much to report yet.  But so far things are going well.  I decided to track both email checks AND social media/blog perusal, though I am only focusing on the latter category in terms of my bright line rule at this point.

Yesterday evening, Josh had to stay late in the hospital.  I put both kids to bed and then realized that I absolutely would have spent the next 30-60 minutes surfing around social media if it had been 'allowed'.  Because it wasn't, I spent the time perusing cookbooks instead and then settled in for some reading in bed (I'm about to move onto fiction but last night I finished the end of The Primal Blueprint, of all things).  It was nice and I enjoyed it -- probably more than I would have enjoyed the equivalent amount of time spent on social media.

I will admit I also felt tempted to check my phone while playing with both kids (it didn't help that I was using it to play Frozen songs at A's request) but then resisted.  I allowed myself to just relax and enjoy the moment.  I think that I -- and many of my generation -- have forgotten that it's okay not to be entertained every second of the day.  Sometimes you can just relax and be there and that's enough.

For tracking, I'm just making a simple entry in my planner.  

SM = social media.  30 total minutes = not bad.

4 random highlights of the day

1) Hearing Pulp's "Common People" in the car on the way to work.  That song brings me back to my college besties (though wayyyyyyyy back in 2002 no one used the word "bestie."  Anyway, I digress.)

2) Great tempo run in the AM.  1 mile warmup and then 3 x 1 mi (~0.25 mi jog btw each) at 8:15/mi, 8:17/mi, 8:18/mi respectively.  I am seeing definite improvement!  Slightly cooler temps may be helping (it was 75 at 6am) but hopefully things will continue to cool down a bit more.

3) Seeing A in this costume.  (Halloween spoiler) (The outfit is a super-cheapie from amazon but my sister knitted the crown!)

She was smiling in other pix, but this one showcases the crown!

4) Finally finishing the 2013 PHOTOBOOK that had been on my to do list forever.  It really wasn't ALL that arduous but was just the easiest thing ever to procrastinate.  It is in no way perfect but I still think we will all love it and look at it for years to come.  It's also a whopping 92 pages.  I failed at editing. 

Posts in the pipeline
Another Day-In-The-Life post (now that both kids are sleeping.  Yayyyyyy.)

Another Paleo Update with daily meals/snacks (I know some of you are totally not interested in this and others have been asking for it)

A PLANNER post.  I was just thinking the other day about how I honestly CANNOT IMAGINE keeping track of all of life's odds and ends without a planner.  I am dependent and addicted.  I want to show how I am using my Hobonichi Techo Cousin but I need to create some fake example pages first!

??? Suggestions welcome.  Because it looks like perhaps I'll have a little more time if the Distractions remain Ditched.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ditching the Distraction: the Accountability Approach

SO.  I discussed the other day about how an email pact with a friend was instrumental in helping me ditch an internet time waster.  It worked so well that Ana and I have decided to start a new accountability project to ditch some other digital distractions that seem to have insidiously seeped into the crevices of life.  At least for me, they have.  

Facebook on a random evening (funny how after a glass of wine; I find myself LIKING! everything)
Email on the elevator (UGH)
A scroll through Feedly before bed (ick)
Perhaps a glance at Instagram during a play session . . .  (aghghghgh)

I hate these behaviors, and I want to do other things with chunks of free time (like reading, or talking to real people, or even writing posts here).   I have made numerous attempts at quitting, but have not been successful.  However, I am determined.

I have given up an annoyingly addictive website.
I have given up grains (INCLUDING PIZZA) and more.  97% of the time, anyway.

So clearly, I can do this.  (RIGHT?!)

Here's my plan with its bright line rules:

Blogs/social media (includes facebook, instagram, etc) only allowed between the hours of 5-6 am (I like to look at blogs / insta before running and I don't mind this habit) and 7-8 pm (b/c it can be nice to do this while A watches her one allotted episode of Mickey, after I feed C :) ).

Social media during any simultaneous afternoon naptime only (note, these occurrences sadly are rare and short!)

Of note, I do not plan to fill those hours with the above digital activities; those are just the only hours in which those activities are allowed.  I will track the time I actually spend plugged in, in the name of research and curiosity.

I plan to put some additional rules in effect for email, but I am learning that one-thing-at-a-time is always better when it comes to habit change.  So, I'll focus on the above.  I plan to track on paper and also check in with my accountability partner -- and you all.  Please feel free to join us.  If you are really gung-ho (as I am) and can offer a lot of motivation I can even add you to a group email, so let me know if you'd want that.

In other news, this was pretty much our weekend:

Actually, I think it just feels like we did nothing but lie around all day.  There was actually a fair amount of action:  playground time, brunch @ g-parents, a super-fun work party (really, REALLY fun!), and dinner out Sunday night (Burger & Beer is quickly becoming a habit).  BUT I also got some viral nastiness on Sunday, did exactly zero exercise, and had to cancel a playdate while I was feeling febrile and contagious.

Workout report:
(LAME week due to feeling sick over the weekend)

Monday:  6 miles, 9:19/mi average
Tuesday: Barre3 online workout (30 minutes)
Wednesdsay: Tempo - ~4.5 mi total, 1 mi WU (9:45/mi); 1 mi tempo (8:18/mi), 0.25 mi recovery jog, 1 mi tempo (8:28/mi), 1.1 mi CD (10:04/mi)
Thursday: 5.4 mi easy (9:46/mi)
Friday: Slept in (rest day)

I was feeling great about the week, and then I got C's cold:

Saturday: 13 minutes of a FitnessBlender circuit workout before I realized I felt awful (although possibly it was also too hard for me)
Sunday: Recovery from cold

Total miles = 16.  Would have been ~24 with the long run I had planned, but it is what it is :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

abstaining versus moderating revisited

I've talked about Gretchen Rubin's concepts of abstaining vs moderating before (here and here).  I have to admit that I always turned my nose up a little bit at the idea of abstaining, though. 
My bias towards moderation went something like this:

- Abstaining is too strict. I just don't want to say 'never' about anything.
- Abstaining is for people who have no self-control (otherwise clearly moderation would work!), so I don't need to do it.
- Abstaining sounds like no fun.
- Abstaining from anything would just backfire because eventually the temptation would be too great and I (or anyone) would want to eat/buy/do all of those forbidden things like crazy.
However, in the past couple of months I decided to simply TRY abstaining in two realms.

At the end of August, I "went paleo" and abstained from grains, almost all dairy, legumes, and processed foods.  One day, I just made it that my new policy that my default was just going to be . . . not eating these things.  In those past ~6 weeks, I have consciously chosen to abandon the paleo guidelines 4 times: for 3 delicious dinners out, and ummmm  . . .for one of these at the airport (yeah I know).

I still consider this to be an abstaining approach -- I guess my current status is paleo unless I really consciously want to make an exception -- and it seems to be working.  And I don't just mean better energy/fewer cravings/etc, but more that I am just happier about how I am eating, an area which has been a chronic source of low-level annoyance, for better or for worse.  So in this instance -- after years of moderation, I think I have become an abstainer.  At least a 97% one.

A friend and I made an email pact 3 weeks ago that we would stop wasting time on a time-sucking website that wasn't making either of us particularly happy.  And then -- both of us stopped!  Neither of us have gone to that site since we made the decision to quit.  It has been rather freeing and both of us are pretty thrilled with this.

Contrast this with about 9 zillion previous failed attempts at moderating in this realm: attempts to check email at specific times (fail), to only check facebook once/day (I do look at it less, but still fail), to keep blog reading to specific times (again, doing less of it, but still -- fail).  Yesterday I decided to just NOT use my phone for anything after work.  This worked about 99 times better than those other strategies, and I think it was because it was an abstaining one.  

SOOOOOO: what's my point?  I guess that I need to eat my words about being on team moderator.  I'm actually not a particularly good moderator in some ways if I really think about it.  I think I actually do better when I create ways to make habits more black/white.

Would love your ideas on how to make rules that really are about moderation (I can't QUIT email, for example) into abstaining ones.  Here are a few I came up with that might work:
- Abandoning/docking the phone after work like I did yesterday
- Just saying NO to FB on the phone (ever), email on the phone (unless necessary to look something up or send something for work)
- Allowing FB on only one day per week and only postwork (Facebook Fridays)?
etc . . .

Thoughts? Strategies? Your experiences?  I'm guessing Gretchen Rubin's new book may touch on some of this.  I'm hoping it's full of examples because I find I learn the most from those.


In other news:

1) Walking to the playground at 6pm in Hunter rain boots and a costume skirt?  I can't really think of a good reason why not . . 

2) He is EATING!  Avocado and cheerios here.  He also has his first cold -- pitiful.  Hopefully it will be over soon!