as you all know, i was inspired by gretchen rubin's wonderful book to start a happiness project of my own (HP for short).
i decided to pick monthly themes, and began the project on my birthday -- may 20! for the first (but possibly not the only) month, i chose to focus on mindfulness, setting weekly goals to think about.
like gretchen, i didn't start my project from an unhappy place -- not at all. i just saw the idea as an opportunity to maximize what i was getting out of the precious time available to me. not to be morbid, but working in a hospital is a pretty effective reminder that one never knows how long that time will actually be -- reason in itself to make the most of it!
it turns out that executing one's own HP is challenging! after all, unlike gretchen, i don't get to sit around and ruminate about happiness all day long (okay, i know that's not all she was doing, but i'm sure it was a primary focus). i have patients to see, boards to study for, and all that!
it was easy to forget about my HP -- especially so in those hectic moments when i needed it most. so, i am going to take yet another cue from ms. rubin and make some sort of accountability chart (like her resolutions chart, a custom borrowed from none other than ben franklin).
i am also going to set aside a few minutes each day to think about how my personal HP is going; about what i could be doing differently or better, and how i can make my goals more specific (and therefore more accountable).
multitasking: i can't quit you!
part of what inspired this post is the fact that i am having trouble with my current weekly theme. week 1's delight in the mundane and week 2's RELAX worked because i had specific cues to think about them; i thought about the former whenever i was doing something tedious (like cleaning or running errands) and i was in st. maarten while working on relaxation (duh, it worked!).
but multitasking? i guess part of the reason this goal is tough is that i'm trying to AVOID doing something rather than trying to add things.
fortunately, one of my other favorites has a few suggestions that may help. other than "smile, breathe, and go slowly" (actually, that itself could probably do a lot for many of us!) this site has a wealth of advice on bringing focus and purpose to one's life. and leo babauta who authors zen habits is firmly against multitasking.
✔ how not to multitask is full of useful tips on how to focus on just one thing at a time to get things done at work. my two favorites:
"If you feel the urge to check your email or switch to another task, stop yourself. Breathe deeply. Re-focus yourself. Get back to the task at hand."
"Plan your day in blocks, with open blocks in between for urgent stuff that comes up. You might try one-hour blocks, or half-hour blocks, depending on what works for you. Or try this: 40 minute blocks, with 20 minutes in between them for miscellaneous tasks."
✔ guest-writer josh waitzkin contributed a longer piece about getting away from multitasking. my favorite points from his article are releasing fears of failure (because often i find this to be my mental block in tackling big projects) and build positive routines.
so, i am going to work on specifically incorporating the above advice -- especially the small points highlighted above. and i am going to figure out a tracking method that will work for me! my HP is a work in progress -- but maybe that's the whole point.
anyone else out there who has started a personal happiness project? if so, how is it going? clearly, i'm wide open for tips and suggestions!
workout: 4.5 miles (i ran short on time) with 6 x 400m intervals. the temp was already 75 by the time i started! i still feel slow, but i'm getting used to morning running again.
cooking: nada. instead, josh and i headed to see one of his coworkers perform at a cabaret event in durham! it was fun and i ended up having wine and loyo for dinner (bilberry + plain swirled with blueberries + yogurt chips!!!). it was pretty much the best meal ever.