April 2017 – Creating a System
Systems, habits, morning routines. The words and phrases that get thrown around by those interested in optimizing their days. The way I see it, the general reasoning for its importance goes like this: 1. We only really have total control of our time before we leave the house. The moment we do, we’re at the will of external forces. 2. Success is a monotonous process of doing the same thing each day. 3. Our willpower is like a reservoir – it weakens as we use it to avoid doing things we know is not good for us.
Putting it all together, in order to become successful, many people exercise their willpower when it’s fresh (after a good night’s sleep) to work on the monotonous process of getting better at their craft first thing in the morning before the world knocks on their door asking for attention. Once we do this often enough, we form a new habit which now does not require our willpower to execute on, allowing us to add more systems or routines to our lives.
I’ve created morning routines in the past. It used to go something like this: wake up, meditate (20m), exercise (20m), read(30m), learn something through video(30m), work on my business ideas (60m), then get ready for work. In other words, my morning routine that I was trying to incorporate took me 3hours. Since work started at 9, I was up at 5.
It sucked getting up at 5. It sucked even more shutting down at 10. But I thought that was the only way to get where I wanted to go.
Of course, almost all of that quickly fell apart as I started working on my home reno. In fact, the only thing that stayed was the meditation. But ever since I finished the renos, I’ve been trying to get myself back on a good pace. Something that wouldn’t be as limiting for me socially.
It’s been an iterative process, but I think I’ve found a much better morning routine to work with. It goes like this: wake up, meditate (20m), work my idea muscle (5m), cook and eat breakfast (2 scrambled eggs) while catching up on my feeds(10m), workout (4 – 20m, depending on the day), write 1000 words (~60m). In other words, my routines are now more focused on long term success (health and writing = improved thought process / communication / content creation) while having to carve out as much time to accomplish. Of course, it does help that I am not currently working.
Which brings us to the next section of this post.
Interviewing with Mindvalley
By the time this post actually goes out, I would have had my first interview completed. It’s kind of crazy to think that was 6 months ago that I decided to work abroad and that Mindvalley was my first choice. I sure took my time… but I’m glad things happened the way it did because…
I’m writing a book
It definitely didn’t start that way. I mean writing 1000 words used to be meant to practice writing and a way to write blog posts. But one question I kept struggling with goes back to the concept of the one thing: what’s the one thing that I can do such that by doing it, everything else becomes easier or unnecessary. That is, if my goal is to build a following for my blog and for the facebook group, what should I be doing?
I struggled prioritizing writing more posts (increasing credibility), promoting (more exposure), and creating a lead magnet (building an email list) . But then something hit me. I should write a book (increasing credibility) and give it as the lead magnet (build my email list) and once it’s done, it’s full throttle marketing.
Ever since I had that realization, it’s been a lot easier to focus and to prioritize my days. In fact, I have about 21000 words written and 3 more topics to cover. I’m actually expecting me to finish writing it the first week of May. Then it’ll be time to edit and design the whole thing.
Get back in shape challenge
Last month I talked about a weight related challenge. I don’t know what my body fat percentage is, but I’d wager it’s probably between 10 – 14% (from my 16% in March). But I definitely look more toned and it takes me far less time to get back to resting heart rate again.
Overall, it was a fun experiment. I realized that putting in a cheat day in the diet actually helps a lot physiologically as I can always tell myself that binge eating was always less than a week away. Of course, when it came to being able to binge eat, I would always get bloated and lose the interest in just stuffing my face in junk.
I also really like the workouts. As I’ve alluded to, they range from 4mins (3x a week) to 20 mins (1x a week).
Now that it’s over, I’m going to reintroduce carbs, but continue to avoid wheat.
Further appreciation in storytelling
Because I’ve started to force myself to have a clear distinction between work (from whenever I wake up – usually 9-10am – until 6pm) and rest of life, I’ve had the time to play a game called The Last of Us. It is an action horror game. But what really stands out is how they were able to tell such a beautiful story that quickly got me from playing the characters to being there with the characters. That’s when I finally understood how games can also tell such compelling stories.
What if influencers did more
This was probably one of my larger insights for the month. It started off with an innocent instgram post for my daily gratitude challenge. It ended up making me think how all these influencers on the web can do so much more for society instead of just promoting their material. More concretely, I am determined to use my influence with my personal finance blog to create events that are focused on giving back to the community.
It’s weird to think that I’ve had no formal responsibilities for the past 6 months. At the same time, I haven’t gotten bored of it. This is big news as I was already bored to death at my first full time job by the 6 month mark. In fact, I think this is big enough news to warrant its own post.
That said, I do think it’s time to really move on finding myself some opportunity abroad. With the Mindvalley interviews started, I can now apply for other opportunities and not have to worry about deciding on those offers before I know where I stand with Mindvalley. This means that my first objective is to…
Secure an opportunity abroad
In the past, I was hesitant on applying for any other opportunities before submitting my Mindvalley app simply because Mindvalley was my first choice. But now that the process is underway, and taking what I learned from the book Designing your life (Goodreads, Amazon,
I know that I can still experience everything I want by combining multiple projects I am working on with an international experience. More specifically, I know that professionally, I want to continue to improve my writing, marketing experience, and storytelling. From a personal experience, I want to challenge myself to integrate into another county as well as to learn to appreciate all the great benefits that Canada has to offer. The ideal would be working at Mindvalley, a company I view as a top tier education marketing company. But since I have all these other projects on the side, I can still hone my professional goals through the projects and find another internship to get my personal experience.
Anyway, now that I’m in the interview phase with Mindvalley, I can start applying for opportunities through AIESEC and continue to work my network.
The goal: have something secured this month to leave in June / July.
Have my book ready to be distributed
The writing is almost done. The editing and designing are the two big pieces left to finish. If I can have those two finished by the end of the month, I can start promoting the book in June. The book is focused around everything that a recent grad should know about personal finance. It will cover everything right before the point of getting married or buying a house.
Do some sort of day / overnight trip
April had some pretty bad weather which prevented me from hiking the trails in Hamilton. And it seems like the beginning of May is worse. So instead of focusing on only Hamilton, I’ve decided to expand it to just some sort of trip. Partly to make sure I get to do something. And partly to use my car a few more times before it gets scrapped (which is probably what will happen when I leave).
Plow through programs and courses
I have bought and been shared many different programs and courses over the last year. I have not finished the majority of them. So I will be dedicating 2 – 3hrs a day to go through them. The nice thing is if it’s mainly audio, my default listening speed is 2x and if it’s super interesting and only audio (minimal note taking), I’ve learned to pull off 4x (a quick aside: it’s really weird to read something after listening to audio at 4x – everything seems so much slower).
Finish Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins
I’ve had this book for a year now and have attempted to read it a few times in the past. I failed. It was packed with information that was way over my head at that time so I’m hoping that the message will be able to resonate a little better this time around. Tony has mastered Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) which in turns allows him to rewire anyone’s brain to become a lot more positive and effective. I’d be interested in doing that to myself and once comfortable, be able to help my friends who may be going through rougher periods of life.