I’m trying lots of experiments. If you get good at the Standards Chart, you can use it as a launching pad for other, less fundamental self-improvement tools.
This week I made something called the “Mind Log” where I keep track of what I eat, what mood I’m in, how much I’m exercising or playing video games… (its name makes no sense, I know). Some items which normally appear on the Standards Chart are now in the Mind Log — like, instead of a “No Drugs” item, I just keep track of my drug intake, it’s right there in my face. This way, the Standards Chart is more about achievement and goals, and the Mind Log is about keeping track of statistics and looking for patterns. It’s two different things.
I’m influenced by Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek. Two of his ideas made it in — the “Two Do” List, where you write the 2 things you must do today. That feels much more achievable than, say, 6 things … and, in fact, most days, it’s hard to get more than a few big things accomplished. The “Two Do” List forces you to focus on what’s crucial. Another Ferriss concept is the “0-calorie information diet”, which means, don’t read any blogs/books/etc. Don’t input any data. I find that when I wake up, I’m more “hungry” for information than for food. But once I start reading, my mind become preoccupied and it’s hard to focus on my work. So I really need to get the day going before I start absorbing the world.
A new invention is the “Themes List”. I picked a theme for the week, the year, and the decade, and just stare at this list for a minute. I love the idea of humans as programmable systems. Just put some language in front of them, and they start to think and act differently. This is self-brainwashing. I’m reinforcing what’s important. When the week started, I thought of “Triumph” as the destruction of all opposition on some glorious path. By Wednesday it evolved; it no longer made sense to fight every little enemy, but to let shit slide and save my willpower for the real battles. Perhaps this will save lots of energy/anguish in the long run.
Here is a video of my presentation at the Quantified Self Meetup a few weeks ago. I don’t have a firm release date for the website right now, but if you email me I’ll let you know when it’s ready!