Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September Challenge

I was all ready to write this post up on the last day of August (nevermind even the first of September, I was so on top of things) and then this happened.  Not literally that, and that isn't really all that happened over the past few days, but I definitely spent all my computer time for a couple days reading through that entire webcomic.  While I love my roommate for sending this to me, I also... wouldn't mind getting my last few days back.

So... a few days late...

August's sugar reduction went okay.  I feel like I didn't actually make much effort aside from occasionally deciding not to have dessert... but I don't really want to do extreme diet changes until I'm living on my own and cooking for myself.

September is going to be a little crazier.  Feel free to tell me I'm overdoing it...
  1. Main goal for September is to get a job.  Not much needs saying there.  I'm ready to start my career, and I feel like now is a good time to really focus on that.
  2. Relevant to getting a job - I want to finally get my sustainability blog up and running this month.  Right now it exists, but nothing is written yet.  Hopefully I can spend some time changing that.  (You'll be able to find it at
  3. Also related to finding a job, but less so... I want to restore my CS confidence, and I know the only way to do that is by actually coding... so I'm going to try to take a little time each day to work on coding.  (This is my only concrete goal that I can actually say "yes, I did exactly that" about.)
The other half of my goals seem to be more focused on slowing down.  Which I guess is good, considering the first three will be mental effort enough.
  1. Reading!  My to-read pile is really insane right now (like... really...).  4 books, and that's just the books I actually have in my possession.  Also, several months worth of Economist magazines and a few other random things.  I'd like to chip away at that a bunch.  I also discovered on Sunday how nice it is to sit down and read the Sunday paper... on Sunday.  Instead of stretching it out all week.  So hopefully I can do that more often and that will help cut down on how much reading material I have left.  I'd like to take a little time each day to spend just reading, and maybe try to get through a book or two and bunch of the magazines over the course of the month.
  2. One way to help accomplish this will be turning off the technology.  I'm phrasing it exactly like that for a reason - I don't want to say "disconnect more" or "try not to be so obsessive about interacting with my computer" or whatever because usual ways of phrasing it focus on *not* doing something bad... and that just leads to failing to break a bad habit and feeling guilty about it.  However, having spent a week on Mt. Hood with only limited technological interaction at the same time that tech columnist Monica Guzman was taking a week off from technology altogether, I found my experience was a lot like hers - refreshing.  I also realized after the fact that the easiest way for me to avoid interacting with technology is the same as hers - by turning it off.  So instead of saying "less technology" I'm saying "turn off the computer when I'm done with it" and giving myself the chance to think twice before turning it back on.  New additional goal for this month: turning off my phone's internet connection a little earlier in the evening than I usually do, and replacing that last (generally fruitless) Facebook and email check with more reading.
  3. Finally, my favorite of the month's goals: calling people.  After my week on Mt. Hood truly connecting deeply with people, I realized that I miss the days when friends and I would call each other... to chat... without warning, and end up talking on the phone for a couple hours about whatever.  It seems like the only time random phone calls happen now is when we're really desperate for someone to talk to, and I don't want my friendships to be like that.  Also, I read recently in The Economist that a new study is out correlating Facebook use with dissatisfaction with life and person-to-person or telephone interaction with positive life satisfaction.  They didn't look into the correlation between facebook use and other kinds of interaction, but my guess is that this is partly because facebook and texting tend to replace other kinds of interaction (at least for me, they do).  Oh, and a bunch of other things happened too to make me realize this was a good idea.  Basically, this month I'm going to try to call people, just to chat.  I'm also going to make myself be open to phone calls, so... if you want to chat, call me.  If you don't have my phone number... I assume everyone reading this knows me and knows some method of getting a hold of me, so feel free to ask.  I'll try to answer anytime, but if not, just leave a message (or text me to call back) and I will call back as soon as I can.
Whew.  That's all.  If you actually read all that... thank you.  I hope it was worth it.

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