A new year has begun, and while I have seen may people forswear making any resolutions this time around, that didn’t work out so well for me last year (when I forgot), so here I am again. However, rather than call these resolutions, perhaps “plans” might be a better appellation, as some of them are specific goals to meet, while others are behaviours that need modification.
The first plan is, perhaps, unsurprising.
Plan 1: Finish the !^@% PhD
I’m in year 7, now, which is frankly ridiculous. I turned down a lucrative job last year in order to finish up, I have a bit of debt that needs paying off, and on my next birthday I’m going to need an extra bit to represent my age in binary. It is time for me to move on with my life. If I want to spend more years in school in the future, it needs to be for another degree, not this one.
Pursuant to Plan 1, we come to…
Plan 2: Stop Wasting Time on the Internet
Yes, I’m aware of the irony of complaining that I waste time on the Internet in a blog post, but I don’t consider blogging a waste of time—I’m still producing something, you see. The time wasting comes from all the online consumption: playing awful Facebook “games”, reading blogs that I’m not interested in, obsessively checking to see if sites I am interested in have updated, and so on.
I’m going to start by enhancing my LeechBlock filters to block all of my time-wasting sites during my working hours, and if I find a new time-wasting site, I’ll add it to the block list ASAP. I will allow myself to blog or tweet (now that I’m on Twitter) during blocked hours, as that is productive (after a fashion), but that’s it.
This plan may lead to a flurry of blog posts and tweets in lieu of me doing my actual research, but I’ll feel better about that than just wasting time on Facebook every day.
This plan ties closely in with…
Plan 3: Stop Wasting Time In General
Most of my general time-wasting comes from watching reruns of shows I’ve already seen or broadcasts of movies I own on DVD. I also snack when doing this. This is a complete waste of time, and not really good for my health. I’m good with watching new episodes of shows that I enjoy, but other than that, I need to keep the TV off so that I don’t spend to much time sitting around like a lump.
This brings us to…
Plan 4: Get Healthy
My life is generally sedentary. I work at the computer all the time. And then I use it to waste time recreationally. Then I take a break from relaxing to watch TV and have a snack. This does not a healthy lifestyle make.
The first thing I need to do on this front is break my obsessive-compulsive snacking habit. Once I fall into a pattern of behaviour, I repeat it automatically, and that is what has happened over the last few years: I snack as a distraction from my work, far more than I ever did during undergrad or high school. I need to break that habit.
Then, I need to get some more exercise, and eat healthier in general. I’m getting older and sooner than I’d like my body won’t be able to rebound from everything I put it through. So I need to go to a gym, or take up Taekwon-Do again, perhaps. I’ll have to sort that out soon—the extra energy will allow me to work better on my research.
Plan 5: Read More
I will grant that recreational reading is a distraction from my research, but I would very much prefer to train myself so that when I want to take a break, my first instinct is to reach for a book and not to turn on the TV. Besides, if I read more, I’ll have something to blog about, and that counts as productivity.
Which brings us to…
Plan 6: Write More
This is a fairly broad plan, but is meant to cover blog posts, tweets, research papers, my doctoral thesis, and works of fiction. I feel my life has been too passive for the last few years, and I want to start producing something again. A large chunk of that productivity will be toward the software I’m developing for my research, but the written word is the other thing I have the wherewithal to produce, so I’ll do my damnedest to produce more of it.
Expect updates on these plans throughout the years, and please hassle me if I seem to be letting them slide.
Happy New Year to all who read this, and best of luck in the coming year!