Things have changed. Last week, I hosted a Live Your Legend LOCAL event in Bremen, and a Desire Map Book Club session, which were my first successful experiences of organizing and leading events (the only similar experience which I could remember of was my year of teaching programming a few years ago). And this week I have met a new friend in Hamburg who is also following a personal legend. Altogether, my connectedness with people locally grew from almost nothing to something: several people appeared in my life who I can care about. Hopefully, I can also help and support them… starting already from bringing them together and facilitating to share what is important: dreams, feelings, fears, and the work that matters.
As the result of the above, my mindset shifted. I was touched by a spark of possibility here and an inspiring story there, noticed a sign in one discussion and have been given an explicit request to go for it in another… Ultimate conclusion: never underestimate the importance of your surroundings!
First of all, my sleep pattern started to normalize. An attendee of the LYL event also had a similar issue as me with the sleeping patterns and shared it during our discussions, presenting others an opportunity to give us several good ideas. Plus, I have already been keeping my mind open for solutions for some time, and received a couple of good advices before that evening. A few days after the LYL event, I decided to ask for help from a counselor at the university… which effectively created an external accountability and grounded my commitment to the change, leading me to adopt the following ideas:
- no eating before sleep,
- using the bed only for sleep (no reading, reflecting, working or anything else!),
- abstaing from devices in the last hour before going asleep,
- having a relaxed time and meditating for a good part of that hour.
Also, a helpful step that we came up during the counseling session was to move from the fixed targets of sleep start/end times to intervals. I welcome you to ask yourself these questions:
- What is the earliest time for you to get up and feel good?
- What is the latest time?
- What duration of sleep do you need to have a proper rest?
After that, a basic calcualtion gives you the estimate of the appropriate interval for going to bed. But the counselor pointed to me that actually the stable time of waking up and getting up is much more important. A person may go for a couple of days and function well with less than the optimal duration of sleep, while holding onto the same raising time ensures that by the next evening you get tired and are ready to sleep again.
PhD and RYPL
The grand commitment, however, was inspired in me by a coincidence. My dear Australian friends are organizing the RYPL 2014 conference in Sydney in mid-October (info and first tickets here, I have already got mine!) Exactly that week marks the end of the initial funding of the PhD project which I am working on. As I am absolutely not looking forward to working on the project any longer than that, I decided to commit to October 15 to finish it, and go celebrate my freedom at RYPL.
That decision brought several questions to my immediate attention. What do I need to do to complete the PhD? Can I actually afford going to Australia, together with attending World Domination Summit 2014 in Summer? What will I do afterwards, what will I actually be working on, how will I be making money to sustain myself, where in the world will the action take place?
After pondering these questions for a while in my mind and sharing them with a few friends, the need and desire for planning the folloeing had become obvious:
- the 9 months of the PhD;
- my finances until October ’14 (inclusively) – and estimated amount on my bank account that I will have after that (if anything!);
- my career decisions targeted towards November and beyond.
I am starting to working on the plans these days.
In the meanwhile, I returned to the work on the PhD project itself. I struggled with it and inevitably failed to do anything over the last month of living in the dark and isolation, doomed by the feeling of endlessness of the project… So for my return this Monday, I decided to adopt the strategy of working in 15-minute bursts of focused work (which, as far as I remember, I had taken from Leo of Zen Habits). This helps to calm down the mind and overcome resistance (“Come on, it is only for 15 minutes!”) while creating the momentum. I am setting timer for 15 minutes, but sometimes continue working for a few minutes more, to bring the efforts to a logical stop.
Additionally, this week of the PhD I have been focusing on a long overdue and time-consuming, but essentially very simple task: commenting and documenting the existing source code of my software. I am a big believer in thinking about the people who come after us and leaving everything in the better condition than we found it. I remember how much effort I needed to understand and reuse parts of the code that were given to me to build upon, and I will do what I can to make the life easier for a person who might come to develop the project after me.
As with these 15-minute bursts which build up to a solid results when combined in multitude every day, I have been progressing in several areas of my life using a concept of thirty-day challenges (originating from this article of Steve Pavlina). Currently, I am working on a physical challenge of training towards handstands (finishing my first month this week, following program from NerdFitness) and on my improvisation challenge (finishing third week of it, see it on Vimeo).
Tomorrow, something very exciting happens in my life – keep an eye on my Twitter feed and my Facebook page if you want to learn about it more ;) Then, Desire Map Book Club sessions continue on Saturday, and next week we are launching the LYL community in Hamburg.
I am very excited and looking forward to living a great year!
Share your voice in the comments! If you have joined one of the LYL LOCAL events, please write how your life has been changing in response to meeting new inspiring people. In any case, tell us what you are building this year!