It has been about two months since this strange little experiment, born out of boredom and a sense of confusion with what to do with myself after college, began. While I no longer have a neat little grading system to judge how well I’ve done, I can still make an attempt to see how I’ve measured up.
I started off by dividing up my day: 8 hours for sleep, 8 hours for work, 8 hours for everything else. On workdays I estimated that I would only actually have 4 hours off free time once I factored in all my daily little errands plus commuting time. Total, I estimated I would have 52 hours of free time a week (4 hours 5 days a week, plus 16 hours on my 2 days off).
Of those 52, 7 hours-one hour a day-were to be spent on reading, writing, and exercising each. (52-21=31). Of the remaining 31, I wanted to spend 8 hours a week, or 4 hours each, on two things off the “second rung” of self-improvement.
The remaining 23 I left as a buffer zone. I didn’t want to risk overwhelming myself by being too rigid about it.
For the “first rung”-reading, writing, and exercise-I have done well. By virtue of my job, I have ample time to read, often reading 2 or 3 hours a night. With this blog, I am writing at least 7 hours a week.
The “second rung” has proved a little bit more problematic. I think the issue is that I have not used this blog to make myself accountable enough, so at the end of this entry, I will be posting a long list of the “second rung” items that I want to improve at. I will work on these two weeks at a time, and will announce each Sunday which items off the list I am planning on working on. This week I’m working on my French and Bhangra (a Punjabi style of dance), each for at least four hours.
Another problem is time management. By far the biggest waste of time is the computer.
Finally, every night before I go to bed, I make a to-do list and every morning when I wake up, I review it. Thanks to the cruddy walls in my apartment, I am able to simply tack it on to the wall next to my bedroom. Also: impromptu art projects like this:
Overall grade: B. Have done well with the first rung, but need to more conscientious about the second rung. Being good at managing my time, and being more aware of how I’m spending my time is what has hamstrung my efforts.
Finally, the list. If there are any things that are missing or that you yourself have on your own list of self improvement, I’d love suggestions.
The problem with New Year’s resolutions is people tend to choose abstract ideas and have no plan for implementation, I tried to pare down this list to concrete things that I will be able to improve on and spend time on in a quantifiable manner, so as not to get disconnected from the idea of improving myself.
- hip hop
- art criticism (spending more time at art shows, reading up on art)
- film criticism (spending more time seeing films, reading up on film, film theory)
- sociology (know the basics)
- exploring New York City
- Public speaking
- Another language (Chinese, Italian)
- Interpersonal interaction (will come up with exercises to practice)