What a damn strange week. It was totally off-track by my metrics, through a mix of stupid stuff coming up (people late, canceled appointments, need to do runaround stuff like renew visas), good opportunities coming my way that I grabbed that weren't on the core metrics, and after things started to slip, then poor pre-planning and poor tracking making it worse.
Let's review this week in-depth, it might be interesting for you. Here's a breakdown of what happened by day --
Day Eight: Busy, a couple big wins, but not on-track with my metrics.
Day Nine: Day started very strong, but then I had to do a lot of running around -- renewing my business visa, foreign resident registration at the police station, etc. Once I got into the "errand running" part of the day between visas, etc, the day went off-track.
Day Ten: Also hosed -- I had a few client calls at weird hours, so I had broken sleep through the night (with calls mixed in), then first thing in the morning I had to go to the Public Security Bureau for the new interview for my F-Visa. ("Interview" sounds stronger than it is. I stood in line for 40 minutes or so, smiled, said hello, they took my picture, I signed the form, and left.) Then had lunch about 40 minutes later, though my host for lunch was an hour late… and just like that, the top half of the day was gone, and already out in space. Did a long walk back home (from Guomao to Shuangjing), then a client canceled a call (family emergency on his end), and the power went out at one of my properties because the guys renting burned through a lot more power than normal.
Around this point in the week, I'm pretty exhausted and feeling a little burnt-out. I took Day Eleven (Saturday) off.
Day Eleven: My notes for the day: "Day was unplanned, but good. Did some reading, some daydreaming, got a massage, went for a walk, did more reading… got inspired at one point and answered like 30 emails, including some important ones to advance potential projects. Did some goal-setting and planning, did some brainstorming on writing pieces."
Day Twelve: I planned this one out, and had a very solid day. I was doing some quite important non-metrics stuff. Though, the key metrics didn't get met… again.
Day Thirteen: A series of rapid phonecalls, some advancing projects; some not. We got an opportunity to do a cool small technology project and had written up a proposal some months ago, and hadn't heard back from them after following up -- and out of the blue, they're interested. So I spent a few hours looking at some API's, etc. Mix that in with some phonecalls, and client work, and there's another busy-but-not-on-track-with-core-metrics day.
Day Fourteen: ANOTHER one of those days. I started by clearing out a lot of general stuff -- email, banking, finance, looking at ads and replying to things about real estate, etc. I had a call at 10PM with a guy I'm thinking of using as our new banker for a new LLC, but he was an hour late and I was losing concentration and dropped off from that… and then… I don't know, not much done that day either.
What's the trend here? Well, I'm halfway going to chalk it up to "weeks like this happen" -- there's very days I individually regret, yet collectively the week was off-track.
What's that mean? Some thoughts --
1. Need to really go out of the way to get adequate sleep and recovery, especially when ugly stretches coming up. Broken sleep, combined with early running-around stuff is a bad combination that should be counteracted with a nap, early bedtime, etc.
2. My schedule was really not very "fault tolerant" -- I had an unusually large amount of appointments get moved in time, people being late, emergency on their end, whatever. I also had an unusually large number of nonsense things come up -- power goes off even though it had been prepaid and I wasn't thinking of looking at it for 4-6 more weeks, and this week was the one I had to re-do my visas which typically burns the equivalent of a complete day.
But, so what? You've got to win anyways. There were a lot of little 60 to 120 minute blocks that I could have scored some quick wins even amidst the chaos. I need to create some fallback/chip-away type stuff that doesn't need long blocks of time and consistency to reach.
3. After the week got quite off-track, it got really off-track. That just happens and there's no real way around it. Go get 'em next week.
4. I had a lot of high value opportunities come up that weren't on my metrics. Seizing them was more-or-less the correct call, but consistent followthrough on core projects/focus areas is what produces the biggest gain. I can't say that I'd drop any particular one of the things I took up, but I need to make sure a baseline of metrics are being met.
5. My pre-planning got looser and sloppier as the week went on. Things like "Do this OR this OR that" in a time slot. That removes one of the largest advantages of pre-planning.
Physical Fitness: Completely on-track actually, with a solid week with good lifting.
Sales/Clients: Improvements and iteractions in the process, one new client added, but nowhere near enough calls. Just a handful. Didn't source leads (damn, didn't even look at that -- it would have been easy to do). And correspondingly, no new revenues.
Philanthropy: Plodded along, no real gains here.
Personal: Time-tracking was sloppy, and missed two days of tracking. Night-before planning was all-but-given-up after midweek. Didn't do a great piece of writing. Did stay mostly healthy and documented observations.
People: Some good conversations, a little connecting, but nothing major.
For the next week --
1. Get back on the fundamentals. Good planning, tracking, sticking with it.
2. Have some "chip-away-at-it" gains to make during 30 to 90 minute breaks between activities. That's enough time to grab onto something instead of waste time, if prepared for it.
3. I'm going to tentatively mark down Saturday as a day to take off again, and then be quite willing to push hard on Friday. Knowing the rest is coming means you can sprint a little bit.
4. Also, I'm going to try explicitly scheduling some reading into my day -- looking at the schedules of quite successful people both historical and contemporary, they seem to explicitly schedule reading into the day. I'm going to try that out.
I was feeling my energy and focus was off, so I decided to take a day entirely off and let come what may. Here's the notes --
Day was unplanned, but good. Did some reading, some daydreaming, got a massage, went for a walk, did more reading… got inspired at one point and answered like 30 emails, including some important ones to advance potential projects. Did some goal-setting and planning, did some brainstorming on writing pieces.
Didn't track the day at all -- didn't even try to. Just relaxed, etc. Sleeping around 3:20AM.
As a side note, my energy/focus was really low, and I wasn't sure why. I sat and thought about it for a while, and I wondered if I was overtrained/undernourished perhaps... I've been eating very clean with basically zero carbohydrates, but maybe I wasn't eating enough?
I sat and thought about it for an hour, then decided to have a cheat day. So I ate rice, some scones, bread and butter, fruit, fruit candy, peanut M&M's, Red Bull, gummy bears, and more bread. I was going quite crazy, I was wondering if my metabolism had slowed down or if I was undernourished.
Wednesday September 25, 2013
Good day for the challenge. I began a tracking habit, that I think will bring good gains and help me to keep on track and be more productive. It's given me a boost of motivation for today, that's a good sign. What it looks like:
Just looking at this, I know I spent 1 out of 5+ hours I know that I had free time on campus studying. Some of it was spent on eating, and things went well there. The tracking also gave me a motivational push to do some meditation today.
Going forward, I think this will be a useful tool.