Less Reading More Doing

I’m having a week of extreme doing. When I say extreme doing, I don’t mean working myself into the ground. Rather, creating a silence so I can hear myself think again.

I have done something like this before, where I didn’t read blogs, Twitter or Facebook for an entire week. It’s amazing how disconnected it can make you feel, but also how focussed it can make you. It is not something I would want to do ALL the time, but sometimes as a reset (I do seem to like these things) it works really well.

So I’m taking it a step further this time. Here are the rules:

  • No reading ANYTHING
  • No internet (Facebook, Feedly, Twitter, random browsing)
  • Non-work emails twice per day (would be less, but I have a lot on eBay right now)
  • No TV, no films, no Youtube
  • No “unnatural” sugar
  • No shopping
  • No music

There are exceptions to almost all these rules.

I am allowed to read things I have written. I have a whole trove of stuff that I have never done anything with because I haven’t had time to read it through.

I am allowed to use the internet for specific work or hobby related things. For example, if I need to look up some code syntax, or how to make a crumpet.

The email exceptions are obvious. I check my work emails throughout fairly regular working hours. My personal emails only really need checking twice per day. Otherwise I know I’ll be sitting there hitting refresh wanting to read just about anything (hi spams!)

I always think I don’t watch a lot of TV because I don’t have live broadcasts, and if you boil it down to what I currently watch (Silent Witness, Bones, QI) it doesn’t sound like a lot. However it gets a bit quiet in here sometimes, and I often have reruns on. I’ve banned myself from eating in front of reruns, but it’s still on in the evening. No more.

In my random “routine” in my head I am only supposed to watch one film a week. Well in the first week of 2014 I watched 7. And then some more. So. No film for me this week.

No unnatural sugar. Something I’m toying with anyway, it is “chunk 1” after all, which revolves around food, and week 3 is “give up a vice”.

No shopping is pretty easy and has one exception – fresh frut and veg.

No music. Oh dear god. I don’t quite know how I’m going to handle this. My piano practice doesn’t count, so for one week all I’m going to hear is myself attempt to play the major scales, over and over and over again.

I’m not expecting miracles, and I’m sure in some ways it sounds very silly. I’ve just been getting so frustrated with all the inspirational and wonderful things I keep reading about and doing nothing with. If I want to “do”, I have to make room for it. I have to remember my voice, and I can’t do that while I’m so caught up in everyone else’s.

I am actually quite excited, with the exception of the “no books” and “no music” rules. I don’t know if I’ll come out the end of it with a whole host of things to show, or nothing at all, but that’s part of the fun.

I’m hoping it will allow me to write more. Usually when I’m cooking and I have to wait for things to happen, I will read a couple of pages of a book. Now, I’m hoping that I will either write, edit or practice learning to read music (there’s an app) instead.

I work using the Pomodoro Technique more often than not, and usually read during 5 minute breaks. I’m going to exchange that for sketching. 5 minutes isn’t very long, but speed sketches can be really great as they force you to focus on the most important things.

I guess we’ll see how it goes! Watch this space.

PS: Posting this in the evening. Can honestly say I haven’t missed a thing as I’ve been very busy working,  with the exception of the story I was reading.

I’ve read Little Women about a hundred times, and usually always end up reading it if I watch that episode of Friends where Joey and Rachel swap books (The Shining for Little Women) because Joey put The Shining in the freezer. Sidenote: I totally wanted to do that too.

So I watched that episode and had to read Little Women. I’m on the second half, but before Jo leaves etc. Amy is about to go travelling. I know what’s going to happen, but for some reason I’ve been way more into it this time. I’ve spent most of it crying (happy and sad), and then whenever I think about what’s going to come (hint: it’s what makes Joey want to put it in the freezer) I just keep tearing up! And it keeps popping into my head and I know that if I could just finish the book it would stop, but I’m going to have to wait!

Anyway, on to arty times for this evening.