Wednesday, January 02, 2013

New in 2013: The Daily Hour

It's been several years since I was so productive that I elicited this guest post by Mike (of Mike and Chompy). In an effort to add a little more structure to my days this year, I'm going to start something called "The Daily Hour" (to be followed by "The New Daily Hour" in 2014, and "The New Daily Hour WiiU" in 2015).

The Daily Hour is a reserved period of each day with a thrust towards learning something new, volunteering my time, or keeping myself and the homefront in order. It is merely a structured timeslot, and not a set of tangible goals. Rather than come up with a list of specific resolutions that I have to follow through with, this approach just gives me the structure I need to explore many different opportunities for growth. I can spend longer on things that interest me, or quickly drop activities that are boring.

This will take place on any day when I'm home and not on a crazy trip to New Zealand. I'm shooting for five days a week (after work), but hope to do it on the weekends as well. The Daily Hour is broken down into six 10 minute slots. The first slot will be devoted to reading the featured Wikipedia article of the day (learning something new), and following any interesting links from said article. The second slot will be a small organizational task, like cleaning out one file in the file cabinet, or organizing one messy shelf in the closet (improving the homefront).

In the remaining 40 minutes, I can do one or two other activities of my choosing. Some of the ideas I have in mind so far:

  • Practicing a musical instrument, like the trumpet, electric bass, or some jazz piano
  • Reading a textbook in an unfamiliar topic area
  • Composing
  • Contributing to the Paravia Wiki
  • Improving the Stone Middle School Band website
  • Improving my Photoshop and Audition skills
  • Learning video editing
  • Open source software development
  • Learning new computer languages

20 to 40 minutes is a nice accessible amount of time -- long enough to make some progress on any activity, but not so long that I get bored. The pie chart shows what I did for my first Daily Hour yesterday.

Last year's goal of running or walking for at least 2 hours every week still stands (and was a success in 2012), so I'm allowed to do my normal 40 minute workout as part of the Daily Hour. On the days where nothing on the list seems enticing, I can just jump on the treadmill and get some exercise (improving myself physically).

I'm tracking my activities in a very simple spreadsheet. I'll be posting my progress and successes from the Daily Hour throughout the year, probably on Fridays. If you have suggestions I might want to consider, or would like to play along at home, please chime in!

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