Health, Interpersonal Communication, & Time Management
My goals for 2014 revolve mainly around content production for the various projects that I’m involved in. But, in order to accomplish this, I need to improve other fundamental areas of my life, namely health, interpersonal communication, and time management.
Note that I’m distinguishing between resolutions and more specific goals, which I will discuss further in another post.
Regarding health, I feel that I’m in an ok place, resulting from previous incremental changes in my diet. I’ve given up wheat and most grain products, which dramatically improved my stomach problems. As an unexpected but welcome side effect, this also helped me attain my goal weight. So, while I tend to not get sick, I do have a history of chronic back pain, which has been acting up lately. As I’ve increased my productivity, I’ve spent more time at my home computer, which further strains my back.
In the past, I’ve done a variety of physical therapy, massage therapy and medication, but the one thing that consistently works is yoga. Through yoga I’ve learned a variety of exercises that strengthen and stretch my muscles in a way that provides relief. Now I just need to practice on a daily basis, building it into my morning routine.
Yoga provides the additional benefit of relaxation, an important component to back pain management, as well as stress reduction. Which leads me to the next resolution.
In order for me to accomplish my goals, I need to reduce mental stress and increase my focus. Therefore I’ll be returning to a daily schedule of 10-minute meditation in the morning.
Meditation really does clear the mind, allowing for greater focus and emotional stability. Back in my new-agey phase, I was exposed to many people that put a great emphasis on meditation. All kinds of new age writers, from secular self-help stars to buddhist monks, would recommend it. While I no longer practice mysticism, I’m still convinced of the value of meditation.
All of my resolutions won’t serve me at all if I’m dead, so I’ve decided to learn self-defense techniques through a combination of instruction and research. I will likely revisit martial arts, possibly Krav Maga, and get in shape for that. I’m also interested in the type of firearms training that specifically relates to defense against home intruders.
While I am not the primary leader for any one of my volunteer organizations, I do see opportunities where I can help with volunteer coordination. With my background in digital media, I’m happy to contribute a variety of content. And while we have other team members who help, we still could use a few more dedicated folks. I feel like I can be most helpful if I can recruit and train others to do this work as well.
This is where interpersonal communication comes in, and why I’ll be focusing on improving. I realize that some people occasionally misinterpret my communication style as brusque and lacking empathy. Being more of a task-oriented type, I might sometimes overlook the feelings of others when communicating, because I just want to get to the point. But I actually really value people and their feelings, so I want to avoid seeming rude. I’ve gotten better, yet something about my communication style still needs adjustment, so I’m determined to work on that.
All this can’t be done of course, without proper time management. And while I’ve improved tremendously since learning about GTD, I still have room to grow. For instance paper mail still gets neglected. Also I’m bad about beauty appointment scheduling, which often results in last-minute scrambles to get my hair cut or eyebrows waxed right before an important event.
Maybe if I set reminders for myself to make these appointments, I won’t have this problem. For instance, with my short hair I need it trimmed at least every six weeks, so I can set iPhone calendar reminders at five-week intervals to book appointments.
As for paper mail, I’ve never been good at the “one-touch” method. When I come home from work I have little energy that I avoid mail because it might require further action. But I suppose I can at least open and sort my mail, and then set reminders for the mail that indicates an additional task, such as a follow-up phone call. Even if I don’t do this the moment I get home, I can always build it into my morning routine, when I have more energy.
I have other vague goals about improving myself, including maintaining friendships, stricter budgeting, and career development. But these involve general improvement that I’ve worked on in the past, so I won’t go into detail about them here.
That said, I hope I improve in all of the above, and maybe inspire you to make your own list. I’ll set a quarterly alarm for myself to see how well I’m doing, to keep myself on track.
I’m stating these publicly because doing so will increase the likelihood that I accomplish them. I risk embarrassing myself if I don’t, and maybe some of you will have some encouraging words for me.
Happy new year and good luck with your resolutions for 2014!