Promises of schedules

Good morning! Long, life-related post incoming, friends. Proceed with caution. Or a snack. I suggest grapefruit. =D

Every time I go for a while without writing, I have to give myself a poke that my blog exists. After too much time has passed without a post, it starts to become a little more of a feeling of shame – “What if people notice how long it’s been without anything new? Should I just post what I want to say and move on, or apologize each time?” and other such thoughts. Time passing also means that really cool things I initially meant to post about become outdated before I do it. The more I worry and the more other things I have to do, the harder it gets to find the motivation or make the time. And yet, I have to keep on writing. Partially because I don’t think I could stop writing – be it blogs or poetry or scraps of ideas, I just have to write. But I have other good reasons, too. It’s great for reaching people back home, it’s fun, and when I post about my courses, it enables me to gather some of my more erratic thoughts (although I do feel more pressure on those to sound like I know what I’m talking about, haha). So I’ve been giving some thought to what I can do to make sure I actually stay on top of blogging.

Time management skills tend to laugh at me as they fly away into the night while I wonder how it got to be time for bed with very little accomplished during the day. I spend a fair amount of time coming up with ways to counteract this. Little tricks and tips for working around it, like breaking the day into smaller sections, figuring out rewards or punishments for getting stuff done (or not), shutting my computer to disconnect from the internet. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they encourage me to be super productive, sometimes they just distract me from the actual task at hand.

One thing I’ve noticed is that I get very competitive with myself. When I was doing CodeAcademy’s course on HTML/CSS, they kept track of how many days in a row you logged in and worked on something. As soon as I realized that, I was determined to log in every day and not lose that streak – it became a competition, a game. I had to do it or I would fail. (As an interesting side note, I actually think it’s pretty unproductive to think about it as failing, and I am way harsher on myself than is probably called for. We’re our own worst critics.) If I kept it going, I was winning.

Several months ago, I wrote this post about how I’ve already been working to create better habits. Now, I’m faced with the realization that I really need to do something to make blogging an actual habit – not just a thing I happen to do if I feel like it, and not a project that will die as soon as I turn my attention elsewhere. So how will I do that?

Enter http://habitrpg.com/

Kendra told me about HabitRPG and let me tell you, it’s fantastic. The basic premise is that you turn your life into a role-playing game, where your habits and tasks and daily have-to-dos become things that your character completes for gold, experience, and sweet rewards. Plus, you get a great community around you. It’s really helping me, even though I still don’t always manage to do everything. Turning my life into a game was exactly what I needed – especially because it takes the competition, the failing and succeeding, out of my head and onto something that I can see and feel like I have more control over. In fact, now that my party is fighting the fearsome Hedgebeast, I have even more of an incentive to do everything because not completing a daily means the boss hurts the whole party. Eep!

Sounds like fun, right? I highly recommend it. While I’ve been using it as more of a life-management tool and throwing everything I need to do in it, it’s also really useful if you just have one or a few major habits you want to form (or break!) or a project to work on. Okay, sorry for sounding like an advertisement again. I just really like to share things that make me happy and that might help people who share some of my struggles. It’s only because I love you guys.

Anyway, back to the point I started with. Until now, I’ve been putting “New blog post” into the category of things that don’t hurt my health if I don’t complete them by a certain time. Even though when I log in I get the constant reminder that I haven’t written that post yet, there’s no other punishment for not doing it. It’s time to commit to a schedule. I’ll start small; from now on there will be a new post every Tuesday, at some point before midnight. If I get really excited by something, or have a great thought about school, or have a fun adventure with Cuddle Cthulhu, I can post on other days, but posting on those days does not excuse me from the Tuesday post. After a month, I can reevaluate and see if it’s going fine, or if I need to pick a different day or even challenge myself by upping it to twice a week (that evaluation is going on hRPG, hehe).

Now to return to my regularly scheduled fighting with PHP code.

For real though, I love y’all. Have a fantastic day. ❤

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