August 2019 was a huge turning point for me and my family. A lot of things happened that forced us to change our normal routines and structures. Our regular daily battles were changed in a span of one month.
Luckily, a three week vacation was available at the start of the month and it really helped us deal with the following:
- Catering for my daughter’s first birthday party — my wife and I decided to prepare the food ourselves (along with the help of my parents and my buddy). The first three days of my vacation was buying, preparing and cooking six dishes good for about 100 people. The party turned out great and the left overs were minimal. First mission was a success.
- Closing out home lease — Our lease was scheduled to end by August 31st and we had to move all of our stuff out of the house and prepare it for the next tenant. This involves packing, organizing our stuff, securing a storage unit and moving items into the storage unit. Also, my wife and I decided to move back with my parents for the time being while we work on getting a place of our own. That means, we also had to work on integrating ourselves in my parents house again. Since we have a 1 year old that is in the verge of walking, we also had to baby proof the house. This was not a one weekend project, this became a month long workload that is still on-going up until now.
- KAC Gala night whirlwind — My parents became the president and hermana mayora for the KAC group in Mississauga, ON. That means at the end of their term, they would have to host a Gala night and take care of everything from arranging the event to engaging sponsors and testing the food. They invited several family members from Nova Scotia, New Jersey, and Phoenix to their home (on top of our integration to their home) to stay for a few days so they can enjoy the gala night. At one point, there were 11.5 people and 1 dog in my parent’s 3 bedroom house. Luckily, there was enough booze for everyone to keep us distracted. Also, to close out this period, my aunt from Jacksonville visited and stayed with us for a couple of days. All of this was fun but goddamn it was tiring.
- My brother’s Toronto tour — My brother from Phoenix, AZ found great timing with his vacation time, he visited us during this period and stayed for a couple of weeks. We toured him around downtown Toronto and Scarborough and he also joined us in the gala night. During our “off-days” he helped me move our stuff from our apartment to my storage unit and finally just 2 days before he went back to the states, he and my sister’s boyfriend helped me finalize moving all of our stuff including all of the heavy furniture. Mission number 2 complete.
Going back to steady-state
After the craziness of the first three weeks of August, everyone left and went back to their regular lives. But for us, it wasn’t as easy. My sleep routine was all messed up and all of my goals were on hold. The next step for me is to get things going again. My biggest problem is going back to work and supporting a 24/7 application (i.e., something can break at any point and I had to provide support ASAP) on top of taking care of a baby. I’m so happy that my wife is solid as a rock at this time and she took care of a lot of things. She definitely helped me lessen my stress and my goal was to support her as well. I was also looking to return to Jiu-jitsu practice again since it got interrupted. I had to force myself to get back to training, this was the scariest part because I know that with the amount of eating that I did plus the lack of exercise will sum up to shitty training days when I get back. To solve this problem, I implemented my wife’s suggestion of using a calendar to track down the things I wanted to be done on a regular basis. I challenged myself to create a plan to be in steady-state by September. This means that I should have a routine in place and goals that I need to accomplish on a daily basis. The calendar served as a tracker to tell me how much I’m winning or losing against myself.
Scoreboard – Me vs. Myself
To get things back on track, I’ve challenged myself to perform the following
- Wake up at 5am daily
- Do yoga every M-W-F
- Do roadwork (running/biking) every T-Th
- Perform pull-ups and push-ups daily on top of my regular workouts
- Study for my certification exam daily every morning
- Go to 12 BJJ classes
All of the tasks above were to be done before leaving for work. The timeline I had for these items were from 5am-8am. Also, I decided to implement the “$10-x” strategy for saving up money at work. That is, I’m allowing myself to spend up to $10 daily, the amount that I spend on that day corresponds to “x” and at the end of the day I do $10-x and whatever difference I get is saved and spent towards somewhere else. Mostly I save it up to use it as additional payments to my credit card debts (A.K.A deal with the devil).
As mentioned earlier, I tracked down the completion of these tasks on a daily basis by using a calendar tracker, and here is what happened:
- I woke up at the 5:00am hour 6 times
- I woke up at the 6:00am hour 11 times
- I woke up at the 7:00am hour 4 times
- I woke up at the 8:00am hour 1 time
- I didn’t record my wake up times 7 times
Basically, what this tells me is that I failed 23 times in my goal of waking up early.
With regards to my goal of studying daily for my exam. It turns out that I was only able to study 9 times out of the possible 30 days — less than 30% success rate.
My workout goals of doing yoga/roadwork/pushups/pull ups were not so great either. I was only able to do
- 11 yoga sessions
- 6 roadwork sessions
- 16 pushup/pull up sessions
My “$10-x” goal had the biggest success rate. This was the easiest thing to follow up on and track for some reason. In this month, I saved $163 in work lunches and this was routed to credit card payments.
However, the biggest failure here is my lack of consistency in detailed tracking. There are a lot of empty boxes that needed to be filled. I was also slacking during the weekends. Also, I was only considering personal goals and not professional goals (except my certification exam). Maybe the most important thing is I’m not even considering any family time in this schedule. I’m dropping the ball at all fronts here.
Some things that were not pointed out above are me practicing David Allen’s “GTD” method, I had the goal of tracking it down, but I wasn’t consistent enough in doing it. I was also falling behind in tracking our finances.
Overall this month was a struggle but this simple tracker opened my eyes. So I did it again for October and so far here’s where I’m at.
But before diving into my October tracker, I need to preface this by saying that my September fucked up my right shoulder and now I’m dealing with a sprained AC joint. This set me back in my work outs and BJJ practice. Also, I realized my early morning wake up problems last month so I decided to also record my sleep times which I think is providing a lot of valuable insight on why I’m feeling like shit on certain days. Anyway, here is what I can determine from what I’ve recorded so far.
Tuesday (Oct 1st) was the last time I went to BJJ training. I couldn’t even apply shampoo with right arm due to shoulder pain. So I haven’t been to BJJ class at all since the 1st of October.
In terms of wake up battles,
- I woke up at the 4:00am hour 2 times
- I woke up at the 5:00am hour 3 times
- I woke up at the 6:00am hour 3 times
- I woke up at the 8:00am hour 2 times
- I did not record my wake up times 2 times
I failed 7 times out of 12. Again bad success rate.
My sleep times definitely explain, why I’m performing poorly in waking up early. my regular sleep times are 11:30pm and I also wake up at least once every night when my daughter wakes up for her nightly bottle. My wife and I are wrecked on a nightly basis. We have a second one coming up next year…**Zhang Ziyi pray for us**
In terms of working out, as mentioned above my shoulder is messed up so my BJJ and yoga will be limited, but this shouldn’t excuse me from running or riding the bike. Unfortunately my stats for road work is not good. I only managed to do 2 RW sessions since Oct 1, this sucks and I need to push myself more. Also notice that I managed to do some DDPYoga sessions which I used to test my shoulder. Conclusion, shoulder still banged up but improving. Hopefully this gets resolved by next month.
My $10-x goal is not as good as last month’s as well. I’m spending more at work than last month for some reason. I believe my messed up exercise routine has led to bad eating habits at work which leads to bad spending habits. I don’t know why I’m still buying coffee knowing that we have coffee available at home and in the office for free.
The only two positives that I’m seeing from October are my Pega training sessions and Habit tracking. I’ve only missed 2 days in tracking down anything and I was able to sustain my Pega study sessions for 5 days in a row. This needs to continue if I’m going to pass my exam on December 6th.
To deal with major changes, I need myself to get back to steady-state ASAP. For me, steady-state means that I need daily goals and routines. I need to be able to accomplish something daily. A lot of times, I just trick myself in saying that I’m good and I should be satisfied. But having a detailed tracker will let you know how much you’re leaving on the table. My goals are not hard, as a matter of fact these are simple tasks but I’m still having trouble with them. This is the battle between me and myself. I am striving to accomplish all of these items in the specified times that I set, but my inner-self is somehow allowing me to sleep in, skip work outs, skip study sessions or not record my progress.
A lot of times, I just trick myself in saying that I’m good and I should be satisfied. But having a detailed tracker will let you know how much you’re leaving on the table.
My biggest enemy has always been myself and this tracker proves it. All of the tasks that I intended to do were scheduled early in the morning where everyone is still sleeping (except my mom because she wakes up at 4:30am like a savage). This implies that the only person causing my failures is myself. I need to beat my inner-self and take the driver’s seat on my mind. I gotta show this fucking guy who the boss really is.
I look forward to present the rest of my October. My goal is to see improvement by the end of the month hoping that it will carry over to November.
About the Author:
Alberto Alinas, MSc. is the husband of the main author/owner of the blog FilipinainCanada.com. He is a Certified System Architect. He graduated Bachelor of Science in Applied and Industrial Mathematics from University of Ontario Institute of Technology. He completed his Master of Science in Modelling and Computational Science from the same university. Connect with him and see more of his profile at LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/albertoalinas/