Morning Swims in the Ocean
EFFECTIVENESS: 7/10 EFFORT: 9/10 ENJOYMENT:08/10
This weeks habit was to go swimming every single morning, ideally in the ocean. Short story short, I forgot to do it 5 days in a row. The above ratings are merely my predictions, had I followed through on the challenge. On Monday I enthusiastically biked to the ocean first thing before eating breakfast and went for a 5 minute morning swim. It was amazing. The water was cold but not too cold, It was still early so the beach wasn't packed with people, and I was excited about the new habit challenge. I could tell that this was going to be an effective habit because it instantly made me happy. On Tuesday I happened to go diving into the harbour with friends after a rock climbing session. I decided to count that as part of my challenge. After that, I simply forgot to go swimming for the rest of the week. Instead of trying to haphazardly tell you about the habit of daily swimming, I'm going to tell you about why I didn't follow through.
For the past three weeks I have worked an average of 100 hours every week. This is counting late night editing sessions, filming promotional videos for other companies, recording podcasts, waking up early in the morning to upload youtube videos, and everything in between. I am loving it! I love the constant grind of finishing one thing and immediately moving on to the next task, steadily checking things off a never-ending to do list. I think people are happiest when they feel a sense of purpose, and right now my purpose is everything to do with building my company. For the last ten days I even found myself suddenly relieved of all my usual responsibilities of being in a committed relationship and being a dog owner. My girlfriend went on holiday with her family and brought our miniature dachshund Arlo with her, leaving me with a completely open schedule. As much as I missed them I saw this as an opportunity to double down on work. I made an open invitation for the Burning Boat team to sleep at my place if they wanted to, hinting that I was ready to edit into the night and start filming again in the morning. This worked, and on the first night, after editing for eight hours straight, I found myself trying to fall asleep in a sleeping bag on a pile of pillows in the middle of the living room floor as the sun was already rising. It helps to work with people who are equally as crazy as you.
This kind of intensity continued throughout the week. We are all aware that starting a company takes an extraordinary amount of work and effort. There is a reason why most start-ups fail and why most people would rather work for someone else. It is incredibly difficult to get going. We are all willing to give it everything we have. As you may expect this has come at a severe price. Long term thinking and mental clarity have completely gone out the window. When the last thing you do before going to bed is think about work and the first thing you do when waking up is think about work, it becomes difficult to think about anything else even when you have time off.
This became abundantly clear when after a particularly busy couple of days I suddenly found myself with the evening off, free to do what I wanted. When I realised that it didn't make sense for me to start working on the next task until the morning, I actually became anxious. I had gotten so used to working that the thought of not working made me feel a bit lost. I quickly became aware that I had lost sight of why we were working so hard and that scared me. It took me a couple of hours to get comfortable with the idea of relaxing. As soon as I did, I just wanted to go to sleep.
It is impossible to focus on two things at the same time. Multitasking is a myth. Even computers that are processing multiple things seemingly at the same time are really just jumping back and forward between tasks super quickly. When we are focused on a task immediately in front of us we cannot focus on the big picture. When we are focused on the big picture, we cannot focus on the tasks immediately in front of us. It takes a conscious effort to switch between the two ways of thinking, and it is very important that you learn to do so. Otherwise you risk finding yourself having worked your ass off in the wrong direction. Imagine swimming in the ocean, slowly tiring yourself out. Your head is in the water, as you take strong crawl strokes one arm at a time. You know that you are giving it everything you have. At some point you need the reach the shore, because you cannot tread water forever. Wouldn't it be a good idea to lift your head once in a while to make sure you aren't swimming in the wrong direction out to sea?
Obviously, this weeks post has been a bit different, but I think it is important to talk about knowing why building powerful habits is important. Looking at the potential risks of bad habits is arguably as important as looking as the potential benefits of good habits. This week has made me realise that I need to schedule time off, time to relax, and time to reflect. It is so easy to get lost in what is right in front of you. Remember the big picture. What habits will help you get there? Luckily, I think I have been working in the right direction, but that might not be the case next time. I don't want to leave it up to luck. Next week I will let you know, for real, how swimming every morning goes.
Happy habit building!