Day 12 and 13 of the 40-Day Challenge

Yesterday I have didn’t succeed in the challenge. Part of the problem was due to two problems in the system I last adopted which I have written in this post. Not everything is bad in that system, but there are only two problems with me applying this system in my current life period. I mean only two problems made the system bad for me. After this, I decided to move on to a newer system and I succeeded today. Since I failed yesterday, I will extend the challenge to 41 days instead of 40 days. I will talk about the challenges I faced, the possible reasons for them, the new proposed system, the key takeaways from these things, and some useful information that I learned.

Failure is expected from us. We could see it as a failure if we decided to stop trying again. However, we could see it as a learning opportunity that will make us better in the future if we learned the lessons from it. Failure is the beginning of success. Night is the start of the day, and pain is the start of the relief. So no problem. Let us analyze why we failed, and take corrective action to avoid slipping into the same mistakes again.

1. The Challenge

Yesterday I was in a very bad mood. I literally didn’t want to do anything. I tried to push myself, but nothing worked. Although emotions are hard to control, if our system doesn’t allow our emotions to affect our average performance, we will soon adapt to them and will be able to work and do our jobs whatever our emotions are, because emotions change a lot so if we depend on them, we won’t necessarily succeed because success needs consistency, and needs us to cope with the ups and downs we usually face in the journey.

Let me elaborate what was the exact two problems with the previous system that made it easy for me to fail:

  1. No limits for break. I could take break whenever I want, and even in the break itself I could stay as much as I want. This is a clear problem because by losing tracks of our breaks we will easily slip to time wasting, and the day could pass without achieving much of what we intended to do. If our time is restricted, then our breaks should be restricted as well. Usually, we won’t need too much time in the breaks to recharge ourselves.
  2. No restrictions on sleeping time. It is well known that to produce good work, you should have enough sleep, and to have a good quality for it. For me, I know that an hour of sleeping at night is much better than the same hour slept in the morning. In other words, night sleeping hours have higher quality which mean that I don’t need to sleep too much. Moreover, starting to work early is really good since it gives me inertia to continue the good work throughout my day.

These were the main problems in the last system. When I don’t feel like working, I could take breaks without limits which means that I could easily eat a lot. Although I don’t fill my stomach, still unnecessary eating affects my concentration at work because part of my energy goes to digesting food instead of going into my mind. Besides, waking up late, and having low-quality sleep made it difficult for me to concentrate. It also affected my mood so badly. So whatever tricks I made, I don’t feel like doing my work. Therefore, in the new system, I handled these things, and I hope that it will be better than the old one.

2. The Proposed Solution (The New System)

Here is the new system that will hopefully solve the old system’s problems, and could help me better manage by time, and my energy.

  1. I will continue with the time blocking and operating modes I mentioned in this post. However, I will add another restriction which is to specify what I will do every minute of the day in the day before it. No problem if I didn’t follow this so accurately since it is usually difficult to plan every minute of the day, so if something unexpected happened I will replan the left part of the day. The key point here is to never move on the day without having a specific plan of what I will do throughout the day. By keeping track of my time, I will be encouraged to exploit it much better even if I won’t follow the plan 100%. The trick is to monitor my time and to be aware of it. Just doing so I think will help me a lot. By the way, I have got this idea of planning every minute of the day from this book “Deep Work”.
  2. I will try to divide my working time into about 30 minutes to 1.5 hours chunks with breaks in between. Small breaks will be for about 5 to 10 minutes which will usually be between the learning sessions in the same time block. And long breaks will be for about 20 minutes up to 1 hour which will usually be between the time blocks. If you remember, I will still abide by the three time blocks, and operating modes I mentioned in this post. Within the same time block, I will have many sessions separated by mini-breaks 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. I will still put rules to what I will eat, and when I will eat. I will usually put limited options to these things to avoid wasting my decision quota unnecessarily. The same applies to what I will drink.
  4. I will specify a deadline for my sleep with no allowance for slipping through unless there is an emergency of course. I will also specify a specific time for my wake-up. However, this will be on a day-to-day basis. I mean the day before I will decide on my next day’s waking time and sleeping time according to the day’s needs. However, I will try not to sleep late, and wake up late to avoid the bad consequences that this has done to my energy level, my mode, and my work quality.
  5. I will only check social media and emails at most three times per day at specific times. However, if there is an ongoing chat with someone, I will check social media more frequently until I finish chatting with that person. After this, I won’t check the social media unless the specified times come.
  6. I will specify a 14 hours deadline of being late on writing my daily blog post. Because more than once I slept late because of writing the blog post which is contradictory to my new rules of trying to sleep early. Why 14 hours? Because I try to do the most important things in the morning when I am fresh and have great concentration. Writing the blog post is not as mind-demanding for me as my other tasks. So if I will write it the next day, I would better write it later in the day after doing my most important tasks.

If you noticed, the last four steps are explaining the first step. Because if I will plan every minute of the day, then, of course, I will have specific working times, break times, sleeping times, eating times, and I will check social media at specific times. But I wanted to explain how I will do these things in detail for things to be clearer.

3. Key Takeaways

  • There is no problem with failure as long as you benefit from it and take corrective action.
  • Monitoring your time, and specifying what will you do in every time minute or time block of your day is a well-known technique that is adopted by some successful people as far as I know. It helps you to avoid wasting your time. Because if time is limited, then you should wisely plan how you would like to spend it to have better results.
  • Having enough sleep, and avoiding eating when not hungry will help you a lot to be more focused, have a better mood and concentrate on whatever you are doing. Of course, exercise will help a lot to enhance your focus as well. It is like a health triangle to be healthy and focused. Eat, Move, and sleep.

4. Useful Pieces of Information

Most of these pieces of information are taken from The Magic of Thinking Big book.

  • Don’t sell yourself short. Concentrate on your assets and know how to show your good work without deceiving others.
  • Use the big thinkers’ vocabulary. Use big, bright, cheerful words. Use words that promise victory, hope, happiness, pleasure and avoid words that create unpleasant images of failure and defeat.
  • Stretch your vision. See what can be, not just what is. Practice adding value to things, to people, and to yourself. Leave things better than found them.
  • Get the big view of your job. Think, really think your present job is important provided that it is an ethical job. That next promotion depends mostly on how you think towards your present job.
  • Think above trivial things. Focus your attention on big objectives. Before getting involved in a pity matter, ask yourself “Is it really important?”. Grow big by thinking big.

Finally

Thank you. I hope this post has been beneficial to you. I would appreciate any comments if anyone needed more clarifications or if anyone has seen something wrong in what I have written in order to modify it, and I would also appreciate any possible enhancements or suggestions. We are humans, and errors are expected from us, but we could also minimize those errors by learning from our mistakes and by seeking to improve what we do.

Allah bless our master Muhammad and his family.

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