Try More Things Project

I am starting a self improvement project inspired by several different sources including Malcolm Ocean’s Habbit-a-Week project, Brienne Yudkowsky’s Tortoise Skills project, and these posts on less wrong.

The basic plan it to try as many “things” as possible, find out which ones work/which ones I find useful and then continue doing those. Even if the hit rate (the percentage of things that end up being beneficial) is low, by trying a lot of things i should find at least a few that are high value, like i have with the pomodoro technique and accountability coaching.

Rules:

  1. One new thing per day. Most of the things I want to try will take a week to do, so each day I will start one and then continue it until the thing is over.
  2. If I miss a day it’s okay (if I don’t have this rule I will miss one day and then completely give up on the whole project). But if I do miss a day I have to do 2 things the next day etc.
  3. “Thing” is a very wide category, from “track my sleep” to “try this new organization app” to “learn a new recipe.” A thing is any thing that 1) I don’t already do (I am allowed to have tried it before but it can;t be a regular thing I do) and 2) something that has a reasonable chance of improving my life (making me more productive, happier etc.), making me closer to the person I want to be, or helping me do more good.

Thing 1: Get to Uni at 8

Date: 14/09/2015

Description: I get a daily Skype call as from my accountability coach at 8 AM and I am going to try to get to my university by 8 to have the call and then start working immediately after. I don’t have to stay at university until any specific time. I just need to have the skype call there at 8 and then do at least one pomodoro. I only have class one day this week but I think i am more productive when I work away from home. Week Long.

Updates: 20/09/2015 – this one didn’t work out. I made it to uni the first 2 days and it definitely made me more productive than i would have been if i was working alone. The third day i felt really unmotivated when I woke up and so didn’t get to uni by 8. On days four, five and seven i was co working with friends and we were carpooling so i couldn’t get to uni by 8 and day 6 I went to a part the night before. Overall I think it was beneficial on the days i wasn’t co working, which is something i also find very useful. I will try this thing on as many days where I am not co working as possible and try to figure out which option i find works better.

Thing 2: Rate Pomodoros

Date: 15/09/2015

Description: After each pomodoro I complete I write down how focused I was. Hopefully this will encourage me to me more focused and get more done per pomodoro. Week long.

Updates: 21/09/2015 – Doing this thing made me more aware of my level of focus during a pomodoro. I found myself checking my phone or thinking about something different more often then I expected. I’m not sure if rating pomodoros made me more focused but it definitely identified potential for future things to try liking turning my phone off during a pomodoro block and adding a trigger action plan to stop myself zoning out. I plan to keep doing this thing.

Thing 3: Time Tracking

Date: 16/09/2015

Description: I am using the app aTimeLogger to track different activities i do through out the day and then look at the data. Week long

Updates: 24/09/2015 – I found it useful to track how much time I was spending on different activities but always forgot to actually actually record switching from one task to another so i only got accurate data on one or two days. There is a feature on the app where you can change how much time you have been doing different activities for so when i forget to track something I can go into other app and edit it in afterwards but this takes time. Another problem is that I am fairly sure it my phone battery runs out faster when i use the time tracker. Might decide to give this another try but the time/effort it takes to track might not be worth the value of the information I gain from it.

Thing 4: Intentional Tabbing

Date: 17/09/2015

Description: I will write down the reason for opening a tab ever time I do it. I sometimes get up to over 100 tabs so hopefully this will help that. Week long.

Updates: This didn’t go well. I successfully did it for the first few days (a few times where i  but i tracked about 90% of the tabs i opened) but didn’t fins it at all useful and found the time it took made it not worth it. Gave up completely after the first five days. Might try the original version which just involves saying the reason you are opening the tab out loud but i also think that won’t be very valuable for me.