Home » Life » February Hustle: Days 11 through whenever I get tired of writing (or 15)

February Hustle: Days 11 through whenever I get tired of writing (or 15)


So, um. It’s been a week since I last blogged. I have no good excuse except that I was trying to get caught up from when I got behind on my writing and my housework, after my new-laptop-saga ate up a lot of my productivity time. And as I was getting caught up, “Write blog post” kept getting pushed further and further behind in my to-do list.

So now, I’m going to start getting caught up. Hopefully I will write more than one blog post today, as I don’t really want to be even further behind and not even finish blogging about the February challenge before February is up. That would be embarrassing.

Let’s start with Day 11.

Hey everybody, Jenny Acuff here!

Jon asked me to write one of the days. I’m working on a book right now about dreaming as a couple and have been thinking a lot about goals lately.

Here’s something I’ve noticed about the life Jon and I are living. Often at dinner parties, another couple will ask us about TV shows we love. In the span of a conversation they will rattle off 7-10 different shows they enjoy. Normally, Jon and I haven’t seen a single one of them.

Why? Because we’re really careful when it comes to TV. When we were first married, that TV was the third person in our marriage. We ate dinner in front of it, spent hours in front of it and gave it some really valuable time. The older we got though, the more we realized the ROI (Return on Investment) on TV is pretty lousy. It rarely gave us anything back.

So now, we only watch 1 hour about 5 nights a week. We love Sherlock, Downton Abbey and a reality show about Alaska. We don’t hate TV, we just love our dreams more. Do we miss out on some shows? I guess, but we get to dream a lot more than the average couple.

Want to accomplish your goals during this month of Hustle? Do something incredibly simple.

Watch less TV.

This has been very, very easy. Why? Because we don’t have cable anymore. Wow, I can’t believe how seldom I watch TV now that the cord has been cut. Instead I listen to a lot more music, and frankly, I think music is far better for my soul than is TV.

I did watch Top Chef via livestreams on my laptop until the season ended. I have watched a lot of the Olympics over the past two weeks. But other than that, I haven’t watched much TV.

Occasionally Eric will find “The Red Green Show” on one of our OTA channels (I think a PBS station), and we always enjoy that together. (If you’ve never seen the Red Green Show, you are missing out.) But aside from that, TV is almost a non-entity in our lives these days. And I think Eric and I, and possibly our daughters as well, are better off for it.

Day 12:

I hope you liked yesterday’s challenge from Jenny.

I wanted to take a second and apply a practical way to do things like watch less TV.

The easiest way I know to manage your time is something I’ve written about before.

Name your hours.

Look at your week ahead. Give every hour a name, in the same way that you’d give every dollar a name if you did a budget. I promise that doing this will make you realize things like TV don’t deserve 3 hours a night.

Hour by hour, plot out which things will get which hours. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just try it. At the end of the week, give yourself a score. Go back and write down the reality next to the expectation. If you meant to write on Tuesday from 7PM-8PM but instead surfed aimlessly, be honest about that.

Take your score and see if you’re OK with that. If you’re not, start again.

Hours are the things our days are made of. Treat them carefully.

I think this challenge was the one that made me start to fall off the wagon as far as keeping up with Jon’s challenges went.

Why? Because it scared the ever-loving heck out of me.

Starting a morning routine last month was hard enough. I had encountered that idea sometime last year, and I resisted because it seemed so, well, routine. But it’s been a tremendous boost both to my productivity and to my intentionality.

But last Monday, I decided I would give it a try. I thought, “the worst thing that can happen is that I fail miserably, and honestly, how would that be any different from what I’m doing now?”

Guess what? I didn’t fail miserably. I blossomed.

I discovered that it’s one thing to write a to-do list and keep track of it. It’s quite another to actually put yourself on a schedule. It gives you a level of accountability, even if it’s just to yourself. (And I have a lot of trouble being accountable to myself, normally. It can be a bad thing to be your own boss when your boss has some serious self-discipline issues.)

Something about seeing that schedule made me realize that my to-do lists were actually relatively feasible. And that seemed to make me work harder at them.

Now, one thing I must confess is that I did not follow my own schedules to the letter. In fact, I had this rather annoying habit of getting involved in Olympics coverage and thus not doing my writing. But when that happened, I did tend to double down on the writing thereafter (because in my mind, I was “behind!”) and got busy a little more quickly and urgently.

I also did this only through Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, I wasn’t feeling all that well, so I didn’t bother scheduling myself. I wanted to just get through the day and get the most pressing things out of the way. But I’m ready to get right back into this on Monday, especially because I don’t yet really know what I want to accomplish. I know that an unscheduled and unplanned day will lead to my doing absolutely nothing.

Day 13:

It’s almost mid month, time to do something that is scary!

A number of you suggested that we need to do something outside of our comfort zones this round. And I completely agree.

The challenge of today is to do something that scares you related to your goal. For instance, my goal this month is to learn how use Tumblr. At the beginning of the month I did something that scares me and invited other people to post on the page. This scared me because for years I’ve had a handle on how to use WordPress. On Tumblr though, I’m an amateur. My site is ugly and so ill put together. Showing people the site made me nervous. I’m supposed to be a social media expert and admitting I’m not at Tumblr wasn’t fun.

Again, you might read that and think, “That was scary? What a wuss! Try sky diving.” But the reality is that what’s scary to you might not be scary to someone else.

So, take your goal and figure out one scary thing you can do with it today. Maybe you should share it with a friend or post a result online or even call a nursing home and ask if you can come give a speech. Fear can take a thousand different shapes.

Find one and do it today!

Honestly, I don’t really think that this one applies to me. My goal (the budget thing) is already scary to me. It’s already out of my comfort zone.

Having said that, though, there is one thing I’m considering doing with the budget spreadsheet that could certainly be considered “out of my comfort zone.” It’s all math-y so I won’t describe it here; let’s just say I think doing it could help me keep a better understanding on our budget subcategories and leave it at that.

Day 14:

It’s time to take the WHY to another level!

It’s time to ask hard questions.

Sometimes we’re afraid to. Sometimes we’d rather not question our motives or actions. It’s easier to just push forward, head down, without examining what we’re actually doing.

That’s how you end up in the wrong place though.

For instance, last night Jenny asked me why I blog. Putting aside that I like doing it, she asked me a hard question. Here is what she asked, “If you could sell the same amount of books without blogging every day, would you?”

Is selling books the only reason I blog? Of course not. In the last 5 months I haven’t promoted or sold books I’ve written on my blog. And I had a blog for years before I wrote books. But, that question does get to the heart of why I blog. It forced me to write a list of reasons I blog. A hard question will help you do the same.

Today, ask your goal a hard question.

I’m afraid this one has completely stumped me. I don’t really feel like there are any hard questions to ask about my goal… aside from, perhaps, “why do I hate updating our budget and ledger so much?”

And I suppose that is a fair question. I wanted to update the budget and ledger daily (or as necessary) when I first started this month. I haven’t. I tend to put it off for several days – even if I have only a very few transactions to enter. The moment I think about sitting down to update, I get a terrible heavy feeling in my stomach, and I suddenly think of something else that I need to do before I update.

It’s interesting because one of the reasons I wanted to reestablish our budget was so I wouldn’t feel as guilty whenever I spend money. If it was in the budget, I could spend. Period.

Unfortunately, so far it hasn’t been working out that way. Every time I go to spend money, I think, “But what if I need this money later in the month and it isn’t there?” And then I worry that by spending money at that moment, I won’t have it later on when I need it.

I realize that this is just my own issue that I need to work through on my own and am probably not going to understand the root through a blog post. But it is something for me to consider, I guess.

And it looks like I wound up asking my goal a hard question after all. That I don’t have an answer to aside from “I have issues with spending money,” which isn’t much of an answer. It sounds like I need therapy.

I think maybe I’ll just move on…

Last one for this blog post, Day 15:

This is day 15 but it’s really day 45 in the whole process.

The problem with day 45 is that usually by now, you’ve quit doing something that you were doing at the beginning. Even something that was working.

Case in point, these emails. During the first 30 days, I sent them out early in the morning because I wrote them weeks in advance. In this second round though, they’ve come out later because I am writing each one each morning.

I stopped writing them ahead. Why? I could make a million excuses but the reality is that I gave in to the inertia of day 45.

I promise you have too on at least one thing.

Today’s goal is to simply be honest about the good things you’re no longer doing and to rescue just one.

Here are 3 easy ways to find one:
1. Review the notes in your journal.
2. Go over your HOW checklist, that is HOW you initially planned to do what you wanted to do.
3. Ask the friend who is holding you accountable. Often, other people can see the situation better than we can.

Don’t try to do it all again instantly, just rescue one.

Since I now have two objectives – my routine and our budget – I’ll address each one.

First, the morning routine. When I started out, I included “take a shower” in the Evening Must-Dos (which I still do, by the way, most of the time if not every day. I’m pretty proud of that.). And I would take a shower before I did any of my other Must-Dos.

Lately, though, I’ve been putting off taking a shower. And as a result, sometimes either I don’t take a shower until right before I go to bed – which results in bad hair the next day (o noes!) – or I don’t take one until the next day, which does mess with the morning routine rhythm a bit.

So clearly I need to return to showering before I do any Evening Must-Dos, if I want to continue using my morning routine to kick-start my day.

As for our budget: I’ve addressed the one from earlier, regarding updating. I started off wanting to update right after I returned home from taking Elena to school. Honestly, I think I have done that maybe once or twice. Vast majority of the time, I don’t.

And I really need to. I think part of the reason I haven’t been updating regularly is because I don’t get it over with right away, which means I get the dread going on in my head. If I did it right away and got it out of the way, it would probably work a lot better.

Also, maybe I need to set an alarm for myself. So that if I get accidentally caught up in wanting to do something aside from updating when I get home, the alarm will remind me: Yo! It’s Update Time!

Okay, I’ve just hit page 5 in Word, so it’s time to stop. I will try very hard to come back sooner with more of an update on my February Hustle!


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