Friday, April 20, 2012

bits of the new (and re-newed) in my daily life

I'm training myself to sleep early and wake up early. I am also trying to complete 8 hours of sleep so I would not feel so easily tired and always craving for a nap in the middle of the day. My sleep patterns, according to the Sleep Cycle app, leave much to be desired. I find it very difficult to fall asleep and I keep on waking up at 2-3AM regardless of what time I went to sleep. This is one of the better nights:

But in the past few days I have been already able to get up at 6am from a routine of getting up at 8-9am. Next target is to get up at 5am.

I now swim everyday. Except when the pool is being cleaned or when there are noisy rowdy kids in the pool. I like swimming in the very early morning, right before breakfast, around 7:30 or 8AM. By that time I would have had my first cup of coffee, written my morning pages, cleared the work email inbox, reviewed my to-do list, made up the bed, fed the cat, and gotten the breakfast food ready for cooking.

I stay in the water for 30-45 minutes. I do laps until I'm out of breath and my arms are aching. I also do some yoga poses in the water -- standing poses in the middle of the pool and some sitting poses by the stairs of the pool. I use the fountain faucets as water massage on my back and shoulders.

I eat a full breakfast almost everyday now. Since I wake up early I do not feel the need to rush. I also try to eat fruit as often as I can. Fresh fruits are bit expensive but I get lucky sometimes and find fresh fruit packs at a discount or like the other day, a friend sent me a bagful of fresh sweet mangoes in season.

I go out of my way to buy and include vegetables in every meal. I love vegetables. But they wilt and spoil quickly and making frequent trips to the store is not efficient either. However, the fresher the vegetables, the longer time they will keep. So now I make a special trip once a week to another, farther, supermarket that sells much fresher vegetables and even offers organic vegetables. I turn the long walk into an exercise and also a chance to do a walking meditation.

my quick-to-prepare chicken and vegetable noodle stir-fry
I use public transport or walk whenever I can to save on gas. I also save on parking fees.

I have further distilled my possessions down to the essential. Even my home decor is down to the essential -- I only kept those that really make me happy and that really mean so much to me. I have put out for selling a good portion of my stuff -- anything that I am ambivalent about, haven't used for months, forgotten, postponed/ put aside too many times, all the extra extras and just-in-cases that escaped previous de-clutterings. Since I have become clear on what I exactly want I will also be less susceptible to impulse purchases and the lure of retail therapy.

I have reduced my entertainment collection (movie, anime and TV series DVDs, music CDs, and video games) to these two Muji towers. Before there used to be an equivalent of about double that. I expect to reduce that collection further.

I clean and clear as I go all the time. Even when I am very tired especially in the evenings. The kitchen has to be clean. The dishes have to be washed. Everything must be put away in their proper places. Believe me, the joy in the morning when you are greeted by a bright clean home!

I make time to read everyday. I love books. I have always had a passion for reading and gaining all those tidbits of trivia and knowledge that eventually become contextual reference points for various situations in real life later on. My weird habit is to read multiple books at the same time. Don't ask me how I can keep up with all the plots and stories, I just do. This week I added a few more to my current reading list and I am absolutely happy about it. I used to put off reading because of work. Now I give time to reading, not just work.

I make time to write everyday. In addition to my morning pages, I scribble into my notebook or type into my Evernote all my thoughts and ideas and feelings. Later on I process some of them to see if anything needs to be resolved. Ideas are weighed and stored in a file where it will be used, not forgotten. Writing is very cathartic for me and my one ultimate dream job is to be a writer. So if I will somehow make that dream come true in some way I guess I should get as much practice as I can. Like reading, I used to put off writing for doing work. Now I use my work as an excuse to do more writing. I brainstorm with myself by writing. I thresh out ideas in writing. When I started writing more I noticed that it became easier to handle stress. When I am starting to feel stressed (I get stressed so easily!) I start to write. Sometimes writing a blog post helps calm me down. Like right now.

I now have a stricter work schedule. Being clear with where I want to take my life (that will be shared in the next few posts), I make sure that the work I do in the meantime does not overwhelm nor take more than its share of fair time and effort for each day. So I have allotted time for work in the early morning until 3PM only. If there is a need to do "overtime" work then I extend until 5PM. This means that future projects will have to take this into consideration. With this strict schedule and a clearer image in my head of the boundaries of work in my day, I have also succeeded in controlling my procrastination to a much, much better degree.

These are just some that are more firmly in place. They were much easier to do when I became clear with my life goals because every little bit of these daily habits contribute to the bigger goals. As I recalibrate my day-to-day I am able to comprehend better how the little things matter and I also learn to be more patient while trusting that all the effort will amount to something significant.

What new habits are you trying to learn?


  1. I'm trying to communicate clearly when I have an idea and not just get frustrated when somebody doesn't understand. Also, I'm trying to take time to think about what I really want and how I feel before making a decision about things.

    I absolutely love your graph up there. The fresh fruit looks incredible. I'm impressed by your cutting down on clutter. And I'm excited for you that you seem happier :) Have a great rest of the weekend!!

  2. Oh! and I wanted to tell you I really like the font of the title of this post.