Thursday, October 24, 2013

Unfuck Your Life

Status Update:  I think I just ruined a pot of coffee in the name of convenience and efficiency. I've been reading the Unfuck Your Habitat tumblr and one of the ideas it had was doing basic preparation the night before to make your morning more efficient. Oh ho, said I. Efficiency? I CAN DO EFFICIENCY. So, I pre-ground my coffee beans, loaded up the filter, did everything but water up my coffee machine because my coffee machine leaks like a god-damned sieve. Then I went to bed.

Beans once ground, dry out. I knew that, which is why I tend to grind my beans fresh every morning. If you don't, even the good stuff tastes like Maxwell House eventually. The question to be answered this morning was, "do they dry out overnight?" The answer, unequivocally, is "yes, Virginia, they fucking do."

Now I just have to ask myself if the bad coffee is worth the extra two or three minutes I saved by doing this the night before? I'm guessing not, considering what I just typed. It wasn't awful, just much weaker than I'm used to.

Unfuck Your Habitat is a pretty cool site, though. It's one of those Lifehacker-circle blogs with the premise that spending just a few minutes every day on something that improves your life is way better than going full-hog-crazy on it for an afternoon (or evening or morning) once every few months when you just can't take it anymore.

You spend ten minutes dusting or putting some stuff away or cleaning up clutter or making sure something that isn't squared away is squared away every day, instead of going crazy on everything at once once or twice a month. Ten or twenty minutes isn't much time. Most people spend more time puttering around on their computers before bed than that.

This philosophy appeals to me because it's a central philosophy my life, not just cleaning. I'm a big fan of boring and consistent approaches. Fitness, money, cleaning, it's all largely the same. Progress is progress, after all. Life goals tend to be processes instead of destinations. You don't just wake up "in shape" or "not in the poorhouse". Anything worth doing is going to be a series of tiny steps and it's better if those tiny steps are broken up over the course of days instead of in big irregular clumps that you wind up dreading.

Society discourages the small-amount-of-work-every-day method of achieving goals. I think people are trained to see problem-solving as a series of training montages, like you see in movies. Pat Morita kicks your ass into shape after the bullies pick on you, the Peter Cetera kicks in while you're running on the beach, waxing-on and waxing-off and suddenly you know fucking karate, man.

Doing a small amount of work regularly doesn't fit that mentality at all. It's not particularly glamorous, doing a very small amount of work every day, but it builds up over time. For example: I'm in fairly decent shape. I'm not going to run marathons, but I can pick myself up and run three miles if I have to. I'm not a powerlifter, but I'm fairly strong. I can do chin-ups until I and everybody else watching me gets bored. Did I have a training montage? Nope. I go to the gym three times per week, max (sometimes only one or two if my training schedule determines I need a flipping break). Sessions are typically anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes, depending on what my goals for the day are. On any given day, I usually feel like I'm slacking off, but it works.

Kicking your ass for a goal is not something you should be doing regularly. It's something you should do every once in a while as a change when your motivation begins to flag. Boring but consistent is not glamorous, but it works. Case in point, this year's resolution. Holy hell, have I gotten a lot of writing practice in this year.

I should probably write some horror this week. It's probably going to be relatively brief. Not quite flash, not quite long. I'm tempted to make more coffee, too. I feel a little cheated this morning.

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