It turns out, my last post announcing my 42nd Happiness Experiment was also my 500th post on the site, making this my celebratory 501st post.
Wow, how did I manage 500 posts? Sometimes I’ve struggled to write, other times the posts flow from my fingers as fast as I can type. It’s amazing how accomplishments sneak up and surprise you.
I’ve spent the weekend at a conference in downtown. I won’t bore you with the details as it was an industry conference, but it was an amazing way to spend time and I really learned a lot. I had the chance to put my head together with a lot of smart people, which always leads to some fascinating and educational conversations.
So, at a conference for 8 hours each day, I wouldn’t be surprised if this weekend was a write-off when it comes to productivity, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It seems that, like my 500th post, being productive this weekend snuck up on me.
I finished off my first weekend of exercise in the 100 push up challenge and the 200 sit up challenge. I’m not going to lie and say they were easy. I’ve been slacking on my muscle-building exercise work, and it unfortunately shows. These challenges are much needed. I haven’t fallen in love with them yet, but I have started to once again embrace a schedule of regular exercise.
I have also managed to do some work on the weekend, getting ahead on my tasks for the week. A bit earlier this evening, I even prepared food for the next few days and cleaned the kitchen.
Essentially, on a weekend where I thought I would get nothing done, I managed to achieve an amazing amount. I got some exercise, learned a number of new things, got some work done, prepared healthy food for the next couple days, cleaned my kitchen and even spent a bit of time relaxing with my wife and catching up on some of our favorite television shows.
I wonder if the fact that I had no expectations left me open to accomplishing more. There’s a fine line between setting goals and setting expectations. I still had a to-do list for my time at home, but rather than expecting a certain number of tasks to be done withing a set time, I decided to just do what I could in the time that was available to me.
It’s very zen as a concept. Think less, have fewer expectations, and just do more.
Now, the question comes, how can I work that realization into my life more?
I think I need to start viewing to-do lists as guidelines, rather than as must-do lists. This prevents me from getting hung up tasks and instead puts me in a position where I can more easily achieve “flow“. I’ve experimented with to-do lists before, and I found that while the did help me be more productive, they prevented me from having the chaotic moments of unexpected growth that can only really happen what you have time open on your schedule.
Perhaps I’ll try to balance that now, so that I can still work hard on goals, but I leave things open enough that fascinating surprises can happen. This will be an interesting theory to experiment with.