On September 23rd I challenged my friends to donate 15 minutes ever day for the remaining hundred days of 2016 to developing a skill, creating content, or doing something that they wanted to do. The reason, making small, incremental progress and dedications eventually lead to capacity to make bigger, more purposeful decisions. Plus, spending 25 hours doing something new means you'll get pretty good at it, fast!
It's now Day 21 of #Yes100. Three weeks into this new routine of learning, doing, designing, creating and NOT procrastinating.
First of all, the response of the YesTribe to this #Yes100 was invigorating. So many great ideas and most importantly ongoing evidence of the commitment. I've received little messages from friends and strangers, updates and thanks and bright, active thoughts. And I get it, I feel the same. This compulsion to walk the talk lead to an arguably over-ambitious commitment to 14 different activities every single day for 100 days and, although I admit there have been days with a less than 100% success rate, on the whole, this challenge has revolutionised not just the way I spend my days but the way I think and the way I work.
I've produced so much content in the last three weeks that I wouldn't have otherwise and that alone is worth the effort, but now these items are part of my day they're integral, not a chore or a pain in the ass, they're part of me.
So, here's what I've learned so far.
To recap, these are the daily challenges I set myself:
- Take a photo for Instagram that sums up the day
- Take a daily portrait photo, also to be shared on Instagram
- 30 minute powernap
- Recall a memory from a past adventure and share on Facebook page
- Move outside for at least 30 minutes
- 50 push ups + 50 sit ups
- Listen to an audio book for 15 minutes
- Read a book for 15 minutes
- Write for 10 minutes towards a book
- Spend 15 minutes developing my website
- Work towards creating a film
- Save £1 per day towards a microadventure
- Learn something new about a device that I use regularly
- Learn a language
Some days when I haven't achieved a goal, I'll make up for it the next day. In terms of balance and credit, the only one I'm down on is the 30 minute powernap which has been really difficult to prioritise in a crazy period where I've led a group expedition down a big river and am organising a festival. This isn't to say the sleep wasn't needed, it was!
Second hardest is the health and fitness, especially when I'm wedded to my computer for long hours in the build-up to Yestival, but having these items on my list often forces me to leave the screen for a small while and get the blood pumping. I paddled for over 4 hours a day on average for a week on the Mississippi River so on average I'm well over my movement target, and I've only missed three days of push ups and sit ups, so far...
I was off grid on the Mississippi for six days so pre-scheduled a story a day, and the regularity of content has boosted my Facebook post reach and audience more than I could have imagined. Creating a theme around my posts also means I know what kind of content to write and it keeps my social media down, at the same time as raising impact.
My Instagram feed is looking so much better, and my photography skills in general are benefitting from using a DSLR every day, then importing these into Insta.
Working on film and editing each day has already had its results. First up was a quick look at a kitesurfing weekend spent in Norfolk (above), a few video blogs already created for social channels, and I'm now spending a few minutes a day creating a film about the Mississippi River Exploring Mindset adventure I was on between days 4 and 12 of #Yes100.
This week I've also turned some audio podcasts into five films to promote SayYesMore's upcoming Microfestival for Positive Change, Yestival. (You should come, it's going to be incredible!)
Pausing to listen to an audio book and read a book gives me calm in this crazy world, whether I'm on a train or bus, or using the added incentive of ticking off two or three of my daily items at the same time. I'll write parts of my book with an audio book playing, or stick in my ears and listen while I'm out doing exercise.
It helps to have a reason to learn a language. I'm heading to Japan next month to travel 1000 miles on a Swifty Scooter and am confident that the basics I'll have picked up through #Yes100 will serve me well. I've never been good at languages but for the first time in my life I'm enjoying the process and am even thinking about what's next on the list. I've download an app called Memrise onto my phone and each day it runs me through a variety of sounds, alphabet lessons, pronunciation and visual learning techniques. Konnichiwa!
All in all, dedicating to something that doesn't disrupt an entire day or unbalance emotions is incredibly healthy. The incremental growth and development in several areas of my work has tremendous personal benefits too, and getting to the end of each day having achieved so much - not even taking into account everything else outside of #Yes100 - gives a warm feeling of satisfaction.
So, how's your #Yes100 getting on? Join the YesTribe and share your story on www.sayyesmore.com/yes100
PHOTO OF TODAY FOR INSTAGRAM
Dale joins me for one of my 50 press-ups in his wonderful garden.
30 MINUTE POWERNAP
This, I did not manage today. Damn. Does 30 minutes before midnight count? Now thinking I need to aim for a 100% success rate but if I don't get it, as close as I can is the aim.
RECALL A MEMORY FROM A PAST ADVENTURE
I'm in Memphis so sharing a picture from August 2011 when I paddled in with a huge group of Memphians. It was the first of many visits back here...
Hot today. Especially lovely to go outside though after a full morning in the basement without sunlight.
50 PRESS-UPS + 50 SIT-UPS
As before. Strangely, despite feeling yesterday's exercise in the muscles, today felt easier. Just gotta do it.
PAUSE AND LISTEN
More of Seth Godin's tribes whilst running and exercising. It just takes one person with an idea for people to feel the urge to join a larger journey than their own.
TAKE A PORTRAIT
Bradley Geismar - 9/24/16, firstname.lastname@example.org - My initial goal was to learn about the Mississippi River and its people. The problem with that mentality is that I did not see my position within that relationship. That has been the value of this journey; learning that my position is inextricably intertwined with this River - that we are all these people.
10 MINUTES OF WRITING
First notes towards a future book about starting a tribe and running a festival. Today's thoughts were mostly about overcoming the hurdles introduced when building a team and a much less simple part of my life than just being a one man band.
DEVELOPING MY WEBSITE
I started to bring together a nicer design for the projects page on my site, introducing a series of photos along with text to show off projects I'd taken on to satisfy a curiosity or overcome a fear.
CREATING A FILM
A little more on the film. Spent so much more than 10 minutes but just having this on the list ensured I did something and got closer to the finished product.
Done before bed.
SAVE £1 A DAY
Easy! Another pound in the pot!
LEARN A LANGUAGE
The basics. Hello - Konnichiwa! Goodbye - Sayounara! Yes - Hai! Let's Go - Ikou! No - Iie! Thank you - Arigatou! I'm sorry - Gomennasai!
LEARN SOMETHING NEW ABOUT A DEVICE FAMILIAR TO ME
Ever wished you could catch the perfect moment with your iPhone camera? Hold down the camera capture button to take photos in burst mode. This will take a series of photos in quick succession and then you just select the one(s) you want to keep.
MY REASONS FOR DOING THIS
I'm not alone in having a 'busy' life but the busier we are the more unproductive we can become. Being busy isn't an accolade, it's a pain in the ass. We should work hard (especially on stuff that we love) in order to make a difference and play a part in adding positive impact to our world, and the less we do this (regardless of how busy we become) priorities begin to blur, stress inefficiency become frustratingly frequent.
I pride myself on getting things done fast and well, but I've slipped recently. Too much laptop time, too much stress, not enough sleep, not enough balance. So, on 23rd September (the beginning of the 100 countdown to the end of the year) I'm going to change the way I work and spend my days.
#Yes100 is about more than intention and dedication, it's about action. I want to improve my habits so I get more from each day: produce more, learn more, create more, rest more, exercise more. Itemising a day incrementally so in the long term I can see huge benefits, all the while building up so many usually inactive muscles.
I'll be abroad and travelling for at least 40 of the last 100 days of 2016, so whether I'm on the move, at my desk, leading group trips, paddling a river, running a festival or speaking at a business or school I'm going to commit to seeing this project through. I imagine it will be hard some days and the temptation to let some items slip will be natural, but many of these daily goals are things I recognise that I need more of and by integrating my existing tasks into this new system I'll do my usual stuff faster and better.
I've challenged my friends (and stranger friends) in the SayYesMore community to take on this challenge, perhaps setting themselves one or two 15 minute tasks a day for the next hundred days, but I'm going for this in a big way by choosing over 10 new daily objectives to take on. Maybe my eagerness is too big for my diary (and I'm prepared to drop a few if this is the case) but ultimately this is for my own benefit and progress: By the end of 2016, despite the tiny nature of each task, I'll have something big and noticeable, incremental, daily satisfaction with obvious reward. Isn't that what being in charge should be about?
Here are the things I'm going to do, and why
- Dedication: 10 mins. One gorgeous black and white photo of life, both as documentation and a way to add a more focused theme to my Instagram account.
- Sleep: 30 mins. power/cat nap each afternoon. I reach most evenings exausted and tend to work through the blur and eventually sleep way too late. These catnaps are designed to reign in a sleep debt and re-energise for the end of the day.
- Tell a story: 10 mins. Recall a memory from a past adventure and post on Facebook. Both a consistent posting system for my Facebook, as well as good memories to help point 7 below
- Fitness: 10 mins. 50 press ups + 50 sit-ups each day. Well, now I gotta do it, don't I?!
- Health: 20 mins minimum outside moving. Movement and the outdoors, two key elements to a healthy, happy life.
- Skill: 10 mins. Take a portrait of someone's face each day and share a quote about life from them (learn about portrait photography). Aren't faces incredible?! I like the idea of having 100 good portraits and stories to attach to them after 100 days.
- Write: 10 minutes a day working towards next book. Soak up and recall moments and memories. Slow progress towards the next book despite a busy day.
- Productivity: 10 minutes per day adding something new to my website. Keeps things fresh, and ensures I don't neglect my site in place of social media.
- Film: 10 minutes per day creating a short film about something important to me. One per week on average (14 in the 100 days). Keeping the hand and eye in.
- Read: 15 minutes per day. It's good to pause, and reading helps me write.
- Pause and Listen: 15 minutes listening to educational audio book each day
- Finance: Save £1 per day towards a microadventure
- Learn a language: 10 minutes a day learning Japanese. Because I'm going to Japan.
- Learn: a new handy trick about my computer/ device each day (we become so familiar with the way we use things often we don't use them to their best ability (that includes ourselves).
2 hours 40 every single day