Systems Renovation Recap


I’m now a fifth of the way – 20 days – into my 100 days experiment to renovate my habits/ system. It’s a good time to take stock, course-correct, examine challenges, celebrate (even/ especially) the small wins, and synthesize the learnings thus far.

Spencerian Calligraphy:

Much energy was invested in the garden today, with all the walking done behind a lawn-mower and whipper-snipper.  I managed to get some Spencerian exercises in before, luckily – the vibration of the machines leaves my arm rather sore for a while, making writing painful or sometimes impossible for a while.

Besides today’s exercises, this week I managed to work on letters J, K done twice, LM, and practiced ovals  mid-week.

Walk Every Day:

Making the time to walk for an hour or more is easier when I have an accountability buddy – my wife. We’ve done this every day now, and the pictures I take on these walks are helping jog my memory. The walks also are our time to ourselves to hold each other the space – to connect, to vent, and to verbalise our emotions of the day.

Today’s walk, while in the garden, was a long one and I did not think of taking a photo before and after the work was done.

Vocal learning:

This changed from once a a week to everyday, after a colleague explicitly said that there’s no excuse if it only takes 5 minutes to do a reading exercise. I have recorded every day this week a minute or more of my voice, reading aloud a poem or a blog post.

Write 100 words here every day:

While I struggled in the first few days for ideas or to hit the word count, I don’t have that trouble now. If anything, I am editing as I type, and that takes from the flow of simply pouring out first and then editing.

What I’ve learned (again!)

  1. I have to **make** the time. There’s always something pressing or urgent – for someone else! Making the time is the same as prioritising myself, a little bit of self-care.
  2. Related, but different. There is ALWAYS time. This week I put a 15-minute limit on the browser on my phone. It brought my average daily phone usage time from 2.5 hours to less than an hour, much of that reduced time being YouTube music videos.
  3. Language matters. How I describe the day changes the way I see the day. Thinking in the third person, like Marcus Aurelius’s linguistic trick, helps get through the inevitable mental block that builds up over time.
  4. Calligraphy is incredibly relaxing for me. It’s not a revenue-earning skill I am building as much as a mental-health routine. It also very clearly forces me to deal with my need for perfection – however good the letters look, a closer examination tells me I have MILES to go before the letter is symmetrical or aligned or shaded.
  5. After  a week of recording my voice, I can feel why I have to do at least a few of the warm-up exercises if I’m going to do this in the night, feeling tired. I’m going to try recording in the morning.
  6. For the first time in a while, I’ve continued watching the lectures of a course on Blockchain that I’m doing every morning. I’ve progressed to making notes, and truly attempting to understand the implications of this fast-changing technology.
  7. Writing every night in my journal is forcing me to deal with the emotional weight and worries of the day, take it out of my mind and turn them into words that I can then go back to read later. More often than not, the worries have dissolved in the night, or at the very least, my subconscious mind has figured out a way of tackling the problem in a far easier or novel way than I could have come up.

To the next three weeks:

There will be changes to the routine, chosen or forced. Aim to continue the streak of doing things I’ve set out to do, one day at a time. And don’t worry about adapting them as I find useful. This is not a challenge as much as it is an experiment.

And remember that it’s the small changes, done every day, that will compound to set big things in motion.

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