#325 - Loops

5 minute read

Motto: Round and Round We Go


Imagine life without it. It would be chaos. Everyone has routines they go through every day. You do the same things in the same ways. Try putting your pants on starting with your off-leg and you'll see what I mean. It feels weird. 

We have little routines. We have big ones. Our big routines are made up of little ones. Butting routines together forms a loop. These loops exist at different levels, too. You loop your mornings, your afternoons, your evenings. You loop your days. You loop your weeks. On a long enough timeline, your months and years take on similar characteristics. 

You wake up. You prep for work. You commute. You manage tasks and email until lunch. You eat. You manage tasks and email until it's time to leave. You commute. You do a hobby. You cook food. You eat. You entertain yourself. You sleep. Loop.

You work. You work. You work. You work. You work. You engage in social activities. You gather and organize and prepare for the week. Loop.

This is all necessary to be successful. If you didn't have established routines, you'd spend a lot of your day bumbling around trying to figure out why nothing is working. You know how to get things done because you know what works. You know what makes you happy. You do what breeds success and it makes you successful. You do what breeds happiness and it makes you happy. But as you do your successful, happy little loops (as Bob Ross would call them), the flaws in them become more obvious. The gaps in what they accomplish grow as your body and brain adapt to better accomplish what's in the loops you run.

Let me wrap it into an example:
Mondays are leg days.
Tuesdays are chest and tris.
Wednesdays are break.
Thursdays are back and bis.
Fridays are burnout leg days.
Saturdays are burnout all upper body.
Sundays are break.

Now you're strong. Now you're cut. 
But you can't run. You can't touch your toes or scratch your own back.

Now let me rap it into an example:
You write down tasks.
Do what your boss asks.
Communicate effectively.
Collaborate selectively.
Master spreadsheets and lists.
Faster than life cheats, it's this
that will make you good employee.
That will take you, wait and see.

If you fail to consider bigger notions,
don't set sail to some broader oceans,
you will trail when it's time for promotions.

That whole thing was me talking about focusing on getting things done to further a project, in lieu of focusing on getting things done to further a career. Hopefully those two things overlap.


The challenge I'm facing now is addressing these shortcomings. Covering the gaps. Can you construct a loop that covers all the bases? I think that's what I have been trying with some of the projects I've been running for the past 4 or 5 years... but the longer a project goes, the more you revert back to base behavior. I set goals, do a great job with them at first, but after a bit I'm back to baseline Aaron. The goal is present, but the change in behavior is not. 
I set up my Life Tracker with 25 daily goals so that I'd try to accomplish them. 
I started filming a second a day so that I'd make sure each day had an interesting second. 
I started 30 Day Challenges to try out intentionally and selectively break routines. 
I've learned a lot from all of those things over the years. But what I've learned from them lately is that they aren't as motivating as they once were. The law of diminishing returns is in full effect. Just like how constantly doing the same happy loops will cause them to bring less and less joy.

I don't fault myself for doing any of those things I do. I've been intentionally trying to better myself. I won't rest on my laurels. Even if the things I try are 90% ineffective, I'll be 10% better off for it. At least that's the theory.

I'm going to sunset the Life Tracker in 6 months. I've been at it for 4.5 years. It's done what I wanted it to do. I've learned a lot from it... and I'm not sure I'll ever really fully stop tracking things. But it's time for something new. I want to implement what I've learned to build something better of myself and for myself. I want my loops to contain more intentionally unintentional sections. Variety is the spice of life. 

Let the chips fall where they may.
Say Yes more.
Live more.
I'm ready for what's next.

With all that said, if your black X is co-located with your blue circle, by all means, take the red path.

Top 5: Other Things I've Thought About Lately
5. This one is stupid and obvious, but: 
Efficiency = (Effective Actions)/(Total Actions)
If you're doing something that's not wholly effective, then your efficiency sucks.
4. Similarly, the effective thing to do is not always the easy thing to do. But the thing that's most effective winds up being easiest in the end. Through the Transitive Property of Equality, the easiest thing to do isn't the easy thing to do.
3. The great smartphone plateau started somewhere around 2015. Once the iPhone got bigger, it stopped really getting better. My Nexus 6P is two years old, and it's still a phenomenal device. I don't think we'll see another "must-have" upgrade until our phones stop being little slates we carry around.
2. Rick and Morty is a great show... but it's the kind of great show that I wouldn't really recommend to most people. It's a great show to those who think it's a great show.
1. Allergies suck.

- Me, after hitting a relatively good golf shot the other day... also several others over the past few weeks -