Maybe it was the inherent excitement of a fresh, clean slate which I always seem to sense at the dawn of a new year -- perhaps heightened even more so because this New Year is also the dawn of a new decade. Maybe it was the sunny and warm climate here in Los Angeles, which always makes me feel alive and healthy of spirit, mind and body.  The goal setting desire swooped down on me this New Year's Eve like I hadn't felt in years, and I kicked into high gear.

On New Year's Eve, last Thursday, I bought the new edition of the Four Hour Work Week, at the Barnes & Noble down the street from my condo, and began to devour it -- even more so than I did with the first edition almost three years ago.

On New Year's Day I committed myself to a low-information diet and deleted all iPhone apps for newspapers, blogs and magazines. I also turned off all televisions and began to watch only mindless entertainment or educational shows at bedtime. No TV during any other time of the day -- and absolutely no news at any time.

It's a week into the New Year (at midnight in about an hour and a hall from now) and I've gone without watching the news, reading a newspaper, or reading any magazines in print or online or on my iPhone.

I've also gone a week during which I've checked my email only twice per day - at 11AM and 4PM, saving me hours of wasted time by batching all responses together!

I even swallowed hard and deactivated my Facebook account on New Year's Day!  That one was really hard. I've also committed to checking Twitter infrequently, though I use it to follow productivity gurus and other self help tweeters.

The lower level of stress from not being a news-junkie has given me a sense of being on a mini-vacation, especially here in sunny Southern California while it's brutally cold and snowy back in Indianapolis.  The substantial amount of time saved by not constantly checking and responding to email and/or Facebook has been put to good use -- specifically, I'm reading more than before (current book: "Leaving Microsoft to Change the World", by John Wood).

I've also installed and begun using, again, ResueTime, the amazing software that helps track my usage of and productivity on the computer.  Tonight, after two days of use, the stats show that I am in the "TOP 16%" of computer users in efficient use. I'm striving to be even better, and am tweaking the program to better recognize the sites I visit and their nature and their productivity quotient. Simultaneously, I'm using e.ggtime.com on my iMac and AIR computers to force me to pay closer attention to the actual amount of time I spend on the computer -- I even use it to time my showers and meals (a significant productivity booster! Highly recommended, and it's free!)

I now begin each day, not by spending an hour or more reading the NYT, LA Times, Wash Post, various blogs and checking and responding to email (my former routine) but, rather, by eating a hearty breakfast.

I'm also focusing more on my workouts, including Super Slow HIT and Krav Maga (though I'm healing from an injury to my ribs last week and haven't been to Krav Maga for a week) and long walks of 6-7 miles, or more, at sub-15 minute miles.  As as result, my body fat has decreased and my lean mass has increased. I bought a Withings Scale, which sends my stats to a private account on the Withings.com website, and have begun tracking lean mass vs fat mass, total weight and BMI, as well as % body fat.

I've also committed to a six-week creative writing class online at Gotham Writers' Workshop in NYC., two weeks of which I'll be traveling in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos -- I hope the class will be helpful in my efforts to try to document our trip.

So, there it is, my productivity has already skyrocketed past what it'd been for the past year or two. I'm excited about the potential for new projects and enhanced lifestyle improvements in 2010.

My e.ggtimer.com clock is telling me that I have 45 seconds to wrap up 15 minutes on this post.

I love this time of year, and I love the feeling of growth!
Jeff Baker
01/07/2010 6:07pm

Reading your new blog, "Tracking the Journey" has me completely worn out.
As surprised as you might be, I don't do that much in a week. Maybe that's why I don't have a scale like yours!
I was glad to see that you had dropped ALL from Face Book as I was concerned that I was the only one. A de-friending is just something from which one could never recover.
My day now takes on a whole new meaning as I add "Tracking the Journey" to the schedule.
Best of luck with the "Journey"!

01/07/2010 8:44pm

Your blog is another example of how you always share with others. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, ideas and recommendations via this blog. I look forward to reading "Tracking the Journey"

01/09/2010 12:03pm

Inspirational idea! De-digitizing for efficiency ... and quality of life. Makes a lot of sense to me. I, to, spend uber-time reading national media, marketing media, leadership media and more. Sure, this offers value in personal/professional development. But it is inefficient compared to focused study, and what does all that information really add unless one can put it to good use.

Detaching from FaceBook is huge commitment. It has been great for connecting to lost-touch acquaintances and keeping up with far-away friends. But it can suck up too many minutes of life I'd rather spend with my six-year-old.

Thanks for sharing your New Year resolution and journal of your life. This start serves as a reminder reminder to balance technology with what's important: living and breathing in the real world of humanity.

Here's to a great year! Cheers!

01/09/2010 6:04pm

I'm thinking about this......when you get back to Indianapolis, let's talk about being a bit less driven. (Says one goal-oriented person to another!)


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