June Challenge Launch: Automate

This morning, I realized I didn’t have any toothpaste. I ended up waiting in line for 15 minutes at the grocery store for just the toothpaste. The drive to the store was 10 minutes and I was probably browsing the store for about two minutes. It was a frustrating experience.

For June, I wanted to do see if I could pull off not going to a store. I want to see if I can automate all of my grocery shopping completely. The goal is to see how much money it would cost vs time. My goal is to see if there is a good correlation between the services delivery charges vs my time/energy in going to a store. I have been an Amazon Fresh user for a few months now but I want to see if I can use the service to its max and treat it more like a personal assistant.

The rules, I am going to use Amazon Fresh, Google Express or Jet.com to handle any of my shopping needs. The only exception is if there is an illness and I need to get to a drug store.

The goal is to see if I time/money/quality of the food that I eat.

30 Days Of Gratitude

Lately, I have been experimenting with new apps that change my thinking and change my behaviors. I was using something early in the year that was basically a “mood tracker.” You would just mark down if you were feeling positive or negative and it would also look at your social to see what type of stuff you would be posting and analyze that. It was cool to do for a few weeks but it was hard to see myself keeping up with something so granular like that.

The 5-minute journal is basically a simplified and guided journal. It is mention to be done twice a day with some simple prompts to help you get through the journal very quickly. The company who makes the app also makes this is a physical journal. But, when they finally released an Android app I dove all in.

I set the app to remind me to fill it out at 7 am and 10 pm. Those seem like the perfect times to start up the day and to wind down the day.

The first day I told myself that I have, to be honest with my answers no matter how silly or awkward they might seem. The self-censorship is high in a situation like that.

The thing that I noticed the first thing about the morning routine was that it immediately changed my way of thinking. The negative thoughts went away quickly and I started to think about the positive and embrace the positive.

Focusing, in on the positive stuff really does change your thinking in the morning and starts the day off on a positive note.

April Ship It Challenge

Do you have a notebook or a list somewhere of some ideas that you thought were just amazing? Have you ever been out with friends one day and came out with a killer t-shirt idea? Or even worse have you made something and shared it with the only friend and then put it away to never be seen again.

I am one of those people who rarely ships but ends up collecting a bunch of ideas and concepts that I believe in. But, I don’t ship. I make excuses and blame the world. But, I don’t ship.

If you can relate to any one this. I want you to join me. April is going to be the month of the ship. There are 5 Sundays in April and the goal is to release something new each Sunday. The only rule is that you have to make one thing a week for the month of April. The size and scope of that thing are up to you. But, you just have to ship something. It can be anything you have been wanting to release or even want to relaunch.

If you want to work on one big idea this month. Break that out into pieces and try to hit a weekly milestone.

Here is our schedule
Week 1 – 4/2/17
Week 2 – 4/9/17
Week 3 – 4/16/17
Week 4 – 4/23/17
Week 5 – 4/30/17

If you want to join me on this journey and share what you make. I want to see it. Let me know your email address here.

I will reach out to see if I can help in any way to help you to release your idea to the world.

If enough people signup I will setup a newsletter to sink out your work to the list so we can all enjoy your new work.

I will also be documenting as much as I can for each project. Time to work the first launch is a few days away.

365 Days of Writing

Writing was always something that I wanted to get more involved in my day to day life. Early last year, I started a blog and had some posts up, but it was nothing more than that just random posts at random times.

I tried to start the habit of blogging every day for 30 days. I would write a blog post every night on a topic I was thinking about or something I was working on. What ended up happening was about 20 poorly written, not even 500-word posts and about 10 with some value to them.

It was a good way to get over being scared of posting articles as every day I had to hit “Publish” no matter what. That was the best take away from that activity, but the quality was jumbled and the problem still remained it was a random assortment of thoughts.

Morning Pages

I still wanted to write. I actually enjoyed the process of writing and the process of exploring ideas. But, I needed to do something to help that along and I needed to do something that would help me get better and more comfortable with writing and exploring my own ideas.

I was listening to a podcast talking about the concept of morning pages. The idea is every morning you write three handwritten pages with no prompt and no guidance, just start writing.

“Three pages of stream of consciousness writing done before the day begins”

I loved the concept but I had some problems. I didn’t like longhand because this was something that I thought I might want to go back and look at if I had a good idea or something that I wanted to grow on and expand.

I decided to find a simple app that I could write in plain text, was full screen to avoid distractions, and would allow me to search through all of the stuff I wrote. I wasn’t sure what was going to come out of it.

The Results Were Not at All What I Imagined

I didn’t know what to expect from this. I thought there would be amazing ideas flowing. I would have some great business ideas or some book idea and I would be off to the races. I didn’t think that it would become a pseudo therapy session for me. At times, it was a space where I was able to work out problems. It was a place where I could vent about the struggles that I had. It was a place where I would set goals for the month, the day, and the week.

There were many ideas coming out as well. But, all of this other stuff happened. When you turn off the world and allow yourself the time and space to actually write down what is on your mind, the results were remarkable.

This wasn’t without its struggles. Some of the early days, the writing was nothing interesting, “I am tired. Why do I wake up every morning and do this?” There were some days where I was thankful for hot water and coffee and just wanted to talk about the joys of a good show.

It Made Me Hungry

I felt like I was in a creative rut and that is why I wanted to start doing this. But, something happened once I got into my rhythm about three months in.

I wanted more. I wanted to share more. I wanted to start making some of my other creative projects. I got hungry for more.

Writing every morning unleashed the juices. It got me ready to take on the day. It got me set up to tackle some of the other problems and goals on my list.

What it did was allow me to start and get an easy win, which in turn allowed me to setup my mind to start completing.

What Is Next

The daily routine was something that has helped me in other ways. I don’t see a reason to stop or change the practice. The benefits were visible. If I didn’t write in the morning on certain days, I felt like something was missing. It felt like I was on a cloud for the whole day.

Another thing that this practice trigged was the development of more good habits. I tried to break things I wanted to do down into smaller chunks. I was able to get into the habit of mediation, tackle being a vegetarian, and even read more.

I thought about stopping and seeing what happened. But, I enjoy it too much and I didn’t want to go back to being without it. I think that I might use it to experiment more with my writing, trying things such as writing more fiction and getting more comfortable with writing dialogue.

If you have something that you want to try, get it into your day or your routine. Break it down and try to do it for thirty days. It is the perfect amount of time to see how it will work with your life and allow you to make adjustments from there.

If you love experimenting with and wanting to try new things, this is a practice that could change you and allow you to get more done.

One Month Without Meat

This month’s challenge was to go vegetarian for the entire month. I usually am not a heavy meat eater except for chicken and bacon. I think that for dinner, it would be easy to substitute meat for vegetarian options, but there is something about bacon and eggs in the morning that I am going to miss. I can already feel that.

Week 1

The first week was easier than I thought it would be. We knew it was going to be hard and way too easy to just eat pizza and some bread every day. For breakfast, I stuck with a smoothie and a protein bar.

The first thing that I noticed was that I was sleeping better. I felt a lot more refreshed each morning. Waking up was a little easier and I felt like there was no grogginess or anything like that.

Picking meals was challenging. I think most people have a few staples in their household and have that one meal that they can whip up in a few minutes. But, for me, those meals all had meat in them. So this was a big change for me. I had to think out of the box and get creative with cooking and shopping.

Week 2

This is where I started to notice that I was actually craving meat. It wasn’t anything major, just in small moments. The thing I noticed that was the most interesting about this experiment was that it was making me think about my meals.

I would always stop and take a moment. It might be 15 seconds or it might be 15 minutes. But, I would have that moment of pause that would make me think about what I was eating, something that I never really have done prior to this experiment.

Final Week

With the final week, we wanted to mix things up a bit and found a few recipes that were quick and easy. We wanted to make something that was a little bit more polished that didn’t take us about two hours to make.

We decided to get a subscription to Green Chef for the month. Green Chef sends you ingredients for recipes that are all prepared and sized out. It makes the cooking process slightly less of painful but doesn’t make it completely painless. I want something that ships in a bag, I put it in a pan, and magically I have a dinner.
Green Chef helped get some new tastes into the mix. A few of the recipes were amazing and some were a little bit more on the average side.

Recap

I think this whole process was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. There are many meatless options at restaurants that I never really thought about it. You are limited, but it is something that was easier to navigate than I thought. I thought that I would crack about two days in.

It is officially a week after the deadline ended and the only meat that I have had so far, believe it or not, was bacon. I have had bacon in a few meals. I have had little desire to go for red meat or even chicken. I developed some tastes and some habits that I did find myself liking.

I don’t know that I would go full on vegetarian. It seemed like I ate a ton of carbs during the process and I did find myself eating more. What I had to do toward the end of the process was supplement some of my meals with some mini protein shakes. There were some days where I felt consistently hungry.