measure and manage

Ahh, here we are again, at the tail end of another year.

As tempting as it is to look ahead, keep going, and ignore everything that’s happened these last twelve months, there’s a voice in my head that’s piped up with “Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it”, so I guess we’ll look back before we turn and keep going.

Of course, I do this constantly anyway. “Ruminate” is probably in my top 100 favourite words. (That’s just a rough estimate because I don’t think it would make the cut for top 10, and even top 50 could be a bit tricky to figure out. Besides, there are a lot of words out there, and a lot that I like.)

Another wise saying that I’ve been mulling over recently is the one that goes something along the lines of “stupidity is trying to achieve a different result by repeating the same process” (I know that’s very much paraphrased and reworded, but I can’t be bothered looking up the original. Well, ok, I will, but only so that I can credit the original genius who came up with it…)

Well, ok, apparently that quote is usually mis-credited to Einstein, but is actually originally from a book by Rita Mae Brown: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Anyway, that’s all well and good, but not to the point at all …or is it?

I mean, it’s not completely unrelated.

I would say “let’s do things differently next year”, but, in all honesty, I’ve already started. After all, why wait?

In the last few months of the year, as I started reading more and more (with book club and also with non-book club friends reading the same books as my non-book club selections), my Persian/Farsi study dropped off significantly. At most, I listened to the audio lessons in the car, but it was nowhere near enough, and I started to forget important parts of grammar and sentence construction.

But I’ve now revised the first three chapters of my text book, and have made a commitment to write out a sentence or two every day, regardless of how tired or time-poor I may be. As with learning anything, consistency is key! It’s only a shame I had to learn this the hard way.

I’m hoping to do a similar thing with reading books, even if it’s just one page per day. I know coming into 2019, I told several people that I wanted to read Ulysses. As it so happened, I learnt from varying sources what a difficult book it is to comprehend and digest, went off to read other books instead, and have been making my way through Nicholas Nickleby for the greater part of the year.

Granted, I would have finished Nicholas Nickleby a lot sooner if I hadn’t been trying to concurrently read so many other books (for book club, personal interest, and to give myself an occasional break from Dickensian English, which although marvellous to read, can be taxing on a tired mind), but there are probably plenty of times when I could’ve picked it up, but I picked up my phone instead.

For 2020, I think Ulysses is going to stay on the shelf, but the epic I want to will tackle is Tolstoy’s War and Peace. I’ve been itching to read this ever since I finished Anna Karenina.

So the priority order goes: study, read and then phone.

Taking inspiration from blogging friend WriterInSoul (who is one of the most conscientious people I know when it comes to setting and achieving personal goals), I’ve decided I need to keep score to stay consistent. I’m by no means expecting a perfect 100%, but if I manage an 85% completion rate, I’ll be pretty happy (after all, that’s still an “A-minus”, right?)

I think the only tricky part is I’m planning a holiday in March, and another in October, and War and Peace is not exactly luggage-friendly, especially if you prefer to pack light. My challenge then will be to finish it all in the months in between, or else I’ll have no choice but to bring it with me in October (which I’m not totally against since, if it goes ahead, will be a long flight).

Last but certainly not least, I need to find a new way to fix my sleep. This seems largely at odds with my study and reading commitments, but I’ve dug this hole now, so I’m going to figure out how to make it homely. (That’s not how that saying goes, is it?)

Most nights I fall asleep ok, and I sleep through until my alarm. But some nights I have trouble falling asleep, or I have weird dreams and have trouble staying asleep, or I wake up exhausted. I’m at a point of not being able to remember a year in which I was not trying to fix my sleep.

I’d like to think I’ve been doing better these last few weeks, but I really don’t know, so this is going to get documented and measured too. I just need to devise a system for doing so. I mean, there’s no point getting seven hours of broken sleep when I would’ve been better rested on six hours’ continuous sleep.

Either way, I’m hoping that by making this more visible and more measurable, that I’ll actually stick with it. I have enough people in my life telling me to get more sleep that I think I can actually do this…


8 thoughts on “measure and manage

  1. I don’t know whether you don’t give yourself enough credit Sharon, or if you don’t cut yourself enough slack.😊 Either of which I understand all too well… Thanks for the mention! Although I feel compelled to point out that setting very modest goals is the main thing in my favor; I’m certainly not ambitious.😐 Writing things down keeps it on your mind and it’s like a little reward to add to the lists or check things off – since sadly no one else is going to show up with presents and cake to reward us.

    I have never heard that expression about making the hole one has dug like home! That’s brilliant. A couple of lamps, a few throw pillows… especially if one expects to stay awhile.😁

    It can be so easy to focus on what we haven’t done or haven’t accomplished and overlook all that we do by rote or have built into our lifestyles for the better.

    More reading, less internet. I am down with this too. I think the more I’m online, the less satisfied I get. I suspect it anyway. Your reading is so ambitious!

    I know you’ve written about sleep before. I use Valerian root & it definitely helps. I don’t want anything stronger. Something usually has to give to make sleep a (top) priority. I feel like the culture has made sleep seem like a frivolity, a pastime for weak people with nothing *better* to do. I remind myself often how animals don’t treat sleep this way. The sun drops and they go to bed! No fooling around. Anyway, sleep is natural and we’re meant to do it. These are the things I tell *myself.*

    • Haha I think the expression about the hole is something I just made up. Maybe it could be a thing though…

      I recently learnt that lions sleep something like 18 hours per day (which, I guess, shouldn’t really be surprising, since they’re in the cat family), so, yes, it is a good thing to remember! I know valerian does work for a lot of people, but in my case, I feel like it’s a lifestyle/routine problem of actually going to bed rather than falling asleep etc. It’s kind of like when my GP asked if I want to take medication coz I was stressed, and I figured I just needed to resolve the actual problem causing the stress. For a pharmacist, I don’t like to medicate a lot!

      I think your method of writing things down is simple and effective (probably helped by the fact it is so simple). I will buy myself cake at intervals next year if I do well 😉

      • I don’t like drugs either so I get it. Like you I always want take responsibility and fix things myself!

        “Shutting off the day” and not doing ” one more thing” or “reading a few more pages” is a problem for a lot of people I think including me. The advent of electricity is usually blamed and now we have SO many more things to keep us up and stalling on bedtime.


  2. You can probably get War and Peace on Kindle. Pop a free Kindle app on your trusty phone, and you can drag that hefty tome anywhere! I hope you love it as much as I did. 🙂

  3. Pingback: the sleep system (stage one?) | pistachio conspiracy #63

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