in Mindset

A Year of Experimentation

In December, I began writing about my goal setting process. I followed through on the process and develop two big goals and a number of ideas that I wished to explore. My overall theme for the year is:

A year of experimentation

As part of a “learning in public” vibe, I will experiment in public so that learning along the way is shared.

How actionable will it be?

I will explore a small change every week. These will be small, known ways of improving overall productivity, achievement or other human performance factor. I will report back on the findings of my experiment each week, as well as describe the upcoming experiment.

The motivation for experiment #01 was borne out of the potential for interruption that the cell phone is. interruptions result in a reduction of deep work time, as Cal Newport describes it. Todd Clarke has a great summary of the iPhone tax (a blog post by Seth Godin). I wanted to tweak my environment towards creating deep work time.

Experiment #01 – Removing Mail from my iPhone


Now the only place that I will check email this week is my computer. Success will be thinking less about email. This should lead to checking it less and therefore being able to immerse myself in more deep work. I will report back!

The metrics that I will use are:

  1. Binary (Pass/Fail) – did Mail stay unconfigured on my iPhone/iPad
  2. How many times did I check email on my computer (manual count)
  3. How much time did I spend on email (Rescue Time)

New habits

Allied with one of my goals for 2016, is the need to develop some new habits. In this area, I know that consistent application is required to succeed. Hence, I am going to have a monthly focus area.

Tom Rath is a great author of many books. Recently I read “Eat, Move, Sleep”. I found the arguments compelling and have decided to up my performance in all three areas. For January, I am starting at the area that needs most attention:

Get at least 8 hours of restful sleep

Breaking this down. I am an early riser, so I will need to be in bed early. I am going to start with 23:00 and bring it back in to 22:00 by the end of the month. To ensure that I get a restful sleep, I will be introducing a “Hamish Hour” – no electronic devices or bright light within 1 hour of going to bed.

I will also use the “Sleep Cycle” app to check the quality of my sleep and perhaps run some experiments to improve it (Hamish Hour, Caffeine free week, AM vs PM meditation).

The key metrics will be:

  1. Hours of sleep
  2. Sleep quality

That’s it. The start of 2016.


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