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New Month Resolution #11

Updated: Apr 1, 2021

This is part of an ongoing series of monthly self-experiments; see the full list.

Update from Last Month (August 2020)

You may have noticed that I didn’t write anything last month. This is mostly because I’m in the process of moving, first to the US (in just over a week) and then to Japan (likely in November). It’s not that I literally didn’t have time to write, but more that my mental resources have been otherwise allocated. I’m excited for all that’s coming up, excited to travel with my girlfriend, excited to move and to see family and to start a new chapter in my life. But…

I’m really mentally drained.

I planned to post links (I have them written down), I started to write many things (they’re in my Drafts folder), and I’m hoping to get back to it when things settle down. On top, I have languishing research projects I need to get back to soon. Some of my reasons were nicely articulated by Jacob at Putanumonit; I feel I’m in great company on this. Here’s hoping for next month.

Last Month’s Resolution

This transition period of my life, and the associated mental fatigue, have made last month’s resolution difficult to stick to. I intended to have a “Clean Desk Policy”, both in my physical space (putting everything away when I was done with it), and my digital space (closing tabs and programs when I’m done with them). At first, this worked great, but I faltered over the course of the month.

In the first week I had cleared both physical and digital spaces almost fully, and you can see from last month that this was a major feat. But I’m moving, and so my things have had to be pulled out of dressers, those dressers sold, and those things put on the ground for long periods of time. Overall, I feel good about my improved level of organization through it all, but it has fallen very short of a “Clean Desk Policy”.

Not really a clean desk.

The stuff I still own “put away”, but actually just on the floor.

My digital life is much cleaner than it was, though also fell short of the full goal. I started with dozens of browser tabs and bordering on hundreds of emails to go through; now my email inbox has only about 10 messages and under 20 browser tabs (in both cases, mostly things I’m working on today). Five tabs which are drafts of future MLU posts have stayed open the whole time, to encourage me to write more taunt me each and every day. I did not take the hint. Oh well, there’s always next month.

Overall, a significant improvement that diminished–but not fully!–over the course of the month. I’ll try hard to hold onto the gains I’ve made.

  1. Commitment: 2/5

  2. Difficulty: 4/5

  3. Results (+/- relative to my expectation, which corresponds to 0): -2

  4. Likelihood to do it again the following month: 3/5

Up Next

In light of my current physical and mental state, I’m going to try something simple that I can do wherever I am: I want to learn to whistle. I can kind of make noises now, but I can’t change notes and it’s very boring. I will try to whistle a full song, probably some children’s song with a simple melody (“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” would be good, but no promises).

Simple, straightforward. Let’s do it.

Resolution #11

Starting September 1, until (at least) the end of the month, I will practice whistling, with the intention to be able to whistle a full song by the end.

Results and new Resolution will be given on or around October 1, 2020.

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