Day 1

So I’ve ended Day 1 of my “30 Day Mind Your Own Biz Challenge.”

At the end of Day 1, I’ve realized a few things:

  • This is going to be tougher than I expected
  • People talk a lot about other people who aren’t in the room
  • Gossip is such a prevalent part of daily conversation

As I mentioned, I haven’t really set many rules. The only rules I have are these two:

  1. If it doesn’t help me achieve my goals, I won’t do it. Point blank. Period.
  2. If I won’t definitely use the information for something important and immediate, then I won’t listen, read, or watch it.

I’ll show you a simple trick for how I’ve been able to eliminate unproductive activities from my routine below.

This will really help you out if you’re struggling to eliminate online distractions (the Facebook tip alone is worth it’s weight in GOLD!).

Overall, everyone is really supportive of my challenge. Especially on Facebook.

I’ve received emails from people in the Practical Idealist Community who are intrigued as to how this may turn out, so I’ve decided to go ahead and log my progress for you to view and potentially benefit from if you decide to do your own challenge.

I’ve already seen a couple of areas I can really improve in, but first let me give you this tip!

golden tip for facebook-ers (this saves soo much time!)

I need to use Facebook for business and to achieve my goals (I’m a member of two groups which include freelancers and importers), so I use a Google Chrome extension called Kill News Feed (thanks for the tip, Neville!).

This extension allows me to use Facebook for the activities that are related to my goals and avoid getting sucked into endless News Feed scrolling (which is actually the most ADDICTING part of Facebook!)

This is EASILY going to be one of the best tools I use to make headway on my goals during this 30 day challenge.

Facebook Kill News Feed - 30 Day Mind Your Own Business Challenge

A screenshot of what my Facebook looks like when I log in using Kill News Feed

 

Try it out if you want to get rid of your Facebook addiction without deactivating your account altogether.

(Mac users can also use SelfControl to block access from distracting websites, like Facebook, altogether.)

Now on to the good stuff…

Here’s what I’ve noticed so far

A few of the things I’ve noticed so far:

  1. My head is emptier

What I mean by this is that I feel like I have more room in my mind. It’s not being jumbled up with extra shit that is diverting my attention away from what I really want to focus on. This also means that I have more room to fill my mind with the stuff that I want to focus on.

I don’t want to speak too, too heavily on this because it’s just been one day and it’s difficult for me to draw a conclusion from a single day.

I do have a few theories on why this may be…

You know that time that you spend in between doing productive stuff, like the moment right after you send an email for work but right before you start on your next task?

I call this “in between time.”

Often, that in between time is spent on mindless activities to simply pass the time or make the day go by faster. It’s basically glorified procrastination at it’s best.

Instead of using that time to take a quick break, we think to ourselves “I’m gonna see what’s happening on Facebook juuust for a few seconds.” And we all know what happens next… those few seconds turn into minutes and possibly even hours!

Before you know it, you’ve spent your afternoon binge-watching a chain of YouTube videos of some random dude jumping out of an elevator dressed as a video game character trying to scare the hell out of people as a prank.

We’ve ALL been there…

And at the end of day we wonder, “Where has all the time gone??”

Our wasted use of “in between time” is a real killer.

I’ve now noticed that I’ve stopped using this in between time to spend on mindless activities.

I simply can’t. The rules dictate that I only use my time on what’s important and immediate.

Prank videos don’t qualify.

So instead, I find myself walking outside to give my brain a rest while looking at nature. Or I’ll simply work on a different activity for one of my goals that I can take action on immediately, like reading an article for a specific purpose or responding to comments and emails from the community.

I have a feeling this simple tweak is going to make a WORLD of difference.

  1. My attention is more concentrated (and I’m happier… REAL world example below)

This goes along a  bit with my head being emptier.

As a result of having less stuff bouncing around in my head, I’m able to concentrate more easily on the stuff that I’d actually like to direct my attention towards.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I notice myself focusing more on my goals.

If I’m about to do something that isn’t in line with my goals, I catch myself quickly diverting my attention back to whatever I’m supposed to be focusing on at the time.

Here’s a specific (and all too common) example which occurred today…

I was driving in heavy traffic to meet my girlfriend for a date. We were meeting up at a museum of art to listen to music and walk around a bit, and I was already running late.

I came to a dead halt in traffic, and I noticed the right lane was open.

Thinking I could jump into the right lane for a right turn I was supposed to make in 1/4 mile, I switched over to the right lane only to notice that the road veered off into a shopping mall one light shy of my turn.

As soon as I noticed this, I tried to merge back into the middle lane.

Nuh uh…

The lady in a black SUV in lane to my left saw my little stunt occur behind her and decided she was NOT having any of it.

So instead of allowing me into the lane where there was MORE than enough room, she sped up to close the gap so I couldn’t enter.

Typical.

As I looked into her window, she stared into my eyes with a polite “Go fuck yourself, Satan!”

It was the kind of death stare that you only get from people experienced in traffic-transportation-brawls. Then she simply shook her head in disgust.

Instead of getting angry, I just chuckled.

“I didn’t mean to try to cut you off. I legitimately thought I’d be able to turn if I drove ahead in the right lane,” I thought to myself.

But she wouldn’t budge. She just stared ahead while the tan Ford Taurus behind me violently honked his horn.

Again, I just shook my head, laughed, and drove forward to make a U-turn so I could get back on the correct road and position myself further behind in traffic. Nice.

The cool thing about this experience: I really believe my ability to laugh it off almost instinctively may be traced back directly to my head being “emptier” and having my attention more concentrated on my goals.

My goal in that moment was to make it to the museum of arts for a date with my girlfriend, and I ended up accomplishing just that.

Oh, and it was a GREAT date! My girlfriend looked stunning in this sexy sundress!!

  1. Newsflash: people talk A LOT about other people who aren’t in the room… (aka GOSSIP)

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing that people talk about others who aren’t in the same room with them. But more often than not it is.

By nature, when you’re talking about someone who isn’t in the room with you, you feel more free to express how you really feel about that person.

This includes your opinion of what he or she isn’t doing right and how you might do it better, or how this or that person did you wrong in the past. Or just about any general opinion you may hold.

Ohhhhh, and it’s not just women… (for any fellas that think we don’t gossip. We definitely do.)

I went to an (all male) barbershop to get my haircut and immediately I noticed all of the talk around me was about other people who weren’t at the barbershop.

And almost all of it was negative.

Here’s a mini-challenge for you: the next time you’re with a group of 3 or more people, take a moment to just listen to the conversations going on around you and see if you hear the conversation directed towards other people who aren’t present and if that conversation appears to be more negative than positive.

It’s human nature.

Almost every conversation I had with someone devolved into a conversation about someone else who wasn’t there.

NOTE: I haven’t quite figured out yet how I’m going to approach talks about other people who aren’t in the room at the time. For example, will I let them know that I’m on a “30 Day Mind My Own Biz Challenge” and I’m not supposed to talk about other people during it? Or will I simply nod my head when someone else is brought up and try to maneuver the conversation to a different topic? I’m not sure. I don’t want to offend other people by cutting the conversation short, but I also want to give myself a fair trial at this experiment.

We’ll see what I come up with. If you have any suggestions, feel free to share your suggestions in the comments at the bottom of this post.

WTF is up with Bob Marley shirt… and your extra large grin???

So you may be wondering why I’m wearing a Bob Marley t-shirt and also wearing a large smile with my finger in the air like I’m posing for an after game high school sports group photo.

Well, I don’t know what to tell you about the smile. That’s just… yea, that’s just a smile. (My mom likes it even if you don’t.)

And as for the t-shirt, yeah, I just ran outta shirts and needed to get a haircut so I put it on.

Anyways, on the way to the barbershop, I decided to turn on some music during my drive.

Naturally, if I’m wearing a Bob Marley t-shirt, I feel like it’d be a disservice to Mr. Marley if I don’t listen to the King of Reggae himself.

So I listened to a little “Sun is Shining” and a dubstep remix of “Buffalo Soldier” and a thought flashed across my mind’s eye…

Bob Marley’s music has absolutely nothing to do with any of my primary goals.

“Whooaaa… Chill out Rob! You can listen to music dude…”

I know at least one of us is thinking this. Well, at least me, because I just wrote it.

But whether I’m taking it too far all depends on how far and to what extent I want to take this challenge to.

At the core, I’m still focusing on my goals and listening to any music won’t deter me from going after them, right?

Sure.

But listening to music and allow someone else’s thoughts to enter into my mind is doing just that… allowing someone else’s lyrics to influence my mind for the duration of time that I’m listening to their music.

Let me break it down with a quick example…

Just like the videos you watch on YouTube or the memes and statuses people share on Facebook, those images tend to linger in the back of your mind and subtlety affect your own thoughts. (Think about the effect that listening to Kanye West has on you when your goal is to curse less or be less focused money and women… that’s like 87% of his lyrics?! A slight contradiction? Durr.)

In the end, I’ll need to decide if I want to hold off listening to music during this time and also if I’ll allow the people I’m speaking with to talk about other people when it’s just the two of us talking.

That’s all I have for now. I’ll check back in with you tomorrow.

If you have any questions about the “30 Day Mind Your Own Business Challenge,” ask me in the comments and I’ll get right back to you! 

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