Upgrading my Operating System

With 38 just behind me, I’ve been thinking ahead over this past week about the mental “operating system” I use to manage my life, particularly how and where I invest my time and energy.

My experiment with tiny habits, has gone on for over 5 years now and habits have become a core part of my operating system.

I think of tiny habits as the scaffolding, as the minimum essential pieces I need to provide a structure and consistency to life that I can build on.

What I’ve noticed I struggle with, though, is making consistent progress in important but not urgent areas of life that require more than 5 minutes per day.

I don’t expect that struggle to stop, but I’m feeling motivated to experiment.

I’ve identified seven areas of life I care about, as follows:

  1. Habits – At the moment, I have 9 habits that I keep up with on a daily basis, including pushups, a cold shower, and a new one I’ve been trying: “5 minutes of simplifying”, which could include cleaning out a draw, unsubscribing from emails, etc.
  2. Input – Learning to me is important. I want to be continuously broadening my perspective, deepening my understanding, and expanding my skills.
  3. Output – It’s important to me to be consistently “creating”, to exercise energy in getting something out of my head and into a form where it can be shared and provide value to others.
  4. Spirituality – My faith is an important part of who I am and I want to consciously cultivate spiritual practices that deepen and enrich my faith experience.
  5. Health – I want to take care of the body I have for its own sake and so I can continue to do the things I want to do.
  6. Fun – I want to enjoy life myself and with those I love.
  7. Finances – Money is an important part of the world we live in and I want to improve how I relate to and manage my finances.

That’s a lot and I’ve learned to check my ambition. I can keep up something new for awhile and then I get worn out.

My thinking is that I build a layer atop the tiny habits scaffolding I’ve developed. The idea is to design a way that will enable me to sustainably increase the amount of energy I invest and momentum I create into the areas of life that matter to me.

My first attempt is what I’m calling a “Personal Scorecard”. I’m using Notes on iOS and a pinned note that

I’ve created a “Personal Scorecard” in Notes on iOS with a table that looks like this:

My goal is to continue to complete my daily habits (which now includes a habit to “Update my personal scorecard) and then spend 25 minutes in each of the other categories each day. Where I can, I’ll combine them – for instance, listening to a book (input) while walking (exercise).

There are 28 weeks left in 2024. My target is to fill the checkboxes up on 20 weeks worth, which feels do-able and will give me with quite a bit more progress than I think I’d have were I to not try this. We’ll see how it goes.