Monthly Archives: November 2019

Habit No. 5: Curate Media to 4 hours per week

The next habit I’m blogging through is “limiting media to four hours per week.”  To gauge how I’m doing, I really need to give this some definition.  The basic idea is to be much more intentional in how we engage media.  For the sake of argument, I’m going to define media as “electronic media,” including TV, YouTube, web browsing, movies, podcasts, and music.

In some ways, I’m doing okay on this one.  The only “active” TV watching that I generally do is Tottenham Hotspur Soccer.  Several years ago, my youngest son and I began following Spurs.  When I made this decision, I pretty much cut out actively following all other teams and sport.  Soccer is great!  A game is 90 minutes long, with maybe five minutes of stoppage time at the end.  The clock doesn’t stop, so it doesn’t “lie.”  It’s not the NBA, where it seems like it takes 30 minutes to play the last minute on the game clock.

But I have snuck other sports in through the back door.  I tend to check ESPN more than once a day, and read the stories on the NFL, College Football, and Soccer, even though I know that this is a tremendous waste of time.  The only other sites I check daily are Cartilage Free Captain, a Tottenham Hotspur supporter website, and Arts and Letters Daily.  I do have a weakness for Lit Hub, but I don’t check it every day.

I listen to lots of podcasts.  I’m a big fan of audio, but not visual.  There’s nothing more pleasurable than well-curated audio, other than a good book.

Recent time traps have included browsing the Libby app for electronic library books, and the news app on my IPad.  I removed it from my phone and I probably need to do the same on the IPad.

Passive TV watching is the other time trap.  I usually read at night when my wife is watching TV.  Lately though, I’ve found myself less engaged in reading and starting to engage in the TV shows.

Probably, the first step here is to track my media engagement.  The next action after that would be to look at what I want to replace the media with, e.g., dinners and conversations with friends, board games, etc.

 

 

Habit No. 4: One Hour of Conversation with a Friend per Week

At this point in blogging about the habits that I am working to instill in my life, I’m getting more into aspirational thinking than what I’m doing now.  This is how I’m beginning to think about the habit of one hour of conversation with a friend per week.

I have three grown children that I touch base with at least every week.  Sometimes, we talk for five minutes.  Sometimes it’s an hour.

My rotation tends to be each of my children, a local friend that I can meet with in person, then each of my children, and another local friend.

As my son told me when he got established in New York, “I get together with friends maybe once a month, and close friends twice a month.”

While most weeks, I’m “checking the box,”  it would be good for me to make a concerted effort to deepen some friendships so that I would get together more than once a month or so.

 

 

 

 

Habit No. 3: One meal a day with others

I’m continuing to work through Justin Whitmel Earley’s  The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction.  One of the habits that he recommends is sharing one meal a day with others.

I’m surprised to find out how difficult this actually is.  It was easy when we had children at home.  Family dinner time was a non-negotiable.  However, our children are gone now, and my wife and I can get caught up in our various projects and eat on our own sometimes.  Also, I went for the past nine weeks without being able to sit at a table because of my knee injury.  This made it much easier for us to eat in the living room and turn on the TV,  which I’m not counting in the “one meal a day with others.”

Earley writes that in our quest for efficiency, eating with others is a luxury.  The big takeaway from this habit is that it forces us to orient our schedule around others, which is a big part of making the transition of our default of self-centeredness to lives that are centered on serving others.

Right now on this habit, I’d probably give myself a C- on this habit.   We have a standing Sunday evening get-together after church in our home, and I’m part of two Bible studies that have meals every other week.  So, we do enjoy meals with others regularly.  But this is an area where my life would be much enriched if I pursued this more zealously.

Health update: PT is a part-time job

Some of you know that I suffered a catastrophic knee injury on September 1 and had surgery the following week.  I wasn’t cleared to begin physical therapy until ten days ago, so I’ve started that.  The good news is that I’ve made some gains that I’m very happy with.  I’ve gone from not being able to bend my knee at all to being able to go to 80 degrees.  And I’ve been cleared to walk without a brace.

PT — physical therapy — also known as pain and torture, is now a part-time job.  I’ve never had an injury that required rehabilitation to this extent.  The worst part so far is not the pain, but that it interferes so much with normal life!

I went on medical leave after the accident and was pretty much laid up for six weeks.  Paradoxically, I got alot of work done since every need I had was cared for by others — chiefly my wife.  While I was not mobile, all I had to do was get in front of a computer, and I could generate sermon outlines, Bible studies, blog posts, and just about anything else.  I really should have saved medical leave until now!

I’m grateful that I have a flexible enough schedule to put in the work hours any time I can squeeze them in.  I have to keep reminding myself if I do the physical therapy work, this phase won’t last too long, and I’ll be fully back on my feet.  But for now, the gains are worth it!

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