I’m taking a cue from my Accountability Buddy and not overthinking blog posts. I couldn’t decide on a topic for this week, so I’ll just give you an update instead.
I’ve been studying for the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification Exam. The process is a lot longer than I originally anticipated and the material is pretty dense. I’m hoping to be done with this before the end of the year.
Between work and family life, I was struggling to find time to study. Somewhere along the way I got out of the habit of getting up early to do this. I tried studying at night and at lunch but there were always interruptions and I didn’t feel like I was making any progress. The best strategy I’ve found is getting up early and reading over coffee before I work out. And by “early” I mean rolling out of bed at 4am.
Getting up at 4am is hard. I have to trick myself into getting out of bed. I used to use my phone on my night stand as my alarm clock. I like to read on my phone using the Kindle app before I go to bed, so I like having my phone next to me at night, but after a few mornings of turning the damned thing off in my sleep and waking up late, I had to find another way. Now I set the alarm on my phone and I have regular, old-school alarm clock in the bathroom. They’re both set for the same time, but the alarm in the bathroom forces me to get up to turn it off.
Getting out of bed is the hardest part. After that, I just need to make it to the coffee pot.
Oh! My Accountability Buddy gave me another idea to help with efficiency. She mentioned an app called Quality Time. I *love* this app.
Quality Time is a productivity tool. The app tracks your phone usage and allows you to set Break times. During a Break the app locks your phone and allows you to set a penalty time if you try to leave your Break early. The penalty time can be anything from thirty seconds to five minutes. I set my penalty time for studying at five minutes. What that means is if I try to leave the Break early, I still have to wait five full minutes for my phone to unlock. During that five minutes, I usually decide I might as well keep studying since my phone is unavailable.
Since downloading the app, I can’t even count the number of times it has stopped me from dinking around on FaceBook instead of studying.
Because of the PMP my writing has been spotty. The PMP eats all my brain energy. I’ve set a goal to publish a blog post each Saturday or Sunday so I can maintain the habit of writing and delivering something once a week, but fiction is taking a back seat right now. I have story ideas, and I’ll get to them, but, as my Buddy is constantly reminding me, I am not a machine and I can only do so much.
Over the winter I got out of the running habit, mostly because I’m a weenie and I hate being cold. It’s funny how fast you lose the ability to run for extended periods of time. I’m working back up to running for 30 minutes. To do this, I’m following the Couch to 5k (C25K) program.
I really like this program because it prompts you when to run, when to walk, and progressively has you running longer stretches of time. The only drawback to the program is it assumes you are running at 10-minute mile pace. I do not run a 10-minute mile. I’m probably more in the 14 or 15 minute mile range. But my speed doesn’t matter right now. My goal is to run 30 minutes straight, regardless of distance. The C25K app is amazing for that. If you’re ever looking for a good program to help you start running check it out. Just follow the times and ignore the distances.
So that’s my update! Wishing everyone a happy weekend!