Welcome back to another installment of The Experiment Chronicles! This is a bimonthly column where I talk about activities I’ve tested to improve my life in three areas: work, play, and rest. I hope the strategies inspire you to make incremental changes, go to events, and focus more on things you’ve been neglecting recently.
Read on to hear all about my experiment results from the past two weeks!
Work: 3 Productivity Wins
College is a strange environment for productivity. Either you’re super productive or in a pit of procrastinating despair. The nice, relaxed in-between phase? Doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. This realization combined with reading a post on The Blissful Mind about giving yourself credit for doing things made the mental lightbulb go off. I’m terrible at giving myself credit for my really productive days and I’m Simon-Cowell-Gordon-Ramsay-hybrid critic level on my bad days.
My hypothesis: Hey! If I give myself more credit for doing work then I’d be more cheerful about doing work aaaaand then I’d get more work done. Or at least be less stressed. Win-win-win.
I’m slightly obsessed with bullet point lists so my form of giving myself credit? More lists. All the lists. I took a basic spiral notebook and wrote down three bullet points of productivity “wins” daily for 14 days straight.
My stress level went down way more than I had even expected. The self-high-fives were great motivation for seeking productive moments. The days that didn’t go as well as I would have liked? I shrugged, jotted something down like: “washed dishes,” and resolved to do better the next day. There was also something really nice about recognizing that productivity isn’t just work/school items. Sometimes it’s about giving yourself a fist bump for completing that thing you have been irrationally dreading.
I absolutely recommend this exercise. It feels good, keeps discipline up, and it puts you into a problem-solving-optimistic mindset instead of a crap-I-have-no-life or crap-I-didn’t-do-anything-today spiral.
Play: Attending a Meetup Event
I’m most likely moving cities post-graduation and I’m intrigued by what “making friends as an adult” looks like beyond going to Happy Hour with coworkers. Every listicle I’ve seen involving this topic always includes: Go to a Meetup! Meetup.com has become synonymous with fun events and friends as much as Twitter is associated with shade. I decided I wanted to go to a Meetup now to see what all the hype was about and to decide if I’d use it in the future.
Registration was easy. Boom. Done. Deciding on a Meetup to attend? Much more difficult. There were Meetups for dodgeball, hiking at midnight, girls who are grandmothers at heart, underwater hockey (you heard me right), and quite a few … interesting societies.
I decided to get my cultural fix and attended a Meetup for a lecture about Polynesian life and dance.
This particular Meetup was lecture-based and in an auditorium. There were slides and videos about tattoos, dancing, traditional costumes, and everyday life. I was definitely the youngest person in the audience, which wasn’t a total surprise considering the city it was held in. While it was interesting, the auditorium nature of the Meetup didn’t allow for much socializing and once the event was over, everybody rushed out.
I will definitely attend another Meetup. However, I will keep two points in mind: the neighborhood demographics of the Meetup and the potential socialization factor of the venue. Most of the Meetups were free and the General calendar was packed so even if it’s not the most optimal way to make friends, I think it would still be a great way to get to know a new city.
Rest: Eating Breakfast for a Week
I’ve never been a breakfast eater, despite the constant presence of my elementary school teachers in my head haunting me with “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” I’m kidding (mostly).
However, lately my lunch time has been pushed back further and become more hurried thanks to work. I finally caved and decided to start eating breakfast because eating a bigger lunch and dealing with a more intense mid-afternoon crash was no longer an option. I proceeded to go grocery shopping and then ate breakfast daily for a week.
Man, these results just make me feel like I should have tried this experiment way earlier. I was able to concentrate more at work, had less of an afternoon crash because I ate less at lunch, and just overall felt like a more calm person.
The key to keeping up with breakfast for me? Variety, variety, variety. I used to eat cold cereal daily for breakfast back in high school and I now understand why I started ignoring breakfast entirely when I got to college. I switched it up for this experiment. I ate bananas, toast with peanut butter, oatmeal, tea with fruit, etc. Simple, fast things that were filling and portable enough to take with me to work. It was also nice to just sit down and take a few minutes to read a book in the morning while munching on my breakfast.
What have you been experimenting with this month?
Tell me all about your experiments! Will you try out one of my experiments from this post? What activity suggestions do you have my next post?