Today has been an exercise in self control. A novel for which I’ve been waiting waiting waiting has been released — Kings Rising, the conclusion to CS Pacat’s Captive Prince fantasy trilogy is now available. In fact, it is already sitting on my kindle.
But I promised myself that February (i.e. this week) marked the start of “The year of getting stuff done”. It’s a year when I’m going to get off my a$$ and take control of my life. Things to do… places to see… health to prioritise… And all that.
And I need to take control, because for the past year I’ve been… distracted.
It’s not that 2015 was a bad year. It was a pretty great year, actually. I kicked a lot of goals — plenty of singing, plenty of writing, regular D&D with friends. Not to mention the trip of a lifetime to Mongolia!
But I’m also very aware that there are parts of my life I’ve let slide. I haven’t achieved nearly as much I’d have liked to, and I need that to change. I need to be less distracted. Or maybe the word is consumed.
The issue? It is, I’m afraid, too much reading. Overall, I’m delighted I’ve kicked my TV habit in favour of books, but I have to acknowledge I’ve taken this reading thing a bit too far.
Reading all night and right through the next day. OK, I only did that once, but I saw 7am from the wrong side several times. When I hear the birds start singing and light breach the cracks in the holland blind… yikes.
Finishing a book at 3:30am and heading straight to Amazon to one-click the next book in the series.
Not wanting to socialise… if my friends only knew how many times I dragged myself to a social engagement when all I wanted to do was stay home with my kindle.
Blowing off entire half days (when I’m supposed to be working) in order to read. This working from home gig requires discipline!
I’ve been completely consumed by reading reading reading. It’s been read/eat/read/work/read/write… Every spare moment of every day has been spent on the couch. When not immersed in a book, I’ve been at best only half present, thinking about when I get to switch on my kindle again. It’s like I’ve been submerged in a poppy haze.
Plus I’ve kidded myself into thinking I can exist on around 4 hours sleep a night. Unfortunately, I’m a slow reader. And the more emotionally engaged I get with a book, the slower I go. I like to immerse myself and savour. So I end up reading for a lot of hours. I reckon at some stages of last year (and this past month) I’ve been averaging 8 hours of reading a day. Do the math.
So step one is recognising I have a problem, right? This reading thing has become a habit I need to break. Like too much chocolate.
Imagine how much more I’ll achieve if I simply halve my reading time? Sleep, for one thing. More regular and intensive exercise. Maybe I’ll get on top of the housework. Or my jungle of a garden.
And then there are of course my creative goals. Although I have pressed on with my novel in the past year, imagine how much more I’d have done if I channelled some of those reading hours into writing?
And wouldn’t it be nice if I could sit down and actually write all the blog posts I have buzzing around my head? (So much more to share about Mongolia…)
All this is why I have resisted closeting myself with Kings Rising today. Why I am spending this evening with my laptop instead of my kindle. It’s about kicking my habit.
Already I feel less foggy. It’s only day 3 and I’m going OK. I’m not feeling too twitchy. Not that I’m giving reading up all together. I’ve simply set myself some limits.
It’s going to be a good year. Better sleeping habits and exercise are high on the agenda — I want to be fitter and more highly energised. Improved brain activity. All the good stuff.
I’m striving for greater productivity all round. No more making do with the bare minimum. It’s time to take back control and create, rather than consume.
That’s the end of my confession. I did enjoy last year. A lot. But I’m going to enjoy this one even more.