I feel like I'm falling behind if I'm not doing something. And most of the time, it's true. I'm short on time, have plenty to do, and need to figure out how to succeed in everything. Smartly.
Tell me you can't relate.
It Started Off Well
I like my hobbies, and I could handle it all -- work, school, life -- well enough when I was in University. My goals were given to me, and so was the path. I took on athletic goals as well: I've been doing triathlons since high school. When I was in my teens and twenties, I could sleep 3 hours, have chicken wings and run a 10k personal best, pull off all my assignments and not flinch. It started off well.
In fact, at one point, I was indeed able to sleep just a few hours, come up with brilliant ideas in grad school and run some of the best times I'd run in my life. I was like a man possessed, and I could literally handle anything. Of course, all this was served to me on a platter.
But life happens and things change. I was part of a family business and couldn't just wing it anymore. I had to take on more, and responsibilities grew. The more structure I tried to impose to organize my life and , the more frustrated I became. The goals were there but I didn't know how to get there.
What Goes Up
And then came the tide. I was, and still am, a student, son, employee, athlete, dreamer, artist and generalist superstar (hell, I wanted to be a rock star too!). Everything had to be done now. Mobile phones and email happened and my time went out the window. It's funny: for someone who studied math, I couldn't figure out how to optimize my life.
I slide down without even thinking about what I was doing. People came in and out of my life, and I didn't think twice. I was too busy doing...stuff. I even got myself a coach and decided to structure my triathlon training and take it to a new level. The training program was great. Do X, Y and Z and you'll be fast, happy, efficient and great! Despite all the supposed 'custom and personal' attention, within a year I was overtaxed and spent. I couldn't stay awake and my resting heart rate was twice what it is supposed to be. I lost touch with friends and family and basically ground to a halt in most aspects of my life. And then I spent 2 days strapped to a heart monitor with a doctor telling me to back it off, with some funky blood chemistry. It's amazing what being strapped to a monitor does for one's sense of perspective.
It wasn't anything tragic, but I tried too hard and ended up doing precisely the thing I feared -- being tired, ineffective and accomplishing nothing.
Going back to the basics wasn't easy. I had to watch what I ate, my sleep, exercise and even my mental expenditure. The famous saying "What gets measured, get's done", is only half correct. I had to figure out how it was all related. I wish I could say I stumbled upon some grand equation, but really it was more of a concept and way of doing things that really mattered more than the math. Checking status updates on a social network wasn't really moving me. I was journalling and comparing with my buddies, and that was a LOT more effective than a post about what I ate this morning, put on a network that people didn't have time to sift through.
Measure, Share and Learn from what you've done.
This became my moto. I journalled things...in moderation. Excel didn't help and neither did the fitness tools out there. They were gawdy, big and unusable. Interface was everything. I had ways to fill in the blanks. I needed a sounding board to see what I did, and to be motivated by history and by what others were doing. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't moved by others. Of course I want to be better than the next guy/girl.
I wrote the prototype interface for PIFIQ in 2 hours in my apartment at 3am while I had a cold. It was the best 2 hours I spent on myself. It was simple.
I made the roots of PIFIQ with precisely the intention of learning from what has been done, improving myself through efficient use of resources, and harnessing the energy of my crowd. I don't know where things will end up. But I do know growing as a group, measuring and finding the path of greatest efficiency has given me more peace of mind, helped me achieve big goals through baby steps, and become a better son, employee, athlete, dreamer and artist. I made PIFIQ with a fantastic team and put it out there for others to join what I hope is a movement of using information for actual personal benefit.
All that stuff you write about online should actually benefit you, not end up hammering you with ads. It should help you achieve your goals.
As for me, I hit a new PB last week...in terms of my happiness. I hope you'll join me and our fantastic family.