Day 6 of 100: fail.

Confession time:

On Thursday I overslept and didn’t get any writing or blogging done.

Friday I overslept and didn’t get any writing or blogging done or try a new AYOP tip.

And today I overslept.

I’ve managed to get some exercise done every day, but still: this is suboptimal progress. I’m going to have to pay for this, but more on that next week. Right now, I need to work out what went wrong and what to do about it.

So I had a look through AYOP’s list for a couple of tips – one for today and one to make up for missing yesterday – to help get back on track. First:

Resist any temptation by rehearsing how you’ll act ahead of timeOne of the things that went wrong on Thursday was not following Monday’s rule #1: “say no to anything that will involve throwing my to-do list out of the window”. Instead, I went to a Labour group meeting and very much said yes to the pub afterwards. I should have seen that coming and planned to say no – in fact I’ve written about something very similar before, for Dry Times.

I’ve got lots to get done tomorrow, so I’ve rehearsed 1. what I’m going to do when my alarm goes off (get up), and 2. what I’m going to say if someone asks me to go for a drink (“I’m free after six – maybe a bit earlier if I can get this stuff done.”) We’ll see if this works.

Next tip: Identify your keystone habits. In simpler terms, these are habits that make the other habits easier. It’s an idea AYOP borrows from Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit (more on that here), and waking up early is a pretty obvious keystone habit. Or it will be, once I’ve figured out how to do it.

Oh, and before I forget – on Thursday I did try a new tactic, although I didn’t get around to blogging about it at the time: keep all of your emails 5 sentences or less. (AYOP also suggests making a note of this in your email signature, but nah, I’m not doing that.) Now:

1. To be honest I suspect most of my emails already are – the vast majority of emails I send are from my phone, which encourages brevity, and generally all I need to say is some variation on ‘Thanks’, ‘Have you seen this?’, ‘When are you free to meet up?’ or ‘X resident has contacted me about x problem on X Street, can we sort this please?’.

2. But, as it happened, on Thursday I wanted to send an email supporting a funding bid for a local project (more on this soon, I hope).

3. So I wrote out the email in the form of numbered bullet points – one point for each sentence. Just like I’m doing here.

4. And I found it actually helped me structure what I wanted to say, as well as keeping the email down to a manageable length.

5. Don’t worry, I deleted the numbered bullets before I sent the email.


I think this one’s definitely worth a try if you spend a lot of time dealing with emails. You can see more details and email-related ideas here.

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