(Non-Writing) Things I’d Like to Do in 2020
Posted on December 30, 2019 Posted by John Scalzi 11 Comments
I think most people are aware that I’ll spend much of 2020 writing things — it’s kind of my gig, so it’s no surprise that in my work life that’s most of what I’ll be doing. But outside of writing, what are my hopes and plans for the next year? In no particular order:
1. Structure my time better. This is a perennial, and one I’ve already talked about a bit the last post. I’ve already got some strategies ready for that; the key as always will be implementation.
2. Spend less time on social media. It’s my default “I’m not doing anything, so let’s do this” activity. I have no plans to remove myself from social media entirely, but being smarter about when I log on and when I log off would not be a bad thing. I strongly suspect no one would really notice if, for example, instead of spending four hours a day glassily staring into Twitter, I spent two.
3. Read more books. I read a lot for blurbing and other work-related purposes these days, less so for actual enjoyment, so I’m going to try to do better on that front, perhaps with one or two of the extra hours I gain from not staring into Twitter.
4. Play more music. This I already have a head start on since I am already playing the drum set I just got. However, I also have other instruments. Maybe this is the year I actually improve my guitar playing. It could happen!
5. See friends. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of seeing friends over the last couple of years, so this is just making a commitment to continue doing that.
6. Keep exercising. As it happens, if I keep playing drums, I can do this and point 4 at the same time.
And… that’s kind of it. Not massive goals (well, the first one could be), but ones that are achievable and I think will make my life better. Which is what you want out of a new year.
I’m a newly diagnosed diabetic, so that’s provided some important goals right off the bat. Beyond that, getting out of the house more often is at the top of the list.
“2. Spend less time on social media. It’s my default “I’m not doing anything, so let’s do this” activity. I have no plans to remove myself from social media entirely, but being smarter about when I log on and when I log off would not be a bad thing. I strongly suspect no one would really notice if, for example, instead of spending four hours a day glassily staring into Twitter, I spent two.”
I took this step (fairly drastically) when I started studying furniture-making (my next career of many) last February…Quit Facebook (kept Messenger for now to contact a few old music friends), deleted Twitter account. The original rationale was related to the amount of time that would be devoted to school (8 – 3, 5 days a week for two years) and my sense that I needed to really focus on this new venture. [Side note – it has been a LONG time since I’ve worked a job with such strict hours and physical demands. The first month was agony but I’ve lost ~20# so there is that.] but I’ve found that I have a better life balance as a consequence…not staring “glassily into Twitter” has opened up space for more productive activities and reduced the feeling of annoyance at the world in general.
One of my dear friends asked if I was worried that I might be less informed/knowledgeable of current events and my response was that I do try to stay informed and up-to-date through various media outlets but that I was rejecting the idea that I needed to be current every minute of the day. That shift has been liberating.
I know that you have to engage with social media as a part of your day job. As I look back at my “year without Facebook/Twitter” I salute your stamina and ability to wade in that “soup.” You (and the others who have to do that work) have my utmost respect. I thoroughly enjoy this blog that I stumbled on via a posting by Jim Wright and I appreciate all of the new writers that I’ve read as a consequence.
I recommend combining #s 4 and 5: Playing music with friends (or mere acquaintances or complete strangers) provides at least three flavors of satisfaction (social, musical-aesthetic, and musical-skill-improvement). If I hadn’t given in to a friend’s nudging nearly 25 years ago, I’d still be sitting on the sofa noodling away at the same twenty tunes.
Many cons have music circles at night, and percussion and uke can fit right in–instant band & friends. Since you’re a drummer, I suggest a pair of nylon brushes (Promark makes nice ones)–then any old pizza (or twelve-pack) box will serve as a drum.
My list is something like this:
1. Lose ~25 pounds. This is mostly about changing my default drink away from beer and to, I dunno, iced tea or something.
2. Write a book. It’s a genre novel and no one is ever allowed to read it. Accomplishing this is mostly about changing my default online action from shitty internet games to writing.
3. Run a 9 minute mile and a sub-30 minute 5k. My current is 10:33 and 32, so doable.
The goal for all of these is the same; mid-September. It’ll be my 40th birthday, and I want to do hard things this year. These’ll all make my life better, for sure.
I was surprised to see how similar our goals for 2020 are – virtually identical, although I suspect that we’ll operationalize differently.
Best wishes for attaining/maintaining in the new year!
Intentionality. I’ve found it helpful to think on what makes me happy; is it better to Twitter or to read? Is it more happiness making to write or be on Facebook? When asked this way, the answers get clearer.
It’d have been funnier if you’d have stopped at ‘Spend less time on social media.’ :)
Sounds like a well-balanced plan all the way around. Personally, my socialized media has been limited to about an hour in the morning and that’s about it. I don’t bother logging into my computer when I get home from work and my FB account isn’t connected to my smartphone (surprise!). I don’t do the cesspool that is Twitter (mainly because I don’t believe in being censored for what I say, be it by an individual or a corporation) and I only do YouTube on my phone for relaxation purposes (no, not music videos).
Still trying to get back into the swing of walking again, which is hard to do in the winter, but we’re a determined lot.
any plans to revive your old band? not necessarily for a world tour ;)
I especially like the “doing more music” one, as music is a great way to express emotion, which directly helps the diet and exercise one. Doing more music is one of mine, though I’m not bold enough to post them. Mostly. I’m finding my latest self-help book full of helpful information, Shrink Yourself by Roger Gould, such as all overeating is emotional eating and becoming ravenous is a sure sign of emotions at work. Far better to sing it out, or use instruments of your choice.
Kicking Facebook out of my life was not easy, but it was worth it in terms of freeing up time and concentrating my energy on things that matter. (I’m grateful I do not need social media to make my bread.)