Habituation Withdrawal


I have one of those mouse pad’s that is a weekly planner, and it has become very useful. This morning, I happened to read the “bottom line” and saw a factoid that 30% of Americans don’t take all their vacation days, giving back 421 million days every year.

That’s when I realized I’m going on vacation in 10 days, and I’m already planning to take along a bunch of stuff to work on when I’m not spending time with my family in Texas and California. Am I insane, or just obsessed?

Let’s see if I can come up with a list of reasons why I SHOULD take my iPad along with me so I can keep working on my habituation support tool. Won’t that be fun?

  1. I’ll be able to save up blog posts when I’m not connected to the Internet
  2. I’ll be able to work on my own stuff while we’re flying places, or after everyone else is asleep
  3. I’ll be able to keep plugging away at getting to the magic 21 days with all the things I am trying to turn into habits
  4. I’ll be able to show everyone pictures of our house and the projects we have underway. Which reminds me, I better take some pictures of the projects we have underway, so I can help them get ready for their naps.
  5. I’ll be able to save some TED videos so I can watch them whenever I’m not connected to the Internet
Okay, those seem pretty convincing to me. Let’s try the other side of the argument:
  1. Not having my iPad will make me understand what it is like for people who are trying to change but don’t have support tools like the one I am building
  2. I could use one of my notebooks and create an analog version of the iPad application on paper, which has the benefit of being less to worry about and easier to charge. I just get out a new pen.
  3. Doing the analog version would actually inspire me in a different way. I find that writing things down is a great way to discover other ideas I don’t uncover if I’m typing. Although this time happens to be a bad example because I had a great idea while I was typing.
  4. Not having my iPad will mean I have to transcribe all those notes when I get back, unless I use the hiatus as an actual vacation and don’t think about maintaining my habit building routine
  5. Not having even an analog version means I can just take notebooks to write down the experience of not doing my habit building activities. Of course, there are a couple of dozen routines that are already set that I will do every day anyway, so maybe I could take a break.

Here’s the problem though. I just checked my data and I’ve got a lot of habits in development that are over 10 consecutive days. Some of those will be over 21 days by the time I leave. That’s a lot of momentum to leave behind. Yes, I’ll keep taking my Rx twice a day, and drinking lots of water. But what about all those newer routines that only got tracked when I came up with the idea for the tool? Do I lose all that work I’ve done.

I don’t think I can miss this opportunity to test my resolve. If I take my iPad and spend two hours a day logging all the stuff I do, that’s two hours I don’t have with my family. If I take it for the TED videos, that’s another thing all together. It would be a shame to miss out the experience of tracking all the things I do on paper.

I think I need to do this. It’s only two weeks, and there are only 82 daily habits I’m working on, and another 40 or so that are weekly. One of those notebooks I have around would be perfect. One page per habit would give me plenty of spare pages at the back, and a spare notebook for insights into the analog experience would be very valuable.
So, I think that means I can do both: take my iPad with my app on it, but not use it for anything but blogging and TED videos. Sounds like a plan. Let’s see if I chicken out when push comes to shove and I want to add just one little thing without writing it down.

That shouldn’t be hard to give up, because I think I can write faster with a pen than I can type on my iPad without a keyboard.

But if I got a wireless keyboard…

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