20% of 2020 is Done
The title is a little misleading.
I understand we’re actually only two-twelfths of the way into the year, which translates to 16%.
But that’s just the actual math... Who does actual math?
You have to use your imagination to understand 20% of the year is behind us. Allow me to elaborate.
Two full months of every year are a complete wash. Everyone takes their foot off the gas in August. We’re too busy planning for last minute vacations before school starts and soaking up the final few rays of summer sun.
The last two weeks of November and December are the same. Whether we celebrate or not, we’re far too concerned with what we’re doing for Thanksgiving and Christmas break to care about being productive.
My numbers check out. 20% of the year is behind us because 2 months simply don’t exist. 2 months out of 10 equals 20%. Voila!
Fine, if you can’t handle the thought of letting two full months go, just be Joey and imagine one day per week doesn’t exist.
Source: Greatest Show Of All Time
We reach the same conclusion. If we remove all 52 Wednesdays from the year, we have 313 days remaining. 60 / 313 = ~20%!
The point I’m trying to make is we are 60 days into 2020 and it’s right around this time of year that my systems start to break down. In an attempt to hold myself accountable, I’d like to publish my progress.
I try not to set results oriented goals. I simply think of what I want, then create a system to ensure I get there. If I don’t follow the system, it simply means I’m not willing to do the verb to achieve the noun. If I execute the system, I will surpass my goal in due time. You can click here to read my thoughts on habits vs. goals.
What I’m Tracking in 2020:
- Food Intake: Goal is 365 sessions for the year
- Workouts: Goal is 180 sessions for the year
- Meditation: Goal is 180 sessions for the year
- Read 20 pages: Goal is 220 sessions for the year
- Making Dia Breakfast & Lunch: Goal is 220 sessions for the year
- Rewrite BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal): Goal is 220 sessions for the year
- SunShakSunday: Goal is 52 articles published for the year
- Thursday Fast until 5pm: Goal is 51 times for the year (Thanksgiving)
- Personal Finance: Goal is to review 12 times per year
- Real Estate Investments: Goal is to review 12 times per year
Tools I use to Track Progress:
- MyFitnessPal to track my food intake.
- Momentum to track the rest of my daily items.
- SendFox to send the SunShakSunday newsletter
- I don’t track my fast, but I hear Zero is a great app for that.
- Personal Capital to track our income and expenses monthly.
- Google Docs to track the progress of my real estate investments.
Since we became pregnant, I’ve gained 10 pounds. This is an unfortunate turn of events.
However, it makes sense. I upped my calories to enjoy myself a bit more because I didn’t want Dia to be the only one having all the fun.
It’s also prime bulking season. I have no doubt we’ll be able to crack the whip once Dia’s done breastfeeding.
I worked out 38 times so far this year. If I continue this pace, I’ll finish with 228 workouts in 2020. The goal is 180. I’m way ahead of schedule for now, which is great. I’m probably going to miss a lot of workouts once BabyShak arrives.
I try hard not to miss two days in a row. That’s why my goal is 180 sessions (50% of the year). Unfortunately I missed two days in a row on 4 different occasions these past 2 months. I need to improve on this going forward.
I meditated 49 times so far this year. At this pace, I’ll hit 294 sessions for the year, which is 63% higher than my goal of 180 sessions.
I was under the impression that I stacked my meditation habit on top of my workout. Guess not, seeing as I meditated much more than I worked out. Thursdays seem to be the main differentiator. I’m pleasantly surprised by my performance in this category.
Reading 20 Pages / Day
I’ve completed this task 47 times so far this year. That’s at least 940 pages, which translates to about 3 or 4 books.
When it comes to learning, I subscribe to the JIT method (Just in Time). When I’m facing some sort of challenge, I order a few highly rated or recommended books on the topic and just rip through them as fast as I can.
I highlight and take notes in the margins along the way. 95% of what I read is immediately forgotten, but the 5% that sticks is usually all I need to make a positive impact.
So far this year, I’ve spent most of my time reading books on babies and writing.
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott - Ongoing
- Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday - Finished
- Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday - Finished
- On Writing Well by William Zinsser - Ongoing
- Be Prepared by Gary Greenberg - Ongoing
- Cherish The First 6 Weeks by Helen Moon - Ongoing
- Twelve Hours' Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old by Suzy Giordano - Ongoing
Going forward, I’m taking a page out of Tim Ferriss’ book, and saying no to any books published in 2020.
I want to try to read books that stood the test of time. I also want to spend a good amount of time rereading, or at least reviewing the notes from, my Top Shelf line up.
Some of the books on my Top Shelf:
- All of Ryan Holiday’s books
- All of Cal Newport’s books
- All of Khaled Hosseini’s books
- All of Robert Kiyosaki’s books (Rich Dad Poor Dad Series)
- Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl
- Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss
- The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Sometimes I use dollar bills as bookmarks. I wonder how much money I’ll find when I go through my old books. Hopefully enough to buy cereal that’s not on sale.
Making Breakfast & Lunch for Dia
I’ve done this 38 times so far this year. Ideally, this number would be 40. I missed 4 week days, 2 of which were holidays she had off from work.
This is my selfish, yet selfless, good deed. I love being responsible for making Dia’s breakfast and lunch. Making food for someone is a great way to show them you care about them.
It’s one of the million little things that can go a long way in a relationship.
It also saves a ton of money because whenever I don’t make her food, she ends up stopping at Starbucks on her way to work for breakfast and then grabbing Ramen or Chipotle for lunch. It easily costs $20 if I miss a day.
So yeah, there’s that too.
I’ve rewritten my big hairy audacious goal 43 times so far this year. I rewrite my BHAG in my planner so I typically do it 5 times per week.
My goal for the year is 220 sessions because I want to give myself 8 weeks off.
*Remember my math from above.
If I continue at this pace, I’ll hit 258 sessions. Not as far ahead as I’d like to be, but ahead nonetheless.
Come to think of it, my BHAG is only 6 words long. There’s no reason I can’t write it every single day, even if I jot it down on a napkin or post-it note. I need to keep it top of mind.
Real Time Adjustment: I’m changing my goal right now to 275 sessions. Yikes, let’s see how this works out.
So far so good. I’ve shipped an email every Sunday since starting this endeavor.
I’m worried, however. This commitment has proven extremely difficult. I like the challenge, but it can become stressful at times.
There have been numerous instances where…
- I’m not done writing until Saturday night at 1:00am.
- I don’t even have an idea in mind until Thursday or Friday
- I go away for vacation so I need to write 2 full articles in one week.
Writing takes a long time. Editing takes even longer. I’m not sure how I’ll keep up with the newsletter after BabyShak arrives.
Please, wish me luck. Unless you don’t like these posts. Then I guess you could be the one in luck.
Thursday Fast until 5pm
So far so good. I’ve fasted every Thursday since October 2018, except Thanksgiving Day 2019. Somehow I completely forgot. Although, we were on vacation in LA so I quickly forgave myself and continued to eat my overpriced lunch from Erewhon. Going forward, I’ll give myself a pass on Thanksgiving Day.
Thursday afternoon happens to be when I get a lot of my writing done. There’s definitely something there: writing on an empty stomach. I will have to pay closer attention to this going forward.
I love this topic, so it’s no surprise I’ve been keeping up with categorizing all our transactions in PersonalCapital.
Honestly, I wish I could do more here. Automation really sucks the fun out of money management.
As I write this, on February 29, 2020, the market just had its worst week since 2008. Back then, we were in the middle of the financial crisis. This time around, the market is reacting to COVID-19, also known as, Coronavirus.
- S&P fell by 11.5%
- Dow fell by 12%
- Nasdaq fell by 10.5%
- Bonds (10-year treasury) are also hitting record lows
Some of my friends are trying to catch a falling knife. They’re front loading an entire year’s worth of retirement contributions today.
Using an IRA account as an example: instead of contributing $500 per month over 12 months, some people are putting most, if not all of, the $6,000 max contribution in now.
If they’re right, it’ll be a nice win, but it’s risky. The market can fall further before it bounces back.
I’m staying the course. I set up our monthly contributions years ago and even though I feel like I’m missing out, I rest easy knowing it’s impossible to time the market.
The final point I’d like to make regarding the current state of the market is: no matter what, do not sell. It’s easy to panic when you see your net worth shrink by 10-15% in a week. Selling now will only solidify that loss. Stay the course. You don’t have to buy more, but just don’t sell. Especially if you’re young. Time heals all wounds.
Here’s an excerpt taken from the book that illustrates my opposition to selling in a downturn, I Will Teach You To Be Rich:
Putnam Investments studied the performance of the S&P 500 over 15 years, during which time the annualized return was 7.7%. During that 15 year period, if you missed the 10 best days of investing, your return would have dropped from 7.7% to 2.96%. If you missed the best 30 days, your returns would have dropped to -2.47%.
That's a crazy statistic. Missing 10 days over 15 years cuts your performance by more than half. Missing 30 days makes it negative.
Real Estate Investment Tracker
I write up a portfolio review every month. I’m basically tracking a few KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and taking notes across all the properties I’m invested in or involved with.
- Capital Expenditure
- Random Notes
Time Spent vs. Time Invested
“How do you have the time?”
I don’t have any more time than anyone else. I just try to make time for things that are important to me. The bulk of my time is filled with mindless behavior like watching TV or scrolling through a feed.
I consider the tasks outlined in this article as time invested. No single instance will make a meaningful difference. However, performing these habits with predetermined frequency and consistency will have a compounding effect over the long term.
When I break it down, I’m still spending far more time than I’m investing.
- Tracking Food Intake: 30 minutes per week
- Workouts: 5 hours per week
- Meditation: 1 hour per week
- Read 20 pages: 2 hours per week
- Making Dia Breakfast & Lunch: 2 hours per week
- Rewrite BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal): 10 minutes per week
- SunShakSunday: 4 hours per week.
- Personal Finance: 1 hour per month.
- Real Estate Investments: 1 hour per month.
Total: ~16 hours invested per week.
- TV: 14 hours per week (Easily 2 hours a day)
- Movie Theater: 2 hours per week (1 movie per week)
Without even considering anything else, I’m at 16 hours spent per week.
I can try to convert some of that time spent to more time invested, but I think [*Drake Voice*] I’m good where I’m at...
I’ve been executing my system well in 2020.
This progress update kind of makes it look like I’m “crushing it”, which doesn’t always feel true.
I spend a lot of time…
- Convincing myself to hit the gym instead of crawling back into a warm bed.
- Contemplating if the words I’m writing are helping anyone or if I’m just stroking my ego.
- Worrying about money even though we obviously have enough (grand scheme)
- Wondering why I’m so hard on myself (& Dia), and if being that way is remotely worth it.
Ryan Holiday writes, “We wake up each morning fresh and ready to go and by the end of the day, we are covered in dust. The dust of emotions, of work, of stress, of everything.”
This little system I came up with helps keep me on track mentally and physically. Mostly, it helps me wash away the dust accumulated on a daily basis.
Over the years, I’ve identified a handful of things that make me happy. If I can do each of them with some sort of consistency, the self defeating voice in my head tends to get quieter.
The other thing that really helps is being surrounded by good people. Dia and I are super lucky to have incredible family, friends, and colleagues to lean on.
If you’re reading this, chances are you play an important role in my success. I guess I’ll end this with a simple, “Thank you”. Thank you for reading and thank you for just being you.