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#12: Bad weeks, Systems, and The Power of Being Lost

Ondrej Markus
Ondrej Markus
3 min read
#12: Bad weeks, Systems, and The Power of Being Lost

Hey there,

I had a bad week.

The symptoms were:

  • Writing barely anything.
  • Procrastinating a lot.
  • Feeling lost in my projects.

"In today's episode of..."

How It's Made: Bad weeks

Bad days happen often to me, but bad weeks don't.

That's why I pay extra attention when they happen. A bad week is a signal that this isn't just a mood swing. There is an underlying problem to be solved.

So what happened this week?

Well, not much. That's the problem.

But describing my unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate last week wouldn't be very interesting. So let's just say I lost this one.

The funny thing is, I totally knew I'm having an awful week as it was happening. AND I knew exactly what I needed to do to turn it around (just keep writing), and I watched myself NOT do anything.

Watching myself do nothing.
Watching myself do nothing.

So, instead of stopping it, I let this week's badness spread over the whole week. GG. Well played.

An antidote to chaos: Systems

On Friday, I knew I'm going to be away for the weekend, and I needed to do something to stop this madness from infecting the next week too. So I used the only weapon that always works for me in cases like this – updating my System.

My System is a set of rules, habits, routines, goals, and values I have written down and apply to my daily work and life.

They are more or less organized based on what I need at the moment. Sometimes I prefer less structure in my days and weeks, so it's relatively loose. Sometimes I need more structure to get my shit together. (Like right now.)

The Completely Imaginary Spectrum of Order and Chaos
My Completely Imaginary Spectrum of Order and Chaos

So I spent a part of Friday journaling about what's not working, why, and how to fix it.

My System is, basically, a formula for having good days. To me, it means finishing the right things while enjoying the process, plus having enough energy and undistracted attention to do so.

I might share the whole thing some other time. For now, I just want to highlight the specific changes I made to my typical day:

My simplified Daily Design
Highlights = what I changed or added
  • Meditate – I stopped meditating a year or so ago. I'm putting it back into my morning routine because I feel better when I do it.
  • Read – How much I learn/read correlates heavily with my daily wellbeing. I want to read more, so I'm structuring it into my morning right after the most important work of the day (writing).
  • Move – I want to exercise daily to keep my energy levels higher. So I will make a daily routine out of it. (I will need to be more specific than this to make it work, but it's a start.)

Overall, this daily micro stuff is more important than it might seem.

When I do these things, it almost always adds up to a good day. Good days add up to good weeks and months, which adds up to ... you get it.

Days are the most manageable work cycle. That's why I focus on their template the most.

If you can figure out how your good day looks like and how to repeat it, you solved a big part of your life. So...

How does your ideal workday look like?

Of course, not everyone likes structure, so I'm not saying this is the only way to do things. It's just what works for me. You do you.

The Power of Being Lost

When I feel a little lost, I go back to this interview with Kevin Kelly about the power of being lost. I must have seen it 10 times in the last 2 years.

I recommend watching the first half the next time you feel a little off.

Some of my favorite highlights from it:

"You don’t want to overspecialize. You always want to be testing yourself and trying to explore wider to make sure you are not optimizing prematurely."
"The idea that you find yourself... That is enough of an achievement in life."
"What impact can you have that no one else will have?"
"Have enough money for beans and oatmeal, and go goof off for a while. Play a little."

Let me know how was your week. (Email me.) And have a better week than I just did.

I'm working on making mine better too.

Byyye.

Reflections

Ondrej Markus

Designer, writer, introvert.