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W2: Finding (one) More (hour of) Time

When faced with any major task, challenge or goal, time becomes a vital element to our success. We all need time to make our thoughts become actions, however we have all been faced with these dilemmas or guilty of the following excuses:

  • I don’t have enough time
  • There are not enough hours in a day
  • This is a waste of my time
  • So little time, so much to do
  • My calendar is full…
  • That project is time consuming
  • (Got another “good” one? Let me know and I will add it!)

And, yes I am guilty of all of these, too. Despite my excuses I like to think about about time in a different way, as John F. Kennedy so poignantly said: “We must use time as a tool, not a crutch.” So, this week my challenge is to do just that – turning time from my enemy into a tool that I can use to my advantage.

My challenge for this week is to add one more productive hour to each day Monday – Saturday. I will accomplish this by waking up one hour earlier. My typical routine in the morning is to wake around 7am and head to the bus to begin my morning commute by 8:15am (or 8:35 if I am running late). This week I will wake up at 6am every day and use the time to be productive. I can use this hour to get ready for my day, exercise, eat a much better breakfast, read, write or catch up on any chores – sitting around will not cut it! I will be sure to log all of my activites to be more accountable.

The CDC recommends that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep each night and quality of sleep is just as important as length. This week I will not only add an hour to my day by waking up early, but I will not sacrafice the quality and quantity of sleep. Throughout the week I will put an extra emphasis on my own sleep hygene (and you should, too!). I already have many healthy sleep habits and recieve the recommended amount, but I will be sure that if I need extra rest to get to bed earlier, as well as keep my sleep routine consistent and comfortable.

My hope for this project is that as I progress throughout my #challenge26 year, time will not become a crutch or excuse to accomplish my goals. Promoting healthy habits and stretching myself are at the core of my challenges, and hopefully this will set the stage for my year to come. Do you have other ways that you add an hour to your day? Tried this challenge in the past and passed/failed? What is your sleep and wake up routines? Please share – I would love to hear about them!

So far, this challenge is off to a great start! I woke up at 6am today (Monday, February 14th) and have taken my dog on a 30 min jog, replied to personal emails from this weekend, caught up on my blog roll and finished this blog entry. What else can I accomplish this week by adding just an extra hour?


W1: DC (for me) Week Conclusion

Challenge one, complete! My first #challenge26 was all about taking advantage of the resources around me in my new DC/MD home, especially events and programs that satisfy my own academic and professional interests. This week I challenged myself to break out of my routine and comfortable plans and to also attend an event alone, in an effort to combat networking anxiety that I experience from attending events solo. I was able to fulfill all of the expectations of this challenge, but this week also motivated me to keep this spirit of exploration. I have also set higher expectations for my challenges in weeks ahead.

My week began with a volunteer experience at Central Union Mission, a service agency in the district that has been serving homeless and hungry individuals in DC for 126 years. Even though we went as a group for work, this was my first volunteering experience since moving from Ohio, and the stories we shared with the workers at the mission, as well as the apparent need for volunteers in the city has reminded me why it is so important to share my time, abilities and lend a hand. The shelter was so happy for our volunteering efforts, but I couldn’t help but to think about how much effort the organization put into accommodating our desire to volunteer. I spent my time sorting donated clothing items, but my thoughts were consumed with how important it is to be a regular, dependable volunteer. As stated in my challenge page, I hope that through my experiences that I develop better habits. This experience has motivated me to become a regular volunteer. In weeks ahead (soon) I will challenge myself to find an organization that needs my help and that I can provide consistent, dependable service.

The other major challenge for my week was to attend an event, alone, that included a topic that I am interested in. I chose to attend a lecture on Social Entrepreneurship, last Thursday after work. Defined by Ashoka: “Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change.” Social entrepreneurship has been a subject that has fascinated me since I first began to follow @beunreasonable on twitter last year. The lecture, sponsored by the Young Nonprofit Professionals of DC was informative, inspiring and the right challenge to begin my blog. I gained great insight on a new subject, a chance to meet interesting and motivated professionals and got me out of my routine. I absolutely faced the whole nervousness aspect that I have every time I attend an event alone, but hopefully the more that I do this, the more comfortable I will become just striking up a conversation and learning about new, interesting subjects. I am surely more motivated to do so now.

Since my challenge for this week was to try new things in the city, it was always in the back of my mind when making plans each day. Last week I tried three new restaurants, explored a new DC neighborhood, attended a museum exhibit that I normally would have passed and actively sought out new places and programs that I could try in the future alone and with others.

With challenge one complete, I am looking forward to week two and beyond. Have you accepted a week-long challenge yet? What are you doing to learn more about your community?

W1: DC (for me) Week

To kick off my first challenge in a year of new (weekly) adventures, I am going to focus on taking advantage of new and interesting resources that I have at my fingertips in DC, but have failed to take advantage. Since moving to DC/MD in September, my husband and I have had a great time touring the nation’s capital and meeting new people. We have completed many of the typical (yet, very interesting!) destinations.

However, what I have been dragging my feet on is taking advantage of the things in the city that satisfy my own professional/personal/academic interests. One of the major reasons that we moved to this city was to have access to lectures, workshops and networking opportunities that we did not have in Ohio. As I have mentioned in my #challenge26 page, I am a list writer and bookmark keeper, and since my move I have been making lists of speakers and events that have peeked my interest, but I have yet to take advantage. I will admit, I get a little nervous about attending events alone and networking anxiety always seems to get the best of me.

So, this week I am challenging myself to not only nix the anxiety and attend an event alone, but to also make it an event that includes a subject that I am interested in learning more about. I have decided to attend (Thursday, February 10th) a lecture about Social Entreprenuership (details about the event and the subject, coming soon!).

Also, during this week I am going to do a few other things in the district that I have been dragging my feet on but yet to accomplish: volunteer at a local organization, explore an urban campus (my higher ed friends will understand) and attend a social event to meet new people.  I also want to have signed up by the end of this week for one more lecture/workshop that will encourage me to continue to network and overcome my anxiety.

So, as I am eager to begin making progress and continue my goals for this week, I will consider the strategies that I use to overcome “networking” anxiety, what subjects do I hope to learn more about in the future and what plan will I make to attend them, and where can I learn about social/fun events to meet new people.

Also, I would love to hear from you:

  • What do you do to overcome your networking anxiety?
  • Have you made excuses to avoid interesting events/lectures because you did not want to go alone?
  • What subjects are you interested in learning about, just because? What are you doing to learn more?
  • What resources are in your hometown that you have yet to take advantage of?

I look forward to hearing your feedback, suggestions and own stories of overcoming networking/flying solo anxiety. I will be sure to provide a reflection at the end of the week about my own experiences with this challenge, as well as more details about the subjects at hand.

So, here it begins…

This is the very first post, of my very first personal blog and the beginning of a very personal challenge. While the challenge begins, tomorrow: Sunday, February 5, 2011; I wanted to give you a sneak peek at what I have been working on. I will begin with my very first #challenge26 launch tomorrow. Before I launch into a year-long journey of weekly challenges, as described here (or see second #challenge26 tab above):


…I wanted to hear YOUR thoughts, ideas and comments. Am I missing something? What can I do to make this better? Are you in? Please, do share!