Time isn't holding us.
Time isn't after us.
-- Talking Heads, "Once in a Lifetime"
The older I get, the more Time seems to only accelerate. One minute ago I was holding my daughter, Morgan, over my shoulder holding her little bottom in the palm of my hand; the next minute, she's got her Masters Degree and her first job on her career path. Whew!
Hold on...or get dragged!
Yet, I've discovered something about Time during this pandemic. The concept of Time Boxing isn't new. But at least it's new to me. I mean, I've known about it as a tactic. I've just never really incorporated it as part of my lifestyle -- at least not in any real sustained sense.
And this year, it started almost by accident.
40 Days to Personal Revolution
Baron Baptiste, one of the world's most beloved master yoga instructors, has developed a program entitled "40 Days to Personal Revolution." At time the blast email went out in early-March, I was struggling with a general malaise, had recently gained back much of the weight I'd lost, and was just generally felt like a tub of crap both inside and out. I was already thinking that "40 Days" sounded like a good way to kickstart myself back in the right direction, so when Jennie texted, "Did you see the 40 Days email? What do you think?" I was an immediate, "Yeah, sure, okay."
Each week is a combination of daily yoga practice, nutrition, meditation and journaling. One of the things that stood out to me immediately was the word "Revolution." The title of the program wasn't "40 Days to an Improved You" or "40 Days to Getting In Shape" or the like. It's about Personal Revolution -- in other words, a complete re-examination and an opportunity for a completely new course.
I was proud of myself for only missing two days when I was supposed to practice yoga (not counting the scheduled 1x/week rest days). I figured, hey, it's 40 days. I can do this. And I emerged from those 40 Days inspired in a number of ways. I had dropped 20 pounds, and was just generally feeling much more energy, and much more grounded. But one of the risks we all face in these situations is that we allow all of the momentum to falter and dissipate into Nothingness.
So towards the end of 40 Days, I decided to create my own Time Boxed program: "90 Days to Build My Momentum."
90 Days to Build My Momentum
Given the amount of progress I had made, I really wanted to make sure I didn't revert to my pre-Covid, pre-40 Days of lack of exercise combined with an excess of crappy eating habits. So I created my own 90 Days Timed-Box program to build my momentum.
Weight training three days a week; yoga three days a week; 3- to 5- mile walks 1-2x/wk.
Yes, I made a lot of progress in terms of the amount of weights I lifted, the number of reps and all of that boring stuff. The key, however, is shown here on this sheet; I marked off the days as I went to show myself my progression through time. But what I'm even more proud of are the yellow marks; these indicate my rest days or days off, if you will. I took no unscheduled rest days for three months. Just suiting up, showing up, and getting in the work. Not always great work, but at least I did,
Chop wood, carry water.
Next Time Box: 31 Days of Yoga
As I was nearing the halfway point of my 90 Days, I decided to look ahead at what could be next. I wanted to make sure that I continued the momentum; but also I wanted to be sure I didn't allow my workouts or days to become stale. My enthusiasm for weight training is high, but I wanted to make sure I gave myself not only a physical break, but a mental one, too.
Plenty of people have done challenges like this for yoga. For me, it is an experiment that extends in a few directions: how will my yoga practice develop? how will my body, mind & spirit change by focusing solely on yoga? what will I experience when i start weight training again in October? How will "31 Days of Yoga Matt" impact other areas of my life: creatively, socially, intellectually, lovingly?
But also, I wanted to show 31 Days of Yoga Matt as a metaphor -- to myself and to others -- of the common phases of a time boxed journey, of the challenges along the way, and it is my hope to enjoy the highs of a successful conclusion in four more weeks....but ummm...let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Advantages of Time Boxing
No, we can't control time. But we can use it! You might be on your own Journey from "Point A-to-PointBe." Use Time Boxing to:
Increase your focus on a task or phase.
Increase your confidence of accomplishments.
Prioritize what's important to you.
Create, build on or maintain momentum from previous phases of your journey to PointBe.
Remind yourself that the best version of yourself is YOU 2.Be