Sunday, November 14, 2010

Post-A-Day: Numbers

I got a pedometer at work a few months ago, and it's become my latest little OCD-obsession. They say you should walk 10,000 steps a day and thanks to my extra long commute I get most of my steps in just coming and going from work. And there's definitely some dopamine released into my brain every time I hit my 10,000th step. Of course, more often than not I'll accidentally press the way-too-easy-to-touch reset button and completely lose track of how many steps I'd taken that day. Bad design, guys!

We all attach meaning to the many cold, hard numbers that surround us in our day to day. I may be a bit more regimented than most, for better or for worse. Here are some other numbers I have swimming around in my head at any given time:

# of pages/amount of writing done
If there's anything I'm ever gonna hit that 10,000 hour mark doing, its going to be writing. I greatly enjoy doing it, but having started only fairly recently, I also recognize my current skill level and the need to improve it. Every page or blog post written helps me get a little closer to my goal. I don't regularly keep track of this number (other than say,blog posts or pages written in the past month or so), but whether it's an unforeseen side effect or not, I've slowly developed an urge to write on a regular basis.

% full on my DVR/hours of gaming/length of Netflix queue
These numbers show the love/hate relationship I sometimes have with all the media I consume. I have more stuff to watch and play than I have hours in my day/week/life, so I'm always trying to find that balance between being productive and allowing myself to enjoy my favorite pastimes. A huge stack of games, a nearly full DVR, and a ridiculously long Netflix queue can actually get a little stressful, but at the same time, it's a reflection on how much more productive I've been over the past few years, so I can finally have that smug sense of superiority all the people I've ever known who don't even have a TV or say they never watch it have!

Days until my birthday/vacation/weekend
On the 4th of every month, I always go "today I'm 31 and such and such fraction years old" (my birthday is  January 4th) - does anyone else do that, or am I a little crazy?

The other two I'm confident people are always tracking like me. Nobody loves working that much, do they?

Days since I last shaved/did laundry/paid bills/went food shopping/exercised
I don't really keep a proper calendar, so these time consuming tasks are always somewhere in the back of my mind, never too far off in the distance from needing to be taken care of again. They are also a constant reminder of my desire to have a butler who did all of them for me.

$$$ - Money in the bank/in my wallet/under my mattress
Everyone's got this one too, right? I'm actually probably a bit worse at keeping track of the money I have outside of my wallet, since its a more complication combination of my income, debt, and savings than I regularly think about. It's usually not as high a number as I'd like it to be, hence my blocking it out mentally.

Caloric intake/Overall eating habits for the day/week/month
This is perhaps a little more unusual for a guy to do, but I've gained some weight in the past, lost it, and since been determined to eat foods I enjoy and not having to limit myself with any sort of specific diet. The easiest way to do that has been to keep a mental list (and it'd become a physical if I ever started to notice a change) of what I've eaten every day.

Knowing I'm going to be pigging out at a poker night later on, or that I had a smaller lunch that day will affect my choices the rest of the day. Over time this has also just become something of a subconscious thought process, which makes it basically stress-free since I'm essentially still able to eat whatever I want to, as long as there's simple moderation. If I ever had to diet in some specific way I wasn't used to, I'd probably hate it. Hopefully I'll never get there!

There are plenty of others, but those are the only ones going into the blog today.

-Matt

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