The DO Rule

I’ve been experimenting with a new rule for myself.

I call it the DO rule.

The rule is simple. All day, every day, until 6:30 pm, I have to do things.

And by “DO,” I mean make or create something.

Examples of activities I consider do-ing something include writing, coding, working, exercising, eating, cleaning, meditating, brainstorming, playing music, and playing games.

Examples of proscribed activities include surfing the net, reading, and watching TV. Basically, no passive activities until evening.

The rule is about living an active life vs. a passive one.

Too often, I’ve let my hours and days get swept away in passive activities, and I’m trying to change that.

This is not an easy rule for me. I’ve only been doing it a couple of days, and it’s amazing how much of my daily habits center around consuming information.

Checking the weather.

Finding out who’s winning the basketball game that’s going on right now.

Reading about who won a basketball game from last night.

Reading the newest posts on my favorite blogs.

Reading the latest gossip about the elections.

Just checking twitter for the sake of checking twitter.

It’s only when I try to remove the steady stream of information that I consume, that I realize how much I’m addicted to information.

I read a lot. And while I know many people aspire to read more and become more informed, that’s not my problem. I think for me, reading is often a way to procrastinate, to push off what I know I really want to do or what I think is important. Whether it’s reading a book or reading a blog, I often use reading as a way to avoid any form of doing.

And, so, by hopping off the dopamine treadmill of constantly updating information, I’m hoping I can improve both my productivity and presence.

We’ll see.

When I actively do things all day, as opposed to reading online mindlessly or watching TV (which is almost by its nature mindless), I find that my days feel longer. I feel like I have more time.

And I think that’s a powerful thing.