I recently came across a hackathon at work. You take a problem, issue or topic and spend a focussed amount of time to address the area and implement actions. It’s generally used in the technology world but I think it can be easily applied to everyday life.
My project to get rid of 1,000 things was founded along similar principles, with the concerted effort put into decluttering my home. I really enjoyed the process and the outcome and decided that instead of trying to tackle lots of things at once, that I would employ hackathon approach. This level of focus is used in the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, which regular readers know, is one of my favourite books.
Thirty days for each hackathon seems like a fitting timeframe. There’s lots of evidence to show that if you can do something for thirty days, it becomes a habit, which may mean that some of the areas I hope to tackle will become embedded.
I also think that 30 days is enough time to accomplish a lot, but not too long that I lose interest. The clear timeframe keeps me accountable for focusing my efforts and seeing what happens. This TED talk back me up.
So, I have drawn up a list of potential areas for each of my hackathons;
- Bake something everyday. I love baking and would love to spend a month creating baked goods, most of which will be given away!
- Reach out to a friend/ make a genuine connection everyday. With social media, it’s really easy to stay in touch with people. However, I think it tends to be on a really superficial level with images often replacing words. So, each day I will make an effort to genuinely connect with a friend (or even strangers!) in a thoughtful way
- Eat no sugar. I have a massive sweet tooth and would eat cake at every meal, if my metabolism allowed! I want to see what it is like to cut the sweet stuff out (though I envisage a blow out after the 30 days!)
- Exercise everyday. I already do Crossfit and Jiu Jitsu but I would like to add in some yoga or pilates to my regime to improve my flexibility and mobility. It would be good to see what gains you could make within 30 days if you trained consistently. This would probably involve making sure I have enough sleep and eat properly/don’t drink!
- Craft everyday. I have a ton of craft projects that I want to do, but never seem to have time to complete them, either for myself or others. By committing to crafting every day, I hope to be able to get some of them done.
- Practice Mindfulness. I have a habit of dwelling on things in the past and anticipating things that may happen in the future. By focussing on the present, I hope to achieve more and enjoy things as they happen.
- Say yes. I feel like I say ‘no’ to things a lot, especially in my social life. So, I am going to spend a month saying yes to every offer that comes my way (unless illegal, immoral or downright dangerous!). I think it may be freeing no to have to consider what my response will be, but instead just go ahead and do it!
- Say no. After a month of saying yes, I feel like it would be good to balance it with a month of saying ‘no’ to everything. It will also be an interesting way of seeing which response is more freeing!
- Read everyday. I am a massive fan of my kindle and carry it everywhere I go. However, I can go days without reading it, as there are so many other distractions with social media, the internet and other things. I am going to make the conscious effort to read at least one page every day.
- Eat out of the cupboards/freezer. As part of my decluttering process, I realised how much food I currently have in the cupboards and freezer. My aim for the next 30 days is to use up what I have before instead of doing my weekly shop. I am allowed by buy what I need such as milk and eggs and anything I need to complete a meal. However, I am going to meal plan based on what I already have, instead of what I ‘fancy’. This should clear space and bring my food bill down. Any money left over at the end of the month from my usual food budget will be added to my declutter pot.
So, which one shall I do first? Have you got any ideas for your own hackathon?