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  • Writer's pictureSubha

How Do I Measure My Year? Ideas for 2024 Metrics

Updated: Apr 22

Embracing Boredom, Focused Presence, and Genuine Connections



mindful metrics

Welcome to 2024! We have each arrived here, traversing vastly unique and personal journeys… typically summed up by very simplistic words. Do you feel like you just about survived a challenging year? Or you are walking in head held high, thriving and delightful? Did the year feel ‘meh’, nothing to write home about? Do you feel hopeful or tired or calm or anxious? It's natural to glance back and reflection is a powerful tool—it allows us to relive, reconsider, and relearn.


In the vastness of a full year, it's fascinating how a single event, whether grand or trivial, tends to dominate our retrospective lens. It's the wedding, the new job, the travel adventure—or maybe the quieter moments of solitude or simplicity. Our minds, almost inadvertently, succumb to what psychologists call the "recency effect," letting the most recent experiences cast a disproportionate shadow or rainbow over the entire year.


But what if we resist this gravitational pull of the most recent and choose to measure our year in a different light? What if we focus on the intricacies of our daily lives, on the subtleties that often evade the spotlight?


For 2024, I am wondering how I can have a better answer (to myself mostly) about how the year is flowing by. Something more than a good or bad or average year. Instead of setting grand, often elusive goals, I'm turning my attention to the nuanced aspects that shape the essence of each day. It's often the subtle, day-to-day experiences and habits that shape our overall well-being and satisfaction.


1. Embracing Boredom:


How many times did I allow myself to sit in stillness, to let my thoughts wander, free from the constant hum of the digital world? While listening to Dr. Rangan Chatterjee’s year-end episode of Feel Better, Live More, his conversation with guest Rich Roll on the power of boredom and the need for downtime strikes me.

‘Constantly distracting ourselves robs us of rumination and boredom, that is the juice for creativity.’

Most of us are the last generation to remember a time without the internet, and perhaps the art of doing nothing needs a revival. Hot summer afternoons and power cuts and silence all around grandma’s home. For hours at a stretch. Today I cannot stand in a queue for 30 seconds without pulling out my phone and opening apps mindlessly.


In the hilarious show ‘Veep,’ the Vice President (played by the amazing Julia Louis Dreyfus of Seinfeld fame) always comes back to her office and first asks - Did the President call? Well, the President never calls for her. She’s not that important! But that’s the feeling with which I hang on to my phone. What if the President calls!


So, let me see how many queues I can conquer. How often can I introduce a little nothingness into my life? And what thoughts will rush to fill the void? I wonder!


2. The Power of Singular Focus:


By nature I am a multitasker. An adjective I took lot of pride in until recently. Many of us, especially women, are praised for our ability to get many diverse things done in a day. High levels of efficiency and productivity are good skills to have. But creating ‘context shifts’ by continually jumping from one task to another is evidently not so good for the brain.


What’s the impact of switching between tasks every few minutes at work? Cal Newport, the author of “Deep Work”, compares it to taking a shot of alcohol every 30 minutes. We think we will just glance away for 5 seconds and check our inbox or another open tab on the laptop. Different studies peg that it takes the brain anywhere between 5 to 15 min to come back to the original task. This is a cognitive overload that slows us down in the long run.


Can I increase the instances where I'm fully present in one activity? No multitasking, no splitting my attention between various screens. Whether it's watching a TV show, reading a book, crocheting, or engaging in a conversation—just one thing at a time. Today I find it difficult. I am constantly trying to optimise my time. So walk and listen to an audiobook. Crochet while watching The Crown on Netflix. These feel like milder offences. I also end up checking my inbox or WhatsApp multiple times during a one hour period of work. And it definitely is a compulsive distraction that takes my thoughts here, there and everywhere.

So, one thing at a time… (as I type and watch a rerun of Abbott Elementary, but in my defence, it’s still 2023!)


3. Rediscovering the Voice:


‘Tis the season. Of Merry Christmas and Happy New Year - messages, gifs, stickers, photos… you get the drift. And what really warmed my heart was coming back from a week long trip and finding a picture postcard in the postbox (yes, they exist!). A dear friend faithfully sends a family card every year from across the many seas that separate us. The hand-written address, the personal note, the bright smiles on the card I hold in my hand. Nothing compares!


How often did I make the effort to pick up the phone instead of typing out a message?

Especially for those connections that deserve a more personal touch. In a world inundated with texts and emails, a genuine conversation can be a rare gem.


This year, can I consider using my voice a little more often? No ‘thank you, wish you the same’ or God-forbid the ‘HBD’! So when I think of someone or need to connect, maybe try calling and having a conversation. And when mass-messaging events occur, try and reply with a personal response. Or a voice note. Not going to be easy but let me try.


4. The Joy of Reading:


2023 was not a good year of reading. I usually manage 2-4 books across various genres in a month and I need to get back to that rhythm in the new year. A commitment to more reading, not just as a goal but as a gateway to single-tasking and immersive experiences. Reading offers a sanctuary for single-tasking. It's a deliberate act of slowing down, of resisting the impulse to skim, scroll, and swipe. The commitment is not just to read more books but to embrace each one as a singular, uninterrupted experience — a deliberate act of being present in the story. It’s very difficult to read and do something else actively!


What have been your best reads of 2023? Share the joy.


5. Real-World Connections:


Just as I think about this one, the stomach-churning stats on daily Covid cases are making a reappearance. Hopefully they stay as small and inconsequential stats.


I do sense we all are craving more real world interactions. Actively participating in events, meetings, and gatherings lead to genuine connections that leave a more lasting imprint than virtual interactions. I definitely tend to remember the names and faces and personalities better.


6. Continuous Learning:


In a very random way I picked up crocheting this year.


crochet

Now I can’t stop! It’s brought me immense joy… and forced me to face something I usually avoid. Youtube tutorials! I found myself ‘in the zone’ as I tackled the patterns and mathematical symmetry of the stitches.


From making way too many bookmarks (as a step towards learning the stitches) to pouches and beanies and gifts for unsuspecting family members! Dedication to learning something new or refining existing skills—a commitment to personal growth that can be so invigorating.


These, I believe, will be my metrics for the year. Not grand resolutions that fade with January's enthusiasm but a daily, intentional investment in the quality of moments. Here's to a 2024 measured not just in achievements but in the richness of experience.


Happy New Year!

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