How to Embrace Your Inner Back-to-School

Even though you’re not actually going back to school

By The Editors
September 2, 2015 9:00 am

I don’t care how old you are: first week of September rolls around, and something clicks.

Back-to-school isn’t a season — it’s a state of mind conditioned by years of having to sit at a desk and use your brain after three months of chasing ice cream trucks and trying to make it to the end of the pool and back without coming up for air.

New Year’s may be our nationally recognized day of renewal, but it’s renewal of a different sort: back to the gym. No more cookies. No more mulled wine.

Back-to-school renewal is more along the lines of “What are you going to be smarter at this year than last?”

What are you going to learn? What deserves your attention?

Relationships? We’ve got some ideas there.

Always say you’re going to travel more but haven’t pulled out the passport in years?

We can get you out of the country before Labor Day.

Haven’t made the most of summer?

Don’t worry. The warmest weather of the season is still ahead of us — so check this out and get going.

After years of failing to Get Things Done, I discovered gamified productivity app Habitica. It’s GTD for the Game of Thrones enthusiasts. Pixelated dragon eggs are involved.

So yeah, it’s not going to get you any dates. Unless you meet another Habitica fan at the bar, in which case I guarantee success.

Habitica takes things away from me — read: dragon eggs — when I don’t do what I tell it I’m going to do.

What I realized — by finally using a habits-monitoring app for more than a month — was this:

The projects I cared the most about were the ones I worked on the least.

They’re staring at me, in red, on my to-do list, right below “Practice meditation for 30 days this month,” which I can tell you was never going to happen.

But evidence, and Habitica, don’t lie.

Five years ago, a friend and I were 26 kilometers from the Portuguese border.

We’re both country-counters, and neither of us had been there before. So we were dying to take the detour.

But I had a ferry to catch, to Morocco.

That ferry has haunted me for five years.

This back-to-school, I’m booking tickets to Portugal.

What will you do to make an old but durable dream come true?

SF Editor

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