For context about 30 day challenges, watch this Ted Talk by Matt Cutts.
I'm trying an experiment for the month of August - not watching any television or movies. I've never been someone who watches a ton of TV, but when I get into a show I can power through a ten episode season in a week. Throughout July, I spent more time in front of the TV than usual, and some of my other activities have fallen by the wayside as a result. I got to a point where I was in the middle of four books simultaneously, and working on three concurrent programming related side projects. When you add that to everything else I have going on (Ultimate frisbee, Taekwondo, preparing talks for conferences, seeing friends, walking my dog, push-ups, work) it became unsustainable. I would get a little overwhelmed by my schedule, and default to mindless activities to relax.
My goal for this challenge is to use the extra time to wrap up some of my existing commitments and stabilize my schedule. I frequently finish work for the day and get a sinking feeling when I look at my seemingly endless to-do list. I remember when I first graduated from college, moved to Boston, and got a real job. I was struck by how much time I had, and how relaxing it was to come home after a day at the office and have complete freedom to do whatever I wanted. Over the last 5+ years I have gradually constricted that freedom by loading up my time with various activities. In theory these are things that I enjoy doing, but there comes a point when something has to give.
This challenge is all about finding a balance between being productive and finding healthy ways to relax. Sometimes giving something up for a while can put things in perspective and bring some clarity to what is important. As Google is fond of saying, I'm trying to put "more wood behind fewer arrows", and become a little more T-shaped.