An aspiring writer fascinated by what we simply are.
“The point of ‘doing nothing’ is to clean up our inner lives. There is so much that happens to us every day, so many excitements, regrets, suggestions and emotions that we should—if we are living consciously—spend at least an hour a day processing events. Most of us manage—at best—a few minutes—and thereby let the marrow of life escape us. We do so not because we are forgetful or bad, but because our societies protect us from our responsibilities to ourselves through their cult of activity. We are granted every excuse not to undertake the truly difficult labour of leading more conscious, more searching and more intensely felt lives.
The next time we feel extremely lazy, we should imagine that perhaps a deep part of us is preparing to give birth to a big thought. As with a pregnancy, there is no point hurrying the process. We need to lie still and let the idea gestate—sure that it may one day prove its worth. We may need to risk being accused of gross laziness in order one day to put in motion projects and initiatives we can feel proud of. ”
Lay hold of to-day’s task, and you will not need to depend so much upon to-morrow’s. While we are postponing, life speeds by.”
Do you also have a ‘stop doing’ list? Most of us lead busy but undisciplined lives. We have ever-expanding ‘to do’ lists, trying to build momentum by doing, doing, doing—and doing more. It rarely works. Those who built the good-to-great companies, however, made as much use of ‘stop doing’ lists as ‘to do’ lists. They displayed a remarkable discipline to unplug all sorts of extraneous junk.”
Today my workload is looking lighter than usual so I’m taking some time for myself and tackling a long list of small things that feel more like procrastination than productivity on a normal day but nonetheless need to get done.
I recently discovered Google Tasks and fell instantly in love so I’m migrating my Todoist lists over and now I have my mail, calendars, and to-do lists all in one place. While I am there, I’m filling out my editorial calendar, then creating drafts for my upcoming posts, and getting links together for the return of my “Weekend Reads” lists.
For the last two days, over lunch, I’ve been working on the first essay of my upcoming “Essay a Week” project. I’m following these steps but instead of writing 3,000 words in one day I’m spreading the work out over the course of one week. I’ve got my topic and most of my outline complete and I’ve even worked on step four in advance and have tons of quotes too. Tomorrow I’ll flesh out the intro and perhaps get a few random paragraphs I have already written in my head onto the screen.
For the late afternoon and evening, my goals are just to finish a few chores around the house and then read a big chunk of Notes from Underground. I am so close—and so ready!—to finally be done with this very boring but, I admit, very important book and to move on to something that feels more like an escape than a lean into the dreadful realities of human existence.
I’m feeling exhausted today but the worst of the week is over, I hope, and I am looking forward to more writing hours. Starting today I’m taking harsher measures to avoid distraction. No phone and no internet for 1 hour today. It’ll just be me and the blank screen and if I can’t be trusted even then, it’ll be me and the blank page instead.
Nothing is going the way I scheduled it to. I hoped for an easy midday and a peaceful lunch but the things other people want are getting in the way. So instead I have 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there in between people walking in to ask me questions, wanting me to do something, making loud comments, or simply wanting to visit.
But all those five minutes here and five minutes there might add up if I could keep in the back of my mind what I’m trying to do and where I am trying to go before they slip away.
Today we made up for the lazy weekend and vowed to one another never to put off to weekday evenings what is best and most easily done on our days off. Lazy Saturdays are decadent and Sundays do encourage sloth but we have to stay strong and focused.
We have too much to do in just two short months before the wedding.
So, we had to rush around while exhausted from work doing things we could have had done already but it’s nice to have grown enough together not to blame or to lash out in frustration but to say instead “this is my fault too and this is what I will do to help us do better in the future”.
This was one of my better Sundays, though it wasn’t the best it could have been. I woke up late, but I stayed away from the couch and I tried my best to write though I was easily distracted. I spent too much time on small blog things and not nearly enough time on big projects.
I had a lot to do around the house too. A lot of cleaning I’d been neglecting and small things that needed fixing. I marked some domestic to-dos off the list but the list is never ending so the satisfaction isn’t really there. Still, it feels good to focus my attention on new and novel problems for a change.
In the evening I got ready for the week and did it more efficiently than ever before. I’m going to bed weightless and without the usual dread and despair. I’m almost looking forward to Monday now that I’ve gotten ahead of it somewhat.
P.S. I have a new social media menu up here that includes a link to both my Ko-fi and Patreon pages. There isn’t much I have up on either and not much I can offer supporters yet but take a look, follow, and check back soon. I’ll be adding and updating often.