Before last week’s post on our Grandfather Mountain hike, I hadn’t written anything here for over a month. I’m not sure what’s been going on. Bloggers block? Burn-out? Or something more sinister? In a perfect world, I would write (something, not necessarily a blog) on a daily basis. So, what keeps me from doing it? It’s such a simple question, but so complicated to answer. Just asking the question feels bold and a little frightening. Or asked a different way: What obstacles do I place in my own way that interfere with my happiness? Yeesh. Getting heavy, for sure. Still, I’m intrigued. I want to think about this more. I want to figure it out — maybe not in a big flash-of-light epiphany — but incrementally, in small steps.
Recently, I’ve notice how quickly and efficiently I can clean my house when I’m under the gun. This has happened a few times in the past month when I was expecting guests. I was amazed and delighted by how much I could miraculously accomplish in 30 to 45 minutes right before my guests arrived. I found myself moving systematically through each room, picking up, cleaning, and arranging. I experienced an uncanny ability to discern exactly what needed to be done, prioritize tasks, and create the perfect atmosphere that I wanted to welcome my friends into.
Wait! These are exactly the qualities I need in my life on regular basis:
1) Knowing what needs to be done
2) Prioritizing tasks based on importance
3) Being energetic and efficient
4) Creating the atmosphere I want
5) Feeling accomplished and satisfied
And yet, they elude me. How do I replicate these micro-bursts of energy in my life-at-large? Do I need to add something or subtract something?
In her recent Wall Street Journal article, “Are you as busy as you think?”, Laura Vanderkam talks about spending “long stretches of time lost on the Internet or puttering around the house, unsure exactly what I was doing.” She suggests keeping a “time log” to better understand how you really spend your time and to help you prioritize. Intriguing… if there was a device that could surreptitiously record your activities for you… But I already have some pretty good ideas about the sources of my wasted time and dissipated energy without an official study.
Last fall, I wrote about feeling unfocused and distracted. I had some nice ideas, but nothing has really changed. So, it’s time to bite the bullet, walk the walk, put my money where my mouth is — you get the idea. A true hiatus from the internet is in order. This means no Facebook, excessive email checking, playing Words with Friends, or monitoring Yankees’ games on my phone, etc. etc. It will be hard! And I’m already trying to get out of it. I mean, there’s an election on Tuesday — I need to see what everyone’s saying about it, don’t I??? My children are taking their end-of-grade tests next week, and I need to commiserate with all the other parents whose kids are going through the same thing. What if I miss something?! In fact, in the spirit of true confession, I’ve already put this little scheme off several times.
But here goes. It’s time. Tonight, at the stroke of midnight, my week-long experiment will begin. I’ll let you know what happens.
As one reader of the Wall Street Journal article I quoted above wrote, “Is your life full of filler or are you pursuing what brings you joy?”
OR, as Thoreau put it,
“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”