There are many passions in my life. There are clients, there are my own
projects, and ideas. But then there is life and my healing process which have a
tight grip on me. What do I mean by that?
The Tight Grip of Life & My Healing Process
What do I put into action? Where should I focus my energies? When is it time to
just do something?
Those are all questions that I ask myself way too often, and the funny thing is
that I most of the time ask myself those questions in journaling which is part
of my healing process exactly in those times where I should probably just be
working on a client project instead.
I am aware of the next task on the list, I am aware of the change that would
happen in my life if I get all those tasks on all my lists done, I am conscious
enough to know how much my life would change. But… I have not figured out how to
use that knowledge to motivate me enough to have those projects distract me from
my suffering and healing.
What do I mean with my suffering and healing? Well, it’s basically the feeling
that I need time to myself. It’s the notion that journaling about my thoughts
and letting them run wild would help. It’s the expression of everything that I
am sitting with all the time.
But it’s also the recent addition to my knowing that not being productive for
some time is valuable too. It’s about the notion that burnout is a real thing
and that there are reasons that people are unable to work when they have been
overstressed for too long.
That’s what I felt about one year ago. Always driven — and I still am — with my
ideas and passions, but also burned out and exhausted from trying for so long to
get some project off the ground and make it successful. Always building
something new, trying to step out of my comfort zone, traveling the world, and
finding new people to connect with. And then I found someone who gave me a new
knowing and understanding. The understanding that it is perfectly ok to do the
minimum to get by and rest for a while. Do what is absolutely necessary for
survival and then just sit back and journal, meditate, sleep, and relax for a
while and that felt really good.
Finally, I was able to let go a little bit — for a while. But then it all came
back again, so I went to work and lost this connection. Until a few months ago
where the pendulum swung into the opposite direction and for the first time in
over a decade I disconnected completely from my computer and started valuing new
experiences. All of a sudden walking in nature, journaling with a fountain pen,
and exploring the city on foot were more important than my laptop.
Well… that was a first for me in pretty much all the time I can remember. It was
a good time. I felt accomplished even though I didn’t do anything “productive”
by normal western standards. I felt nourished by nature and my activities, the
explorations, and findings which started revealing themselves to me.
Now, however, there is a breaking point. One at which I am slowly finding my way
back to my desk and my desire to get shit done. Get client projects finished in
time and to start building my other ideas again. But it is as if there is a
roadblock. Maybe this is what writers call writers’ block.
The Quest for Productivity & Focus
Now, I am not satisfied with my output anymore. I love the new addition of
nature in my life, new priorities which I started developing for myself, new
habits, and leaving previous ones behind. But the balance between doing the work
and processing my thoughts is not where I would like it to be.
So there comes the challenge: how do you move from all of the healing and
processing to a place of balance between that and actually getting stuff done?
This reminds me of something I read about Neil Gaiman the author. I read
somewhere that his practice in terms of writing through tough spots where the
motivation is lacking a bit is this:
He has a morning routine which leads him to sit at this desk at some point. Now
that’s where it gets interesting. He has this rule for himself to sit there for
a defined segment of time (probably at least a couple of hours). The important
part is: he is not allowed to do anything but write his novel, make edits, or
work on ideas for it. He can twiddle his thumbs, look out into nature, but he
can not: leave, do emails, go online shopping, or do any other distraction
activities. He either spends these hours looking at nature or he ends up writing
Exploring this topic that I am writing about at this very moment, it’s an idea
that I should take up again. It is so easy to get lost in the digital world. The
internet provides everything at our fingertips. Connection, videos, articles,
and games. There is so much and it’s really not helpful. Often times I feel that
it’s better to let something flow out of my fingers and onto a page but even
that is a distraction if there is work that should get done.
I have rejected the idea of having a schedule for a long time, restricted hours
— after all, it’s one of the main reasons I am not looking to become employed
any time soon. But I also see the benefit of giving myself a schedule and work
hours to abide by, to work inside. Because that kind of schedule would also give
me the opportunity to actually enjoy the time that I have off when I have it
without stressing too much about what is left undone.
So there are the two techniques that I will start to implement:
- Give myself one task and a set amount of time. Don’t allow anything else to
be done within that time slot unless the main task is finished.
- Set a schedule for myself so that I can feel satisfied with my day once it
is finished and enjoy my time off.
I’m positive that I desire nothing more than to actually get going, create more,
and get the stuff done that I put on my own todo lists. I also know how much my
life will change once I start doing exactly that. Now it’s time to implement,
take action, and start bullshitting myself.
If you have any ideas to share how to be more productive, stay on track, and
keep your focus on what you really have to do rather than just distracting
yourself, please share those on Twitter with me @LoganSolora
Photo by Christian Erfurt