When the day’s list is done, do not go back to the master list. The rewards of productivity must not be a bottomless well of work.
It’s not Wikipedia that we binge on all day.
Making leisure your labor, an elaboration of “working from home,” can be a profound comfort. Collapsing the public and private can mean protection from both realms — stripped of some of the obligations of traditional professionalism, your public life can be more intimate and casual. And when you “be yourself” for a living, your private self can be infused with the armored posturing of a public persona. This elision can also, truly, drive a person crazy.
All of Bourne’s enemies, as well as his potential allies, are colleagues of one kind or another, and his very existence is a horrifying reductio ad absurdum of life on the corporate treadmill.
Procrastinators often follow exactly the wrong tack. They try to minimize their commitments, assuming that if they have only a few things to do, they will quit procrastinating and get them done. But this goes contrary to the basic nature of the procrastinator and destroys his most important source of motivation. The few tasks on his list will be by definition the most important, and the only way to avoid doing them will be to do nothing. This is a way to become a couch potato, not an effective human being.
cough. Filed under: procrastination.
What if, instead of teaching women that they have to raise their hands to speak at meetings, we taught men to be more reflective and circumspect; instead of telling women to tamp down their emotions at the office, a man was told that he didn’t appear committed enough to the job because he’s never shed tears over it; instead of pushing women to take public credit for their work, we publicly admonish men who don’t properly acknowledge others’ contributions? I was just invited to a seminar on public speaking skills for women — where’s the class on listening skills for men?
I and a few dozen folks I work with read Tom Rath’s StrengthsFinder 2.0. Good stuff. The assessment results tell me that my top strengths/themes are: Restorative®, Intellection®, Ideation®, Input®, and Relator®. Basically, I like fixing things; stockpiling ideas and connecting them; and sticking with people I’m close with. Sounds pretty fair, and there’s much more depth on each of those in the book and in their online thingy. At the very least, it explains why I love my job as much as I do. Also has some good ideas to invest in those strengths for TrueUltimatePower®. I was a bit skeptical, but it’s worth a read!
Avoiding burnout is difficult to write about, because the basic premise is obnoxious. Burnout is a rich man’s game.
Recently I’ve been thinking that when you’re younger, you need to say yes to everything; then, when you’re older, you need to learn how to say no to everything. I don’t mean younger in age, but as a step in your profession.
Doubt is what drives me, the nervousness that I don’t have it anymore. There’s nothing a coach or anyone can say to me that’s more powerful than my own fear that I can’t do it anymore.
My father was a very disciplined and punctual man; it was a prerequisite for his creativity…. No matter what time you get out of bed, go for a walk and then work, he’d say, because the demons hate it when you get out of bed, demons hate fresh air.
There’s only one viable time management approach left (and even that’s only really an option for the better-off). Step one: identify what seem to be, right now, the most meaningful ways to spend your life. Step two: schedule time for those things. There is no step three.
On the “velvet rut”:
It’s real, and it’s easy to get stuck in it. You start to think, “I’ve got my breakfast tacos, my sunshine, my BBQ, and my food trucks. I’m just going to sit here and do my thing.”
A person can only have so much expertise, but if you can sell your ignorance and ability to root out answers, you’ll be employable forever, understood frequently, and relatable always.
Believe me, when I quit my day job almost two years ago, it was not an act of bravery, and if it was a risk, it was an extremely calculated one.
I was a music producer, and everyone was telling me that I had no business becoming a rapper, so it gave me the opportunity to tell everyone, “Hey, I need some time to recover.” But during that recovery period, I just spent all my time honing my craft and making The College Dropout. Without that period, there would have been so many phone calls and so many people putting pressure on me from every direction—so many people I somehow owed something to—and I would have never had the time to do what I wanted to.
“Shooting a movie is the worst milieu for creative work ever devised by man. It is a noisy, physical apparatus; it is difficult to concentrate—and you have to do it from eight-thirty to six-thirty, five days a week. It’s not an environment an artist would ever choose to work in. The only advantage it has is that you must do it, and you can’t procrastinate…”
Photo of Kubrick on the set of Barry Lyndon via a certain cinema
A lot of jobs will consist of making people feel either very good or very bad about themselves.