I wrote this at the end of January, then didn’t publish it. It still feels relevant, so I’m sharing it now. Sometimes you can accomplish a lot and have it feel like nothing. I know this intellectually; it’s part of why I’ve worked so hard to untether my sense of self-worth from external accomplishments. But when you expect to feel something, and you don’t, it can feel like a letdown regardless of what you know to be true.
I got a lot done this month. As of this writing, I’m 44,000 words into a novel I started writing on January 1. This is the ninth blog post I’ve published. I’ve studied French 26 days in a row. I’ve meditated every day of 2019. I’ve recorded six podcast episodes.
Amid all of this, I was bored. I was exhausted. I felt disconnected from other people, but also like connection wasn’t something I particularly wanted at this juncture. I went back and forth on whether I actually want the thing I keep claiming I want. (I still don’t know.) I resented everyone, myself included. I either started work at 6 a.m. (work work, the kind I get paid for), or I couldn’t get out of bed until 9.
I spent a lot of time wondering what the point is of all of this. Life, on a macro level. My creative work, on a micro level. Even my death-reminder app failed to make me feel more alive.
Then there were the deals I didn’t keep. Things I was supposed to leave in 2018 but didn’t. Dry January cut short on the 27th, when I realized my life had no balance. The yoga I stopped practicing somewhere around January 7. The half marathon I decided not to run. Eating dairy again and getting no joy out of it, just congestion. Consuming things — food, wine, affection — like they’ll eventually fill me up.
Nothing sounds good to me right now. Nothing sounds fun. Everything feels capable of being divested.
So let’s try a different month.
Seems like everyone’s worried about how much time they’re spending on their phones. Even my productivity boyfriend Cal Newport decided to focus his new book, Digital Minimalism, on how to use personal technology “to support your goals and values, rather than letting it use you.”
Continue reading “How to give your phone a makeover”
I’ve mentioned before that I’m three months into a yearlong creativity course: the Raise Your Hand Say Yes Inner Circle with Tiffany Han. Our group discussion the other day turned to how to push past self-created drama to actually do the work. I shared some thoughts in our private group on Mighty Networks, but wanted to share them here as well. Here are three ways to shake off doubt, fear, anxiety, whatever to get your work done:
Continue reading “How to get out of your own way and do the work”
The week marks what would have been the 72nd birthday of the Patron Saint of Capricorn Productivity, David Bowie, and the third anniversary of his death. I’ve been thinking a lot about my own creative work and how to sustain it.
Continue reading “How I get things done”
As I write this, I’m trapped in the Newark Liberty International Airport, waiting for my flight to South Bend, Indiana, which is currently delayed 2.5 hours. This would be fine-adjacent, except that it was originally scheduled to depart at 9:45 p.m. and land at 12:02 a.m. So yikes.
Continue reading “Things to do when you’re stuck in a small town over the holidays”
I usually set my New Year’s Resolutions in November, but this year it’s been a struggle to get clear on what I want to accomplish in the next year. Last year, I cast a wide net, setting 10 goals across a bunch of different areas of my life. This year, I’m going slightly narrower and focusing on SMART goals — those that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Here they are:
Continue reading “New Year’s Resolutions 2019”
A few weekends ago, I cleared my schedule and holed up in my apartment for a DIY creative retreat. The main goal for this weekend was to catch up on the writing schedule for my novel, which meant writing 21 pages over the duration of the weekend. There were other things I wanted to get done — two blog posts, a visual rebrand for my blog and social media accounts, and an editorial calendar for my blog through the end of April — but all were secondary (and tertiary, etc.) to the main goal.
During the weekend, I reached my desired page count, wrote two blog posts, and made incremental progress on my other goals. Want to do something similar? Here are some tips. Continue reading “Plan a DIY creative retreat for this weekend”