Hello! Been Very Busy

Being busy is great.

Being very busy is kind of annoying, because while you might be enjoying what you’re doing, you also would like a little time to do other things on your to do list, or your screw around list.

Oh well. This guy gets it.

Creative uploads psycho pigeon

Technically though, there is no such thing as being “too busy.” If you think you’re too busy, you are simply very busy and tired of it.

And yeah, I felt too busy much of the summer. Mostly it was video projects, editing , and doing work around the house . Really it was more of a mental busy-ness, trying to track and organize and schedule everything to avoid stress.

Once you get up in your head like that, but don’t have enough available time to cross any one thing off of your list because you have to bounce between each one, that’s when you feel too busy.

So I stole a little time from my schedule to turn my tasks into projects, meaning that I broke up my list into smaller pieces that I could cross off, either mentally or physically, without having to focus on a single thing and then be totally behind schedule on something that became more critical. That way I could see daily or weekly progress and also the light at the end of the tunnel.

Also, as a serial procrastinator who learned to be more productive by realizing that if you like to put things off —

Tip: You can put off less important things with almost the same satisfaction as the critical ones, which makes people around you much happier with the results

— I discovered that if you have too many things to do and not enough available time, given deadlines, then you don’t feel like you’re putting other things off (joyful procrastination). Instead you feel that you can’t get to them and the most important ones just sit in your head (stressful consternation.)

But apparently the people who say the only way through is through have a point.

And the videos turned out great.

So I guess that’s my silly rant on how to make your busyness work with whatever business you have to deal with .

—–David.

P.S. And remember it’s okay to be a little selfish sometimes, whether doing things for others is how you experience it, or if you want to stay up late and watch your own TV show and everybody’s going to bed.

Or go grab some fast food.

Hello! Been Very Busy was originally published on Creative Uploads

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Solo Work Gets A Gold Star

Saw this recently in a teacher lounge. It gave me A New Hope.

Han Solo Star Wars pun creative uploads

And a bad pun.

What inspires you to make things, even silly ones? Does it come naturally or do you cultivate opportunities to improve your productivity?

I used to have some concerns with that, perhaps thinking if it wasn’t organic it might not be pure enough to reach artistic heights.

That’s crap. Improvisation, serendipity, structure, craven commercialism, planning, editing, incremental steps: they all have a place in creation and can bring us to an artistic result.

Or not.

But that’s for the audience to judge. And you can’t be the audience in the middle of creation; you’re too close in space and time to get the full picture.

First, make something. Then step back and let somebody else look at it.

Who cares what they think? That’s a different story.

—–David

P.S. I like a lot of stuff I put together; some people hate their own stuff. But I enjoy the process and that’s enough to get to the next thing. Which is sometimes the salve on the wounds from the previous experience.

Solo Work Gets A Gold Star was originally published on Creative Uploads

Why Worry About Not Worrying?

My daughter told me tonight how she was worried about the lanyard pouch she had left at school in her last class, which had some money and her school ID card. This is the lanyard I told her to write her teacher about when I picked her up, to make sure that when she got to the class late tomorrow it was there and put away. Seemed to make sense to me.

Of course when the teacher didn’t write back to her tonight, doubt and fear crept in, possibly in part from that seed I planted, though she may have come up with it on her own. “What if someone….” Of course I tried to reassure her that having been sent the email, the teacher would probably grab it early. And extolling that most people are honest. “Don’t worry,” I said.

And then I realized that doesn’t help her. It’s a command, not instruction.

Half of “Don’t worry” is worry. Does anybody worry less because they are told to? Unless it’s that great sixties song, “Don’t Worry, Baby,” I think that helps, but that’s probably the music.

What you really need to do is try to start a worry diet. If you want to lose weight, or stop smoking or drinking something too much, the first thing you try is self-control, but humans aren’t good at that at. We obviously put it off so long that we ended up eating, smoking and drinking too much.

What humans are good at, without any practice, is putting things off. Oh, we want, we crave, yet when it’s really important but takes good mental effort, we have the urge to put it off. The best of us can push past that quickly. But we all have the urge.

I say: give in to the urge to put things off sometimes. It’s satisfying to take such control that you can literally do nothing for a moment or hour or day, should you choose. Plus, entropy takes less effort at the start. Gotta love a lazy Sunday, right? Of course recovering from it may take longer: you can quickly roll down a tall hill with relative ease, but getting back to the the top at the same speed is another story.

So what’s the trick? 

Pick what you put off. This concept took me years to figure out. I would have found it sooner but I put it off. I wanted to drink less soda. I won’t. But I will put off getting one by telling myself to drink a glass of water first. And I make it a ritual. This lets me quench my thirst and usually means I drink the soda slower when I get it.And I have half the chance of grabbing a soda instead of water.

What does that have to do with worry? Well, I was worried I might drink too much soda. (I also worry that any soda is too much, but one thing at a time.) It is a process, so there is more than one step.

I worry less when I give myself something else to do, or think about, distract me.

Once I get there, worry is in the entropy zone. Find your thing: exercise, cleaning, stupid tv, or playing music (listening or making can work), or just tell yourself:

  • “I just can’t even.”
  • “I will think about that later.”
  • “I will worry about that in the morning if my lanyard is still missing.”
  • “I’m going to have a soda”

See, if it’s something you need to worry about, the worry or panic or fear or loss will gladly come around again; you didn’t need to worry twice, right?

You will worry a little less, then when you surrender to not caring  for a while, you can forget to worry for longer.

Now if it’s something you have some control over, you can try to do something. Not to worry, but literally, trying to fix something that would you would otherwise worry about is the best distraction from worrying, ever. That’s why we call it being proactive, and not active worrying. Sometimes all you can do is schedule a reminder or write a note so you can take action later. Okay, do that. Take your time doing it. Start immediately, but do it slowly and carefully, maybe even in a silly way.Why leave yourself one voice mail when three will over do it? Several Post-It notes in a circle. Like you’re going to forget.

And you may fail at “Don’t worry.” So what? Who cares but you? Don’t beat yourself up about it. (Now I still laugh at myself when I accidentally hurt myself or fall down, so I am a special case. But that is literally the opposite of not beating yourself up, how can you not laugh at that?) Worrying about worrying is the worst double with cheese, ever.

If it’s important, it will come up again. I accidentally posted this while still writing, and then my website went down. So I found a way to keep writing the missing paragraphs and ignored my thoughts that maybe I don’t have a current backup.. Now the website is back up and I don’t even need to worry about it. Shame it’s too late for a congratulatory soda. You know what? I am going to schedule this post to publish later. Just to practice putting things off.

—David

P.S. You can schedule the times for when you put things off and when you don’t to your benefit. Using my soda story, I don’t wake up and have one; I try to wait until I have been up for a few hours. Since I don’t drink coffee, this means I am not reliant on caffeine in the morning. I may be slouchy and show, but I’m not addicted! And since caffeine has a long half life, unless it’s late weekend night or a special dinner out, I have to get my last soda in before five o’clock in hopes of making me get to bed earlier. (It doesn’t work; I am really good at putting off going to bed.) But I literally have less time for the habit I want to reduce. Imagine applying that to worry time. “Oh, I only worry after lunch.” That sounds relaxing.

P.P.S. Another approach you can try: One of my favorite scenes from the first season of “Lost”: Kate is hiding in trees as a polar bear is trying to attack and she counts to five. Didn’t watch it? Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter. Jack had told Kate earlier about a time he was terrified but still needed to act: “So I just made a choice. I’d let the fear in, let it take over, let it do its thing, but only for five seconds, that’s all I was going to give it. So I started to count: One, two, three, four, five. Then it was gone.”

P.P.P.S. Sometimes you fail. You drink, or you worry, or you fall. Does that mean you give up? No, usually we fail because we didn’t worry enough about the behavior we were trying to change. So don’t worry about it. Now you know you know how not to worry! Just change the approach to take advantage of that. You will try again, when you feel like it. Maybe even try harder.

Or do. There is no try. Because “do not” can be a phase, the phase before “Do.”.

Why Worry About Not Worrying? was originally published on Creative Uploads