One-eighty

A year ago I was scrambling to find resources to help me manage my full-time work with people. I was a team leader that meant I managed a staff team (people work) and talked to other people all day. I was struggling to have any desire to have friendships at the end of the day. I talked to my friends basically only by text. This blog was the place I worked out some of the things I learning about how to streamline my life to manage everything all while trying to achieve in the long-term the things I wanted to.

This year I don’t manage that team. Nor do I work primarily with people. I mostly work to create capacity so others can do a good job talking to people all day. The biggest shift I’ve seen in my life now is that I have relational energy at the end of the day.

I noticed this shift in a roundabout way. I was doing a random survey someone had tweeted to help their friend write a book. The survey asked questions about free time to do hobbies. Did I have enough? What were my hobbies? As I was listing the things I enjoyed doing I realized they were all solitary activities: writing, blogging, cooking, baking, reading. I imagine I developed the enjoyment of these in response to a largely extraverted life, full of people.

Now that I’m mostly engaging with people online through video chats, email, writing, and phone calls I’m wondering if I’ll still enjoy these primarily solitary activities? Is this why I’ve barely looked at twitter and my blog the last two weeks?

I keep finding myself planning to have people over. Every night! People! More people, please! I’m shocked at the one-hundred-and-eighty degree turn that I’ve done socially since April. I’m also looking forward to being an extrovert again.

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The great thing about posting once a week is that no one has any idea how Mentally MIA you’ve been. I’ve been really MMIA. Totally focused on figuring out life in Montreal again. Say, what? Yes. You’ll hear more about that in my newsletter coming out to inboxes soon. Strangely enough, I’m writing this from 8 hours from Montreal. I kid you not.

So you can imagine that my brain is just trying to play catch-up.

Normally, I’m reading a really fascinating book that gives me content to write about. I’m reading a book right now but it’s about marriage and not really relevant to this blog. And so this space will remain quiet until I can get my head back above water.

Manage your day-to-day

manage-your-day-to-dayLast month I read Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind by assorted authors. Each chapter was an essay written by productivity/life-hacking experts like Leo Babauta, Seth Godin, Scott Belsky etc.. It was a great read considering it had helpful, distilled, ideas by great leaders in this area, all for only $4 on Kindle.

The book itself is meant to help creatives harness their energy to get their work done. Writers, designers, speakers etc sometimes have a hard time getting to the “real work” because they’re too busy responding to emails or putting out fires set by other people. Here are a few of the quotes that really stuck out to me:

Gretchen Rubin On Writing

“Because I write every day, no one day’s work seems particularly important.”
“What I do every day matters more than what I do once in a while.”

Seth Godin on Honing your creative practice

“Because lots and lots of people are creative when they feel like it, but you are only going to become a professional if you do it when you don’t feel like it.”

“The reason you might be having trouble with your practice in the long run—if you were capable of building a practice in the short run—is nearly always because you are afraid.”

“These people sabotage themselves because the alternative is to put themselves into the world as someone who knows what they are doing.”

Tony Schwartz on Building Renewal into your workday

“What’s changed is that between digital technology and rising complexity, there’s more information and more requests coming at us, faster and more relentlessly than ever.”

“Sleep is more important than food.”

And my favourite:

“Waiting for inspiration to write is like standing at the airport waiting for a train.”

-Leigh Michaels

These essays reminded me of what I already know and have said many times: you have to fight to prioritize the important stuff, even if it’s your job to do that stuff. I particularly appreciated the sections on writing. They were a good reminder, that “real” writers don’t wait for inspiration to hit, they have to show up every day to “work” too, even if it is their make-shift kitchen table office. Great food for thought.

I recommend it if you’re trying to figure out how to manage your physical energy, time or creative energy. It’s a steal at $4.03!

More confessions

run-country

Photo by Kevin Lallier

Confession: I hate running in the country. So I stopped. For the record, I don’t feel that great about it. I’ve gained ~10-15 lbs over the summer!

Cause that doesn’t make me feel worse about my current situation.

I did some soul-searching the other day to re-evaluate what I even want out of running. A little along the lines of this post. When I started running, i was a bit delusional perhaps. I believed that I could defeat the odds and run a lot and not get injured. When I hit week 8 or 9 of C25K I started getting a lot of pain in my feet.

So the question I asked myself was: do I want to run even if it means having to get orthotics? Or do I only want to run if it lives up to my goal of being pain/injury free? It sounds pretty stupid now that I’ve typed it out: what good thing is ever pain-free in life?

I found out my sister-in-law has out distanced me already. She’s running 7k (as of a few weeks ago) regularly. I still haven’t hit 5, people!

Moving forward on this one is tricky. It requires a huge amount of dynamic determination to do if we stay in the country here. If we were in Montreal tomorrow starting to run again would be a breeze.

I’m not sure I have the chutzpah to get my sorry butt off the couch and take  my Big Girl Thighs for a run. The corn fields go by as slowly as life moves in the direction we want it to.

The sentiment of this photo is a good reminder. Funny, because this time I read it the attitude was a lot more cynical and the emphasis was on TRYING and not on ENJOY.

OK my pity party is over now.

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