I’ve begun a timelog for the week; it’s part of one of the podcast thingies I’m listening to. Given my impatience over how I’m handling my time since classes began, I thought it might help: either I’ll see what unhelpful slop I’m doing, or I’ll have data with which to subdue my inner critic.
In yesterday’s shower, though, I was skimming through the day’s possibles, which were (are) captured in at least three unconnected places. It adds a tang of frantic-ness to my day when the lone point of activity aggregation is in my head—what will I forget next? In the swirl, I articulated something I keep forgetting about myself: I frequently accomplish more when I’m skating on the edge of having more to do than time to do it in.
And then I burn out.
That is, in a way, why I added a grad class to my life. To add one more spinning plate to my days, to see whether this would tighten my time enough to feel more effective, but without over-committing. There are a few responsibilities I have that I never seem to get around to, and perhaps removing time… removing my option for swaths of every-day leisure…would press me enough that I would get going on them.
It’s a tricky operation, however. I very much, super-intensely am unwilling to give up time (and mental space) to write in. To write poems, those quixotic entities—but also these blog posts. Longer-form non-fiction hasn’t climbed up to the table yet, despite last year’s experiment, but it will someday. One of the things I learned from my executive-services gig was how much that type of work took away from my writer’s mental space, even as it compressed my time for non-creative things in productive ways…and how much I resented that loss.
Also, while I’ve observed my speed-up-burn-out rhythm and shaken my head over it, I haven’t yet figured out how this person could do that thing differently. Am I really sprint-only, with the concomitant crash/rest period? Or can I learn the rhythms of middle-distance movement, where I both move fast and conserve energy? I’m encouraged to remember that, in my 30s, I swam a 3000-yard race with a consistent 1.30m pace (that’s per 100 yards). I have figured middle-distance out for my body.
Maybe I will figure out a middle-distance pace for my mind.
PS: Thank you, Mr. Bell and colleagues, for a great title for this post!