This post started out as a complaint that I didn't have much of note to write about today. I don't have any projects in a state worth sharing right now. I didn't have any deep topics I'd been pondering recently. I felt somehow both bored and overwhelmed. I didn't want to do anything useful, despite having a few looming deadlines (plus the end of summer approaches!)
It wasn't until I shared these thoughts with a friend this afternoon that I started to catch on to what might be the issue. I was distracted, dissipated. There was too much going on at once in my brain. I was trying to read and write with the TV on. I didn't have a clear plan or specific tasks to work on. I was trying to ignore important urges because I was too lazy to get off the couch.
So I did something about it.
I turned off the TV. I left the house for a few minutes and got dinner (yes, this took me most of the day to get around to sorting it out).
Over dinner I refused to pull out my phone, focusing instead on a book. Since getting home, I have consciously avoided multitasking. Up until I started writing this post, I have been sitting on the couch reading with no background music and no TV. I took a break after the first draft and came back after reading something else with intense focus.
Most importantly of all, I am fighting the urge to multitask. I'm keeping my focus on one activity at a time.
Somehow, focus is actually proving more relaxing than floating through the day. Having some structure to latch on to is helping me feel more rejuvenated and more relaxed. It's a kind of meditation.
In the past, I've known this about myself. I do well with a little bit of structure. I work well when I have a plan, or at least a to-do list to check off. Not having any kind of point of focus is painful to the point of frustration for me.
I need something to hang on to. I can no longer keep my tasks in mind without a physical reminder. When I have a written to-do list that I reference throughout the week, it helps me feel more in control. I've gotten away from that in the summer. It's not that I am incapable of remembering, it's that it causes me stress to hold all of that information inside.
As the school year starts back up, I need to keep this in mind. I'll be pulling back out my notebook and plans. I will write down all tasks. I will focus on single, specific things I can do that move toward a goal.