It’s not so much as being bored than it is the value of pausing.
It’s a good thing we can’t write everything our brain says down on paper. Most of it would be jibberish.
Even when we dictate our thoughts onto the computer, we’re impeding the darts of words from overwhelming our head.
We make a lot more sense when we slow down and edit.
When it comes to writing or speaking, that little skip of disfluency creates just enough space between the mind and the mouth or the pen to produce something a bit deeper, a bit clearer, in some cases cleverer.
Even the space after a period gives us just enough of a break to our eyes.
Breathe and stop: Persistence follows the fundamental urge to rest.
The game of goal setting is a choice. Instead of leaving your future to the whims of nature, you create your own course and chase an ideal outcome.
As Hunter S. Thompson advised: “a man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.”
Choice, however, does not make the road more predictable.
Setting out a degree of chance and failure is a good thing. Losing one dream often redirects you into other adventures. Success is a corollary to effort, although you must be confidently blind hoping everything works out in the end.
Nothing is stopping you from calling it a day, cease thinking for yourself, and pursuing absolutes. Every school wants obedient students.
But human beings are hardwired to seek meaning, to go beyond the foundation and stretch the imagination. To play servant to autopilot is the cousin of death.
When open enough, optimistic, and thinking a bit different, you’d be surprised at how often your ambitions boomerang back into your life.
Thirty years ago, college student Francesco Cirillo used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to help improve his productivity.
Working for 25-minutes intervals with 5-minute breaks in between, he called it the Pomodoro Technique. Pomodoro translates to tomato in Italian.
The time-management method intends to help people focus on tackling projects uninterrupted, grouping pomodoros together to track their efforts.
I’ve used the Pomorodo Technique in the past as a placebo just to get me started on a blog post. There are plenty of apps out there like Focus Keeper to track your performance. But you can also buy a physical tomato timer on Amazon to recreate Cirillo’s original experience.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the system, Cirillo is also publishing the official The Pomodoro Technique book. Writes the creator:
“Time passes, slips away, moves toward the future. If we try to measure ourselves against the passage of time, we feel inadequate, oppressed, enslaved and defeated more and more with every second that goes by. We lose our élan vital, the life force that enables us to accomplish things.”
We may not be able to control time but the least we can do is try to take advantage of the time we have. As Jerry Seinfeld says, ‘don’t break the chain.’
You can find out more about Francesco Cirillo and the Pomodoro Technique on his website here.
If you look around Pinterest and Facebook groups, you’ll see that bullet journalling is all the rage but what most people don’t know is that Ryder Carroll is the originator of the Bullet Journal Method.
Today marks five years since Carroll introduced bulletjournal.com to the world, helping millions of people like myself organize and prioritize the right stuff in our personal and work lives in the face of the dopamine homing missiles of the distraction age.
I’m happy to share with you that he’s giving away two free chapters from his new book which comes out October 23.
The writer, blogger, or boxer must always keep in training. The artist or athlete can’t wait for the muse to inject them with productivity serum.
Routine is much more compelling than inspiration, which is fickle, comes in flashes, and rarely sticks.
On the flipside of consistency, is also imperfection. The practician not only faces the resistance, they also face human error.
Showing up every day is one thing, doing it again knowing that a positive result won’t yield is yet another habit to develop.
Error is human. You need some form of struggle to remind you what needs tweaking. However, when the going gets good, you’ll want to maintain it.
If you’re wondering how you’re going to do it all again tomorrow, build off the confidence of yesterday.
I’ll leave you with this advice from thought leader and psychologist Benjamin Hardy.
Get this clear: confidence is a direct reflection of past performance. Hence, yesterday is more important than today. Luckily, today is tomorrow’s yesterday. So, even if your confidence today isn’t optimal, your confidence tomorrow is still within your control.
You can count me in as one of the people that succeeds from an analog to-do list. I’ve tried countless to-do apps, and none of them push me to get stuff done like the written word.
Keep yourself honest by adopting the bullet journal system, if only to remind yourself what actually deserves your attention.
How a Bullet Journal Works
Here is how it works: you take a blank notebook, any blank notebook. You can, if you wish, buy a special one, but the notebook isn’t the point – the Bullet Journal is a method, not an object. You number the pages as you go along, having set aside a few pages at the front that over time become your contents list. Then each month you handwrite a calendar called the “monthly log” followed by a “daily log” of tasks, events and notes, marked respectively by bullet points, circles and dashes. Each day you manually cross out tasks you have completed and then rewrite the undone ones for the next day.
It’s rough and ruthless, but criticism saves you time. People aren’t trying to be mean. They’re just trying to keep you from banging your head into the same wall.
Scientists can’t continue publishing the same paper over and over again. Apple can’t just release another iPhone without drastic improvements. As they say, sameness destroys creativity.
Instead of giving up, what critical advice does is redirect you. Writes Tom Standage in Writing on the Wall:
“Adam Smith. He wrote much of his book in the British Coffee House, his base and postal address in London and a popular meeting place for Scottish intellectuals, among whom he circulated chapters of his book for criticism and comment.”
In search of a little audience, you get the feedback you need to keep iterating until we get it right. Naturally, the process is frustrating for all artists. Writes Fred Kaplan on John Coltrane’s experimental determination.
In a backstage interview with Coltrane during intermission at the Stockholm concert, a local jazz DJ noted that some critics were finding his new sound “unbeautiful” and “angry,” then asked, “Do you feel angry?” Coltrane replied, in a gentle, deliberative tone, “No, I don’t,” adding, “The reason I play so many sounds, maybe it sounds angry, it’s because I’m trying so many things at one time, you see? I haven’t sorted them out. I have a whole bag of things that I’m trying to work through and get the one essential.”
The fear of messing up is good quality control. The feedback loop is a critical ingredient to success. Otherwise, you may just be making something that never sticks.
It’s a canard to think that you must use an electronic device for everything productive. A computer is a doing machine, not a thinking machine.
Your best thoughts happen when you’re disconnected, in the shower or on a walk. They also happen when you slow down, pen in hand letting each idea match the pace of the ink.
“A good idea doesn’t come when you’re doing a million things. The good idea comes in the moment of rest. It comes in the shower. It comes when you’re doodling or playing trains with your son. It’s when your mind is on the other side of things.” — Lin Manuel Miranda
Human beings aren’t meant to operate in high gear for long periods of time.
There’s a reason commas exist. They prompt intentional interruptions to bring you back down to earth in a mental pace that’s more tortoise-y and less hareish.
The obsession with speed is self-defeating. It thinks without thinking, aiming for security that leaves you more emotionally insecure.
Permit your reptilian brain to breathe into your inner experiences. The key to security is the freedom to be insecure, to live and let go, even if that means doing nothing but float at any moment. The best device is the rest.