Slow the f*ck down

Life sure is fast. 

I started writing this in January. I think it had something to do with cars speeding to places. Why? Because we’re always going. I’ve wrote a lot about time management, staying busy, etc. But what is the answer?

We work too much, to make just enough money to buy what we don’t need, and pay off the debts that we built up spending more than we had yesterday. We plan for more tomorrow, but don’t expect it to be enough because we’re not satisfied with what we have today, hoping that we’ll be satisfied with what we have tomorrow if only we can work hard enough today to make more than we did yesterday.

It’s f*#!ing exhausting. And we are exhausted. Collectively, we are done. You can tell when you look at us. We escape, rather than inhabit. We tune in, turn off – rather than unplug and be. But it’s coming. The change is coming, when we understand it’s not enough just to keep going – but rather that we must find ways of existing that aren’t so damn fast.


More busy-ness

I’ve been working out a 168-hour timeline for the week, planning out days. Without overlap, it looks something like:

  • 56 hours – Sleep
  • 50 hours – Job
  • 10 hours – Writing
  • 10 hours – Dining/meal prep/shopping
  • 9 hours – Side hustle
  • 7 hours – Reading for pleasure / studying
  • 6 hours – Podcast & video recording/editing
  • 6 hours – Yoga/exercise
  • 4 hours – Music gigs
  • 4 hours – Meditation
  • 3 hours – Radio show
  • 3 hours – Nothing

Now, I rarely sleep 8 hours per night. I haven’t been as faithful in my yoga practice as I should be. And I do write sometimes during gigs when I’m not singing. So there is overlap.

The problems come when other things creep in and I have to decide which items to omit from the daily list. And things will crop up. Date night (which should be every week). The film that I just have to say (a lot coming out this summer). And other activities that require some measure of concentration on my part – I’m thinking of the garage that needs an overhaul right now.

And I look at Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule in awe, and can’t help but wonder how he managed it. (Of course he didn’t, but it didn’t stop him from trying.)


The bookmark

My last employment contract ended with two-months paid vacation, a box of business cards I shredded, and a stack of bookmarks from last season’s shows. And after thinking on the bookmark, I decided to keep them. Because, when I grab a new book off the shelf and start reading, I may make it 15 or 20 pages and then put it back. It’s not the book I’m devoting myself to now, just a quick jaunt into another author’s thought process. With these readily available bookmarks, I’m not scrounging for scrap paper, using stick notes, or dog-earing a page.

So, though the employment may have gone afoul, thanks for the bookmarks. And the paid vacation time. 


Finding time to be creative

You want to do this, be it paint that canvas, write that book, make that movie, or learn that instrument. You want to do that so you can feel the accomplishment you’ve known you longed to feel from the time you first had that thought, probably so long ago.

What no one told you is that it’s very rare indeed to find time to make the art that we long to make. Time isn’t a commodity we just have in abundance. Time is finite, and we have more and more ways to fill it. Five centuries ago it was work, sleep, and family. One century ago it was work, sleep, and family. Even fifty years ago, it could have been work, sleep, and family. Now, the possibilities are endless.

So, no. Don’t find time to be creative. Make time. Schedule it in, and guard it as you would anything else important. It’s the only way to get it done.

The first time I got paid for it…

There’s a fun book titled The First Time I Got Paid for It, which chronicles the stories of writers in Hollywood selling their first scripts. As I deposited my understudy check this week, amazed that someone actually gives me money for pretending to be someone else, I thought about the first time I got paid for this.

My first check tied to real theatrical work was a $100 split off from a check from the director of a show that I assistant-directed. I wasn’t experienced at all, and she walked me through the process pretty much all the way. It was the first time that I learned anger was a boring emotion for the stage.

Since then I’ve been a part of a number of professional productions, and even worked in film and television some – to varying degrees of success. Some of my footage will never be seen, and that’s probably a good thing.

But, to quote Jonathan Larson, “What a way to spend a day.”

The work’s the thing

Remember who you are producing for. We don’t live to work better. We work to live better. Every job we do is a reflection of how much we appreciate ourselves. Not the company, or the product. And we may think that it’s an amazing company or product – which is why we align to it.

But there must also be balance. Don’t sacrifice life just to work. Be the living worker, and not a robot.


“One must know what one wants to be,” the eighteenth-century French mathematician Émilie du Châtelet wrote in weighing the nature of genius. (From Brain Pickings).

Lots of smart people have spoken or written about being true to yourself. Why is that? What is so important about being your authentic self?

There are two elements to this. The first is: an authentic person is doing that thing which she was put here to do. The feeling of absolute joy that comes from being authentic is contagious, and that’s why authentic people are viewed as charismatic, agreeable, and engaging.

Everyone has a purpose. And, according to Oprah Winfrey, ‘Your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you are meant to be, and begin to honor your calling in the best way possible.'” (Oprah’s new book, The Path Made Clear).

The other element is the concern of authenticity preventing some from showing up. As Seth Godin puts it in his interview on the Tim Ferriss show, “Which means, and this is someplace I’ve gotten in trouble before, authenticity is totally overrated, totally. That I don’t want an authentic surgeon who says, ‘I don’t really feel like doing knee surgery today.’ I want a professional who shows up whatever they feel like, right?

While I view that as a valid point, and I greatly admire Seth Godin and all the work he’s done (I’ve read a number of his books, some multiple times), I believe that this example is more about a lazy authenticity, rather than it being authentic.

The surgeon in Godin’s example is (hopefully) being authentic in being a surgeon. That’s what fuels his life. If he come in and says he doesn’t feel like doing knee surgery today, then it’s not in line with his authentic self. Or, he didn’t want to be a knee surgeon to begin with.

Authenticity, in my view, is something that will give us energy.

Now I do believe that we may find ourselves aligned to our authenticity, while not fully being authentic. That’s why you see so many Generation X and Y switching careers, rather than staying in one for their whole life. (One of the reasons.) Because they are searching for authenticity. But in the job you’re doing – the one you’ve agreed to do for the time being – you still need to show up. To do your best.

Trying to try

Making a commitment (again) to more consistent posting. For this, I’m batching. A set time slot for my writing, most of the week’s blog posts, in an hour or two time slot.

We’re given 168 hours each week to do the work. Assuming 56 hours (ideally) is spent in sleep, 40 hours in a 9-5 (or some iteration thereof), that leaves 72 hours a week for growth, health, restoration, and/or housework.

Devoting several hours each week to one growth activity, doing it at one time to maximize impact, is the batch.

Days gone by

Lots of changes over the past four weeks – job change, new ventures began, and plans coalescing.

I’ve been guilty of misusing my personal resources, and I’ve forgiven myself for that.

When the bulk of your decision making power is spent before you’ve started the real work, you’re wasting your potential. Minimize, reduce, and evaluate your value-adding activities.