It’s been a very strange week. Working just one hour a day, achieving little in my “work time”, yet also spectacularly little in my personal time either. Where DO all the hours go?
I’ve been grappling all week with two things: boundaries and excitement.
Boundaries were a problem in week one. I’d been basically sticking to the seven hours a week, but not by doing exactly 60 minutes a day: there’s been 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there… a phone call here and a quick email response there. This leaves me with usually no more than half an hour in any one stretch. Never long enough to do anything meaningful when the clock is ticking.
But far harder to crack than the boundaries created by time, I noticed while meditating that my brain has a constant awareness and curiosity drawing me to my laptop. Like some kind of honing missile, my brain is subconsciously sending my focus to my laptop (“check it. check it. check it.”).
I kept myself busy with: sorting out our flat, getting back into meditation, wandering around Brighton, going to the gym, a quick trip to London, watching Charlie Brooker’s excellent “Black Mirror” on my iPad, travelling to and from Villa Park, a bit of reading and lots of tea drinking and Facebook checking.
But when I’ve been at home, even engaged in these things, I’ve had this constant sense of guilt and curiosity (“what am I missing? check it. check it.”). In the past, when I’ve needed to disengage for specific productivity reasons such as writing my book or writing new workshop materials, I’ve been able to either fly off or just switch everything off. I haven’t felt a strong enough sense of purpose to create a firm boundary in quite the same way this month yet – or maybe just haven’t felt comfortable in doing it – but I’m hoping I will change this!
And secondly, I’ve been craving excitement! Of course, the world is full of excitement and the thrill of creating things at work is a mere speck on the spectrum of exciting things. But whilst excitement can be found in all kinds of places, it does require some seeking out. Like a heartbroken teenager after a breakup, I’ve yet to move into the ‘moving on phase’, and I’m still sat mourning the loss of the excitement and meaning I used to experience from my work. And now, even when things are happening at work that I fleetingly engage in, I don’t feel it’s my right anymore to feel excited – I just feel left out… somehow staring through the window of everyone else’s party, because my measly contribution doesn’t allow me to feel like I can join in.
I feel anxious that the rug has been pulled from under me somehow. I’m left thinking “what the hell do I do with myself next week? It’s a bit like being in a boat in the middle of the sea, not knowing which direction to paddle in, not knowing where it’s going, not sure how to relieve the boredom and panic.
But as my favourite Chinese proverb says “in order to discover new oceans, you first need the courage to lose sight of the shore“.
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