Monday Series: A Story About Surrender


Well... I was even less productive this week, by whatever standards I'm choosing to measure myself against. I made a fair amount of progress on the work assignment but not enough, never enough, and I did virtually nothing for C&B or art. This week appears to be filled with a medley of meetings so I don't expect much improvement unless I work extra hours. Last week, I addressed this by working late into the evening. This week, I'm going to attempt mornings, lolololololllllll.

I woke up at 6:10 today. I'll finish this post and then get going. It always works well on Mondays. Slow degradation follows until I completely fall apart on Thursday and then attempt to pick up the pieces on Friday. At least I've identified the trend.

I'm just not able to keep up. 

Work + Art + C&B + Aikido + Running + Yoga + Recurring Friends Zooms + House Chores + Cooking + Spanish + Guitar = Too Much. Even if, especially if, many of these things are supposed to be fun.

It would be nice if there were a perfect formula. This doesn't appear to be the one. And, truthfully, it never has been. I have literally never been able to make this formula work. Something always slips. Honestly, ALL of the things slip because I try to balance them all so equally. But I just keep trying to adjust my schedule or my mindset to force a square peg into a round hole.

So then I'm forced to ACTUALLY prioritize. Not just pretend to prioritize like I've been doing, but ACTUALLY prioritize. AKA: focus on one thing and flat-out remove other things instead of trying to push all of them forward inch by inch.

I ask myself "What will make you feel the least anxious right now?" I don't like the answer. It is very clearly "Work as hard and as fast as you can on the day job assignment so you can get it done and stop feeling behind." Why don't I like this answer? Because some version of this has been true for the 4 years I've been at this company. When I finish this project, I'm going to feel behind on the next one. It's the nature of this job, unfortunately, given the way our resources are allocated. Prioritizing it effectively de-prioritizes C&B/Art prep and postpones any forward progress. Even when I'm not working extra hours (which I've gotten fairly good at maintaining), the stress of feeling behind all the time and the creative fatigue of doing the work itself reduces my ability to do other creative tasks afterward. And then I just feel guilty for not doing them. This has happened to me 400 times. We're here again. 

But right now, the mounting stress from how long this assignment has lingered is effectively staining all of the things red. It's deceivingly complex and requires an amount of focus (sans distractions) that I can almost never muster during the work day; thus resulting in the dread of yet another Monday morning where I feel like an asshat for not having finished this thing. So here I am, a night owl up at 6am trying yet another productivity tactic to force myself to get this shit done.

At this point, I've completely released my stronghold on the pomodoro technique. I've given up on the April art contest. The only C&B deadlines I'm trying to keep are this Monday blog and my first-of-the-month newsletter that I'm hoping to launch in a few days. I might skip aikido in favor of a recurring friends zoom call tonight because doing both of them on Mondays is really tiring. I'm saying "no" to things where I can. I need a break. I need to release this internal pressure. It's like I've become simultaneously incapable of finishing anything and incapable of quitting anything.

Looks like I'm going to need to quit some stuff in an effort to finish some other stuff. The surrender is the hardest part though.


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