Just one more thing I wanted to read before I actually get something done


Sometimes just want to wasch your brain and start back at zero, don’t you?

Rarely do I want to repost something word for word in its entirety here on the old Miscellaneous Blog, but today I desperately want to do exactly that.

I’ve got tabs open on my laptop with articles I’d like to read and blogposts on which I’d like to comment. I’ve been devouring pieces about time management since the new year began, and I’m knee-deep into various Thirty Day Challenges.

It’s too much. I give up.

No, I mean it.

Here’s one of the many things that really spoke to me in my daily attempt not to get bogged down:

Addicted to Distraction

I know it’s from waaaay back a few months ago. That’s an eternity in the online world. Do you know how many hours of content have been uploaded to YouTube since this Opinion Piece was published in The New York Times? A lot, I tell you.

I could make a rough estimate if I looked up the data and did a bit of calculation, but what’d the point of that be? Why am I so obsessed beyond reason to know that specific piece of information? Does it benefit me or anyone?

Don’t get me wrong. If I’m making an argument and want my point to be convincing, of course I want to employ facts in said reasoning. Come on. There’s plenty of knee-jerk palaver floating around. I’d prefer not adding to the noise, I promise.

Yet I’d like to cut down on the barrage of information. Tony Schwartz the author of the above mentioned article, makes the point so well that I’ll just give you a taste of how he phrases it:

‘Endless access to new information also easily overloads our working memory. When we reach cognitive overload, our ability to transfer learning to long-term memory significantly deteriorates. It’s as if our brain has become a full cup of water and anything more poured into it starts to spill out.’

I like that simile, so I’ll just leave that with you as I move on to the next thing.

I’d like to believe all of this has cured me from my time-wasting habits. Wouldn’t that be lovely. Instead there’s just one more thing I wanted to read before I actually get something done.

keep dreaming on

stairs going up and down

Although I’m not a book blogger, I know quite a few of those people and read them with relish. The thing is that I love reading and really enjoy pulling my favourite parts out of books, but I rarely feel I do a book justice when I try to review it. I suppose I could do it if I planned a bit better, or practiced assembling a thorough and insightful approach to the works I’d read. That’s certainly an option.

So much of my daily life consists of  time management and prioritising that I’d rather let this platform be where I go a bit more free-form. It seems to be working thus far. I truly enjoy the positive feedback about what I do here. Please keep it coming. The more you stroke my ego, the more likely I am to continue creating this content. It’s all on you.

Recently, a group of us read Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos, and try as I might, I just couldn’t bring myself to talk about it here. I was knee-deep in pre World War I euphoria and the hypocrisy of Prohibition, but I just didn’t know where to start describing my related thoughts.

then I was flipping through my copy of the book, and I came upon a thought. I’d simply share one of my favourite passages. Not try to encapsulate the whole work – just a brief moment in time.

Jimmy has just had a serious talk with his uncle about his future. It’s one of those ‘Ok, you’ve enjoyed yourself up to now, but now it’s time to buckle down to real life‘ sort of conversations, and afterward Jimmy’s a bit disoriented. I’ll let the writer take it from there:

‘His stomach turns a somersault with the drop of the elevator. He steps out into the crowded marble hall. For a moment not knowing which way to go, he stands back against the wall with his hands in his pockets, watching people elbow their way through the perpetually revolving doors; softcheeked girls chewing gum, hatchetfaced girls with bangs, creamfaced boys his own age, young toughs with their hats on one side, sweatyfaced messengers, crisscross glances, sauntering hips, red jowels masticating cigars, sallow concave faces, flat bodies of young men and women, paunched bodies of elderly men, all elbowing, shoving, shuffling, fed into two endless tapes through the revolving doors out into Broadway, in off Broadway. Jimmy fed in a tape in and out the revolving doors, noon and night and morning, the revolving doors grinding out his years like sausage meat. All of a sudden his muscles stiffen. Uncle Jeff and his office can go plumb to hell. The words are so loud inside him he glances to one side and the other to see if anyone heard him say that.’

Can you see why I like that? It’s this kid facing cold, hard reality and saying, ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore,‘ which is what Howard Beale says in the 1976 film Network. But Howard Beale was saying that at the tail end of a career in broadcasting, and young Jimmy comes to the realisation right at the outset of his working life.

Look, I know how important it is to be reliable and responsible. It’s a part of maturity to not just stand up and say whatever the hell comes into your mind. I get that. Yet it’s good for me to remember that I’m not merely a slab of meat to be squeezed into tubes of sausage.

Sometimes life is but a dream. And me? My plan is to keep dreaming on.

How long is now

Yes - How long is now

Took this photo in Berlin years ago, and it still makes me smile when I see it. Have been having some issues with time management lately, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

When I’ve committed to too many things and am running from one appointment to the next, I try to remember the whole Power of Now thing. But I’m hesitant to go too overboard with this stuff. Probably because I’ve read a bit of Eckart Tolle, and I’m never quite sure if I get it.

See, I’m the sort of person who would never think about planting food as long as I still have plenty to eat. If people like me were responsible for important things and we were all living in the now, I’m not sure we’d have enough fuel to keep us warm. Or the logistics to keep planes in the sky.

It’s easy for me to live in an orderly society and wander round saying everyone should carpe diem. This is exactly what I’m doing today. How long is now, anyway?