Finishing off my summer writing this week and this piece is my second to last topic.
COVID is a continual lesson in strategic humility!
Whatever we were thinking on Valentines Day 2020 has gone out the window.
For us, the replacement has been a basic week that is a lot like Groundhog Day => home school, at home, with work spread throughout and quick trips into the wilderness. It’s taught me a lot.
Kids => our kids are doing great. I shouldn’t fool myself that they need fancy vacations and a lot of variety. What they enjoy is a schedule of things that engage them. Engagement relates to doing.
For home school, if it’s important then get it done by 11am. Probably the same for me!
For all of us, not much positive happens after 5pm. There’s probably a danger hour in your house as well. I never regret shutting down the productive part of our day at 5pm.
Thinking about it => I can be tempted to use “the kids” has an excuse. A low stakes example might be how I stock my pantry.
The other lesson is I sure don’t need a longterm plan to be happy. My baseline happiness seems about the same – at least on the inside.
Working towards a plan does, however, give me structure and that’s a big help. I’ve been holding very tightly to my basic week structure.
Within my week, there are a small number of things that dominate my meaning equation. If you’re going to be tough on yourself then remove the choices that screw up the meaningful part of your life.
So my planning process is about (a) maintaining space for a small number of things I enjoy and (b) scheduling my commitments to others.
This is very different than my approach when I was younger => dream up huge goal, work like crazy.
Very different then a high-achiever seeking to compete on multiple fronts => cram it in, work like crazy.
Babies and preschoolers were so overwhelming, I was forced to make choices/changes. If you’re struggling with a young family then the struggle, the process of choosing, is a useful teacher.
Where’s the point of “good enough”?
As I get older, I find myself saying “good enough” a lot more.
As a younger man, I might have considered this process settling for less. It doesn’t feel that way. What’s happening is I have a clear idea of the work required to get a little bit better/richer/faster and I know that work is going to get in the way of what gives my life meaning.
These days, I don’t get meaning from more.
With planning => where are you seeking to go? how will you know you have arrived?
If the goal of the plan is to have something to avoid existential angst then own it. Own it and know that you don’t need to push yourself quite so hard.
If the purpose of planning is to “have a plan” then the plan itself need only be reasonable. Most days… tick the box. Occasionally, push the envelope.
The news cycle isn’t my friend. It’s a distraction from what gives my life meaning. It’s an easy way to pass time spinning my wheels on topics I can’t influence.
So, to sort out my thoughts, I need to address the fire hose of information flow that arrives daily.
The best technique I know for clearing the mind and setting priorities is a cyber-break => pull the plug completely for 7-14 days.
It’s wonderful and, while difficult to execute, the world has yet to miss my absence.
I’m going to try the “light” version in August => shutdown my computer after each use (it takes forever to boot up, major friction), remove Safari / Twitter from my phone (more friction), and take notes but don’t publish.
That’s probably 100 hours going back into my August. As well as creating time, it will create space because there will be less noise arriving.
Simple, not easy.
Similar piece from 2011 – based on a conversation with the most successful guy you’ve never heard of – despite having a ton of financial wealth, his mode of operation has nothing to do with money. I’d forgotten about his tutorial to me.
What’s the cost of a life with meaning? From 2016 – Pay The Price.
~100 posts during COVID and over 66,000 words published this year. Do a little bit each day and you’ll get somewhere.
How’d you spend lockdown? Wrote a book, educated my kids, loved my wife and got really strong.