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Experiments in Graceful Non-Linear Productivity (#2)
work-life balance looks very different over here; gonna have to change the name of the experiment
Since my first piece in this series, the subject has, er, expanded rather quickly.
Long story short: it’s hard to compartmentalize life under most circumstances, but you can force yourself to compartmentalize it if you have to. You can keep your work life separate from your home life, and you can try to keep a balance between those two things. You can create two different buckets, and while there’s going to be some back-and-forth splashing between them, you can basically keep the two buckets discrete.
I’m not sure that’s possible with the experiment I’m running. This should have been obvious just looking at the four core starting points I listed last time:
the core inquiry: can I do the tasks my soul has been given—in a way that's driven by curiosity, exploration, & care?
this work has to involve my whole being: body, heart, mind, & soul. I can’t just take the usual road of working only with the mind while ignoring or suppressing the rest.
these new sources of energy have a less mechanical, more muscular vibe to them—I’ll have to give up any reliance on brute force and instead focus on things like gracefulness, balance, and growing my capacity. Just because these muscles are fairly weak and clumsy right now doesn’t mean they have to stay that way.
(vague): something about weaving, connected with this sense of gracefulness. I work on many projects at the same time, and there’s a sense that these projects want to grow together. They always do. I can’t pluck out a single one and drive it to the finish line without doing some harm to the whole project-complex.
In every single one of those, it’s clear that there’s no way to separate “productivity” from any other part of my life. It makes no sense. This would have been clear if anyone had asked me this question last week, but I didn’t ask myself, so I spent my week learning the hard way.
My week felt very drifty and amorphous—work got done here and there, meditation got done here and there, musing on what work wants to be done got done here and there… but overall, I felt like I didn’t have much to grab onto. The main thing that felt aligned this week was that I did a lot of cleaning and organizing in my apartment—but that wasn’t really on my “productivity” list, it was just a thing that felt important, a thing I kept noticing that I wanted to do.
Looking back in review, things were working about right. The only thing holding them back was me.
When I consciously dropped in to listen to what work wants to be done, I was keeping an implicit frame that limited my ability to receive answers—I was actually asking “what among these 5 or 6 work-related tasks wants to be done?” and when the real answer was none of those 5 or 6 things, I just… didn’t notice the answer at all. It was outside of my blinders.
The headline here seems to be that things are going to be much simpler and much scarier moving forward.
I’m going to need to open my awareness and sense of possibility further when dropping in to see how my nonlinear graceful eros stuff wants to move me through the day.
I don’t get to decide if I work on paying work, or if I simply clean the apartment, play with the cats, and help a friend with their project. If the work that wants to be done is not work that lets me make money for a full week or so, I need to be okay with that (at least for awhile, while I’m still learning the lay of the land here).
So in addition to those 4 starting points from last time, what else am I left with, finishing this review?
connect deeply with the sense of new drives and fuels—steep yourself in curiosity, exploration, and autochthony. Increase both the amount of those fuels, and your understanding of how they want to be worked with.
connect deeply with humility—let yourself be driven by forces outside of your control, instead of trying to corral them into the areas you think are best.
I can already tell that something about structure is going to need to come in fairly soon. This all feels a little formless. But for now, the current phase seems to be about feeling out the situation, testing out the situation, seeing what aligns with the new way of working and what doesn’t.
Wish me luck. And while you’re at it, support my patreon—depending on how the muses decide to move me, I may be doing less paid work for awhile, and money is already my main limitation at the moment, so I’d appreciate the help. Support my experiments in the name of new modes of productivity, if you will.
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