I've been on a new kick this week, trying to set small and achievable goals for myself both in terms of taking on the often overwhelming sea of responsibilities with which I contend, and in improving the general quality of my life. So far I have a few things working:
- I no longer read the news while I'm at work. I'll hit my favorite blogs during lunch, but otherwise I have eliminated 90% of unproductive reflex web-surfing. This has been the biggest win so far, as it increases my focus on tasks as well as lowering my general stress level. That oil's still gonna be spilled after I'm done with the day's labor, so no point in checking up on it.
- Reading as a bedtime activity helps me get to sleep easier and sleep better. I just finished the sprawling, somewhat overwrought, but utterly enjoyable Shantaram, which Humboldt denizens will not is not about the Lotus-driving proprietor of Hutchens liquor store. However, you will enjoy the book more if you don't look at the author's photo first. Just saying. Anyway, I have some back issues of Harpers and the New Yorker to get through, and will probably pick up a new novel after that. Suggestions welcome.
- Waking up early: I'm attempting this, but doing a crap job here. The alarm goes off at 6:45 now, but the past three mornings this has just meant hitting the snooze button until my normal out-of-bed-time at 8:15. I need something more to really adjust this. Scrum calls with London worked last year, but those are off the table now.
So, two steps forward one step back, but I'm feeling better this week than last. We had a big party last weekend — the mighty Country Soul Carnival — and I found myself telling people I was doing, "ok" or "I've been better" etc. Feeling sort of boxed in, under pressure, stressed out, and so on. This is what you get when you carry the world upon your shoulders.
But then sometimes you can let a little weight go. Other people, in spite of our impulses, are generally pretty capable and good, and sometimes they can even lift you up as well.
And even better, you can realize what's really important, and how the things that stress you out might not actually rate very high vs. family, health, etc. It's far from the hackneyed '80s movie revelation of a workaholic father rediscovering the joy of baseball with his son — and I remain as ever ambitious — but I've turned some little corner when it comes to sweating the small stuff, and this is a good thing.