More Objects, Less Time

Has anyone else noticed the multiplying effect that objects have on our time?

The more objects we buy, the more time we spend returning, exchanging, altering, managing, maintaining, paying off, protecting and upgrading them. The time you spent finding and buying the object is (often) only a fraction of the time investment it will require long-term.

Fill your life with too many possessions and you will spend much of your life maintaining them. Soon, your possessions will own you.

Turns out, the American Dream is not as dreamy as it seems. Buy five houses and a bunch of cars and then track how much time you spend handling all of these things- the loans, leases, insurances and maintenance around them and everything inside them. The notion of owning a lot is the American Dream because it suits the economy, not the owner.

If you believe in the preciousness of time, you should pay attention to your spending habits.

Shopping is a great pass-time if you are bored and looking for things to fill time. But if you seek to use time more effectively or create more of it, you should limit your purchasing to things which will enhance the quality of your life, are necessary to you, or which have a time-saving component built into them which ultimately outweighs the time it takes to buy and maintain it.

Some food for thought I’m taking with me as I hit the malls this holiday season.

Ho-ho-ho! Aren’t I a buzz-killing grinch? 😉



Inertia is at play in all our lives.
This can be good or this can be bad.
If you’ve already been doing the thing you want to do, chances are inertia is working in your favor: you have momentum in the direction you want to be going. People are probably calling you to ask you to do that thing.
Outside forces are helping to push in that direction.
Things are generally working well for you.
It’s like you’re on a bike and the wind is at your back, helping you pedal.
If you’re trying to pivot, however, inertia is going to make life more difficult.
First, you have to get mind on board with this shift in direction. That requires exceptional focus. It requires you to break out of old habits. So first you must reckon with the inertia within yourself.
Then, there’s the inertia of the world around you.
Just because you’ve made up your mind to ditch your career as a singer-songwriter and start writing books, doesn’t mean the world is on the same page.
The world around remembers you as a songwriter!
People call you and ask you to do things related to writing songs!
The projects you started before will keep tempting you, even begging you to go back.
These are last vestiges of your former momentum- the world is often the last to catch up.
It’s hard to move against inertia. That’s why people so seldom change.
It will continue to be this way until you push through it and demonstrate to both yourself and to the world that you are intent on moving in a new direction.
I don’t know what really is to be done about this force in our lives, but simply recognizing that it is at play can help us brace for the hard work of changing direction.
When we make a change, everything in our lives is going to be moving against this change, until we make enough purposeful moves in a new direction to garner a new momentum.

The vulnerability of love

Ruminating further on *the idea that our deepest desire is often bundled in our darkest fears

What is it about the thing we love that make us so afraid?

Why does our love of something leave us feeling so naked and vulnerable? So much so, that we often hide from it or avoid trying the thing we want most desperately in the world?

It’s a strange phenomenon

To reach for our greatest desire, we run the greatest risk of failure.

Truly failing- not just in an external sense of the word. A deep failure that we feel in our souls.

To run the risk of failing at something we love is the most vulnerable place we can be because we expose ourselves fully to pain.

It is easier, then, to succeed (and fail) at things we don’t care that much about.

This is why we often find more success in shadow careers- that is, careers we didn’t really want, but that seemed easier than going for the career we truly wanted. It’s easy to take risks in a career that spiritually means nothing to us. But it is oh so difficult to do the thing that would bear the most meaning to our souls.

Our fear is always showing us what that thing is.

So if you’re unsure of what you want, you might ask yourself instead- what am I most afraid to do?

That, of course, is the thing you must do, above all else.



I have trouble differentiating between what is fun
and what is work

I’m told this is a problem:
“you need to learn how to unwind”
people often tell me
“you’re working all the time!”

weirdly, I don’t feel stressed out
it’s not like I’m staring at a computer all day, madly sweating, tearing my hair out
much of my work feels like fun
much of my fun feels like work

are the two mutually exclusive?

my sister set out to prove to me one day that I did indeed know how to relax:
“see. you’re reading that fiction novel! That’s relaxing!”

“Oryx and Crake. Yes, that’s fun, but it’s also work. I’m researching for my script.”

“Hmm…ok, but you watch movies.”

“Fun, but also work. I’m trying to learn about directing styles.”

“Ok- you go out and socialize. That’s obviously just fun.”

True. I know what pure relaxation is. I know what work looks like in it’s purest form. It’s pretty clear what both ends sides of the spectrum looks like.

But it’s the middle stuff I’m confused about. And that stuff seems to fill up most of my life.

Are my photo shoots fun or are they work? They’re not easy. You could hardly call standing in a glacial lagoon at 6 am a lot of fun- not to mention the 3 days of editing that follow. But no one’s making me do it. I get relatively little in return for my labor. Is this fun or work?

Ditto movies- am I watching for pleasure or research? Hard to say anymore.

Ditto every book. Every dance class. Every networking event. Every film festival.

Is there a place in the middle of these two extremes where people like me spend most of their days? Somewhere between fun and work? Furk?

….mark it down, ladies and gentlemen. You heard it here first.

When you’re working so hard it can’t be fun, but you’re funning so hard it can’t be work…you’re hard at #furk.

Apply the least amount of pressure possible

Growing up in the dance world, I spent a lot of time learning how to spin on one leg (aka: pirourette) properly.

Getting a clean double can be difficult initially, and going beyond that into triples and upwards is what sets apart the intermediates from the pros.

It requires a great deal of balance and control to execute multiple pirouettes reliably enough to choreograph them into a routine, and so you need to be sure that whatever turns you choreograph are able to perform proficiently.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever learned about turning, was the idea that very little force was needed to pirouette 2-3 times, and that our tendency was to apply too much force going into the spin, which caused us to turn too fast and loose control.

It was a counter-intuitive idea: apply less energy, and it will become easier.

Once I tried this, I was amazed at how much easier the entire endeavor became. I was suddenly able to pirouette​ beautifully and with ease, and amazingly, I was using about a quarter of the effort I had been using previously.

It’s an interesting lesson: There’s a minimal amount of force to execute a particular action. Any force amount beyond that is excessive and wasteful to your energy.

Likewise, when I started rock-climbing, I was always gripping the wall too hard, like a frightened cat, putting too much strain on my arms and consequentially making the task of scaling the wall much more difficult. Once I got better, I learned how little strength it actually required to support my body, and that by simply relaxing my arms, I made it much more probable that I would make it to the top of the route without tiring along the way.

This, I think, is one of those concepts that can be lifted and applied to almost any area in life. How can we accomplish tasks with the least amount of strain possible? Strain, of course, can also mean mental strain.

How much of the anguish you are experiencing is actually necessary? Is there a way you can execute the same actions with a minimal amount of stress?

Is it possible that you are applying too much force to something that could otherwise be easy?

The Ghost of Unfinished Business

Lonely Ghost by Leah Johnston

Many legends exist where the undead come back to haunt the living because they’ve left behind some “unfinished business” from their life before.

The idea that we must “finish business” is obviously a pretty powerful force if we fear our mortal souls may not rest until we do it.

A desire so powerful should certainly be paid attention to before it’s too late.

Like a familiar song cut off in the middle, it is my belief that we secretly long for resolution in all aspects of our lives.

As far as I can tell, there are two possible conclusions to any project that bring about this feeling of resolution:
1) completing the task
2) quitting the task, fully and wholeheartedly

To do the first is the most rewarding.

But this isn’t always preferable, especially if the task turns out to be something not to be worth doing at all. Completing an unimportant task may feel satisfying, but ultimately it is a complete waste of time and energy.

In these cases, it is better to jump as quickly as possible to choice #2. (More on this in the next post). Once a task is identified to be unworthy, commit to quitting it, and don’t ever look back.

But before we consider these two outcomes, we should consider whether the entire project is worth starting at all. Quitting before we begin can save us a lot of grief in the long run.

For the worst thi​ng we can do, is start a task and then abandon it and avoid making a decision. Then, the project enters the realm of unfinished, which will haunt us incessantly, like a ghost.

Digital Minimalism

I’ve been reading a fantastic book lately called Deep Work by Cal Newport. While I was already familiar with a lot of the concepts- such as blocking out long uninterrupted time frames to devoted to a single tasks (to create flow), and minimizing distraction- the book formalizes a lot of these processes into concrete methodologies which are scientifically proven to be effective in creating better output and happiness.

I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in increasing their output and doing what he terms “knowledge work” (like writing or research).

Now comes time to implement this in my life.

I’ve downloaded an app called “Focus” for my computer, and have made a habit of now turning off my phone while timing and logging these deep work sessions, which can last anywhere from 1-4 hours.

So far it’s going pretty well. I’ve gotten quite a lot done in the last two days since formalizing this practice. I don’t think I was particularly bad at focusing before, but it does take some concentration to be able to resist the urge not to break off into more “fun” respites, like facebook, while the timer is on. I’m looking forward to seeing the results as I continue on.

Next, I’m quietly disengaging from a lot of my social media life.

This is a tricky one- as sharing my work online has become extremely valuable to me in terms of personal fulfillment and branding.

I plan to continue doing this by pre-scheduling posts in this blog the night before, then limiting my email/social media checks to twice a day- one morning and one night. I’m hoping by reducing these interruptions throughout the day I can accomplish more writing and also invest more in my real-world relationships and passion projects instead.

Check out this very interesting article on the concept of digital minimalism by the author on his blog (Take the concept of minimalism one step further into the digital realm and there you have it. It sounds like what it means.). It’s a very interesting conversation- it may be something you are interested in implementing in your own life.