When I was younger I believed that there was something tangible to be gained by doing all sorts of nebulous “things” more efficiently. It seemed logical to think that if I shaved a few minutes off each of the tasks that I did in a day, all I would have to do is move a little faster, think a bit in advance, never leave the room with empty hands, optimize my procedures, reduce the friction - then, well then after some time invested - I would learn the best way to wash my dishes, change my laundry, check my email and I would someday find myself with the aber-thousand hours I need to write a novel, wouldn’t I?
I’m willing. We all have to pay our dues.
Turns out the Productivity Trap is a hamster wheel for gamers. It is Sisyphusian to believe that a person for whom the whole “save time” racket makes sense, is the type of person who is actually be capable of using more time for something other than further “time saving”. I must have been crazy. The Germans call it Selbstzweck when something becomes it’s own reason for being.
And how easy it was to forget that the time I saved was intended for doing something grandiose and over-the-top challenging; something that I want to do so much the wanting alone terrifies me. So, I spent my saved time saving more time while my manuscripts lounged about my desk drawers doing nothing at all; like rich women on vacation.
Now I think, it makes a damn sight more sense to slow down than it does to hurry up. Besides the fact that I’m moving ever slower these days and fighting reality is about as much fun as jogging upstream. When I am moving slowly I have time for deliberation, time for choosing. It is seldom that that which I have conscientiously chosen is that which I regret.
Slowly, slowly I am finding my way. I am using deliberate action in consequence with my highest goals; like a small child, I ban myself to the sofa to sit on my hands until I can choose what to do next. Then I get up and do it, returning to the sofa the minute I notice my velocity increasing and whirling dervish spinning in my thoughts.
The whirling dervish must be a celebration not a castigation.
Will I ever finish this novel that I have been working on for years? Or another one? Yes, I believe I will. I don’t know when but keep your eyes on that slot at the bookstore right between Italo Calvino and Willa Cather. Someday, that’s where you’ll find my books.