Deep work, excuses and a disordered- mind.

I have already broken my streak.

I had promised myself I will get back to it.

At least for the few days that the working- world doesn’t dictate my time.

But our time isn’t ever really our time, is it?

I am talking about my 30- day- squat challenge that I voiced on here, and the 30- day- blog- everyday dare that I did not voice. I failed myself twice- over yesterday by not doing either.

People who see me function on the daily, especially those that do no live with me, believe I am an organization- ninja. I have to be, apparently, to be able to do the things I do on the daily.

Whenever someone speaks to me of these things, I am confused and my imposter syndrome rears it ugly head. Would these people think I am a complete fraud if they lived my life for a day? Where tasks are jumbled, information is assimilated in weird ways, when school PTMs are forgotten and children are late to virtual classes and the toys are still strewn all over the floor and tea and coffee cups accrue on the desk, under the couch and on the dresser, and at the end of the day Netflix is being searched in a frenzy to find something that can let you forget everything and just end the damn day?

Coming back to being a productivity ninja. Let me tell you some harsh truths.

We are all frauds if we say we are always on top of things. Yours truly for sure never is. Wearing ironed clothes, Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow and red-soled stilletoes make it seem like it is, but it is only a polished facade. There are a couple of factors that help though. One- thanks to my mental construct, I am afforded certain advantages (along with the crippling downsides). Two- a fault in my neural system (self- diagnosed of course) also helps- it has a weird pleasure-pain-reward mechanism.

Let me give a couple of examples.

Hyperalert between 2 and 4 am. Sometimes, completing a task/ project in a tenth of the time that it may take, while in ‘the zone’.

Suffer a side- stitch on the 18k mark, find it distressingly- painful but also pleasurable. ?

Being a compulsive list- maker.

Yes, lists and plans are made, several times over. Yes, lists do work, plans most often don’t. Mostly because my state- of- mind on a certain day cannot be reasonably predicted. The only sustainable and consistent actions are those habits that have been painfully put- in place over several years. That is why it is so sad that the toil of so many months and years can be washed away in a couple of inconsistent weeks.

Case in point- my training. Getting back on track is a grind, every time.

Yes, I have a robust excuse for yesterday. Being utterly wrapped up in a research project the entire day and only breaking to take care of the progeny and to feed myself.

And this is usually what my desk looks like.

Yet, the excuse is moot. Worthless. We did manage to feed the children, bathe them, shower myself, brush, even read several chapters of a book before hitting the sack… did we not?

It it were truly a habit, no excuses would have been made. It would have been done. Period.

Immediately post- partum, while living in Doha, training and physical activity was a priority. Therefore it did not matter that there was even lesser help than there is now, working 80 plus hours a week as a surgical resident was no deterrent, having a 3 year old and a breastfeeding 6 week old wasn’t an hurdle and getting waaaay less sleep than I do now definitely didn’t stop me. I sometimes cleaned up the entire house, put the kids to bed, packed the bags for the next day; then knackered and jaded, got into the car at 11.10 PM and drove my tired arse to the gym. Point I’m trying to make- it got done. Because I deemed I had to. Simple. At that point in time, it was important. Now, whatever I might say, the ugly truth is that some things have slipped down the priority list. Again, only myself to blame.

So when people tell me they ‘ truly want to do something but truly do not have the time for it’, I nod politely, but in my head, I call bull- shit. Time is always there, wherever it is supposed to be, at our disposal. Unless incarcerated, or in chains, we choose what we do with it.

Anyhoo, habits, excuse and my disordered mind aside, just finished the highly rated book DEEP WORK by Cal Newport. Meh! It wasn’t a complete waste of time, in the sense, I had my ego inflated for a few hours while reading it, realising that me finishing a large quantum of work in an unexpectedly short time while an imminent deadline loomed is nothing but me entering a state of flow and doing deep work. So, the book just described some of the things that I experience everytime I work late at night.

Moral of the day- Nobody is a productivity ninja……… I hope!

Till next time,

J

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