One meaning of the world ‘yield’ is the amount of something produced by a particular process. Another is to give way when force or pressure is applied. Sometimes it feels like I fight, and fight, to keep being productive, or to figure out what I’m supposed to do in a certain situation. There are times when the better course of action is to take a deep breath and let what is going to happen, happen. Maybe this will even lead to a better result?
Recently I have only been able to start editing my book manuscript at about 10pm each day. Sometimes this is because my schedule is full until then. Other times it is because there is some invisible resistance preventing me from getting started. Even though I know this resistance is likely to exist I can’t seem to shake it, even for a few days, let alone the majority of them. I become annoyed at myself for doing less editing than I have ‘free’ time for, and thus end up enjoying whatever I do end up doing less. At the moment, this procrastinatory thing is watching football, and music videos and comedy sketches on YouTube. I have even been struggling to companion these with other useful tasks like washing the dishes or stretching routines.
When I do manage to dive back into the world and edit a scene, or two, or three, I am finding I really like the results. The product produced by my editing efforts fits the story and adds to the overall realism of the created world. This is yet another reason I struggle to understand the resistance preventing me getting stuck in. I love writing, and am learning to love editing more as I practice the art. Underneath the initial messes of words, beneath the difficult to discern weeds, lie beautiful stories, ready to be uncovered with careful use of grammatical scythes.
So this week I’ve been learning how to do my best work through active time management. Sometimes when I edit late at night, I have to redo the work the next day because I haven’t accomplished what I intended due to tiredness. It’s not the best use of time. Editing is not a ‘one and done’ process, each story requiring multiple readthroughs to find the best way to represent the action in each scene, but editing should move the piece of writing in a positive direction. If a particular editing session makes writing less clear for readers, I haven’t been doing the job well.
As I often say, we can’t be productive a hundred percent of the time. Trying to be leads to substandard work and burnout. What we can be, is a hundred percent focussed when we schedule time to work. This is something I’ve been working on for the past three years and only recently do I think I’ve begun to understand how to do it.
Understanding how to do something, and actually doing it, are two different things. But I am getting better. I give time to unnecessary procrastination and choosing to be unproductive far less than I used to.
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Are there things in your life you need to let go of trying to control all the time?
It’s ok to enjoy time spent doing things that might feel ‘less productive’. I even encourage it to maintain a balanced life.
Keep on keeping on being awesome. Peace.
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