During sessions of The Workroom, I’ve watched people grapple with habits that interfere with their prime work time. While encouraging them, I remained convinced myself (classic denial) that I could “look quickly” at email (in case something needed attention) during my best work time. I was kidding myself, of course. If something is pressing, there are telephones and texts.
I like the communicating benefit of email a lot, but for me it opens a sinkhole, caving in the shimmer of fragile thought supporting creative work. If I pretended I could look quickly – I also pretended that I could answer quickly, check this website, read this blog here, comment there, pay a bill, make a plane reservation. I responded to the computer’s Pavlovian dings, allowing random interruptions all morning. But I didn’t seem to notice the energy required to respond – not to mention the time.
I think this habit grew incrementally. My good-natured husband, who is not addicted, not so “connected,” can’t believe it took me so long to admit what had happened to my precious mornings. So all during May, when I’ve been happily working, it’s largely been because of a self-vow taken: no email till one p.m. at the earliest.
Who knows what makes people finally grapple with bad habits? The young writer and I are always going on about the Internet enticement problem (in emails to each other!), and she’s successfully used limiting methods. And the mother of my young friend really made me think when she apologized for being out of touch, saying she was trying to stay away from email and use what little morning time she had for her real work.
It’s hard to express how luxurious it’s been to give this work a few uninterrupted hours. The liberated feeling is enormous. I love to finally look at email after one o’clock, (and most often it is after two). It isn’t discipline so much as substituting a big hit later in the day for a morning of random reinforcement.
So whatever happens with the three-kitty saga, it’s been a gift and an awakening to have this safe work time. During the morning, in tenuous work mode, when I ask what’s next? The answer can only be – something in support of “Friends for Frances.”
Thank you Frances and friends!
I admire your tenacity on this situation, Katy. Personally, I love my email with coffee at 5 – 6:00 AM each day, especially those which include notes and drawings from you about Frances and Lady Baby! Love, Jane
That routine sounds great to me Jane, and I am honored to be part of it!
A great reminder post Katy to keep work time distraction free—especially for people like me looking for every excuse not to get the work done. Thank you!
Well, Michelle, you may characterize yourself that way, but you inspired me!
I’m always of two minds about the technology connection. Some days I’m glad to have it and others I wish I were back in the days of paper and pen and envelopes with return addresses and stamps. I’m kind of like Jane. I like to attend to it first thing in the morning after breakfast, just in case there’s something important. But the morning work time can be so productive, especially when embarking on a new project. It takes tenacity to get oneself over those sticky spots in the process. Glad it’s been fruitful for you and for the three furry friends.
Maybe I never really find anything that can’t wait till 1 p.m. It startled me the tranquility I felt without the jitter of email. No time more productive than morning time for me, and eliminating the turning to email randomly freed up blocks of uninterrupted time without the clutter of whatever had floated in. Maybe it has to do with husbanding resources to, as you say, get over the sticky spots!
Katy, Thank you for your brave entry into this topic!I love the early morning hours for writing in my journal, yoga..and, we have the river, the way you have the Pacific, for meditation. I’m shepherding energy too, aging and Parkinson’s makes each day write its own agenda. This morning I’m early on the computer as I have PIlates in Eugene, a 45 minute drive away…my husband and I are traveling in together and then going on to visit friends farther south when we’re done with our town activities. The topic of creative time, consistent creative time, was one we took up at last week’s memoir workshop. Email/Internet are not the only distractions. Life is a balancing act in many ways.
Life IS a balancing act – and I feel so lucky to balance so many lovable things, as I know you do as well. Hope you had a great day away from home, and thank you for commenting – it’s very good to have you visiting Her spirits rose…”!