You know that thing you do when you see something, and you have to do a double-take because you can’t believe you saw what you think you just saw…
…so you look back, and, sure enough, you DID see what you saw?
That happened to me the other day.
“That didn’t say what I think it said… Nah, I must have misread it.”
I went back. I didn’t.
Let’s talk rituals for a second.
As part of the process for adapting to the shitstorm life throws at us, we experiment with new habits, rituals and ideas. We do what we have to do.
The road is closed, so you find a diversion.
Out of marmalade? No problem, just get one of your manservants to nip to the farm shop to get a new pot (best send Giles as Carruthers wouldn’t know a quality marmalade from a tub of KY Jelly. Best take the Lambo too, as the toast is nearly done).
After a while, if these new ways prove useful, they become routines.
Working from home is a great example of this.
Working from home is, in itself, a facking nightmare. I mean, how are you meant to stay focused, when you could be doing something equally valuable, such as binge-watching “Homes Under The Hammer” or making progress on your scale replica of the Taj Mahal made out of Weetabix?
It’s even worse now the kids have turned your office into a playroom. Your once Feng Shui’ed space is now some kind of fort and, rather than penetrating insights into your innermost psyche, your expensive, leatherbound journal is now filled with crude drawings of Doc McStuffins.
The past few weeks have seen me try a few different habits on for size. It’s early days, but, just in case it’s helpful, here are some things I’ve found that have stopped me from brutally slaying my nearest and dearest.
Getting up early – yeah, yeah, I know. “You’re not one of those 5 AM club gits, are you?” Well, yeah, I am, though I’ve not gone full “git” quite yet.
I’ve not got a massively structured morning routine that involves diffusing Goji berries into distilled volcanic water at precisely 5:04 AM before enjoying 38 minutes of Yoga on a clifftop.
I just get up at 5 AM. That’s it. Whatever I do from there is a bonus.
The 5 AM start works well because it’s a good time for me to write (VIRTUE SIGNAL ALERT! – I’m writing this at 5:27). It’s also quiet, and, when you’re an introvert and not blessed with a house that spans three postal codes, you need to find pockets of quiet. This is it for me.
Getting up at 5am, gives me at least two hours of peace and interrupted time to write.
Rooseveltian Sprints – Like most of the good ideas you’ll hear me talk about, I can’t take credit for this. In his book, Deep Work, Cal Newport talks about Teddy Roosevelt and his amazing productivity secret – intense focus and working at a blistering pace. When I sit down to work on something, I give myself a REALLY tight deadline and work as fast as I can to try and achieve it.
This seems to please the ADHD side of my brain.
No podcasts – I stopped listening to podcasts a few weeks ago. I had to – my ever-expanding playlist was causing me so much anxiety and FOMO, that something had to give.
I also want to improve my “create/consume” ratio (more of the former, less of the latter), so, when walking the dog, I try to give myself a problem to solve (another Cal Newport idea).
It doesn’t have to be work-related or anything useful. The key for me is to try and think about something challenging and resist distraction.
It’s a bit of a meta-skill. And I’m very shit at it.
As routines and habits go, these are pretty standard (I did warn you that I have no original ideas).
None of these would cause you to do a “wait… WHAT?” double-take.
Not like I did when reading “Daily Rituals” – Mason Currey’s book detailing the routines and habits of successful creatives.
In the book, Currey details an unusual habit preferred by the author Thomas Wolfe.
I’ll let him explain it, as I’m worried that, if I put it into my own words, I’ll be arrested:
“[Wolfe] had been unconsciously fondling his genitals, a habit from childhood that, while not exactly sexual … fostered “such a good male feeling” that it had stoked his creative energies. From then on, Wolfe regularly used this method to inspire his writing sessions, dreamingly exploring his “male configurations” until the “sensuous elements in every domain of life became more immediate, real, and beautiful.”
You just know that someone caught him, red-handed, as it were, and this was the best excuse he could muster:
“Me? No. How dare you accuse me of that! I was … just, er… exploring my…er, male configurations…it’s a chakra thing…I’m trying to tap into my inner creativity. I would’ve reached it to if you hadn’t interrupted me. STOP LOOKING AT MY MAGAZINES!”
So, whatever weird thing you’re doing to keep yourself happy, productive and sane during this “thing”, know it could be worse.
And no, to answer the question posed in the subject line. I’m not touching myself when I think of you. If the above paragraph was about me, it would read something like:
“[Holt] had been unconsciously fondling his Teacake, a habit from childhood that, while not sexual in the slightest … fostered “such a good male feeling” that it had stoked his creative energies and made him drool a bit. From then on, Holt regularly used this method to inspire his writing sessions, dreamingly exploring his “carbohydrate configurations” until the “sweet, sugary elements in every domain of his kitchen snack cupboard became more immediate, real, and beautiful.”
Stay safe, and have a good week.
P.S. if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to start an online business, one habit you could adopt is watching the “Mr Fluffy Pants Webinar”.
In it, I teach you how to set up a business online and get it earning money as fast as possible. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, do give it a watch and let me know what you think.