Mindful Moments: Stories and Lessons of Procrastination

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Daily Discipline: Not Going Nuts

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There aren’t many people out there who feel like they have longterm job stability. And plenty of us aren’t getting a pay check at all. So how can we feel productive and valuable members of society? Well we can help out of course, volunteer, work on our resume, take classes, engage our community, etc. There are a ton of options. But let’s face it, keeping yourself engaged day to day is challenging. So how can we make it work?

My advice is… do something that forces you to leave your comfort zone every day. I can’t tell you what that is, but I can say that this small discipline will help “break the ice” and keep your spirit challenged and engaged.

This guy, Reed Sandridge, he’s been giving $10 away every day and will continue doing so for 365 days. In a sense he’s a performance artists, a philanthropist, and a social worker. But what I’m really interested in is that he’s come up with a wonderful way to help himself get out of the house. In his own words? “being unemployed, I was starting to go nuts.”

Good work, Reed.

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Written by clayward

March 19, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Posted in goals, stories, tips

My dog says I should play less tankball.

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Sometimes I wish I could record my regular field of view as I experience life. If I could then you would now see an attached video of Bear (my dog) interrupting my virtual pummeling of RC-like tanks. The scene shifts (but not the camera) as Bear steps firmly into the living room. “Hey Buddy.” He quick-walks around my legs, squeezes past the coffee table. He leans around my lap and stretches his neck into the flaccid space between me and my laptop screen. His alert eyes, that practiced pout, and a whine so quiet that it can’t be ignored. “Yeah, I know Buddy. We’ll go outside after this game, ok? Outside, Bear?”

Bear sees the way my laptop glows and he certainly looks confused when I turn the speaker on. But he doesn’t get why I stare at the screen. There’s one thing he likes about laptops… they make a definite clicking sound when they close (and maybe then it’s back to fun time.)

Written by clayward

February 15, 2010 at 7:38 am

Posted in addiction, stories, tips

Life as a slacker.

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OK, if this blog is about sharing stories then maybe I should share a story.

I guess my story is about life as a slacker.

I was always a slacker.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t like doing things that other people think are tedious.  Something about the way my folks praised me or the time I spent entertaining myself as an only child whose mom didn’t do the mini-van thing must have set up those apparent contradictions.  She made sure I got my homework done, but it was up to me to care about quality. She has loved everything I’ve ever done, regardless of quality.  And she held the Ohio state record for fastest joyful tears.

Tests at school always felt like fun games and that meant good grades.  My slacker nature went undiagnosed until my buddy Becca (who made Sheep Beats) correctly noticed that I preferred eating snacks to reviewing calculus problems.  I felt like the secret was out.  Well, the secret has stayed out since then… and life continues to be funny and good.

So how have I paid the bills if I don’t keep a regular job?  I was lucky enough to get the following advice from Dennis Adams (whose art is a more perfect history) when he was my adviser in grad school:  “The secret to being an artist is to keep your expenses low and you’ll be fine.”  His crooked smile and that reminder.  How to keep expenses low on a slacker lifestyle?  Well I don’t have kids.  I live in the same town as Harvard and MIT, same town I grew up in.  But I don’t hop back and forth to San Francisco nearly as often as my former classmates.  So there’s always money in the bank and elite flavored organic foods on the made-it-myself plate.

Let’s jump to the ending of this story where my wife and business partner Lucy has come to accept that I don’t get work done at all unless I’m enjoying it.  When I’m not on a roll my time gets divided between a wonderful array of hobbies and low key vices.  But I’m always learning.  And I do all right.  btw, Lucy keeps a blog about her experience creating the technology behind ProcrasDonate.  She’s working and playing always and bursting of web dev joyfulness.

So what’s your story?

Written by clayward

November 22, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Posted in slack, stories