Going to bed on Friday night I told my wife, “I’m dreading tomorrow.”
She rolled her eyes and frowned. My anxiousness annoys her, and it annoys me. Yet, it was true that I dreaded the next day.
Living in a house of ten people, including a pre-schooler, middle schooler and two high school students, means I’m going to get asked to do something.
Add to the mix a home with a yard and home that needs attention, plus two dogs, a rabbit and a few other adults asking questions. And when that happens, the time I wanted to spend writing gets whacked.
Every day is busy, including Saturdays. Keeping a schedule of my own is tough and it has been for years. Entrepreneurs and have others have told me, “Tell people you can’t be disturbed when your home’s office door is closed.”
Yeah, real simple. Not with the personalities I live with.
Even with the door closed, I can hear the chatter and so I frequently fight a state of panic. On normal days, for years, I’ve not gone more than two or three hours without a serious interruption. I don’t get back to my work at the snap of a finger, either.
The chaos fuels my own emotions that loom large and get in the way. I rush from one idea to another — from one project to another. The frantic feelings build as my mind pulsates with visions of more articles and books to write.
Interruptions that hit are like lighter fluid on charcoal, causing me to get distracted and stoking my worries. You can’t out-rush time with its limitations.
So I chose to slow down.
Way down. We needed bricks to place in our front planter, and our blueberry bushes needed covered before the birds would swoop in and pick them clean.
Other items were on the list so I decided to get up early on Saturday morning and drive to Home Depot by 7 a.m. This way, I’d get there before the physical distancing line formed outside the store.
I didn’t rush through the store. I found the plumbing aisle, then went to the garden section and picked up what I needed. Although my to-do list for work was long I put my mind on what I was doing at the moment. I spent about two hours shopping and driving and got back home.
I’m just not going to work myself into a frenzy.
I was more pleasant with the kids and my wife as I placed the bricks out front. Those blueberry bushes still needed attention. If I let them go, the fun of seeing them grow and pick fruit was going to be lost because, somehow, the birds know when they’re ripe.
So I wandered around our garage and house to see what PVC pipes we had. I needed more, plus some attachments so I drove to the neighborhood hardware store.
From late morning through early afternoon, I cut PVC pipes to size, attached screens around the sides that would discourage birds but not entangle them, and had a blueberry bush covering. I also had a to-do list that needed attention plus a draft of my novel that needed editing.
I decided it could wait. I did sit and journal notes to get ideas out of my head and then I spent time writing on Sunday afternoon. I got a good start to the week on Monday and wondered if the few hours I spent working on the blueberry covering was worthwhile.
It was. I had a feeling of accomplishment. I’m not a skilled carpenter or woodworker and I don’t do much with my hands so it was a nice change of pace.
While sitting at my desk later in the week, a bird flew toward the mesh, landed on it, and flew away without pecking off the fruit. Seconds later, another one did the same.
The time I spent on Saturday was worthwhile. My blueberries are ripening and they’ll soon be ready for picking. But that wasn’t the only reason. I created something useful. It’s not a sturdy structure, but it works for the intended purpose.
And, more importantly I stayed calm, enjoyed myself, and chatted pleasantly with the family. That gave me a clear mind when I started working on my goals and task list.
Staying calm and in the moment is so freeing.