Habits, Philosophies, Productivity

Spring Cleaning

It’s snowing. Again. It’s always fucking snowing in the state of Iowa. At least, that’s how it feels this year.

So in order to vent my cabin fever, today’s post is about Spring. Spring cleaning to be specific. You see, as of late I have spent a good deal of time trying to get organized, scheduling and rescheduling perceived obligations, and looking for holes in my personality that have led to such a challenging few months.

But the truth is, as I’ve mentioned before, sometimes the problem is not as simple as it appears.

One approach, featured on the Happiness Project blog, approaches the organization problem with a simple strategy: don’t get organized. Don’t keep things around that you don’t need and be honest with yourself. I mean, what are the odds that you’re going to use that five-year-old coupon to El Pollo Loco?

Extend this concept even further into your life. I had to come to grips with the fact that, despite my desire to become fluent in Japanese, my life is simply too cluttered, and my goals simply too divergent from that knowledge for it to be kept around. I do plan to go to Tokyo some day, and at that time the language will be useful and thus, the habit. But in the mean time, it’s much more advantageous to refuse to become organized.

The important thing to remember is priorities. Though certain scholarly pursuits, hobbies, or activities may seem like great fun, keeping clutter around for sentimental reasons is not nearly as rewarding as keeping a clean house and a clean mind.


Preventing Burn-Out

I am not bragging when I say that I do everything and always have. In high school my schedule was packed from before sunrise to after sundown and then I’d do my homework. Even today, I simply cannot find enough hours in the day for all the things I want to do. This, lads and lassies, is not always a good thing.

We are creatures of limited resources. Diet and exercise can stretch those resources by leaps and bounds but no one possesses infinite physical and mental energy. When that energy runs out day after day after day, we experience the dreaded BO: burn out.

Burn out is as real and significant a phenomenon as laziness , and it is potentially worse. But there are ways to safeguard yourself:

1. Consider your priorities.

As I said earlier, we are creatures of limited resources, capable of accomplishing a lot, but not everything we may wish. So know what is important to you and what you can put on hold when times get tough.

2. Practice mindfulness.

Know yourself and know what you are capable of, but also know your limits. Do a regular self-check and notice the signs of fatigue.

3. Take care of yourself.

This is probably the most impactful tip there is. You can drive a car for tens of thousands of miles, as long as you keep the oil fresh and the tires aired up. A good diet and exercise are like routine maintenance for your body and your mind and will help keep you strong when times get tough.

We are capable of great things, but men (or women) of steel are the work of comic books for a reason. Know what’s important to you, keep an eye out for wear and tear, and change your oil every 5,000 miles and you’ll get a lot farther than pushing.