What Do “Successful” People Do?

My goal the week before last was to get this drawing inked. Then I got sick and spent the next three days on the couch wishing I would just die and get it over with. I hate being sick, it makes me feel dumb and useless. If I’m not moving, and working, and cleaning, and taking the girls to practice, and taking care of everything then what good am I? I hate stopping, which is probably why when I get sick everything just crashes. I’m running so close to the line without taking a break, that if anything goes wrong I’ll end up behind for days or longer. This is not sustainable.

I listened to an interview with Basecamp co-founder Jason Fried this week on the podcast Hurry Slowly. He started off the interview with a story about a presentation he did at a conference. “How many of you work hard?” he asked the audience. Nearly every hand in the audience went up. He followed up the question to the room full of raised hands with this one, “How many of you think you can be working just as hard five years from now? Ten? Twenty?” Nearly every hand went down. We work hard. We’re brought up to feel proud of that, but it is just not sustainable. He went on to talk about protecting your work time from distractions, wasting time, and keeping your work week to forty hours. A lot can get done in an eight hour work day (or six, whatever) if we’re not distracted answering messages immediately or going to meetings all day. We need a certain amount of uninterrupted work time. To finish out that thought, we also need uninterrupted rest time. He suggests keeping work at work, and home at home. Sounds simple, right?

I’ve been working at home for seven years now. A lot of that time, the kids were here with me. I got into the habit of doing house work, and work work in little chunks of time as I could. Then staying up very late to work in a large uninterrupted chunk at night, getting four hours of sleep and starting over again. Now that the kids are in school, I pretend that things are different. I get dressed and “go to work”. But I might do dishes and start the laundry first. Then read or mess around on facebook for awhile. Or go mow the lawn, or work on the car. I work for myself so my schedule is flexible, right?

Not focusing on any one part of my life, makes me not really present in any of them. I’m a vaudeville act. If anything goes wrong, then everything goes wrong. The one good thing about getting sick is that during that forced time of stillness, my brain finally has a moment to think. I spent a week catching up, and now I’m starting to make those necessary changes. I deleted facebook from my phone. I started bullet journaling again. I’ve committed myself to a dedicated work day with a beginning and end. It’s hard not going back to work in the evening. It’s hard forcing myself to go to bed at a reasonable time. It’ll be hard to keep myself from scheduling things to fill every little space in the day. So far though, my days feel better. 

Thanks for hanging in there with me.
Until next time, take care and be good.
Your friend,


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