Breaking the cycle of work and poor productivity

For a little over four years now, I’ve let my life be shaped by a level of responsibility I haven’t felt before. Now, some of that is completely fair and right. I’m a father of two young children, and that inherently brings obligations I didn’t have before, and I’m cool with that.

But I’m also self-employed. And the battle I’m still fighting is the battle against letting that consume my life. Part of it is financial responsibility stemming from parenthood — but I’m not carrying that burden alone. My wife works, too.

No, it’s more the burden of being the sole trader — of being directly responsible for finding the majority of my own work. It’s the old cliché: any time is time that I could be spending developing my business. And Medium is just chock-full of posts exhorting us to do just that — go all in on your business to build something truly world-changing.

But it’s horseshit. Partially because I’m not really looking to build a world-changing business — I’m content to build a solid income helping others do digital publishing better. Mostly, though, because nobody can function effectively like that. And anyone who thinks they are are deluding themselves.

Science FTW

I need time and energy to do those things right, and over the last week, as I’ve tried to mindfully look at the way I live, it’s become awfully clear to me that I’m making decisions that don’t help that goal — and that trap me in a spiral of tiredness and inefficiency.

Every evening, I rush around after the girls go to bed — washing up, tidying up, prepping food and clothes for the next day. And then I try to get another couple of hours of work in, before I hit the sack.

I’m selling tomorrow’s productivity on the altar of a few more hours working before bed.

No more.

The Rules

Sunset over the Adur

So, for the next month, I’m setting myself two rules:

  1. No working in the evenings(unless it’s completely necessary to be ready for the next day — but I should consider that a failure.)
  2. One blog post a day, on Coffee & Complexity. (Nothing to do with journalism or tech and culture. Just whatever comes into my mind — or whatever is on my mind.) Best posts can be cross-posted to Medium — if I feel like it — just as this one has been.

Progress will be reported back here. Hopefully. :-)

Originally published at www.coffeeandcomplexity.com on May 9, 2016.

Blogging since 2001, journalisting (which isn’t a word, but should be) since 1994, and sleep-deprived since 2012. Journalism lecturer, consultant and trainer.

Blogging since 2001, journalisting (which isn’t a word, but should be) since 1994, and sleep-deprived since 2012. Journalism lecturer, consultant and trainer.