Seeking Mental Clarity

Okay, Self, you had problems with this yesterday, so we better review it now.

1. Pour water into the kettle. 2. (And I think this is where you went wrong yesterday) Turn the kettle on. 3. Check the water has boiled – which should be apparent from the steam rising out the spout and the warmth of the kettle to the touch – before pouring it into your mug (you also apparently missed this step).

My father likes to call me the absent-minded professor – probably because I do things like pour cold water into my instant coffee (which is how my day started yesterday).

I can be quite forgetful about day-to-day things. I like to blame it on my marking, which always seems to turn me into a zombie and make me useless for pretty much anything else.

It doesn’t typically impact my writing, except when I used to mark before I wrote and then found I couldn’t. Prioritizing when I write, ensuring I do it when I’m most alert when I can, has really helped me stick with my daily writing commitment.

Recently, though, I’ve been finding my mind felt different – and not just when I was marking, but most of the time. It wasn’t the typical forgetfulness. It felt strained. Over-tired.

And then I read Sarah Selecky’s post about White Space. I realized I’d been filling my day with all sorts of words – writing words, reading about writing words, teaching words. And my breaks? Usually social media (Twitter my procrastination tool of choice).

I wasn’t going into a place of deep thinking, of deep noticing, of just being. I wasn’t giving my brain a rest.

So for the past few days I’ve added daily white space to my commitments. I’ve also started using Antisocial. It feels a bit childish to have to have a program stop me from going onto Twitter after each assignment I mark, but it’s working, so I’m going to keep doing what works and let my brain rest. That way it will have energy for what’s really important.

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