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Daysed and Confused (17/30)
On timing and structure
The external and internal environments for today’s post look quite different than they have over the past few weeks.
I’ve been doing most of my writing at night. By the time I open up the laptop, an entire day has gone by. The mood is usually reflective and pensive, and the contents of the day often provide at least a thread to pull on that can turn into an interesting topic. It may take some time to get going, but I inevitably fall into a rhythm and the words start to come naturally.
Conversely, by virtue of circumstance, I’m writing this post in the middle of the day. The sun is out, I’m considerably caffeinated, and the various responsibilities of existence are still in the foreground of my consciousness.
In short, I’m finding this unusually difficult.
My thoughts have a different texture. They’re more frenetic, more utilitarian. Any attempts to distill them down and follow a singular line of thinking are met with various forms of resistance and distraction. Despite having written one hundred and seventy-two words to this point, I’m still grinding over each one, forcibly wrangling my petulant internal dialogue toward the task at hand.
I remember reading some of Daniel Pink’s work about timing and how our brains are more suited for different kinds of work depending on the time of day, and it resonated deeply. I even referenced this idea in a job interview in some kind of aspirational response to a question about time management. It intuitively makes sense. We go through seasons and cycles in all facets of our lives; why would our day-to-day experience be any different?
It’s not always realistic to do the same thing at the same time every day. Life has a habit of getting in the way. As someone who worships freedom and is averse to most forms of structure, I find this particularly difficult. But my recent leap from corporate job to entrepreneurship has taught me that living in a completely unstructured way is not viable. There is immense value in forced constraints and the habitual cues that prime your brain for a particular task. Today is another reminder of this.
Like everything else in life, there is an optimal balance between structure and spontaneity. It’s not good to overindex on either one. I’m increasingly finding that striking this balance well can really improve quality of life. Hopefully this serves as a useful heuristic for you, too.