Containment as a Life Policy

November 15, 2007

Daily Growth Jog 131107 B

The word of the moment right now is containment. Or focus. But the way I want to think about it for now is containment.

I came to this concept after deciding to encapsulate my school work to an intense 3 hour period in the middle of the day. Quarantine might be an even better metaphor. Because that 3 hours of work, if I spread it out over the course of the day in, say, a bunch of 20 to 30 minute periods [as I’m apt to do] would sap a lot of the energy from my day. It’s sapping energy from my day right now, and I feel very confident that I’m near where I should be in almost all of my projects. At least, more so than I have been in quite some time.

Which makes me think this is a really good idea. Because if I feel uncomfortable with it right now, knowing that I have it under control, I can only imagine how lost I am when I don’t have the containment going at all. But the funny thing is that I’m probably so lost at the point that I think the stress is something that should be happening. But, uh, no! That’s not the point of any of this at all! The point is to live life with ease, while approaching those things that I know I should approach. The point isn’t to stress about the things that I’m not doing while I’m not doing them and thus sap all the energy out of the things I should be doing.

In other words, it’s all about containment. It’s all about figuring out ways to ‘quarantine’ / box off / separate those parts of my day so that I can focus on one thing at a time. And I guess this really is about focus. About putting on a certain cap and working from that place for a long period of time. That way I don’t have to deal with the rev-up / rev-down periods. I have this obsession with short bursts of work. But sometimes those short bursts really aren’t as effective as one long, sustained push. A long sustained push can get you past things that a bunch of hornet type attacks could never approach. And the key is to realize that and go with it. To be open to the moment as it is. And then approach it from the most powerful perspective that I can.

Which this also makes me think about planning vs. doing, and how it’s best to separate those into two different phases that rarely ever interact. In reality, it’s a good idea to not plan while you should be acting and not to act while you should be planning. The two types of thinking [to use a cliche, one right brained and one left brained] don’t mix well. While ones on, the other is automatically off. And vice versa. It’s, possibly, impossible to let the two states of thinking coexist. You’re either doing or planning. Or you’re doing planning. But there aren’t really any other options.

Containment makes sense when you consider how much free time we really have. And we could do so much with that free time if we knew what to do with each little sliver of time as a combination into a big sliver of time. If you add all the infinitesimal pieces of time together, you get the times that you need to make sure to contain. You should put borders up, flexible borders, yes, but borders nonetheless. Homework time. Reading time. Writing time. Hanging out time.

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