PRODUCTIVE PASTIMES: TRY “ME” DAYS

Missile Contrail 2

By Alina Chase

I recently declared Saturdays ME days. Sometimes it’s only a morning, sometimes just an evening. The point is declaring it, resolving to not allow disruptions or any thought of doing anything but what feels right in the moment. No plans, no projects, no time constraints. It’s not surprising that my stress level nosedived. What was surprising is that my productivity, while it didn’t exactly skyrocket, did improve.

If I write, I write with no objectives or word-count goals. If I shop, I leave with no list and sometimes no destination in mind—I head toward a shopping zone and decide where to stop when I get there. If I socialize or want to join a group outing I will, but I don’t make advance commitments. How is this productive?

Without self-imposed constraints, creativity thrives. And nagging tasks that might otherwise sap our energy no longer feel like work. Pooper-scooping the yard or tackling taxes, while not delightful, suddenly feel like the “right” thing to do. So more to-do’s get done.

ME time makes us more aware of the choices we make and that, while it doesn’t always feel that way, we have and make choices every moment of every day. It’s about learning to live in the present and fully engaging in whatever we choose to do. Sometimes that will be writing, sometimes not. But practicing, one ME day at a time, can help us achieve a state of flow while we’re writing—and while we’re not.

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