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E is for Everything
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It was bound to happen. Somewhere between breaking down the last of my boxes and hanging pictures, I lost track of not only time but my longer-term priorities. The brain can handle only so much information, and my brain could only handle that it wanted home after two months of temporary housing. If I didn't give it that ... Oh, who am I trying to fool? It was going to get home no matter what.

Last week, I passed along an article on how the brain can only handle so much focus. In it, the author, Srini Pillay, writes: "...excessive focus exhausts the focus circuits in your brain. It can drain your energy and make you lose self-control. This energy drain can also make you more impulsive and less helpful. As a result, decisions are poorly thought-out, and you become less collaborative."

Let's just say, my self-control was reduced to nothing as my mind obsessively focused for nearly 48 hours on boxes, packing paper, furniture arrangements, food and sleep. My mind couldn't even tolerate the idea of showering -- something I didn't do for two days. 

One of life's big challenges I've always wanted to master, however, is the ability to expand my capacity to get things done -- to be able to take care of routine tasks while adding on larger-scale projects. No matter how much Lifehacker I read or how many tips and tricks for good habits I pile into my Evernote, my capacity stays roughly the same. Something always has to give, leading me to disappoint myself and others. 

Now, I could probably hire a third party to passively collect articles for me and format the newsletter while I did other things. Or get a personal assistant to manage my day-to-day (including helping me move). The saying "time is money" is not trivial. Sometimes, the best way to spend time is by spending your money to buy back more time. So, when it comes to allocating time better, there are no excuses, merely reasons. 

Recently, I've pivoted from wanting to grow my capacity to do stuff, to growing my capacity to embrace that there's only so much I can do, and that my best would need to be good enough. Call it mindfulness, call it maturity, or just call it plain old common sense. The mind can only handle so many things at once, and when the body and the mind cry out for something loud enough, even your best intentions will retreat in the face of that primal scream.

When that scream shatters the fragile glass of your routine, the best thing you can do is forgive yourself, stop focusing on what other people might think (stop focusing at all, really) or regretting that you didn't outsource your routine tasks. You're not lazy, stupid or disorganized. You're human, and you're alive. Now, go enjoy your Sunday. 

"I believe with all my heart that the future of America—indeed, the future of the world—depends on brave, thoughtful people like you insisting on truth and integrity, right now, every day. You didn’t create these circumstances, but you have the power to change them." (I wish I was there. I miss my alma mater.) 
"...know your worth, but don’t micromanage your time. Time may be money, but your health is even more valuable." (Preach.)
"Every relationship is a power dynamic." (The real gold in this interview is about the resilience of survivors. Though I could listen to Esther Perel talk about power, infidelity, sexuality and the erotic forever. I also eagerly await the day when the dominant-male frame around relationships and the erotic recedes to allow women's full sexuality to bloom. Tim evidenced a need for a bit more education on that front. But he gets an 'E' for Effort.) 
"A lot of people pursue money because they want money, or they pursue fame, or they pursue power. And because those are things they think they want to accumulate. I think what you want [to] do is pursue happiness, and then what comes along with that is secondary but not primary in your career." (I've spent the past year or more beating myself up for not having something outside of work that I was passionate about. I have had something outside of work: moving, relocating and acclimating. Now that that's over, I look forward to finding a new hobby.)
"Adolescents spending scores of hours a week on screen time with their devices acquire “a zombie-like passivity” that saps their “agency.” This makes them susceptible to perpetual adolescence, and ill-suited to the velocity of life in an accelerating world of shorter job durations and the necessity of perpetual learning." (Yes, I'm sharing George Will.)
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Better late than never.
Emi Kolawole · E is for Everything HQ · San Jose 95134 · United States of America