The Habit of Force

The Habit of Force

via the Imperfectionist by Oliver Burkeman

Whenever I’m stuck in a rut, work-wise, I invariably find my way back to a 2010 blogpost by the meditation teacher Susan Piver entitled ‘Getting Stuff Done By Not Being Mean To Yourself.’ It recounts a personal experiment in which Piver set aside rigid scheduling, as a way of structuring her day, in favour of doing whatever felt most enjoyable. Honestly, though, just reading the title is usually enough to remind me of two lessons that I apparently have to keep re-learning: first, that a concern with “productivity” turns all too easily into a weird masochistic kind of self-punishment – and second, that apart from being no fun, beating yourself up all day in this manner isn’t even an especially good way to get things done.

There’s a certain strand of productivity advice – one I’ve often promoted – which revels in its matter-of-fact, pull-your-socks-up approach to work, especially creative work. “Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work,” as the artist Chuck Close famously put it, in a line Piver quotes as an example of the spirit she’d like to embody, but can’t. Just make a schedule and get on with it! Treat it like a regular job! Etcetera, etcetera.

It’s wise counsel so far as it goes. If your work is “creative” in any way – that is, if it involves anything beyond dutifully following someone else’s strict instructions, moment to moment – it can be extremely useful to drain it of its grandiose associations, so as to remind yourself that in the end, it’s just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. Cutting it down to size like this renders it less intimidating, and as a result, you’ll be less likely to procrastinate…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE