We recently bought some things from IKEA in a bid to address some organizational annoyances in the bedrooms and office. The last time we purchased stuff from them it was just after our move to Scotland and oh how how we forget! While IKEA can feel like a playground, I firmly maintain that shopping there will challenge even the most stoic-minded-zen-buddah jedi out there to keep their cool. Here is a timeline of how it goes, every time, without fail.
It’s almost nine o clock, and I’ve been trying to get one of the kids to bed for over an hour after spending the last two running bath and book duty. I narrowly escape falling asleep in their bed but eventually make it out and down the stairs, only to run into a sea of dirty dishes calling. I’m annoyed that I can’t now do, you know, MY THINGS, and say something less than perfect and frankly not very loving to my wife. It takes a while, but eventually the air is cleared, and things resume a desirable shape. A lingering feeling remains though, that this is a pattern that I repeat all too often.
What happened? I was enjoying the time with the kids. I actually enjoy laying bed with them and running through my playlist of bedtime songs or playing a news reporter reporting a news story for the day. The mood was blissful just a moment ago. But something happens in between being a Dad and the next thing I do as a husband or maybe as a friend or one of the many other roles that I play.
Daylight is in abundance now in the far northern reaches of Scotland. It’s light out really early now, and although I love the mornings regardless, it’s more pleasant than usual to wake up early. As a result I’ve started another seasonal shift in my morning routine, and even more that than that, a bigger thematic shift in the expectations I set for what I do when during my days.
I’m now running first thing in the morning rather than later (mostly), and am trying to pay more attention to letting my energy guide my routine rather than my willpower.
I’m not sure how this became a longer thing than it is. Maybe that’s because prioritization, the subject of this piece, is a longer, harder thing to do than it seems at a distance. Anyway, this illustration started as a little morning drawing of an idea that I revisited from a book excerpt and grew into the series of illustrations below. It’s been a fun exercise in playing with a brush pen, seeing how I could talk about an idea thorough pictures, and put together disparate pieces of each into some sort of whole (using GIMP for image editing). Here are the different illustration “parts” explained with the compined composite I created at the end.
A list not about working from home but what I’m doing or am aiming to be doing. A list in no particular order to go with all the other lists out there. Hoping you find some inspiration within and are not one of the unlucky ones with serious things to do like look for work or care for a sick family member.
This is the list of what I’m telling myself to be doing (subject to change at any point in time for any reason whatsoever):
- Look at images from the great museums and art collections of the world. Here is a list of open-access galleries: https://www.apollo-magazine.com/open-access-image-libraries-a-handy-list/.
- Read a book, or two, or three. Here is my list from last year: https://getonwithit.blog/2019/12/16/books-i-read-in-2019/.
- Tidy up.
- Listen to Philip Glass: https://open.spotify.com/artist/69lxxQvsfAIoQbB20bEPFC?si=2Z1Kfi6ASj2dQjQKxsXYlg
- Be affectionate.
- Listen to an album you never have listened to before. Here is a helpful list to get started: https://www.kexp.org/kexp-top-903-albums-2019/
- Start a blog. Here is a great place to do it (and it’s free): https://wordpress.com/
- Get a helmut: https://getonwithit.blog/2020/02/20/get-a-helmet/
- Make a mini-zine: https://austinkleon.com/2020/03/04/how-to-make-a-zine-from-a-single-sheet-of-paper/. Here is mine: https://getonwithit.blog/2020/03/07/four-little-fires/
- Doodle with Mo Willems: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%23MoLunchDoodles
- Do some watercoloring.
- Build a fire.
- Take a walk.
- Go running. Better yet go running in the rain: https://getonwithit.blog/2019/11/07/running-in-the-rain/
- Write some thank you cards.
- Get 8 hours of sleep.
- Write a letter to someone.
- Read some poetry. Start with how to be a perfect: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/57243/how-to-be-perfect
- Listen to This is Water: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CrOL-ydFMI
- Play hide-and-seek.
- Cook something you love, and cook something you’ve never cooked before.
- Learn to cook.
- Meditate. Here is the app I like currently: https://wakingup.com/
- Build something with legos.
- Have a wrestling match.
- Bake some bread.
- Have a camp out in your living room.
- Watch a documentary.
- Take care of your plants.
- Eat healthy.
- Read the Burrito Rant: https://medium.com/@jackdire/dear-guy-who-just-made-my-burrito-fd08c0babb57
- Try to learn something new. And then write about it: https://getonwithit.blog/category/willw/
- Bake some cookies.
- Make a collage from a magazine, old wrapping paper, or a book.
- Host an online meetup using Zoom: http://zoom.us
- Draw something. Try a drawing a day: https://getonwithit.blog/2019/01/04/a-drawing-a-day/
- Use this list of ice breakers to generate a fun conversation: https://zoom.us/
- Write in a physical notebook.
- Practice gratitude. See the 5MJ questions for a good start: https://www.intelligentchange.com/blogs/news/the-five-minute-journal-questions
- Search Twitter like Google instead of looking at your feed.
- Look at pictures from previous trips. Here is my most recent: https://getonwithit.blog/2020/03/01/notes-from-islay-and-jura/
- Update your resume.
- Think of something you can do to help someone else.
- Reach out to a person who you haven’t talked to in a while.
- Give yourself a foot massage.
- Look at the stars.
- Read The Tail End: https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html
- Be gentle with yourself.
- Stop looking at your phone. Call someone.