I love my mornings. I’d like to love my afternoons.
You’ve all heard my co-working/childcare story and that’s my morning. My cup fills up with productive work, meaningful (in-person) conversations, and literally coffee, a full cup, that I don’t have to reheat in the microwave because I’ve been interrupted by toddler needs every 2.5 seconds.
Lunch is great. Nap time routine is great. And then, I’m presented with a couple (hopefully) hours of time in the afternoon. This time is scheduled for more work. But I usually don’t feel called to do the work. I’m naturally called to clean the house, prep dinner, read a book, meditate, journal, or any host of things that are not directly tied to my business.
Every afternoon is a mental push and pull. Do I get diligent and plow through my to-do list? Do I surrender and listen to my body? Either way, I’m left feeling slightly dissatisfied. Either choice lets down a part of me: my logical, diligent mind or my soulful, wise body.
This has become my latest design problem. How can I love my afternoons as much as I love my mornings?
It’s a solve-able problem.
So far, I’ve enacted a few experiments:
- Mediating first to transition from nap routine to work time
- Switching up my work space (at my office upstairs, at the kitchen table, on the couch)
- Giving into what I want to do and finding others hours to complete the work
I’ve done a few more and all with varying levels of success, but that’s not the point of this email.
Giving you a “I’ve tried this - it worked for me - and you should try it too” will help a handful of you, but will be a waste of time for everyone else. Because we’re not all the same. We all have unique solve-able problems and solutions out there that will work uniquely for each of us based on our needs.
What I would love for you to take away from this reading is the complete and utter belief that your challenge (whatever you’re grappling with right now) has a perfect solution for you that will have you singing from the rooftops. You might not find it tomorrow, it’ll likely be a trial and error journey of discovery, but that answer is out there for you.
Coming back to my dilemma, I’ve landed on a potential solution. Completely take work out of the equation for those 2 hours each day and not try to make them up at night. Can I run my business on 3 hours per day?
It’s a new experiment. I’m setting up the parameters now and getting ready to study and learn from the results. I’ve already identified some issues with it (I really love unbounded time for deep creative work so that may need another slot), but otherwise I’m excited to see how it works out.
Now some of you may read this and think, “You’re so lazy and naive, just put in the work.” Ok, maybe none of you are thinking that, but I know it’s a thought that’s crossed my mind. The rational, logical, raised-in-our-puritan society-self that’s ingrained the notion of, “You’ve got to work hard to make the money”, is the one raising all the doubts. But I’m quieting her down for this experiment.
I’m reframing this endeavor in my mind. This is a boldly ambitious goal layered in with a tight constraint. It’s this tension between the two that reveals inventive new ways of doing things. And that’s my true goal.
We’re inventing new tools, products, processes, and ways of working every single day. There is every reason that you can land on an invention (of time, process, product, business model, etc.) that gives you the perfect solution to your latest challenge.
You need a big ambition and a tight constraint. Put these together in a question and you’ve got your experiment.
What do you think? Are you feeling the possibility or find this unrealistic?