I started out this year listening to an audio book that, well, I admit: set my brain on fire.  The book? Manage your day-to-day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, etc etc, by Jocelyn Glei.

Manage Your Day-to-Day by Jocelyn Glei
Manage Your Day-to-Day by Jocelyn Glei

At first, the book sat on the kitchen table unopened and certainly the object of derision on my part. I don’t much care for quick fix potions and come-ons, and the title of this book sort of suggested unleashed power and stuff so I’m like:  yeah, no.

But the issues the authors and contributors (and there are a lot of contributors which helps keep things interesting) were talking about went straight to the heart of my problems: hours, days, an entire creative life wasted online doing facebook, twitter, email, and the like. And the way these guys talked about it, they got it, they nailed it. They are especially hard on email, and as a result, I deleted over 35,000 emails last week (yes, that’s thousands) and unsubscribed from several dozen incoming irritations.  It felt great.

Also, I devised a new schedule for myself that includes not looking at the internet machine, not even for a minute, before noon.  One commentator suggested that many companies would do well to have IT turn email off between 8 and 11 daily, no joke.  I think they’re onto something.  Phone is still close at hand if anyone needs to reach me, and texting is fair game. But internet? banished before noon!

I have a book I read during coffee and breakfast, notes I’m taking.  I hit the studio by 8 in the morning and do a solid block of work of some sort. The rest of the day is flex, and there’s lots to do…and I’m getting stuff done. I’m totally excited.

My cabin at Centrum Foundation, Pt. Townsend
My cabin at Centrum Foundation, Pt. Townsend

This all started last autumn during a residential at Centrum in Port Townsend when I went offline for two weeks.  After the requisite initial three days of teeth-gnashing, I found the day offered up oodles (yes: oodles!) of time.  Prior to this, over the years, I’d become accustomed to thinking there was never, ever enough time for anything.  What I discovered was the contrary, and when I was forced to wonder how this could be so, the guilty party, Mr. Internet, didn’t have a word of defense.  Really, love: you gotta watch this guy like a hawk.

There are many factoids and studies in the book about attention deficit, focus issues, creative drain, etc., and I’ve been discovering since that experience last autumn that many of the issues I’ve been struggling with around studio work–writing, painting, teaching, etc–they all found their source in the messed up way I was approaching my day.  So 2014 is the year I get my life back, I think.  It’s been a while.

Full disclosure: I discovered this book in some article I found online in some extended link-hopping I could never hope to reconstruct. There’s a lot of great stuff online, you just gotta be careful, is all I’m saying.

Studio-Time metrics, I’m keeping metrics! (old habits die hard)

Week 1, Jan 2-3: 11 hrs
Week 2, Jan 6-10: 30 hrs!!
Week 3, Jan 13-14: 12 hrs.

Alas, now I have come down with this cold thing everyone has, so my studio days are offline for a moment. Anyway, Happy New Year, I think it’s going to be a good one!