Pass the remote, I need to hit PAUSE

Sometime towards the end of last year the following words came out of my mouth:

“The only way I’d be able to do that is if I worked less, AND had fewer writing projects, AND stopped socialising so much and AND went to bed earlier. But how on earth, would I pull off all of this…”

The “that” in the first part of my remark  referred to “create some free time”.

The only way I’d be able to create some free time is to work, write, socialise & sleep A LOT LESS. I wasn’t even being Melodramatic Me when I said this. In a plain and unexciting way, this statement is more than true.

If I had free time I could

  • read the newspapers
  • find my missing socks
  • stop and chat with Bruce & Leon, our cats (who no doubt know the location of the socks)
  • write a few un-electronic letters now and then
  • be available for spontaneous cups of coffee when a friend texts to say she’s in the neighbourhood
  • or for when my brother calls me out of the blue.

If I had free time I might even

  • stare out the window and watch a squirrel run along the fences in the garden.

Never mind free time for free time’s sake, the quality of my work and writing and time with friends and sleep would likely double were I living off a less frenetic schedule … were I soaking up Life one thing at a time, rather than living everyday on auto-rush.

On the right hand column of Panic Station there’s a feed to the zenhabits blog where Leo Babauto campaigns for things like minimalism, freedom from goals and yes, DOING LESS. I guess I thought that by promoting this way of life I might escape having to live it.

Which is exactly the sort of thing a person too busy to think straight tells themselves.

And so my statement about how hard I’d find it to do less has stuck with me ever since I made it.  Which brings me to the point of today’s post — I’m here to report that sadly, Panic Station must come to a PAUSE.

The aim of my writing life this year is to stop being such a commitment-phobe by fragmenting my writing self across 3-4 too many projects. I need to devote my finite writing time and energy to One Big Thing. To see if I can make a go of it, I need to commit to it. And for this year that committment is Counting Zeros … which itself is barely One Thing at all, but rather a blog & a book & a set of daily + weekly + monthly + quarterly assignments on top of writing the blog and the book…which pretty much makes it a BIG THING. At least, for me.

All of December I angsted about Panic Station. It has become my outlet for Nat-randomness and so I LOVE IT.

I don’t want to kill it.

I don’t want to lose you.

But I need to accept that the only way someone like me does less and focuses more is to make decisions I don’t like making. I must choose some things in favour of others. I can’t keep it all.

And so the PAUSE is about to be hit. Next week’s post will be the last for 2012.



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Filed under On writing, Self-help, Time management, Work

10 responses to “Pass the remote, I need to hit PAUSE

  1. As a fan of both blogs I think you’re doing the right thing.

  2. nathaliehourihan

    thanks both for your support !!

    [Sam, I assume kisses and hugs can only = support 😉

  3. Kat

    Having had the privilege of being a guestblogger (just re-read it..ohlala,!).. but especially a big fan of your well-written and interesting blogs inserts, I regret to see that it will.stop ! But I am looking forward seeing your name on a voume in the bookstore instead..!! Best wishes ! 🙂

  4. Deb Thomas

    The bad news is: no more Panic Station. The good news is: I just signed up to follow Counting Zeros. Here’s to a very successful 2012, Nat!

  5. That’s sad, but completely understandable. I’ll miss Panic Station, but it makes sense that you should give Counting Zeros some one-to-one time. Good luck!

  6. Sarah

    I just stumbled upon this blog by way of a “feelings wheel” search. The very reason that I was performing that search was perfectly articulated in the post in which it was included. And, now I have just read this. Thank you for modeling the perfect way to hit pause on things you love in order to love yourself more. I can’t tell you how much I needed this today! Thank you! On my way to Counting Zeros…

    • nathaliehourihan

      I remember reading your comment days ago — but I think that must have happened while I was on the run, viewing it from a blackberry — because clearly I have not replied! I was delighted to get your note and happy again to re-read it now. Thanks for visiting & sending me your support. Am v glad it proved a good search result.

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