Getting Away From Monkey Mind

Getting Away From Monkey Mind

The books and web pages I read affect me a lot. I use them as tools sometimes. If I read a book on productivity, I become more productive while I am reading it. If I read a book on digital photography, I see pictures everywhere. If I read a book on design, I notice every logo and sign. The knowledge sticks with me afterwards, but the act of reading keeps it in the forefront of my mind.

And, if I read about programming and computers, I become a robot and start writing really shitty articles.Robot

I had to call time. There is an idea I have been working on that I need to give a break, maybe a week, maybe a month. My head is a small cage to trap myself in. I like concepts that are incomplete and I know they like me, especially right before bed when I am just trying to get some sleep. It's almost a dare from my subconscious. "Oh, you really are that dedicated when it comes to writing down ideas. Let's try this."

I need a while to step back and trust my mind. It has almost always worked in the past. Throw a bunch of related information in, chase it as far as I can until I hit a wall, stop abruptly, ignore the idea and wait. One day something will bubble to the top.

But the balance is getting a little bit better. I just now know how strong the technical side of my brain is. It will take over without my knowledge and leave huge gaps in my posting schedule. I made the mistake of assuming that I could switch gears within an hours time. Wrong. Switching from writing to tech, easy. Switching back the other way sucks. It effects me like the video games I no longer play. Up 24 hours without coffee locked into the screen. Not exactly social or conductive to writing.

And for those of you that have similar issues, here is the post that inspired me to focus more on writing again. Mary mentions an "everything book", a book to write down anything and everything in. That was the switch. Strange, I know, but let me tell you why.

I like being able to say that no one influences me. I create my own rules. It's a pride thing. My wife calls it an asshole thing. And what it really is is a lie I tell myself.

When I got into all the productivity books and blogs, everything I read said to use a Moleskine for lists. Up to that time, it had been my "everything book". But, oops, I guess I was doing something wrong. So to make room for lists, a lot less ideas started getting stored in the book. I was getting my ducks in a row. A much more valuable use of time than ideas, I thought.

Moleskine So one post gave me the freedom to do what I was already doing before the productivity gods started chipping away at me. I still have lists of to do's, but I realized I don't have to tag everything around me. Priorities are good to know and review. A list for the day. And a few long term lists. But I found myself so categorized and detailed, I never even looked at my lists again because I was afraid of them.

So back to writing again. And, of course, promoting. But I am laying off chasing the dragon for a while. The complexity has to go for a while. I need some simplicity.

Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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