Back when I lived in a City, my friends and I would joke about the Voice--the nag inside our heads urging us to work harder, exercise more, send weekly resumes, rearrange the portfolio, etc etc all in the interest of being successful free-lancers. Some of the nag was useful, because it kept you on your toes instead of slacking off, but it could also be a distracting voice of self-doubt that just made you feel guilty and disappointed with yourself.
I referred to mine as my I.C.F.--my Inner Control Freak.
And, like I said, in the old days I got a lot done with that voice in my head, but I've noticed that it has become less useful and more frustrating as my landscape and responsibilities have changed. There is only so much that will get done with two little boys around, no matter how loud and insistent the nagging becomes. It tends to make me irritable and dissatisfied, because, as much as I try to organize my time, there are forces beyond my control that keep me from being the coffee achiever I like to think I am.
In my one free half-hour a day that everything personal has to happen, I was watching an old Margaret Cho special. Funny, naughty and surprisingly inspiring. She had a bit about her struggles with her weight and told how she began to calculate how much time could be saved if she refrained from scolding herself about being fat (97 minutes a week!).
What a brilliant way to think about energy wasted on the Inner Control Freak, I thought. I could gain at least one more half hour weekly, just by quitting the daily fret about projects not started (or finished), exercise regimes discontinued, floors unswiffed, photo albums unlabelled, blah blah blah. I'm sure I would be a lot less crabby and, who knows, all that stuff might eventually get done anyway, but without the scolding.
So, I'm trying to stop listening to the I.C.F. and channelling the juice in other directions. I should invent some sort of watch that keeps track of how much time you don't spend berating yourself, so you can come up with an alternative activity (the Notorious C.H.O suggests a ceramics class). Or no activity at all and just enjoy the free time. We'll see how it goes.
Synchronize watches...the clock starts, tick, tick, NOW!