Is this a good activity?

brian regan, again

Image by Malingering via Flickr

I am a big fan of the comedian Brian Regan.  He is the only artist I’ve ever seen from which I came away physically in pain because I was laughing so hard.  In one of his bits he tells about growing up in a household full of brothers who were, shall we say, “encouraged” by their mother to go outside and find a “good activity”.  Activities discovered were more or less not totally destructive…hilarity ensues.

Anyway, this thought always comes to me when I sit down to write. Although I can sit for long periods of time and spin out stories and opinions to friends and family, when I am confronted with a screen and a blank page, my mind goes into Choke Mode.  It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, it’s just that I’ve read so much great stuff from my colleagues and others that I follow across the web that I feel stymied about what I have to contribute.

This morning I ran across a post by Tac Anderson entitled “How to Blog a Lot” that, for some reason, pushed me over the edge (at least for today…).  His guidance is a little self-referential: in order to blog a lot, you should blog a lot.  A kind of “practice makes perfect (or at least better)” methodology.

Great advice. However, I, like most everyone who works with some kind of PC sitting in front of them all day, spend most of the day responding to e-mail, creating presentations, working on documents, attending meetings, Tweeting, etc.  In other words, taking the time out, as Tac suggests, first thing, going over the daily news and posts and then writing about what I find takes a discipline I haven’t really cultivated yet.  I guess part of my hesitation has to do with the organizational expectations around e-mail.  I have, in the past, tried to remind my colleagues (and myself in my more hassled moments) that e-mail is designed to be asynchronous and that it is unlikely that, if I do not respond to a particular mail for an additional 30+ minutes, the world will end or someone will die….just take a deep breath and allow myself to do something that may contribute to the conversation in the greater community that is the Web.  Then I can jump into the swamp-like morass that is daily e-mail.

So I guess this is a good activity……

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2 thoughts on “Is this a good activity?

  1. Jeff,
    I admit it is tough. I find if I don’t blog before opening email then my chances for posting going down significantly. This is why I get to work between 7 and 7:30.

    I’d also recommend blocking out your schedule, maybe 2 or three days a week first thing and do it then. It’s not easy though, but things seldom are.

    • Thanks, Tac. I too get to work around 7:30 and try to spend the next 30 or so minutes going through my dailies (the sites I keep track of and news). It’s getting better, and blocking time early in the morning is much easier than trying to do so later in the day, if only because most of my colleagues don’t come in until later.
      I’m still in the early stages of this becoming a discipline, so the effort is a little more conscious, but I’m finding it easier as time goes on.

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