So I’m in Cleveland working on some webdev bloggy projects at my friend John’s house and one night I’m staring at the computer screen feeling stuck. The weather is hot and humid and airless. After googling longingly about those Dyson fans, I google “how to get unstuck.” I find Nora Dunn of Wisebread’s article, Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life. Sometimes making changes in your life seems forced and inorganic but we try these things anyway. Sometimes simple things work well. She found one of these exercises.
This exercise includes two of my very favorite pieces of subconscious brain-work, a brain-dump and hiding the results from your conscious mind so the subconscious can get to work without all the hectoring. It requires
- a piece of paper and pen
- 20 minutes
- Plus a day of doing something else.
It’s this last component that’s the game changer, the most important part. I’m sure you write lists all the time – it’s classic off-site storage for the brain. If you’re an Artist’s Way devotee, which I am not, you might do morning pages. If you’re a fan of Getting Things Done and a GTDer, which I am, you might do lists and brain dumps. If you tried “It Works!” you understand the power of your sock drawer.
So I cover three sheets of graph paper with my hundred or so things, and put them away. A week later I look at the list. I cross out the dumb shit. Clear themes emerge in the rest. 90% of the things on the list are related to travel and experiences. The material things have to do with my fascination with genealogy research, like getting my brother to do a DNA test, or raiding Mallet’s Powderhouse in Somerville, Massachusetts.
I recommend that you not only read her article but try to do this soon. No matter how busy you are, if you have time to watch television, you have time to slip away and do this writing.
[start side rant] The commenters on articles like Nora’s nearly never try something but still have an opinion about it. They “like the idea” or can’t find paper or their dog ate their pencil, but are grateful she wrote such a courageous article or some such crap. There are “I will give this a try” commenters galore. This is why I started “This Offbeat Life.” I think everyone should be required to actually try something before they make any comments at all. So I tried it. It’s worth doing. [end rant]