To combat this world that distracts us at every turn (and because I’m firmly in the multitasking-doesn’t-work camp), I’ve been trying to read a book in the last hour or so of my day rather than doing work or reading on my laptop. (War and Peace, no matter how much I read of you, you never get shorter.)
I’m in this flow to remind my brain of how to focus on one thing, and because I read the Medium article The Two Habits That Changed My Life. This article simultaneously reminded me of my love for reading, and also my feeling of shame when I can’t finish a New Yorker article due to my short attention span (what happened to the days I could read all day and all night without budging?)
But then I also read Great Artists Write, and Paul Jun single-handedly convinced me that, in addition to reintroducing reading into my life, I may also want to write a wee bit more than the timestamped day’s events in my planner. He says, “writing intrinsically champions and improves creativity, critical thinking, and clarity. It helps us not only gain new ideas, but also articulate them. It untangles the messiness in our lives and allows for clearer thinking.” Who wouldn’t want these potential benefits?
- Clear and critical thinking. Yes.
- Hopefully succinct and clear communication as well. (Makes me wonder if Ernest Hemingway had an extremely clear mind, due to his pithy prose style.)
- Processing and acknowledgement of the day’s events and their impact on me.
- Consideration of my impact on others.
- Intentional living.
- Paying attention to the world and being thankful for it. (These are the nuggets of wisdom from the elderly that I take seriously and want to follow.)
However, I admit that I have low expectations of my solo, personal growth, goal-achieving abilities. Either I’m too lenient on myself, set impossible goals, set goals that need to be broken down but aren’t, or forget my goal. So to set myself up for success, I’m merely going to write about one thing I’m thankful for that day. Start small. Build up.
Like yoga, where one tunes into one’s body and thanks it for all the work it does each day, I do believe that regular writing (whether it’s two sentences, or two pages) will help me process more things on my own and stay focused on what is important to me.
Also, please note that I’m not a daily journaler, voracious blogger or aspiring novelist. I’m a paper planner person — I write down the events and sometimes feelings of the day in my planner religiously, with stickers, multi-colored ink and doodles — and I’ve been this way since high-school. Diaries, journaling, Xanga, MySpace and Facebook posts are no longer how I document or relive a certain experience — rather, it’s my little calendar with tiny .17 pen scrawl. (Picture blurred on purpose, but you get the idea.)
So for those of you who write on the regular, congratulations! Your critical thinking and clarity of mind are already through the roof. For plebeians like me though… I’ll restart my writerly life with a sentence or two, or three, as regularly as I can, answering the questions “What am I thankful for today? Why?”
Take 20 seconds right now and answer this yourself! And then write it down.