It was a complete coincidence, really. For several weeks before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, I was getting fleeting glimpses of clarity in my professional life, and realizing that several simplifications would serve me well.
And then, bam! Barely was my beta course for teaching an initial group of students to build their own website underway, before almost every part of our planet was treated to a sudden and radical shift in our definition of a normal day. I kept my eye mostly on the ball and saw that course through: several of my students created excellent basic websites. But, like everyone else, my priorities changed fast.
Those earlier glimpses of understanding solidified into clarity, in the blink of an eye.
Remember the 1990s craze for Magic Eye pictures, where a seemingly riotous image of busy colors and patterns could be stared at in just the right way, so that it would reveal something altogether different, in vivid 3D certainty? I’m reminded of that now. The noise, chaos and sheer “busyness” of our previous life has revealed a more important picture underneath. Not all of us ever managed to “see” Magic Eye pictures, but I’m willing to bet 99% of us can now see at least something we missed, before March 2020.
Alongside the inevitable anxiety this situation brings, I’m trying to harness this new Magic Eye ability. It’s not often I get such pure, certain focus for what my days, weeks and months should contain.
I invite you to consider, what fresh clarity have you gained in recent weeks?
Good questions to ask include:
- What do you need to do more of? From what friends have told me, self-care, gentle movement, and checking on the wellbeing of others could be on this list. I’m planning to watch more TV (typically, I watch hardly any) and read some of those wonderful titles in my TBR pile. And maybe learn to juggle 🙂
- What should you do less of? For me, this includes checking the news, devouring local statistics, and avoiding busy work. I’ve also decided to sunset a Facebook group, and purge all kinds of business processes + website content. The urge to declutter both physical and digital spaces is stronger than ever!
- What do you need to keep doing? Unless you’re in a highly perilous situation, you should probably keep going with meaningful work, in whatever way you can. For one thing, it’s a good distraction, and for another, you’ll be glad, when we come out of this, that you didn’t let all your projects and progress stall.
Here are a few more useful links you might have missed when originally published:
- Purposeful productivity manifesto
- My most popular posts on self-care
- Something is better than nothing
- Why you should pretend your internet is down (for example, to take a news break)
- How to deal with loose ends
- Self-care ideas for writers
Like most others, I’m shaken, distracted and worried by what’s unfolding this month. My daily inconveniences in California are minor, but I’m almost powerless to help my parents, 5000 miles away in Cambridge. Still… there’s no point getting in a froth about it. Instead, I’m trying to use my Magic Eye clarity to embrace the gift of vivid insights.
…How’s it going for you?