Here Again

It is completely shocking – and a little embarrassing – that fully 9 months have passed since my last post (in which, I’ve not forgotten, I promised that the November book review was “coming shortly”).

I do have a slightly valid excuse – as far as it goes – in that the dead computer referenced in that post wasn’t replaced until mid-August. My husband and I thought it might be an interesting experiment in anti-materialism, in breaking the nearly universal addiction to the online world, to see how long we could go without replacing it.

Well, it was interesting, all right. I spent just as much time as ever on Facebook, thanks to the advent of my iPhone, but was hindered from many more worthwhile pursuits. It took at least four months for me to get so fed up about not writing that I resorted to pen and paper.

And for that flakiness, I apologize. After all, the first hallmark of a respectable blog is the constant and regular addition of “content,” to use marketing-speak. Not to mention that my one loyal reader was disappointed.

All the same, I wouldn’t say the time was wasted. It occurs to me that the writing of the blog is somewhat incidental to the stated purpose of the blog: “the quest for a life of love, laughter, reason & usefulness.” Love and laughter are arguably best pursued off-line; and a usefulness that is built only on the written word is not more than half-baked. And in the post-less interval I did keep to my goal of reading a non-fiction book most months. I did make some gestures that were, for me, quite generous and thoughtful. I had new experiences, changed some opinions, and embarked on new ventures – all of which will be reflected in the posts of the months to come.

I won’t promise to be here every week, this time. After all, the time specified by the 52/365 Project is long over. And though a blog is a commitment, I’ve never prioritized it above other commitments – chiefly my marriage, my health, and bringing my A-game for the people who pay me – rightly, I think. Still, I will try, and this time I’ve done what I always wanted to do and never quite managed: I have prepared some posts ahead of time for those difficult weeks.

It’s good to be back. And thanks for your patience.

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Productivity by Number, Part 2

This is the conclusion of a two-part series on productivity. You can catch up on Part 1 here.

Step 4: Prioritization

Yes, everything I have ever read about productivity and life satisfaction emphasizes priorities. But it’s hard to appreciate their importance and power until you see how completely you lack them. Continue reading “Productivity by Number, Part 2”

Accomplishing Something by Doing Nothing

Last weekend I finally did what I had to do: I declared that I was officially becoming a hermit, and then cut out all thought of everything that didn’t absolutely have to get done to make as much time as possible for nothing. And Monday morning, I actually felt refreshed for the first time in memory. I learned a few things along the way. Continue reading “Accomplishing Something by Doing Nothing”

You’re Never Ready

Very shortly after starting my job (perhaps within hours, but certainly within a couple of days) it became evident that my predecessor had been dismissed on Friday and I had started on Monday. Within a few weeks I learned that people were taking bets on how long I would last because there had been such turnover in the position. Seeing the environment I worked in – or at any rate, the character of the man who had hired me – there were definitely times I watched very closely to see if any young women came in to interview.

But I also started thinking about the manner of my departure, should there be one. I like to behave generously to my company, regardless of the circumstances. Continue reading “You’re Never Ready”

The Wall Bumped Into Me

I had occasion this week to meditate on the old saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else,” as well as its corollary – call it Ashley’s Law – “If you don’t watch where you’re going, you’ll bump into something else.” Continue reading “The Wall Bumped Into Me”

Ground Rules

The nonstop motion of the last week was rewarded by a great dinner with a wonderful group of friends and family.

I thought the moral of the story was going to be along the new-agey lines of “envision the outcome you desire and it will be so” and actually, having prepared how I was going to handle the usual source of friction (yes, I know, I am weird for not wanting anyone to help clear the table), it never came up. I’m not sure why preparing for the worst guarantees that you’ll never need to use that preparation, but it seems to work that way.

The real reminder that this is life, and life seems to have an aversion to following plans, lay in the schedule. Continue reading “Ground Rules”