Saturday, May 28, 2011

DIligence: I took a nap in the editing room

Never Done: Shadow post

Sometimes I write shadow posts when the real thing I did was too personal for me or someone else to write about. So, I did something today for the first time that is too personal for me or someone else for me to write about. But, it was a very Mussar-like thing to do. Very much about balancing the needs of self and other. But enough about me ...

And then after that, I rode 15 miles on Pam's bike for the first time, with my feet clipped in to the pedals (not for the first time, but for the first time on a longish ride.) And I still haven't fallen over. But everyone says I will eventually.

And then after that, Brett and I knocked out a rough assembly of our video for Sandy Pope, and it's better than I feared and still has a long way to go, and in the middle of the work day, I was nodding off and trying desperately to stay awake, and I eventually just asked Brett if he minded if I would take a nap. He didn't mind -- he was assembling video clips, and while I could have been useful, I wasn't essential. And so for the first time ever, I napped in the middle of a work session with a colleague other than Josh. (It was great, by the way. I woke up completely revived, and ready to go.)

I think we all know that mid-day moment when we are just too tired to function. I think most people reach for caffeine, but I don't drink the stuff. Sometimes some raisins will give me a little boost, but not today. Today I was on the shut-eye train, and I knew that if I were at home, I would lie down and sleep for 20 minutes, and wake up refreshed. For maybe 10 minutes I was trying to follow what we were doing, and really doing a bad job. A bad job paying attention, and a bad job faking it too. Then it occurred to me that I was working with one of the most relaxed and flexible people I know, and I just asked him if I minded if I would fall asleep. I did feel a little guilty, but I also knew that staying awake wasn't exactly productive.

This weeks' mide (middah) is Diligence: Always find something to do. There's an exercise that goes along with this practice -- every hour for a week, stop what you are doing, and log how you spent the past hour. Then, use some kind of assessment -- it could be the Urgency Matrix from Stephen R. Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which Rabbi Alissa Wise recommends (and I really like) or it could be something else that is meaningful to you. I haven't actually done this logging exercise, but now I'm going to. If I'm really brave, I'll post my hourly log in this blog. But first, the thing I want to say about diligence, for all you hard-working, over-scheduled 21st century over-achievers, is that resting is doing something. Let me say that again. Resting is doing something. Sometimes the thing we need to find to do is just stop, and rest, and recover. And sometimes the thing we need to do is get off our asses and write that screenplay, or bake bread, or make that scary phone call, or go for a run. But sometimes, we need to rest. This morning I got up at 4 AM because I am going to go swim in the Hudson for the first time ever, and then I'm going to have brunch with Eric and Jessica (who I have never yet met) -- and after that, I am going to rest. Come on over if you want. I'll be on the couch.


  1. Yes, resting is essential, else why would we lie down once a day/night and sleep? Also, no is a complete sentence. Oprah said that. Just as important as learning to rest our bodies is learning to say "no" when we need to not take on one more thing, no matter how much we want to please others. No is a complete sentence.

  2. Or please ourselves! (I have a hard time with setting my own limits.)