I don’t seem to be writing blog posts any more – at least not many compared to previous years. I was pondering why I was so uninspired to write.
We have done many interesting crafts and activities. We have gone on some adventures. I have done several small and large play space modifications. Yet, I have done very few posts about any of these things.
Is it a result of the pandemic? Maybe, though most of the restrictions have had very little impact on my day-to-day work life which is why there should be more posts to write. So, why am I not writing them?
Is it lack of time? Maybe, though I have always had long work hours and still managed to find time to write blog posts. Sure, sometimes I have a lot of bookkeeping work that is more urgent/time sensitive so blog posts have to wait. I have recently begun a couple of new projects that had necessary writing components but nothing that required vast amounts of time.
All of the committees I volunteer on have been meeting virtually – this has actually decreased the time commitment. There is no traveling time to/from the meetings and virtual meetings tend to be shorter than in-person ones which have more social interactions. Virtual ones are less fun though – often frustrating – and even somewhat depressing.
So maybe it isn’t the lack of actual time available outside my regular work and volunteer commitments that is the issue. Maybe the problem is the increased screen time. I have always struggled to stay focused on a screen for any length of time. I can’t fathom how teachers and students of any age can manage with online learning exclusively – even briefly. I personally would find it impossible. I struggle to focus on watching or listening to anything on a screen without something hands on to do.
I haven’t gone to a movie theater in over 30 years because there is no way I can sit in a seat though a whole movie with no commercial breaks or pause button. I don’t binge watch anything – in fact, I have some of my exercise equipment handy so I can keep ‘busy’ (active) while watching TV. Plus, I’m often baking things as well – hence the need for the commercial breaks and pause button. I’ve been known to wander away, get busy elsewhere and forget I was supposed to be watching something.
Of course, if too much screen time is the problem then going outside is the solution. Screen time can be overstimulating – a sensory overload that zaps creativity. Most certainly I will be much happier outside but not necessarily more productive. Yes, going outside is refreshing and offers a ‘reset’ when I am overwhelmed or stressed, but does not always help me focus.
Outside I can can completely lose track of time, daydreaming, getting lost in my imagination. It is a wonderful place for reflection, and wonder but there are far too many distractions for me to stay focused on an activity like writing a blog post. In fact, just writing about going outside is currently distracting be from finishing this post.
Outdoors is relaxing – an opportunity to unwind and feel grounded. Working in the garden, exploring the neighbourhood or going on long hikes provide connections to nature. So many things to hear, see, smell and feel. None of these activities feel like exercise to me. Even very physical outdoor activities like shoveling snow or completing major landscaping projects don’t feel as strenuous as a gym workout.
So, maybe I’ve now figured out what the problem is…
The gym is closed – and even for the brief periods they have been allowed to open, they had limited hours and did not open early enough for me to go. Many years ago, when I first joined a gym, I went in the evening after work. I quickly discovered that this was a bad idea. After a high intensity workout I am so energized that there is absolutely no chance I would be going to bed any time soon. For a morning person like me, late nights mean no sleep at all since I simply cannot sleep past dawn and actually prefer to get up before the sun.
So, for me, the best time for a visit to the gym is 4 or 5 AM several times each week. High intensity cardio between sets of weight training and my mind is racing – writing posts, planning activities and designing spaces – and it keeps going all day long, The limited space and equipment I have available at home just doesn’t provide the same opportunity for this type of workout.
Hence, I feel lazy, unmotivated and unable to focus. I am still getting things done but it is taking me a lot longer. This simple blog post has taken several hours over many days. I could normally finish a post like this in under an hour after an invigorating morning gym workout.
Early morning is my most productive period and that is the part of my daily routine that has been significantly disrupted. It is the high intensity morning workout that I need to kick-start my day and improve my ability to focus.