Anxiety, Deadlines, and Productivity
I am very grateful to take a walk outdoors without wearing a mask. Grateful as well to have an intimate dinner with my wife and one of our favorite couples—fully vaccinated times four. Plus we had a vigorous in-person gathering of a small group that had not met for the past year, mainly because our convener (that would be me) is Zoom averse.
Things are going well. And yet …
I feel anxious, crowded for time, unable to take up familiar tasks and complete them with dispatch. As my deadline approached, I did not know what this column would be about. And then I realized that I had set up a “Big Huzzah” heralding a podcast about anxiety as the pandemic loosens its grip. Without listening to the podcast, or even reading the summary of its high points. And now, having blown one deadline, I do not have time to listen. But I do have time to weigh how this kind of anxiety has deep roots in my life, going far back to the long-ago days when I had never encountered the word pandemic.
I know this anxiety is personal. It has its roots somewhere in my early family life (and maybe before then, thanks to the mysterious phenomenon of karma). Anxiety took root in my quarter-century as a journalist. For me, deadlines were definitely a motivator. But they also brought anxiety. They had to be met. I have no idea how many times I dragged myself into the office when I preferred to stay home sick in bed. They seem innumerable.
Because I understand deadlines, I invoked them when I set up this blog. Oh, I know that many bloggers post only when they have something to say. That isn’t me. I always have something to say. The trouble lies in deciding which subjects are ready to be addressed in a reasonably succinct fashion. And, of course, written with dispatch. In many ways I like deadlines. I hope my readers are loyal. I have a better chance at that if the blog is delivered on a reasonably reliable schedule. If I keep my deadlines, my co-administrator can count on a stream of income. (And hey, delivery here is only one day late!)
So this new, extended deadline is about to run out. In 45 minutes, I have to leave to meet a chiropractic appointment. Must send this first, so Vida can put it together and we can consult later in the day. And I won’t have as much time as usual to pore over this column as the compulsive fiddler I am.
When I return, I will listen to the podcast. I will remind myself that I have plenty of time for meeting deadlines. I will listen to the doctor’s TED talk. I am retired. I have nothing but time, It’s just that I must adopt habits that make better use of it.
Epistles Featured in this Keyboard
My Primitive Search Engine
From the beginning last July, I wished this blog could have its own search engine. The designer said it wasn’t a good idea, but I couldn’t tell whether she was REALLY telling me it was not possible. So I am trying to make this so rudimentary even I can use it: Here is a way to use your browser:
1. Copy of the address of this blog, which is:
2. Paste that address into your search engine. Pay attention! One of my browsers tends to delete the https://, and then announces that the page could not be found. So I had to retype the missing code.
3.Type your search term into your browser, say: Miss Otis. (that is the
nom de blog I have given the element of my blog—and my internal process—related to my diagnosis of “mild cognitive impairment.”
4. Hit Enter, and presto! Your browser should display multiple pages, including links to the two epistles I have posted about Miss Otis, plus a couple more of my posts, the Wikipedia entry on Miss Otis, some other Miss Otis questions one might want to ask.
GIMME SHELTER Even in befriending a tame chipmunk, we can glimpse important truths about reshaping relations between species. Mary Strachan Scriver
Give us our Daily Frog. How the species cycling through the seasons, bring meaning to everyday life. Mimi Simmons
The Big Huzzah
What neuroscience tells us about anxiety in times like these.
A Slightly Smaller Huzzah
Til next time …
Take time to appreciate the beauty of this accelerated Spring.