how to have more time than you know what to do with

how to have more time than you know what to do with

getting shit done, chapter 14: email

ok, so having more time than you know what to do with. today i didn’t check my email.

that’s it. i didn’t check my email. i worked on a poster, i edited some video, i looked up the weather. i didn’t check my email. i met with a friend, i did some writing, i met with another friend, i did some reading, i ate some food, i went to work, i paid some bills, i played my ukulele, i called some friends, and i had SO MUCH TIME! as the day wore on, i found myself pulled more and more toward the email. it felt kind of like yom kippur (the one day every year jews fast and pray all day and atone for our sins). sort of holy, sort of empty, sort of reflective, sort of humbling. every time i defeated the urge to check my email, i felt triumphant, and ready to take on the world, and maybe first check my email. because i miss the spam. i miss getting hounded with a days worth of ads for cialis and hoodia and junk bonds. i miss knowing i clicked to saved the polar bear and the alaskan wildlife and the first amendment. i miss getting the lowdown about registering my cell phone on the do not call list. i miss the seven emails from the class clown in the comedy newsgroup who has to make fun of the spelling mistake in the last post. i miss those emails from people i never see and wouldn’t call (because they lie just beyond that realm of relate-ability) who want to say a long lost hello. i miss clicking. i’ve never smoked a cigarette, but i imagine the act of clicking ‘get mail’ has a really similar effect on the brain. i guess with a cigarette, it’s like you’re always getting new mail.

the art of getting shit done is really about getting shit done so you can experience life. what are we trying to get at here? we’re getting at letting go of the shit we didn’t want to do in the first place but somehow felt obligated to in order to get to the shit we want to do. i like to ask myself, ‘what’s essential?’ i like to ask myself this question on a regular basis, and be brutally honest and yet deeply compassionate with myself at the same time (which i’m about to do for you now, because i’m an artist and i consider it my job to expose my thought process to the light of day for various reasons).

so why am i doing what i’m doing at this moment? what’s the purpose of this action? how am i feeling at this moment? what’s the purpose of this feeling? (right now, i’m thinking i want to raise my level of awareness by writing about this, but i’m also thinking, maybe people will read it and identify with it and like me. and what’s the purpose of that? if they like me, will i then feel ok? nope. won’t change anything. ok, then is the writing of this worth doing in itself?) i don’t change anything. i just ask. the other day i went to rainbow grocery to get some fruit-sweetened chocolate malt balls and some lunch. it was very important. it was in the middle of my day. i needed to eat, but did i need to go all the way to rainbow? how much writing time did i use on that trip? i still went. this is what’s new: i was conscious. and i didn’t even eat the malt balls until yesterday. and fuck, they were fruit-sweetened. can i get any healthier?

About Administrator

Alicia Dattner is a comedian and speaker who jousts with such topics of love, time-management, money, environmentalism, politics, spirituality, and creativity. Her first solo show, The Punchline, recently won Best of the Fringe in the San Francisco Fringe Festival 2008. Her second show, Eat Pray Laugh won Best Storyteller at the NY United Solo Festival. Her company, Making Light, is dedicated to bringing humor and lightness into spirituality, relationship, and every day life.

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