Procrastination and productivity

As much as I like to make things, there have been some things that I’ve been putting off doing recently.  Although I’ve been getting everything done that’s needed for work, I’ve been putting off what feel like more non-essential things, even though these are often the tasks that are important to building a more resilient and sustainable life.  By and large these are relatively small things, but I put them off all the same.  I think I often convince myself that whatever I want to do will take a long time or be otherwise inconvenient, and so I let things sit.

In most cases, however, this is far from the truth.  To combat my procrastination I’ve been trying to do things that I would normally put off just as a matter of routine.  This means they get done quickly – usually the same day, if not as soon as I think of them – and often I find they don’t take anywhere near as long as I think they will.  In turn, this makes it more likely that I’ll keep up with the things that I want to or need to do.  It’s been a bit surprising to me how easy it is to fit in these smaller tasks.

This past week, I changed a flat tire on my bicycle, made sauerkraut, started ginger beer and sourdough starters, soaked beans for sprouting, and put together a sugar scrub and face masque for my sensitive and currently very unhappy skin.  The thing that took the longest was easily the sauerkraut, but even with the chopping and pounding down it took only around a half hour, perhaps a bit more with cleanup (cabbage everywhere).  Everything else took well under 15 minutes.

My recent schedule hasn’t left much time for anything other than work, but as things slow down and settle in a bit, it’s good to know that I can fit in some of the activities that I’ve been holding off on.  It’s important to me to know that I’m being at least a bit productive in ways that don’t involve work, and it’s felt really, really good to be able to accomplish some of these tasks in the free time that I have.

Independence days

I’ve been writing a lot this week, and while it feels good to be writing critically about consumerism, it’s also felt good to stop working for some more practical and tangible things around here.

Plant something: planted kale starts in my existing containers; transplanted some volunteer tomato seedlings; planted more lettuce seeds; sprouted a few different kinds of beans

Harvest something: mint for tea; chives, oregano, and basil for dinners; lettuce for salads

Preserve something: no preserving this week, but I’m trying to plan out a few things that I’d like to preserve, and getting the kitchen in shape for when that happens

Waste not: trash picked a wooden chair and a bucket to add to my container garden; fed veggie scraps to the worms; reorganizing the kitchen to help prevent food waste; pulled out some close to expiring food to use

Want not: cutting back on spending this month so I can add to my savings account and contribute a bit more to some projects I have in mind; stocked up on Dr. Bronner’s soap when it was on sale at the local health food store; accepted a few freebie books from a friend

Eat the food: making meals out of as many farmers’ market ingredients as I can – kholrabi, carrot, and broccoli salad, potato and radish top soup, roasted veggies with pasta, Chinese broccoli on rice, chevre and tomato sandwiches

Build community food systems: shopping at the market and chatting with farmers about food issues; looking into joining the local transition/post-peak oil group

Skill up: more knitting and baking; learning how to work with sourdough and make ginger beer; reading up on herbal medicine

Beyond the independence days things, I’m still biking and walking a lot and trying to make sure I get – and stay – in good shape.  I’ve been thinking a lot more than usual about food and healthy eating, and I’m looking forward to shaping up the kitchen so that it’s easier to work in and I’m using food in the best ways that I can.  Along the same lines, I’m also still working on the apartment, and trying to make sense of what should stay and what should go, what we need, and how we can best use the space since there are just so many things that we do here.  I’m convinced there’s room enough for all the things I want to do, I just have to figure out the best ways to make things work.

Independence days

Despite being waylaid for a few days with a particularly nasty sinus headache, I’ve gotten a few things done around here under the Independence Days umbrella.  I seem to be especially focused on food, and it’s been lovely to spend more time gardening, cooking, baking, and shopping at the market, all of which has left us with an abundance of food and a lot of really, really tasty meals.

Plant something: started sprouts from mung beans; added three new containers of lettuce and peas (for the shoots) to the container garden

Harvest something: gathering wild yeast in my new sourdough and ginger beer starters

Preserve something: no preserving this week, sadly

Waste not: made a number of thrift store purchases this week – bowls (to replace a few broken ones), handmade pottery, a skein of Canadian wool, a large storage jar, another vintage wool blanket (it’s really as much a collection as anything else, at this point), three shallow plastic bins to add to my patio container garden, and copies of Forest Farming and World Vegetarian (which has been on my Amazon wish list for over two years now).

Want not: bought some extra seeds to have on hand; stocked up on brown rice and some dried beans; cleared out stored food to put into rotation

Eat the food: tried a few new recipes this week – cheddar biscuits, butter chickpeas – and ate a lot of salads and fresh farmers’ market fare

Build community food systems: more shopping at the market and chatting with farmers

Skill up: still working on improving my knitting; working to improve our bread baking and our favourite bagel recipe

Beyond these things, I’ve still been biking and walking everywhere, which feels great and keeps getting easier over time.  I’ve also been getting in some runs, so I’m feeling a lot fitter than I have in awhile.  In terms of home, I’ve been working hard to get the apartment decluttered and cleaned up, since it’s long overdue and I’m not really known for my extreme tidiness.  There’s a lot of stuff to get rid of, so we’ve been loading up the cart once or twice a week and schlepping things up to Goodwill – this, I assume, is my penance for bringing too much stuff home in the first place.  And, on a somewhat related topic, I’ve been noticing that in the summer, when it’s nice and I’m off work, I go to the thrift store more often than I normally would.  This is something that I think I’m going to consciously cut back on again – perhaps with a no spend challenge for July.

Independence days

Due to a sudden job interview that required some prep time, I was a bit off my independence days game this week and didn’t get nearly as much done as I wanted.  On the positive side, I generally seem to be a good deal more aware of what I’m doing and why, and I’m consciously spending more time working on activities that will should help to make us a little bit more independent – every bit counts.

Plant something: planted more lettuce and cress

Harvest something: chives, basil, oregano, mint, and lettuce

Preserve something: froze rhubarb

Waste not: fed the worms produce scraps; bought a secondhand shirt and a handmade pottery bowl from the thrift store

Want not: stocked up on dried lentils and dried fruit

Eat the food: tried a new recipe nearly daily, including homemade pizza, corn and potato soup, tomato soup, buns, and strawberry-rhubarb pie

Build community food systems: shopped at the market; discussed food issues with friends; started planning food documentary screening; tried an independent local restaurant for dinner

Skill up: learned how to change bicycle tires; getting back to knitting (slowly, this time – no more starting with a sweater right off the bat)

In addition to these activities, I’ve gotten back to commuting on my bike, and I’m working to get in better shape than I currently am by biking, walking, strength training, and getting in some yoga.  I’m also spending some time meditating daily, in an attempt to quell some of the worry and anxiety that is a pretty regular feature of my life.  In an effort to make more room for these different activities, I’m actively trying to clear out and reorganize the apartment, and I’ve put together a pretty sizable donation pile – hopefully the first of a few – that’s ready to go out the door.

For next week, I’m planning on planting some more chard and perhaps some kale.  I’d like start preserving herbs early this year, so I don’t have such a glut right at the end of the summer, so I hope to get that going.  I also have some research that I want to do about a few different purchases that I’ve been considering, quite honestly, for what seems like forever.  And finally, In the interest of doing something a bit more entertaining, I’d like to spend some time learning to play the guitar again, and work on some folk songs to play and sing along to – although food’s crucial, music can be pretty important too.

 

 

Summer plans

Oh wow – it’s been a lot longer than I though since I’d last written anything.  Life, as usual, tends to get in the way, and I’ve been finishing up a very busy semester, attending a conference, visiting family in New York, and just generally trying to get things in order around here as I try to sort some things out and think some things through – you know, all the deep, heavy, thought provoking stuff.

Technically, I’ve been “off” work for awhile now, although I’ve spent a good bit of time catching up on various things.  The rest of the time, I’ve been thinking about next steps and how I want to spend the summer.  For the first time in…well, forever, quite possibly, I’m not working for someone else through the summer doing research or editing a journal or planning a conference.  The shift is odd, and I’ve actually had a bit of a hard time settling in and figuring out what I want to do with myself, but it’s nice to have a bit of flexibility and freedom.

I have some work to do around redeveloping courses, learning some new technologies, and writing, writing, writing, but my time is a good deal less scheduled, which is both a pleasant shift and a bit of a difficulty since it’s easy to put things off for a bit. At the same time, I’m also trying to focus on many of the more personal things that I let slide this year.  But with this sudden wealth of time – especially coming after what’s been a fairly challenging year – I’ve found myself thinking more about what I want to do than actually doing it.  Given my startling realization earlier today that mid-June has somehow snuck up on me, I’ve decided that I’ve done quite enough thinking and actually need to act to get something done.  This is true of work tasks, but also true of the many things I want to do around family, friends, food, health, and generally taking a bit of time for me.

So, from here on in, it’s action time again.  Papers will be written.   Container gardens will be planted.  Bread will be baked. Technology will be learned.   Socks will be knit.  Books will be read.  Time will be spent with friends.  Food will be preserved.  And the summer will continue to feel too short, but at the very least I’ll have done something with it, and will hopefully feel a whole lot better about how I spent my time when September finally rolls around.