Back to reality, here comes gravity

I was in the art class, looking at the naked model in front of me. The quiet chorus of titillation had dulled into a few red faces of the owners of the easels on the outskirts.

The teacher walked around the room, ‘Look at him, draw him as you see the body, not as you think you see the body.’ It made no sense as I stared at his body for what felt like an age. The muscles in his back, the lines of his sides, and shape of his shoulders all seemed unfamiliar.

‘Draw what you see, not what you think you see.’

Stop thinking and draw, I told myself silently.

My eyes barely left his body as I drew, eye to hand, hand to eye. Not looking, not judging, just recording.

Soon I dropped the paper to the ground and started a new version of the body. The teacher walked past.

‘Who did that?’ He asked.

‘Me.’

‘Really?’

‘Yes.’

I think it was the first time in my life I haven’t second guessed my ability and actually performed the act of illustrating what was in front of me, and not drawing what I thought I knew. I recorded what was in front of me, not assumed the shape. The second time was when I wrote my first two books.

We draw and write what we think we know. We assume and presume about what is happening based on our own experience and historical data stored in our brain. Once the brain has established the facts that there is a man in front of me that I am supposed to draw, it relies on old data to record it onto the paper.  Your brain has so much to process every day, it makes do by guessing much of what is happening around you, which is where the neurological theory of perception and guesstimation/belief comes from, and the theory that perception is hindsight, meaning, you thought an event would happen the way it has, even though there is little evidence of it happening, besides your own belief based on data stored in the brain.

Our bodies and brains are trying to process a flood of data every millisecond. Are we cold, hungry, thirsty? Aching, sad, happy, aroused, excited, bored, worried? There is so much to take in that scientists believe we only process about 1/18th of what is happening at any one moment, and the rest we just make up, according to history, beliefs, and experience. So often, we miss the reality, and actually just make it all up what we perceive to be the reality.

So, what if we stopped over stimulating our brains? What if we took some time out from social media, scrolling through updates on Facebook, or scanning news headlines constantly, that we put on music and turned off the radio in the car. That we looked at the sunset and not the billboard that’s screaming at us to read it. What if we read a book for more than ten pages at a time. That we truly looked at the man’s body, or the child’s face, and we wrote down, or drew what was there, instead of what we thought was there?

What if we listened for a moment and didn’t mine our own lives for an anecdote that outdid the storyteller. What if we asked a question instead? What if we honored the muse and stopped when the sentence came into out head and wrote it down?

I waste time on social media. I share things that aren’t interesting to anyone else or post to assuage my ego. I share as procrastination. I share because I assume and presume and I share because I’m lazy.

So I’m taking a break from sharing. I’m taking a break from scrolling. And I’m taking a break from guessing and spending some time trying to find my benevolentia again.

En avant.

 

 

 

 

Confessions Of A Time Management Addict

I love time management. I love learning about new ways of getting more out of the time you have, and I love trying these systems.

While I don’t always stick to them, I do think it’s good to have a few tricks up your sleeve for when things require a certain type of approach. Here are a few that I use and the circumstances in which I use them.

Here are a few that I use and the circumstances in which I use them.

Pomodoro Technique

No, this isn’t a type of passata receipt used only in tomato season, it is the time management system that works when you are having trouble concentrating, or have a huge, single task ahead of you. Works for writing, studying and even cleaning. Any task that will do your head in if you work on it for a long period of time requires this approach. It’s a brain trainer . So how to do it?

So, how do you get cooking with this tomato clock?

  • Choose a task to be accomplished
  • Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer, use your phone or an online countdown)
  • Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
  • Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
  • Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break

Kanban Board

(*Play from .32 secs so you don’t have to listen to crap at the start. you’re welcome.)

This process works really when you have multiple things to do during the day. It was developed for Toyota line-workers to signal the steps in their manufacturing process. This is an easy, one glance system that allows you to see what needs to be done and when and reduces time wasting. I used this last week when I had over 30 tasks to do and was feeling overwhelmed. While it looked someone basic, as I didn’t use a board, I used a large sheet of A3 paper and some sticky notes, I got through it all! It’s kind of addictive to move your task from To Do, then Doing, then finally to Done.

So, how do you use this magic board?

  • Get a board of a large sheet of paper
  • Write down all your tasks on sticky notes
  • Put them in the To Do list column
  • Work on each task and move to each column accordingly

Bullet Journal

This one is for everyday use. It creates a boundary for your day, so you don’t overbook and you can keep track of your life.  For those who know me well, they know I am a huge and loud advocate of the bullet journal. So what is it?

A bullet journal is just a notebook that accommodates a huge variety of planning schemes. You can create calendars and to-do lists, and you can also use it as a diary, a brainstorming notepad, and more. If you’ve ever bought a planner, but didn’t love the design of the pre-printed pages, the bullet journal is your opportunity to make a planner that fits the way your brain works.

The video that launched the bullet journal craze describes a set of conventions that many, but not all, bullet journalers stick to. You create an index to help you find things, a few pages that help you plan the year, and a two-page spread for important dates and tasks for each month. (Many bullet journalers also do a spread for each week.) Then, you write down each day’s plans and events in the form of bulleted lists — hence the name.

I love my Bullet Journal as it’s personal. I can make it what I want and I can pick it up and use it as I nee.  I’m a list maker and I love pens and stationery, so it satisfies both parts of me.

And that’s it for now. I know there are lots of apps but I am a simple soul and these all work for me.

 

 

 

 

 

Before I speak, I have something important to say.

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