August 7, 2017 7:48 AM
Every time I re-enter Civilization I’m always hit with cultural shock and a mild depression. Though city and town folk are surrounded by the wonders and benefits of modern society—immersed in the benefits of urban consolidation—they all seem so stressed and dissatisfied. It’s nothing to pick up groceries or auto parts or home supplies or the mail. Stores to satisfy your every need and desire lie right around the corner. Urban dwellers have direct and practically immediate access to medical services and government benefits and employment and education and libraries and …. The world is the urban dweller’s oyster. Yet they all seem so unhappy and frustrated.
The answer is obvious to any modern-day hermit: Most people have too many desires. Desires arising from all the temptations of the modern world.
The other day I realized—to my surprise—that I have seven books listed on Amazon. How’d that happen? Many people would love to write a book, yet most never do. What was I doing differently? Why am I not proud of this? Why did it seem so effortless? So normal? So Eh, no big deal?
Because I know how to say one simple thing:
No. I’m sorry, but I can’t do what you want me to do because I am working on my One Big Project.
There’s a lot of information in that statement:
- I uni-task. I focus on One Big Project at a time. My default answer to any Big Project task is Yes, while my default answer to most other tasks or desires is No. I bend this rule all the time, but every time I do, I ask myself, “Is this worth it? Is what I’m tempted to do worth pushing back completing my One Big Project?”
- I focus on the benefits of the One Big Project. How’s it going to feel when I get this Project done? How’s it going to make my life better? How will it improve my emotional state? How much will it free up my time to do my Next Big Project? I write down the benefits directly under the title of the project in my task list/outline/project manager/bullet journal to remind me why I’m doing this Project.
- I set deadlines. I really hate this part, but if I don’t set a series of deadlines for myself, then I’ll just waste the morning—my most productive time—doing stuff that I’ll forget about by the afternoon (read the news, comment on Facebook, answer emails, …). I set multiple deadlines: A One Big Project deadline; a this Week’s tasks; and a Today’s tasks. On Mystical Oneness, I also had monthly deadlines (ie: Finish the Self Aspect by July).
- I don’t work too hard. If I work on my One Big Project between my first cup of coffee and lunch, then I take the rest of the day off and do whatever the hell I want. I plan my deadlines accordingly. This prevents burnout while still getting a lot done.
People all over the world are unhappy because they don’t feel like they are accomplishing anything. This is further exasperated by all the distractions and temptations of Urban Life and TV and Facebook and Dramatic News and Big Advertising and ….
I have it easier than most because I’m not surrounded by some of these temptations (though I know a lot of nomads who are constantly distracted by friends and the internet and hiking and seeing this place or all x states/national parks/viewpoints or…), but if you review the simple bullet-points above, you’ll see that—with a little will-power—you too can accomplish all your goals… One Big Project at a time.
Keep it simple. Stay focused. Uni-task. You’ll be a lot happier, far less stressed… and your life will be filled with purpose and satisfaction.
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