“How long does it take you to write it?” That’s what people ask me about the High Five when I’m at parties. Their faces screwed up in concern and maybe a little bit of horror.
But, it doesn’t take me long - maybe an hour, two at the most. And it’s always time well spent. The fun part for me is never knowing what I’m going to write until it’s written. I experienced this before when I wrote a blog called “The Belly Chronicles” 15 years ago. It was my attempt to keep a journal through MK’s pregnancy with Emma. I wrote a little something every few days and each time it was the same - empty page, blinking cursor, no ideas. So I’d just start typing and some time later it’d be done.
There are always a few minutes of blank-page panic but then I just get on with it. It’s not an easy thing, necessarily, but all I really do is show up and listen. Once I’m really quiet and really present, the High Five mostly takes care of itself.
Writing the High Five helps me focus. I believe focus, or attention, or presence, or whatever you’d like to call it, is critical to a life well-lived. That’s why I linked you last week to an article challenging the productivity myth of multitasking. I just don’t believe “focused” multitasking is a real thing. Just like you can’t show up to two places at once.
In Praise of the Quiet Life, is a great little 5-minute video that gets to the point better than I can. I’m not suggesting anything radical. I am suggesting you might be surprised by what you find when you make room for truly focused time.
- I know. You’re busy. But too many of us run around like we are too busy to pay attention to life. What can you do, besides cancelling your newsletter subscriptions, to make time for the people you love and the projects you care about?
- Get down to the business of focusing. Try putting this relaxing 3-hour screensaver on your computer some time. I’ll put this on in the background at the office when I know I have to bang out a lot of paperwork. Be careful though. We’re going for concentration - not sleep.
- There are many ways to show up and get quiet. Nothing focuses my mind like a heavy barbell on my back. (By the way, I’ve been enjoying my new AdiPower Weightlifting Shoes. I’m a long-bodied lifter with flexibility issues and the elevated heel on these suckers makes it a lot easier for me to maintain good position when I front or back squat.) I don’t listen to music when I lift. Are you kidding me? Lifting weights is a moving meditation.
- When it’s time to step back into your big, beautiful, noisy lives - and don’t get me wrong, I love the loud parts too - try cranking up Your Best American Girl, by Mitski, this weekend. I think she’s great.
And that’s this week’s High Five - written in a contemplative hour. Edited in 30 minutes. Delivered hot and fresh to your inbox.