All month long I clip websites, videos, and articles that I find interesting. And then at the end/beginning of each month I share them all here! (Only I missed last month — I was a bit busy wrapping up life at Mars Hill — so this is a double post.) Enjoy!
Theology is always on my mind, the natural byproduct of six years working at a church, 18 credits left in an MDiv, and a wife who is a pastor. This month I discovered Sally McFague and her wonderful work on metaphorical theology, I found a excellent post on feminine images for God (a much needed conversation in the church), and I wrote a lament called I Can’t Find Thee for my worship class (another conversation/experience the church desperately needs).
For the past few years I’ve said that I want to be a writer when I grow up. And it’s still true. (I’m currently looking through MFA programs at various universities.) In the past couple months Lifehack taught me to write, write again, and write one more time while the 99% gave me a slew of tips from writers on becoming a better writer.
While much of my life is filled with theology and writing, most of my life and work falls under the categories of creativity, design, and productivity. In the past couple months Roberto Verganti reminded me that an innovators role is making people fall in love with something they never asked for, Project Glass made me consider switching from sides in the ongoing Apple/Android battle, the 99% reminded me of the key to creating remarkable things, I caught a glimpse of J.K. Rowling’s creative process – from 30,000 feet it looks like art; from the ground it looks like a to-do list, I tripped over the obvious: design matters, I read a post that I wish all my professors would read, and Study Hacks reminded me that the feeling of flow is different than the feeling of getting better.
I’m a seven. So fun is may natural habitat. And in the past two months I found a bit of fun on the world wide web. I discovered that google can sink as well as search, hipsters can have their own (analogue) habit app, I don’t need to wait for the movie (or Netflix mini-season) for more Arrested Development fun, and this is how you get more likes on Facebook. (I should probably say something about cage-fighting nuns and tanks now.)
We all have favorite blogs. And my favorite bloggers threw down some pretty fantastic posts in the past eight weeks. From Rent to the breath of God to living for everyone else to a story catcher to the art of presence to a god with a heartbeat (or the 31 posts I wrote in April and May like this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this – ten bonus ninjas if you read them all; fifty if you read all 31).
I thought about categorizing all my favorite videos. Three of them are my new favorite music videos (well, one is more “unique” than “favorite”) . One is the proposal I wish I’d thought of. One is just amazing to watch. And so is the other one. You can find them all on their respective YouTube/Vimeo homes via the links in the last sentence. Or just keep scrolling down to view them all here.
How many times a day do you check your email?
And how many devices do you check it on?
My answer to both is “way too many.”
I remember my first email account. Thanks to juno.com and a 56k modem, I could talk to anyone, anywhere. And in a world before Skype, Facebook, and the ubiquity of cell phones, this actually meant something. And I actually did, emailing people long and thought out letters. Receiving an email had the same excitement as receiving a personal letter in the mail. But then someone invented SPAM and you receive the same forwarded message three times (and even though you were warned against it, you always scrolled down to see what surprise was waiting for you). And suddenly email was changed forever.
Now we live in a world where fax machines are nearly extinct and I can receive email in my pocket at speeds that make my family’s first computer look like a bike with flat tires riding up hill (56k modem, remember). Thanks to gmail I can filter (most of) the unwanted clutter from my inbox. Email becomes synonymous with communication. And rather than checking my email with the thrill of going to the mailbox on your birthday, I find myself trembling to see just how high the little red number has climbed.
And then there’s the problem of checking it constantly. Because someone might have something to say to me. And I must hear it. Right now. (Because if it’s truly urgent I’m sure they would send an email rather than call or text, right?) I find myself robotically pulling my phone out of my pocket, unlocking the screen, and tapping the tiny blue “mail” icon. And then moments later I do it again. And again. And again. Or if I’m being honest, I usually rotate between email and Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and then back again. It’s my own personally spiral of distraction.
I will be working on a project (or trying to start working on one) but tell myself I should probably check my email first. And so I do, getting a little narcissist high with every new message in my inbox. Most of them end up archived or in the trash, but one of them might actually be worth reading. So I’ll put it in my “Reply” folder and read it later. I can’t read my email now when there’s so much more email to check!
Another email is full of links to videos to watch or things that will make my life complete and lead to my utmost contentment. So I’m off, opening a dozen tabs, each full of links to a dozen more tabs, and suddenly my email binge results in thirty minutes of not starting whatever I’m supposed to be working on.
Or when I finally do start working on something I’m convinced I feel my phone vibrate, even though I turn off push notifications so my phone rarely vibrates. Ignoring the common sense that my phone only tells me I have an email when I ask it, I check anyway. And lo-and-behold, a little red number appears! Somebody loves me! The vibration I thought I felt must have been a premonition or some psychic connection to whoever (or whatever – usually a whatever – the joy of automated mailing lists) is sending me a message.
What do you do when something designed for productivity becomes a distraction?
I’ve been a long time proponent and user of inbox zero. And I’ve read a handful of articles on limiting the number of times you check your email but I’ve never been able to impart this discipline in my life. Darn robotic thumbs checking my email without letting me know it.
And so as a part of my #5daysinarow project I’m taking on my email
addiction habit. Instead of my “refresh whenever I have five seconds to spare” posture, I am only checking my email three times a day: morning, early afternoon, and evening. (“3mail,” get it?) Because if it really is that urgent, they really will call or text. Rather than death by email, I want to focus my time and attention (both of which are limited resources and only one of which I can control).
While not always a smart move on the poker table, it is how I want to live my life.
Why hold anything back? I want to be all in.
I want to give everything I’ve got, everywhere I am.
When I’m with my wife, I want to be fully with my wife.
When I’m with my friends, I want to be fully with my friends.
When I’m writing something for class (or reading something another classmate has written),
I want to be all in.
When I’m at work with my interns or residents or coworkers or my own ideas,
I want to be all in.
When I’m home by myself, reading a book or playing a game or editing photos or building a website or watching another episode of Battlestar Galactica,
I want to be fully present. I want to smile; I want to breathe; I want to go slowly.
While it might be be possible to multi-task, I want to single-do.
Whatever I’m doing,
I want to be all in.
Get every new post delivered to your Inbox
Join other followers