The unrefined art of the balance

“The perfect balance of challenge and skill.” I’d rather like to call that riding one-legged on a rail you can’t stop.

Do you know the feeling of going so fast that you don’t have time to look up at where you’re heading? It takes a master to lift their head up for that crucial second, and here meant, a day off the grid. But it’s not easy. Email push notifications on your iOS 5, scheduled conf calls -12h from your time zone, Airbnb rental reviews, articles to publish, never-ending to-do list. Got the point? Laundry is peanuts here.

One day, I was thinking of taking kickboxing on again. I had somehow managed to steam out for a 12K run, and kept biking from meeting to meeting, and as I couldn’t move my legs anymore, my head was still running at 6K RPM. I was so pissed off for letting people let me down. Trusting people too easy [again]. But what’s there to do? Without faith, one is dead.

Then again.. Developers love problems, right? Problem solving is why devs like what they do- problems and challenges, and building something new that never existed. If you’re just fixing other people’s sh** and doing monotonous robot jobs, (you could write a script for it I guess), it’s no fun. So, why am I doing what I do? Or you? Cause you love the thrill. It’s just, that sometimes I feel like the thrill turns to a Google earth picture where you see yourself, and then suddenly it zooms out real fast until you’re so small that you get lost in the universe.

[Which can be magical, if you’re with Nancy Ellen Abrams – watch this.]

I am being honest here, there’s a lot going on. Like I’m sure you have too, and you’re wondering if you want to finish reading this before shuffling through your tabs and emails. You should. What’s two minutes?

So I’ll tell you how I’m navigating away from all the bad feelings one gets overworked.

Being happy:

To be happy, you don’t need anything at all. You just need to notice exactly what you have. You have to think you’re happy in order to be happy. Life is Good. It really is. Think. Would you change places?

Look up. Jump and hop. Smile. You can’t feel bad anymore.

Think like a 4-year old. Be curious. Discover.

Problem solving I: 

This is from the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (also. You should read it.)
“Zen Buddhist monks meditate on Koans (question or statement that can’t be understood logically) as a way to abandon dependence on reason in their pursuit of enlightenment”.  e.g. Virginia Woolf: ‘She always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day’.

I can’t master this art yet, so I’m trying the Elon Musk tactic. As in, what if everything was possible and there were no restrictions, what would I build? Like, what would be an evolved alternative to the Internet? (It has been here since the 60’s, if you didn’t notice.)

Problem solving II: 

Just do it.

Nothing is going to take that pending thing off the list unless you do. Just do it quick. If you are procrastinating all the time, you might want to have a think if what you’re doing is what you want to do, or are you waisting your time, skills and mind.

Time management: 

A good friend of mine had wise words last Sunday, as I was going up the wall for not remembering those follow-ups, looking desperately at a pile of business cards that had been laying on the corner of my sofa for two weeks, waiting for action. (I dragged them in my bag for a week until I noticed I didn’t have time to go through them anyway.) He asked: “What’s the worst thing that could happen, if you never reacted to those cards?” When I realized I dug my own grave again. Nothing. I can find the people again, and they can find me. (Sorry.) Lesson learned: don’t do everything at once, don’t do everything and don’t be that harsh a judge on yourself.

Time management II: 

Schedule time for yourself. Really. If it’s yoga, run, reading, a walk, whatever. Sometimes, lose your charger for a day.

Time management III (mental health): 

Make to-do lists that you’re able to accomplish. You know the Nike fuelbands? It seems lots of people hit their goals almost every day. And it makes them happy.

Reminding yourself to be happy: 

Make others happy. Leave post-its. Make coffee. Laugh. Be happy, and others will be.

Once in a while, I see that I make time to do crafts, paint, sew and play. Or I hang the stuff I made up. It makes me happy. Accomplishments, what ever they are. I glued Marimekko’s mantras on my analog self-made calendar. AH! The joy. The front page one says:

Hidasta. Halaa. Hihittele. Hassuttele. Hellitä. Hymyile.

Slow down. Hug. Giggle. Goof around. Let go. Smile. Read the above out loud.

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