A Day Off the Social Media Grid

This morning I received an email from Derek Sivers alerting me to a new blog post of his, as I sometimes do, since I am a subscriber to his blog. The topic of his post was “Saying no to everything else.” You should go read it here for a little background on what I am about to describe below. It’s a sort of sequel or corollary to a prior post of his entitled “No more yes. It's either HELL YEAH! or no” (quick recap…only say HELL YEAH to things you feel really good about; decline everything else, even/especially mediocre stuff…something I wish my rock-n-roll bands would adhere to when booking gigs).

Basically, the thesis of today’s post is that if you want to get something done, eliminate everything else that does not contribute to getting it done. It’s fairly common sense advice. The brain has a finite bandwidth and there is really no such thing as multitasking, only serial monotasking, which is highly inefficient for reasons beyond the scope of this post. In Derek’s piece, he refers to a person who wanted to write a book and be an author, but never quite got around to it for a long time because of something called THE RESISTANCE (essentially fear-based procrastination). The person finally eliminated all other distractions and wrote the gosh darn book. Now the person is a fairly well respected author (I read his book The War ofArt, about RESISTANCE). Taken to its logical conclusion, one should theoretically quit their job, unless their job is leading them to goal fulfillment (and making money to pay bills is certainly a worthy goal, I suppose). But that’s also a topic beyond the scope of this post.

I have been frustrated lately because I have no been achieving all of my music practice and performance goals. Other things get in the way quite a bit more often than I like. The longer my musical TO DO list gets, the more anxiety I feel. Now some of the distractions are totally in my control, like surfing social media and the Internet or watching TV. Others are only partially in my control. I have to go to work in order to get paid, for example. But my job is not in any way related to my artistic music goals, other than underwriting them financially, and that’s a conundrum.

Long story short, tomorrow I am taking a personal day off from work and I will be sequestering myself in my music room, with the Internet turned OFF, to focus exclusively on my musical TO DO list. The only limitation on achieving this goal will be my old, sh!tty Mac laptop computer, which is super slow whenever I need it to be fast (it is reasonably speedy under normal circumstances, but seems to know when circumstances are more critical and thwarts me then). Well, there is one other slight caveat. A lot of the music I need to learn has been cataloged by my musical colleagues on the accursed FACEBOOK. So initially, I will need to enter the perilous labyrinth that is social media to secure the needed information, without succumbing to the siren song of extraneous Facebook memes. I am pretty sure I can do it. Wish me luck.

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