2 min read
THE UPSIDE OF DOWNTIME
KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 'DONE' AND 'FINISHED.'
WORK GETS DONE. ART GETS FINISHED.
If we all get one thing done each day, over enough time there’s a chance one might get finished.
Raise your mind’s hand if you got one singular thing done yesterday; one entire listicle, to completion, with no loose ends left for you to tie up; no fallout trickling down after the big bang.
Uh, that thing you pictured the instant I asked? It wouldn’t be robbing your attention if it were finished.
So, stop counting that thing.
Doing things — not to be confused with their sexier cousin, finishing things — is what happens on the all-too-frequent days we wake up, move around, then go to bed feeling no more or less tired at the day's end.
The existence of that monotonous feeling is a pretty good sign you didn’t accomplish squat.
Finishing isn’t about doing. And working isn't about hammering away at whatever thing feels like the work. It’s about doing the work.
What happens when you think you’re doing the work, but you’re really not? Suffering isn't the perfect word, but it's the first that came to mind.
The amount of good we accomplish in a day is how people measure one another. Put another way, that’s how you determine the degree of certainty you can predict a person will efficiently use the space you give them. Same goes for the amount of time you give them.
Fun fact: space and time are literally the same thing.
Our days aren't measured by the amount of stress we feel at the end; but rather, by the work you finished. I'll even take that a step further: if your day is measured, you're doing it wrong.
Judge a day by the number of musicians you helped play their instruments in better harmony. Judge it by the number of dance partners you choreographed to sync their larger patterns together. Judge it by the number of things you felt that feel good.
Then, the next time you’re basking in the afterglow when a thing is truly finished, consider how many years that didn’t have to take.
When you’re back, imagine a world where that only took a single day.
A world where your group of people meets each morning, circles one thing, then does it.
If we finished more things, we could stop doing all this nonsense that isn’t the work.
If you’re confused about what the work is, use the rule of thumb that anytime the work becomes keeping track of the work, that’s definitely not the work.
Try doing something else, maybe?
And that brings me to my last question.
Your hand still up?