I spent much of last week doing the kind of ridiculous “work” that isn’t really work, it just feels sorta like work.

Evidence #1:

An image of a folder where the folder icon has been changed to a typewriter icon

Yes, I changed the icon on my Projects folder to a typewriter icon. Why did I think that was necessary? I don’t know, and it obviously wasn’t necessary exactly — it was just fun. I was on a big organizing, re-structuring of information binge and that was part of it. I also thoroughly cleaned out old files, with the exception of one dumping ground labeled The Archives, into which I put everything that fell into the category of “haven’t touched this in years, probably don’t need to ever touch it again, but not quite sure I should throw away…”

I had to call that folder “The Archives,” not just Archives, because I didn’t want it showing up at the top of my folders list, which was super annoying. And very much in the wheel-spinning category of non-productive. It seems so obvious that I should be able to decide how my files are organized, and I should be able to drag and drop them so that they are positioned the way I want them to be positioned. That shouldn’t be hard. And yet nothing I did seemed to convince the Finder that my whim should over-rule its alphabetical or otherwise order in the list view. How much time did I waste on that? More than enough.

My one other un-organized folder is the Pictures folder. I started organizing that one — it shouldn’t be too hard — but it turned out I wasn’t really in the mood to look at photos. There’s a mindfulness exercise that I’ve been playing with recently, where every so often, you pause and look at what you’re thinking about. You consider the thought that’s been spinning around in your brain and you decide where it should be filed. In my own visual model, the files are mostly the round kind :), but sometimes there are other options.

For example, say I’m driving the car, and I’m on my way home from the grocery store, and I’m obsessing on having spent $15 more than my weekly food budget. That’s the thought: $15 over budget. But what kind of thought is it? What’s it connected to? When I’m thinking that thought, what emotion is it rooted in? In this example, it’s money -> worry -> fears of the future -> future round file. Drop it in that trash can of silly fear and move on. (In my own mind’s defense, though, I have to mention that I usually enjoy the game of getting pretty close to a precise number on a weekly shopping trip, and if I’m more than $10 over, I always try to figure out where I spent extra, because it’s a fun math puzzle. Figuring out and obsessing, however, are not the same experience.)

Anyway, back to my pictures folder, looking at images from the past invariably stirs up memories, feelings, emotions, reminiscences and ruminations, and I just did not have the time or energy for that last week. So that folder is still a mess and will undoubtedly stay a mess, although I am hoping to use some of the many, many, many beautiful photos I have taken over the years on my Choosing Happiness blog.

I’m also hoping to start writing that very, very soon. I’ve got so much great content that I’m trying to make sense of right now. One of the ideas that I’m holding on to — lest I drown in a sea of ideas & information — is from a book called “Building a Second Brain,” about personal knowledge management. The author, Tiago Fuerte, has a concept that he calls “intermediate packets.” I hate the name — honestly, really, just cringe at it, I am not a computer to be delivering packets of data — but the idea is that you create “value in small bits.” Like a blog post about one cool thing I’ve learned from a book on sleep, instead of the dozen cool things that I’ve learned which I’ve organized into a complete online course, and a book and a coaching signature program and… well, here’s a direct quote from Building a Second Brain:

Intermediate Packets are really a new lens through which you can perceive the atomic units that make up everything you do. By “thinking small,” you can focus on creating just one IP each time you sit down to work, without worrying about how viable it is or whether it will be used in the exact way you envisioned. This lens reframes creativity as an ongoing, continual cycle of delivering value in small bits, rather than a massive all-consuming endeavor that weighs on you for months.

So yeah, I’m thinking small. Small-ish. Moving forward one step at a time, and understanding that I’m looking at a long-range plan that will be fulfilled with the same persistence that got me through that Master Wellness Coaching certificate. One piece at a time!

Meanwhile, last week was also very much a recovery week for me. Somehow, I was thinking “as soon as I get home, I will feel well again.” Why did I think that? No idea. Obviously, 100% magical thinking. But my level of intestinal upset was such that I changed my seat on the plane going home to an aisle seat, just in case, and that intestinal upset did not stop when I arrived at my own bed. Alas. But I’ve been drinking my kombucha and eating my yogurt and I’m feeling better. Thank goodness, because sauerkraut or kimchi are the next step for me — fermented foods feed your intestines healthy bacteria — and I’m not really a fan of either.

Last week also included a walk with Sophie to see the osprey babies, still in the nest but probably not for much longer; watching The Fall Guy with Jamie (not a perfect movie, but definitely enjoyable); a really lovely beach day with Christina — we went in the water multiple times, because it was definitely hot enough, and then had a delicious lunch on a new (to us) rooftop patio; the farmer’s market where the micro greens guy recognized me and knew that I’d been gone for a while (yay for loose neighborhood connections); and taking the dogs out to live music at Celery City on Saturday night, which ended too early because it started to thunder but which was fun for the time we were there. The band was playing covers from people like Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Dire Straits — not music that I listen to regularly but so familiar, and thoroughly enjoyable.

As well as working and reading and writing, and doing my best to live a good life.

sunglasses in the foreground, an American flag in the background

Our rooftop patio was ready for Memorial Day.