HTT: How To Putter

In every day there is a certain amount of deadspace.

The gap between tasks.

The moment when you're trying to remember exactly how much coffee you've already had and you hold up your hand and decide if you system can take another two cups.

The answer to that is "No . . . no you cannot have another two cups of coffee."

Unless there is still some left in the pot.

Then, of course it's a moral imperitive that you don't waste.

But after you've poured that last little bit into your cup, sat down, sipped it, realized it was cold, got up again, microwaved it for thirty seconds, and sat back down, then what?

Then you kind of have to decide if your ready for the next challenge, or if you're gonna need some extra time to putter about until you make that commitment.

Being a housedad/writer/otherstufftoo, one might naturally think that my proclivity for puttering about the house - not getting anything done - would be at like maximum capacity by now. But anyone who knows me - knows me better than that.

It doesn't mean that I don't putter about.

It just means that I putter about differently.

In fact - once my brain began dissecting what is means to putter - I realized that I don't putter as much as I used to when I was being paid an hourly rate to do so.

See, puttering isn't the antithesis of productivity. Puttering can be extremly productive. I get all kinds of things done when I'm puttering.

Puttering, as I would like to define it, is the simple act of doing something else.

Like, I need to write three pieces today as well as send out ten emails, as well as get instructions from my son's teacher regarding tomorrow's field trip. Somewhere in there I have to also make/eat lunch, make/eat dinner, sweep the front walkway and return an old modem to Comcast.

Which is exactly how I found myself doing some light dusting at 9:15 this morning.

See, I was doing something (ie Being Productive), but I wasn't doing any of the things I need to be doing today. Nope, I was doing something else.

I was puttering.

I am a puttering genius, and for this week's How To Tuesday, I'd like to share with you some basic tenents regarding puttering that will not make you a successful person, but will at least buy you one more day.

First and Foremost: If you're not ready to do the thing - whatever that thing may be - then make a list of all the other things you could do too.

Take a good long look at the list and then decide that you really need to do some light pick-up around the house.

My wife can tell how good a writing day I had by how much stuff is piled on the kitchen island and how many dishes are in the sink.

Mountain of Dishes and Frozen Pizza for Dinner = Good Writing Day

Clean island = Bad Writing Day

Mopped Floors and Folded Laundry = Suicide Prevention Hotline

Light pick-up solves two problems: It gives you time to think, and it's a symbolic gesture of freeing your space of clutter. It also moves your body about a bit and gets the blood flowing again.

Next: Maybe it's time for a long trip to the toilet.
The only reason I still have magazine subscriptions is because without articles on reality TV shows and album reviews and interviews with "It" people, one might find themselves getting off the can too quickly and not really experiencing all kinds of uninterupted time.

Some might say that I should really maximize that time by skipping the magazines and upgrading to bringing my smart phone with me, but, I don't know, isn't that just a little gross? And knowing my particulary skillset, I'm super likely to drop my phone in the bowl.

And what if my wife calls and asks what I'm doing?

But anyway, grab a magazine and just sort of space out for a bit. No one is likely to bother you for a while (unless you have the water running or you've flushed more than three times).

Now that you've cleaned the coffee table of Guitar Center Brochures and can walk about again with an empty colon, but aren't quite ready for your big day, take a look back at that list and start considering the mid-range tasks.

Taking our the trash.

Clipping your toe-nails.

Replacing the light bulb in the refrigerator.

Anything that throws a shroud over what we might refer to as "Avoidance" 

So once you've done a few of those things, it's time to consider the "Time Suckers"

A "Time Sucker" is a thing that you do that does sorta kinda maybe need to be done, but will easily remove an hour from your busy day, and will not cost you much brain currency. Catching up on TV Shows, scrolling through Reddit, leveling up on your latest RPG, anything having to do with sports/literature and motorcycle maintenance. Email, fantasy football, Craigslist. Whatever.

These things aren't in the category of productive, but they will suck a lot of time out of your day and will suddenly force you to get a move on when you notice the time.

Like right now, I'm looking up at the clock on the stove and seeing as how it's almost 10:00, I think I really need to shower.

Cause if I don't shower in the next hour, I'm unlikely to do it today.

Still not as gross as taking your smart phone into the bathroom.

I will forever want at least three seperate actions between touching my iPhone and touching my butthole.

Be that as it may, once you've wasted some time, you are perilously close to forming some bad puttering habits.

Those habits include Snacking, PreLunch Napping, watching anything on the History Channel, and picking at your face in you wife's makeup mirror.

Find yourself doing any of those things and you are starting to seriously fail for the day and need to light a fire under your butt.

Considering brewing another pot of coffee.

Or tea. Tea is good.

If you find that you're just not inspired to really do anything maybe you might as well start doing that thing that you were supposed to be doing all along. It won't make you a better or happier person, but it will get you through til tomorrow.

And isn't that what life is all about?

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