The Sudoko Theory of Life

Wait, what’s less than a theory? This is a small thing. Let’s call it the Sudoko Hypothesis of Life.

Whatever it is, it goes thisaway:

If you cannot see the solution, step away and come back to it

If you can clear your mind or, much better and much easier, fill your mind with another issue, another problem, you will come back to the puzzle and see the answer. Okay, maybe not the whole answer, this is Sudoko afterall. But you are guaranteed to see the next number to fill in.

You’re also guaranteed to wonder how in the hell you didn’t see it before, but give yourself a break, you needed a break.

You’re okay, give yourself a break

I do normally run a mile from sites with names like the Positivity Blog you know when something is on your mind, you see it everywhere? This Positivity lot have a rather compelling article about how we should stop beating ourselves up.

I am not happy with my writing and I leave most events wishing I’d done them a lot better but these people say I should lighten up. I disagree with just one thing: they say you should watch half a sitcom every now and again. Do not do this. Watch the whole thing. It’s only 21-30 minutes, how dare we interrupt the narrative flow because of an alarm?

New York Times on the need to take a break

I slept in this morning. It’s my first Monday back working and I slept in. Woke at 8am, it’s now slipping a wee bit past 9am and if you can really call nattering to you work, then this is the first work I’ve done. I am hours behind and I feel great.

I’m going to have to think about this. But as if to aid me thinking about it, I just read this:

Every day we’re assaulted with facts, pseudofacts, news feeds and jibber-jabber, coming from all directions. According to a 2011 study, on a typical day, we take in the equivalent of about 174 newspapers’ worth of information, five times as much as we did in 1986. As the world’s 21,274 television stations produce some 85,000 hours of original programming every day (by 2003 figures), we watch an average of five hours of television per day. For every hour of YouTube video you watch, there are 5,999 hours of new video just posted!

Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain – Daniel J Levitn, New York Times (9 August 2014)

I know what you’re thinking: who’s the slacker who didn’t make it 6,000 hours?

But Levitin’s point is that we need to step away from all this once in a while. And apparently, for a great number of people in the US, that once in a while is right now:

This month, many Americans will take time off from work to go on vacation, catch up on household projects and simply be with family and friends. And many of us will feel guilty for doing so. We will worry about all of the emails piling up at work, and in many cases continue to compulsively check email during our precious time off.

But beware the false break. Make sure you have a real one. The summer vacation is more than a quaint tradition. Along with family time, mealtime and weekends, it is an important way that we can make the most of our beautiful brains.

Is your brain beautiful? Or is this like football, which I think is called the beautiful game for absolutely no reason whatsoever?

Levitin’s full piece is an opinion article in the New York Times but it’s opinion backed up by some academic research that he and his colleagues have done. Read the lot for a bit more waffle but also a great deal more concrete bits about handling how our attention is so assaulted.

Take a day off

I’ve been trying to do this all week and especially after Tuesday night. I went to a book event by Pigeon Park Press and had a good time, enjoyed them, bought a book, met friends, it was great. Until I saw a photo of the event posted on Facebook and I looked like a ghost. I am secretly certain I fell asleep on the shoulder of the woman next to me.

So I took Wednesday off.


Only worked from 6:30am to 4pm, off to a thing, then back working at about 7pm.

Today I am taking today off. It is Thursday. I am on holiday.

I know this is nice for me and if you’re reading this in your one break during a ferociously busy day, I’m no longer your friend.

But that’s the thing with all this productivity: sometimes you have no choice but to keep going, as when you’re in that ferocious day. Other times you feel you have to keep going because you need the money: a freelance life has its benefits and I’m having the creative time of my life but financially stable, it ain’t. Then – this may be just me, I realise that – you feel you have to keep going because you write books about productivity and you run workshops and you talk about it all the time.

Look at that photograph. I’m the guy with his hand on his face. I swear to god I was probably holding my head up vertical. Which, if nothing else, is extraordinarily rude to the Pigeon Park people.

pigeonI can see now that the woman to my left (your right in the photo) is author Katharine D’Souza. If you see her, please apologise for me.

I’m off for a day out and I hope that you’ll be able to join me some day soon in spirit if not right now today in actuality.