In an effort to increase productivity and spend my time left on this mortal coil wisely, I’ve been experimenting with making certain things difficult. Not good things, of course, such as ritual, spirituality, creative expression, or spending time with people whose company I enjoy; the things I’m trying to make difficult are detrimental and wasteful activities such as watching internet videos, eating when I’m not hungry, and spending more money than necessary on transportation.
To avoid getting lost down a YouTube rabbit hole, I tether my laptop to the internet via my mobile phone instead of using house WiFi. Due to the limited amount of mobile data my plan provides, watching internet videos is out of the question. When zoning out to the latest trending vidz threatens to eat into my allotment of wireless gigabytes, staying on task and hammering out the paragraphs becomes the path of less resistance.
To avoid stuffing my face between meals, I buy most of my food dry, raw, or in bulk, which means I have to prepare something before it’s ready for consumption. With the exception of the odd carrot or apple, this has allowed me to drastically cut down on spells of random munching, given that I can’t just eat one cookie after the other while standing in front of the kitchen cupboard but have to bake a batch first, from a box.
To avoid wasting time driving around out of laziness or spending money unnecessarily on a gym membership, I bicycle or walk nearly everywhere I go. Bicycling and walking, as well as a daily hatha yoga practice, sets of burpies, and regular disc-golf outings, fulfil most of my upper and lower body workout demands without monetary expenditure. (Plus, these activities contribute little to my overall carbon footprint, which I estimate to be roughly 9 tons of CO2 a year.) Since getting access to a car or a gym is difficult, I resort to the options at my ready and immediate disposal.
By making that which I want to do easy, and that which I want to avoid doing hard, I find myself living a more productive and active life than I ever did watching TV or driving around in a slave’s chariot.
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I bicycle, write, surf, and the rest.