There’s something about August that always gets my productivity in high gear. Sure, there’s the back to school vibe, but I think it also has something to do with how difficult this month can be, financially, for folks in academia. I’m sure a lot of other adjuncts suffer this plight–if you teach a summer course, the last paycheck shows up end up July, but I won’t get my first Autumn paycheck until the end of September. So I always feel like I’m scrambling for gigs and extra freelance work to try to make up the difference.
But this isn’t a post about that. It’s about the good thing that comes out of turning up my hustle. I’ve finished something like five new string quartet arrangements this week, turned in three freelance editing jobs, played two gigs, updated my C.V., accepted an invitation to join the planning committee for the best weekend of the year, submitted a job application, polished an abstract for a conference (that’s not due until October 1st!), completed some research for a couple upcoming projects, cleaned out my email inbox…
Oh, and I found a favorite lip balm that I had misplaced, found about half of my Halloween costume at thrift stores (I like to start early), discovered a favorite new recipe (I’ve been putting it on salads, on rice and beans, and marinading chicken and tofu in it), found La Croix super cheap at Costco (as well as stocking up on vegetable stock, rice, black beans, and coffee) and bought the softest robe at Target with some of my gig money earned over the weekend–$14 well spent if you ask me (definitely going to make a ritual of putting it on for my morning coffee and writing sessions). The universe is really looking out for me this month.
Anyway, in case you’re in search of a little August inspiration, I thought I’d toss out something I came across a while ago, but haven’t posted about. I found these on a post on Dangerous Minds, mostly likely shared by a friend on social media at some point. There’s some neat ideas to ponder here. I’ve bolded and italicized my particular favorites, and those that are making me think right now (and I really need to listen to #7, there. I have a half-finished Marie Kondo-clean out of my closet, and I ought to finish bagging up clothes and send them on to a new life).
1. Ground your attention on yourself. Be conscious at every moment of what you are thinking, sensing, feeling, desiring, and doing.
2. Always finish what you have begun.
3. Whatever you are doing, do it as well as possible.
4. Do not become attached to anything that can destroy you in the course of time.
5. Develop your generosity ‒ but secretly.
6. Treat everyone as if he or she was a close relative.
7. Organize what you have disorganized.
8. Learn to receive and give thanks for every gift.
9. Stop defining yourself.
10. Do not lie or steal, for you lie to yourself and steal from yourself.
11. Help your neighbor, but do not make him dependent.
12. Do not encourage others to imitate you.
13. Make work plans and accomplish them.
14. Do not take up too much space.
15. Make no useless movements or sounds.
16. If you lack faith, pretend to have it.
17. Do not allow yourself to be impressed by strong personalities.
18. Do not regard anyone or anything as your possession.
19. Share fairly.
20. Do not seduce.
21. Sleep and eat only as much as necessary.
22. Do not speak of your personal problems.
23. Do not express judgment or criticism when you are ignorant of most of the factors involved.
24. Do not establish useless friendships.
25. Do not follow fashions.
26. Do not sell yourself.
27. Respect contracts you have signed.
28. Be on time.
29. Never envy the luck or success of anyone.
30. Say no more than necessary.
31. Do not think of the profits your work will engender.
32. Never threaten anyone.
33. Keep your promises.
34. In any discussion, put yourself in the other person’s place.
35. Admit that someone else may be superior to you.
36. Do not eliminate, but transmute.
37. Conquer your fears, for each of them represents a camouflaged desire.
38. Help others to help themselves.
39. Conquer your aversions and come closer to those who inspire rejection in you.
40. Do not react to what others say about you, whether praise or blame.
41. Transform your pride into dignity.
42. Transform your anger into creativity.
43. Transform your greed into respect for beauty.
44. Transform your envy into admiration for the values of the other.
45. Transform your hate into charity.
46. Neither praise nor insult yourself.
47. Regard what does not belong to you as if it did belong to you.
48. Do not complain.
49. Develop your imagination.
50. Never give orders to gain the satisfaction of being obeyed.
51. Pay for services performed for you.
52. Do not proselytize your work or ideas.
53. Do not try to make others feel for you emotions such as pity, admiration, sympathy, or complicity.
54. Do not try to distinguish yourself by your appearance.
55. Never contradict; instead, be silent.
56. Do not contract debts; acquire and pay immediately.
57. If you offend someone, ask his or her pardon; if you have offended a person publicly, apologize publicly.
58. When you realize you have said something that is mistaken, do not persist in error through pride; instead, immediately retract it.
59. Never defend your old ideas simply because you are the one who expressed them.
60. Do not keep useless objects.
61. Do not adorn yourself with exotic ideas.
62. Do not have your photograph taken with famous people.
63. Justify yourself to no one, and keep your own counsel.
64. Never define yourself by what you possess.
65. Never speak of yourself without considering that you might change.
66. Accept that nothing belongs to you.
67. When someone asks your opinion about something or someone, speak only of his or her qualities.
68. When you become ill, regard your illness as your teacher, not as something to be hated. (could have used this advice back in June with the shingles diagnosis!)
69. Look directly, and do not hide yourself.
70. Do not forget your dead, but accord them a limited place and do not allow them to invade your life.
71. Wherever you live, always find a space that you devote to the sacred.
72. When you perform a service, make your effort inconspicuous.
73. If you decide to work to help others, do it with pleasure.
74. If you are hesitating between doing and not doing, take the risk of doing.
75. Do not try to be everything to your spouse; accept that there are things that you cannot give him or her but which others can.
76. When someone is speaking to an interested audience, do not contradict that person and steal his or her audience.
77. Live on money you have earned.
78. Never brag about amorous adventures.
79. Never glorify your weaknesses.
80. Never visit someone only to pass the time.
81. Obtain things in order to share them.
82. If you are meditating and a devil appears, make the devil meditate too.
There are a few I don’t totally agree with (#25 & #54, because it’s fun; #31, because some of us don’t have the luxury and privilege not to be cognizant of the money coming in for our work; #35, only because I think this is imposter syndrome breeding ground–instead, focus inward on how to improve; #56, because I believe some student loans can be worth it to change your life, if you are prudent about them; #61, because that’s sort of the best part of academic work–trying on new ideas and perspectives; #70, because I can carry them constantly with me as part of the fabric of my own resilience; and #80, because I think that’s a beautiful reason to spend time with somebody).
I will be thinking on these for a while, maybe even writing some posts about the ones that struck me. Which ones resonate with you?