Slack Off and Get More Accomplished!

Were you a summer slacker? Were you lured away from your usual position behind a desk tapping away at your laptop to go outdoors and seek adventure, relax and enjoy the longer days? Did you eat on a patio while the sweet breath of the wind whispered through the rustling leaves of a nearby tree? Well, If that constitutes slacking, then, hell yes. I slacked off big time. Funny thing though. I accomplished more writing projects this summer.

Looking back, I have transitioned into a better work/life balance. It took being super isolated for over a year to get my priorities straight. About dang time!

When I began writing ten years ago, I spent entire days in the sitting position, hunched over my laptop, blogging. I rarely took breaks. Back then, there were blog contests and competitions that spurred me on, kept me typing away. Since then, I’ve written nearly 900 essays and published them here on the Wild Ride. But novel-writing has always been my passion, my reason for blogging — to build a readership, and I am most grateful to you.

You can guess where I found the time to enjoy life and polish my manuscript this summer. No? Take a look at my home page and the dates of my posts. Therein lies the secret. I was forced into the blog intensive care unit on May 25th when my site reverted to Premium from Business and exploded into tiny bits of broken links and missing photographs. By the time the engineers glued Humpty Dumpty back together in late June, I had found a new rhythm to my days. I’ve only blogged twice this summer, but have struck a balance, a new habit.

Since January, I’ve been journaling during my second breakfast — my first includes a coffee IV and toast. I start my entry by writing the day and date at the top of the page and then ruminate over the accomplishments of the day before. I follow up with what didn’t work out as planned and what I learned from the setback, however minor. When the days warmed up and grew longer, I took my bowl of granola, yogurt, and fruit to the patio under the shade of English oaks.

At the end of each journal entry, I list non-negotiable tasks and include reasonable writing goals. When I look back, almost all of them included writing a blog post. The bubble next to it only got my signature scribble twice. Hmmm.

Time is precious. August will slip away with summer as the shadows lengthen. We’ve already transitioned from the profusion of tender blossoms to the golden hues of late summer. I’ll take my new habits to accomplish more into the fall and see how it goes. Maybe what I learned might help you too.

I set my priorities and learned 8 life hacks over the summer:

1. Focus on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is detrimental and counter-intuitive.

2. Get outside every day and do something adventurous. There is a ton of value in movement, blood flow, change of scenery.

3. Seek awe in the simple things — I knew this one already — like the hornet I swept outdoors with an eagle feather, where it flew into my lilac bushes. I’m allergic, by the way.

4. Embrace happy feelings when they appear, especially when they come unexpectedly.

5. Accomplish more when taking breaks. The 90-20 rule — Ninety minutes of work followed by at least twenty minutes away from my desk.

6. Make appointments, plans, and reach out.

7. Don’t focus on huge goals. Instead, celebrate each baby step as a win.

This is the one I’m still struggling with:

8. Don’t feel guilty for not blogging. Write a post when swept up in a feeling that has to be expressed. Like this one.

When the mornings grow dark and too frigid to eat under the barren oaks, I’ll journal indoors. I’ll continue to go outside and move my sluggish body to get ideas flowing.

Taking breaks isn’t just for slackers!

Were you a summer slacker or did you find balance and accomplish more while enjoying the longer days? What did you do this summer?

64 thoughts on “Slack Off and Get More Accomplished!

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  1. Great Post 🙂 I am making time for that work/life balance as well as just “doing nothing” at times. I find I am a better person and a more productive, creative being too. Working for a health system in a pandemic has been quite the eye-opening experience. Happy Slacking Wild Rider – Enjoy!

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        1. Bummer about the hotspots. Everyone needs to realize Covid is a health issue that will dissipate when everyone gets vaccinated. It’s so frustrating. Boulder is asking everyone to wear masks indoors since vaccinated people can turn into super spreaders. I will wear a mask and am taking every opportunity to enjoy my freedom while I can!

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  2. This is terrific! Because of the pandemic, my wife and I couldn’t travel – yet nature was only a few hours away, places we had never thought to explore – and it was magical: relieving the stress of this horrific time in our history, but also re-discovering the beauty of the natural world around us…it’s now part of our new normal…kudos to you for sharing your journey with us!

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    1. Thanks so much, John! I’m so glad that you found magical places in California. Nature can be so restorative and necessary for mental health. I skied 35 days last winter. Although I only traveled to California in May, outdoor activities have kept me sane! 😎

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  3. What did I do? A lot of watering, just to keep the garden, shrubs, and hedges alive through such a long drought and excessive heat. The fall weather is a blessing and now I find myself with a lot more free time.

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    1. Yay!
      I heard about your heat, Annelli. The fires have been terrible, and the smoke and ozone have combined to create awful air quality here. I’m with you in anticipating fall. It won’t be long and the snow will fly again. 😎
      Nice to see you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I spent the summer being caregiver for my dad during a very steep decline. That got me away from my paying job and taught me I’m better off health-wise without it. I quit it last Friday. My dad is gone and I’m at peace with that and now I will spend time with my husband and eventually become his dementia caregiver.

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  5. 90 minutes is too long for me to sit still! I gotta get up at least every half hour and go outside. For that reason, I summer is always a down time. I’m lucky to get some research done.

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  6. I’m all about the concept of relaxing and giving yourself permission to just be. But I’m also all about doing what you say you’ll do. Sometimes the two ideas don’t go together so well. I guess you could say I’m a conscientious slacker.

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    1. Love it, Ally! There’s room for every kind of slacker. I’ve been driven for years, but suppose I got out of the habit of blogging during COVID. Making a list helps me, but life happens!
      Great to see you! 😎

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great insights. Well, blogging does become technical when issues crop up. I’m trying to post often but I only manage to find time to post once a month, lately.

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    1. Thanks, Arv!
      Same! I think we appreciate our mobility and the freedom to explore a heck of a lot more after being locked up for over a year. I’m taking advantage of it!
      Great to see you. Thanks for the Twitter share too!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Finding balance~my ongoing life goal. This summer has been better, with a few fun things available again. I’m looking forward to cooler weather (it’s slower to happen in Florida) and getting outside more.

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    1. Yes!! It’s been extremely hot here too. Very unusual for us. I’m looking forward to staying afloat on my paddle oars as the days grow shorter. It’s all about prioritizing tasks and then stopping to do something fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. My summer has been busy. Been very busy all year actually! But, I did manage to squeeze in a trip to Myrtle Beach SC for a week in June. Which included a boat trip out to the Atlantic Ocean. First time actually being ON the Atlantic since 2002. It was only when I came back home that I realized how work-fried my brain had become this year…lol Another side-plus was the tan I got. 🙂

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    1. Yay!! I always seem to get a new perspective after being on a trip.

      We only traveled out of state once, to visit our son in California and that was back in May! I went into a holding pattern while waiting for Euflexa shots in June and didn’t get them until July. Took three weeks. I’d always thought the pain was due to tendinitis but my doctor insisted and after all that, they didn’t work. I’m going to a highly recommended PT next week. He is against any kind of surgery. 🤞😎

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Well, we were going out to Colorado to see one of my favorite bloggers but you know what they say, “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.” Turned out, beach walks with the pups were our summer highlights.

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  11. Great list – and self observations
    Going outside is critical – gives the brain time to organize itself without interference from the pushy human it inhabits HAHA
    Write on Wide Rider!
    (Was not far from you last week – may be hot to you guys, but a lovely break for coastal people…even with aa hint of smoke….but the traffic – tell all those people to go home! HAHA)
    Enjoy the day and wander for wonder!

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    1. Thanks, Phil!
      Being mindless instead of mindful all the dang time, allows for all kinds of other enjoyment. And creativity percolates when I’m outdoors!
      The CU students returned and flooded Boulder. At least it’s always cool in the morning, but no humidity! I’m heading to Wisconsin and will need to wear a hat to get my hair through the door. LOLOL!
      Did you have fun?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. CU always seemed so organized for movies – even waaaay aback there. Even more so it looked like this year on TV. I think Evergreen must be a staging ground for CU move-in ha HA
        Even briefly, it was great. Molly Malamute loved the cool mornings and trail paths rather than concrete sidewalks!
        Played with grandkids- one born we never met in person as she was born as COVID crashed Denver.
        Enjoy your trip! Some great artists and writers from there – including you. (Ever noticed the beautiful award winning kid’s book “The Magic of the Forest”?) Must be something in the water there!

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        1. Thanks so much, Phil!
          Sounds like you made it to paradise, Molly in tow!
          I always think of Evergreen as quiet. 😂 A hectic week, for sure.
          Aww, thanks, Phil! I’ll have to look up that book. My mom has mentioned several authors from Madison. Love that Madtown!

          Liked by 1 person

  12. You’re definitely onto something. And I have to admit I’m a sporadic blogger at best, these days. I had a huge work project this summer, so I didn’t manage to slack much. However, we got a puppy, and he has forced me to take breaks, get outside, and enjoy the sun while it’s here. Was definitely the change I needed, though I never would have guessed!

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  13. That sounds like a great summer! I accidentally take blogging breaks from time to time for all kinds of reasons working on side projects is my favorite!!! So glad you’re up and running with adventure and blogging and writing. 900 essays sounds boss 🙂 Glad I was here along the journey to catch some. Thanks for sharing your journaling idea I began doing one mid pandemic to help me get into the swing of writing and side projects. Glad it’s working for you, along with the good weather. 🙂 Thanks for the tips Wild Rider! I hope you’re doing well 🙂

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    1. Hey Guat!
      I was just in your part of the world for a whirlwind trip. LA always reenergizes me! One of these days, I’d like to take a leisurely vacation and meetup with you! Thanks for joining me on the wild ride.😎

      I’m glad to hear that journaling works for you too. Ooooh! I love the sound of side projects. Another play, perhaps?
      I need to hyper focus over the next few weeks to hit my goals, so lots of journaling ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh man that’s great you were able to come out! They opened up a sweeeet bakery that’s the tops! Next time you’re on your world tour and have a minute holler out we can brainstorm for more side projects 🙂

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