Yardwork Zen: Making Progress vs. Looking like Progress

detail - The Typists - poison ivy lower left
You take a few in-between moments to check social media,{current news/facebook rants/stats on Medium} to see if you're (still) relevant. It's readily-available dopamine. Over time, those stats equate to oxytocin synthesis if they continue to mount.

I check my business email regularly while I seek a paycheck; I'm online to find editing clients, pimp out my illustration skills, work out logistics for another art exhibit. Between moments I tend the yard. 

I'd do it anyway, but I'm compensated by a rent reduction and I am grateful. There's a lot of work that needs doing here. While the mower was out of commission, we received 2 weeks of rain and the grass got almost calf-high. I had to make several passes of incrementally closer shave to get it back to normal maintenance level. Some areas of the yard grew tall weeds, and these need to be taken back manually. I know there are boulders and stumps in those areas. And bees. I got stung twice this week. The poison ivy rash is finally waning.

Mowing the yard doesn't look like the ton of work it has been. On days I only mowed, I would look out over the lawn and feel a little disappointed. It just looked the same, and I was tired. Peeling back sections of weed growth is visually more impressive. I've been doing a little of each daily - oxytocin and dopamine rewards.

The social media stuff is, for creators, work as well as leisure. It takes balance to not look like an advertisement to the people who interact with you every day...and interaction takes as many minutes as creating does. I try to submit at least 2 poems to different venues every week. I think I've explained before that poetry is short-term fast-reward for me. I'm still working over 2 novels in my brain and I hope we see them one day. I still have several paintings staring at me from the walls, waiting to be finished. And those octopodes...

Now here's the part where you make it about you: look at your daily activities and label them either dopamine, oxytocin, or drain. Pat yourself on the back for all the dopamine, and get some more. Focus on the drain now:  all these tick-marks can be modified into either oxytocin (if the pay-off is going to take a while) or dopamine (if you can just be done with it and pat  yourself on the back again.) 

You know what?  Just looking at your items and ticking them off is a thing done. Pat yourself on the back. 


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