AltLuxe

The new “new” thing

Posted on May 12, 2016

By Regina Connell

Part of alt luxe is the appreciation of the imperfect, the undone, the used. These are states of being and evolution in objects (and people for that matter) that connect you to life, that keep you grounded, open, humble.

But what of that in-between state where things aren’t quite so bright shiny and new, but haven’t yet achieved that wabi sabi state of beautiful disrepair: a category into which most of the things, people, and relationships in our lives will fall? We grudgingly look to maintain them, the act a necessary evil in our lives.

The art of maintenance

The art of maintenance

As a society, we tend to take the same approach. In the West, while we pay lip service to all that lovely wabi-sabiness, we actually worship at the altar of Progress. The New is what matters. Innovation is king. And consuming all that innovation is your patriotic duty.

I recently came across an article in Aeon magazine that’s got me thinking about all this. Entitled Hail the Maintainers, authors Lee Vinsel & Andrew Russell write about the need to value The Maintainers. “Entire societies have come to talk about innovation as if it were an inherently desirable value, like love, fraternity, courage, beauty, dignity, or responsibility. Innovation-speak worships at the altar of change, but it rarely asks who benefits, to what end?”

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Klaus Rötzscher of Pettingell Book Bindery: mending, restoring books to their former glory

Whatever you call them – the maintainers, the repairers, the tailors, the cobblers, the conservators, the mechanics, the cleaners, all those keepers of things in working order – well, it just doesn’t have the same ring as “the creators”, or even, god forbid that dreadful phrase, “knowledge workers”. Those who can’t create maintain. Maintenance is a necessary evil. Do I smell a whiff of class-ism? And here I thought we Americans were supposed to be beyond class.

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The glamour and grit of maintenance

The maintainers make innovation and design work. And last. They don’t waste resources. And you’d better believe they’re knowledge workers: repair and maintenance is all about knowledge of materials and processes. And it’s not just the professionals: we too are maintainers, caring for our clothes, our homes, our cars, or at least finding the right people to do so.

So why do we not pay more attention to this, why don’t we care, why is it – and the people who do it, and the time we spend on it – just a necessary evil? It says a lot about us. As Vines and Russell write, “A focus on maintenance provides opportunities to ask questions about what we really want out of technologies. What do we really care about? What kind of society do we want to live in? Will this help get us there?”

The notion of maintenance comes from extremely good stock, stock that should make us rethink it: it comes from Latin manu tenere “hold in the hand,” from manu, ablative of manus “hand” (see manual) + tenere “to hold”. The current meaning of “to carry on, keep up” is from mid-14c.; that of “to keep oneself, to support” is from late 14th century. There’s honor there.

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The tools of the knowledge worker

While I don’t think we should shy away from the word maintain (particularly now that we know its roots), maybe if we started to think about it in terms of caring – not fixing or maintaining – things might soften up a little, generate a different energy, put that innovation fetish in a different light, as in: Innovating versus Caring. Disrupting versus Caring. Yup I’d say the energy shifts.

And of course, there’s that age old question: what, really, IS the line between maintaining and creating? What is “new”, anyway? Isn’t a lot of maintenance about creation, or actually, re-creation?

Here’s a scary thought: maybe all those innovative techies have figured this out: could it be that there’s common ground between my emerging appreciation of maintenance and the perpetual “beta” that Google / Apple and all the apps with their background daily updates?  “Always beta” state is more about the constant belief in ever-better evolution, not fix-it-and-be-done revolution.

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Care taken. All hail the maintainers.

So have a care for the people who keep things running, even if that’s you. Pay attention to maintenance and care. Take pleasure in the process, whether it’s cleaning that bathroom grout (OK that may be a bit much for me) or – when you’re outsourcing it – learning from the pro’s. And take pleasure in being able to observe through the practice of maintaining how time and use change things, developing the wisdom to understand what can be fixed, and what can’t. There are probably larger lessons in living that can be taken from that.

It may not be about the miracle of birth, but it certainly is about the miracle of life.

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Peak Curtains

Posted on March 14, 2016

It became a meme a couple of months ago, this notion of “peak curtains”.

This pithy phrase came from Steve Howard, IKEA’s head of sustainability, speaking at The Guardian’s Sustainable Business debate. The full quote was, “In the West, we have probably hit peak stuff. We talk about peak oil. I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff … peak home furnishings.” He said the new state of affairs could be called “peak curtains”.

Now Mr. Howard went on to laud IKEA’s initiatives to take back and repair product, but what he was saying nonetheless feels true. It’s been an AltLuxe meme for a while, it’s been a nagging worry among manufacturers and retailers – the notion that people particularly millennial – want experiences, not stuff.  James Wallman’s written a new book / polemic about it called Stuffocation. Marie Kondo, the spark-joy-or-toss-it advocate has a new book out (a master class on the KonMari method). And now we have the news that Apple’s sales of iPhones have flatlined and growth is stalled. Even now, Japan, the European Central Bank, Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden have negative interest rates, in an effort to goose spending.

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Some of the blame goes to affluence and affluenza. Some goes to marketers and the relentless way in which they flog goods. And I would think that some goes to the internet, which has made everything both instantly available (thank you Amazon) but also virtually available (Pinterest and Instagram).

The question is, what happens from here on out? Will demand dry up? Will malls continue to wither? Will even the mighty Amazon succumb? Will producers of consumer products (and then those of the equipment and machinery that produce them) die? Is what’s been going on in the stock market (stock prices lowering as oil prices lower, partially driven by lowering demand in former growth economies like China) going to continue indefinitely?

Is this a sea change, a generational shift? Or is this just a trend that’s just about to – excuse the phrase – peak?

I think that at a macro level, there is a recognition that our systems are spinning wildly out of control, so incredibly focused on consuming and acquisition that there has to be a slowdown.

But on the other hand it’s just not in the nature of people to stop wanting beauty whether from sunsets or peaches or films or a chair or a pot. It is in our nature to want pleasure, which comes from the senses, and the senses are in large part who we are as humans.

What’s so often lacking is the meaning. The question is, how do you shift a global advanced economy from one that’s focused on stuff, to one focused on meaning? What does that look like?

Wonky stuff from a blog focused on alternative luxury and pleasure, but there you have it.

 

 

 

 

 

Skin deep

Posted on March 14, 2016

Some days, I feel I’m drowning in imagery.

It’s not just the time spent in front of my computer or phone that’s the culprit. There’s the extraordinarily good stuff on TV: Netflix and House of Cards and Game of Thrones and Empire and The Americans and Downton Abbey…There are the print magazines with which I’m obsessed …  There’s the constant design image grazing I do for work, the FOMO (as in, “Didn’t you see that great room / sofa / tile installation / wooden spoon on insta?”) and the constant battle to find the right images, get the rights, edit them, get them in … there’s even the beauty of where I live and work – the sunsets, the rain, the interiors, the products, the factory, the ironic streetscapes (or so we like to think), that I now look for, to share, share, share. (Sad, isn’t it: but at least it’s gotten me to notice a bit more.)

All this visual juiciness has been bothering me of late and it took me a while to put my finger on it.

Part of it is the utter ubiquity. It’s now too pat, too easy to create all this visual “content” and now that people have figured out that images are more arresting than words (bye, bye Twitter, hello Instagram) everyone has glommed onto image-rich platforms. Even me.

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The result: images feel if not meaning-less, then certainly less meaning-full.

In taking stock, I realized that the things that I gravitate toward, the things I love, the things that give me the most pleasure and which I want to surround myself with, are only nominally about the visual, and so much more about the other senses.

And even when I’m most tuned into the visual – shooting a sunset, for example – it’s less the prettiness of the blues, pinks, oranges and greys, but more the way it feels to be enveloped by the majesty and intensity of the sky: a profound bigness that the camera only barely hints at. Even Ansel Adams and all those other kings of landscape photography don’t really come that close. The image of that sunset is only a proxy for that feeling of awe, and that sense of how small we actually are, how infinitesimal our problems and obsessions, or maybe just the coolness of the evening sky on my skin.

Outside of story and all those associations, I’ve figured out that it’s texture, and to a somewhat lesser extent, fragrance, that matter to me at least as much as the sight of something.

It’s the feel of that cape/sweater I bought last year with its nubbly, fuzzy wool and structure courtesy of subtle leather edging: it gives me that rare combination of comfort, confidence, and glamour that I’m always seeking in my clothing (let alone life). And the fact that I can detect a very slight whiff of lanolin in the wool helps me connect to its source and the process of its making.

Or it’s the way the drape of my Maria Cornejo dress feels on my body: the textural element is less about classic aspects of touch (rough, smooth, coarse, silky), but about what touches me where, and how (just a whisper of a touch here, a little more supporting gentle moulding there). The fact that the dress makes me feel relaxed but also makes me stand taller (shoulders back, please) is something that gives me profound pleasure. The fact that people like the way I look in it matters less. (Well, I’d like to think that.)

Now that my house is at least complete enough to feel functional, I look around and realize that what I’m loving the most are the things that have the most texture. The cushions made out (individually) of velvet, chenille and woven wool/cashmere (clearly I have a thing for cushions). The nubby linen slouchy chair that surrounds me just so. The antique proofing bowl with its scratches and gouges. The endless wool blankets and throws we have strewn about (all smelling lightly of our cats, in a good way) and the old leather basket we try to corral them in.  The zinc-topped coffee table with enough grit in the feel to cut through the feeling of any preciousness and make me relax instantly. The smoky smell of Diptique’s Feu de Bois that seems to have pervaded the most unlikely corners of the house with an air of mystery, sensuality, connectedness to the past and comfort.

The constant consumption of images is feeling like a sugar binge to me, making me a little jittery and craving. What I need, what really satisfies, is the texture, the flavor, the fragrance of life.

Perhaps it’s time for a visual detox?

In praise of specificity

Posted on January 12, 2016

When I was in Japan a few years ago, I went to a place called Tokyu Hands. It blew me away: floor after floor of stuff, so much of it incredibly specific. A container to hold sliced tomatoes so they wouldn’t sit in their own juice. Teapot brushes. 15 different types of scissors for ikebana. A knife specially designed for cutting chestnuts. An those were just the things whose use I could fathom.

I found it fascinating but perplexing: even if some of the products were clearly genius (I loathe soggy tomatoes) why oh why would you want all this stuff in a country where houses were so minuscule?  Would you even use it? Wasn’t it all a bit silly? Was it just another example of Japanese nit-picky obsessiveness? This was, after all the land of obsessive ritual, of Zen Buddhism, of blessings and ceremonies for all kinds of things, not the least of which is the vaunted tea ceremony (which quite honestly, I’d never been able to really embrace.)

Nowadays, and in particular, in America, we typically don’t go in for this kind of specificity. Ironically, in this land of sprawling homes and walk-in closets the size of Lichtenstein, we embrace the all-in-one, the multi-functional younameit. It’s more efficient. It’s just so much more modern.  It’s all about smartphones, the all-in-one printer, the Cuisinart, the sofa bed, the murphy bed, the all-in-one remote, the spork, and so on.

And when that doesn’t work, we just make do – we don’t sweat the details, we don’t want to try too hard, and we don’t want to fuss and be fussy. So maybe we just use a little Yankee ingenuity and improvise. We use something designed for one thing in another. We put up with things that aren’t quite perfect. But it’s all good.

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And yet, I’ve been won over to the side of ultra-specificity, drawn in by a little bamboo brush.

A few years after the Tokyu Hands experience, I found myself organizing a Japanese home goods pop up store and  ended up buying a little bamboo brush for those flat Japanese ginger graters, the ones with double rows of tiny razor-sharp teeth. As it was pretty inexpensive, I picked up this ridiculous little object, mostly as a novelty item, something to poke fun at. One day, after I’d spent about five minutes, a newly serrated fingernail, and gallons of precious running water trying to clean out those little grater teeth,  I decided to break out that little bamboo brush.

Of course, it worked a charm. A few sweeps and the ginger was gone.  This was a revelation. Out went that pre-grated jarred ginger that I’d been using, mea culpa, and I’m now free to let my love of ginger run wild: I have my little bamboo brush.

While I’m certainly a fan of less stuff, I’ve become a major convert to the idea of having and using the right stuff.

It means I’m not just making do, but making it right. Why not fuss and be fussy and be seen as fussy? As every craftsman and chef and DIY enthusiast knows, the right tool makes all the difference between abject failure / injury / death and toast-worthy success. The right tool is beautifully designed for a very specific use. It is not wasteful. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact.

It shows that I actually care about what I’m doing, that I care about that most precious resource-my time and the quality.  That is the opposite of wasteful. Having the right stuff makes me feel oddly grown up and serious.

All those all-in-one / multi-functional things?  Look at that list: most of them don’t work that well, at best doing one thing moderately well. The spork? Really?

So now being a convert to the allure of the specific, here’s my list of favorite ultra-specific stuff that makes my life easier, gives me rather pleasure every time I use it, and just makes me smile, smile, smile.

And just in case you find yourself needing a little bit of ultra-specific products, there’s a list of links at the end for some places that make my geeky little heart beat faster.)

That ginger grater brush, of course. But following on to that, maybe my Jonathan’s Spoons pasta drainer, or even my newest find: a hand-hewn spreader that manages to render flat brownie batter without becoming a stuck on mess. (Something about friction, the butteriness of the finish?)

A hot water bottle. It does one thing (heats the bed on a cold night) and it does it brilliantly. Just make sure you close the cap properly and you change it out every couple of years.

Electrical stripper. This is not my favorite device, but that of my partners. It’s not just that it helps us do things like replace switches but that it’s given him greater confidence in DIY land, a source of joy.

Bodkin. A clever little item for retrieving errant drawstrings. Looks like a roach clip. Utterly life changing.

Barbour Jacket. Not terribly stylish, and too clearly raincoat to be just another coverup, but it’s kept me bone dry for over a decade now. The Brits know a thing or two about rain.

And my favorite: a book. A real one. Not something that sends email too and requires charging at inopportune moments. A quote from Umberto Eco sums it up: “The book is like the spoon, scissors, the hammer, the wheel. Once invented, it cannot be improved. You cannot make a spoon that is better than a spoon… The book has been thoroughly tested, and it’s very hard to see how it could be improved on for its current purposes.”

One last thought: as I look at these, I realize that I’ve had most of these in my life for a long, long time, forming a good long relationship with each. And that’s the other thing about the idea of specificity: the pieces don’t outlive their usefulness: the need for them lasts, along with the product. Would that all things were that way.

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Here are my six go-to stores for the ultra-specific needs of our lives. Unfortunately Tokyu Hands doesn’t sell online.

Korin: knives, kitchenware, and more from Japan

Tortoise General Store: beautiful, functional mostly Japanese wares for the home

Umami Mart: kitchen goods but an awesome array of Japanese barware, too. Because everyone needs a three-pronged ice pick.

Maido: anything, everything you might want for your desk.

And just in case you think it’s only the Japanese who are good at this, the Scandies and the Brits are a pretty dab hand at it too:

Iris Hantverk: fabulous brushes for cleaning from Sweden.

Labour and Wait: London’s famed housekeeping store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have the chocolate

Posted on January 2, 2016

I recently came across a reasonably compelling piece on how eating for pleasure could be the best diet plan. And, it reminded me that what goes for the body, goes for a lot of other things, I do think.

Headspace, a favorite modern mindfulness blog/app, reminded me that often,  we go on holiday, eat what we want, and, miraculously, return to “real” life with minimal weight gain, feeling amazing. Not to mention having some pretty amazing memories (and dishes to add to a culinary repertoire.) Why is that?

“Pleasure is an important appetite regulator. With every meal, the body registers feelings of fullness (the stomach expanding) and levels of satisfaction (has the body received what it was hungry for?). When we deprive ourselves of pleasure, our brain continuously signals the one command it knows how to give: ‘Hungry!'”

Ray's chocolate cake

Just have the chocolate. Image courtesy of Lee and Lou Cook.

Yes, the article ultimately concludes with what we all know (eat slowly, breathe, appreciate what you’re eating, be moderate) but it does a beautiful job of walking through the data behind it, concluding that it’s nourishment that counts, not just nutrition.

A reminder that it’s not just eating good food, or food that’s good for you (particularly if you don’t love it) but food that you truly want. Junk food is the food we don’t really enjoy, body, soul, and senses. So that big bowl of quinoa may have more in common with a Big Mac than any nutritionist will admit.

And what goes for eating goes for the rest of life as well.

So often find that when I’m feeling unfulfilled or stressed in one bit of my life, the cravings start in other parts. The stress/eating relationship is pretty clear to me and to most people on the planet. But more subtly, I find that when some project or job is boring me or making me anxious, it’s not just trips to the fridge that increase. It’s trips to sites that sell lovely and completely unnecessary fripperies for home or person. Or the sudden need to binge watch Scandal.

What’s most interesting for me is that the behavior is so often a leading indicator: it comes before I realize that I’m cranky about that project, job, situation, etc.

How often we settle for things rather than going for what we really want? When we settle, it’s inevitable that we’ll act out in some way, or stress ourselves out. Or, we take on a bigger task when what we really want is that little nugget of a task/activity in the middle, like starting a company/becoming a manager when all we really want to do is to code/write/create, or vice versa.

It’s the life equivalent of eating a giant chocolate chip cookie when all we’re really craving is the chocolate. All that unnecessary stuff.

This of course requires you to know what it is you truly want, really getting to the essence of it. It requires listening to yourself. And maybe, waiting. Because even though I think that I don’t know. I do. Because my body knows, and probably my heart as well. It’s just about slowing down and listening to it, of course.

Then taking no compromises, no substitutes. Being picky. Being unreasonable.  Holding out for pleasure. Cutting out what you really don’t want, because you don’t need it.

Maybe it’s not about less is more (which, because it focuses on less really does make me feel cheated). Maybe it should be more is less, as in more pleasure and more of the right stuff, less junk. That’s real nourishment.

So just go for the chocolate. That’s my motto in 2016.

Image courtesy of Lee and Lou Cook.

 

 

 

 

Doing the holidays, right.

Posted on December 25, 2015

 

I am an unabashed lover of the time that starts just before Thanksgiving and runs to about mid-January. It’s the darkness. The layering and the coats. The focus on bringing light into the world. The way people just smile at you on the street, even though you know they’re over-stressed, over-fed, and under-rested. I even like the shopping, yes I do. And the wrapping. And the giving. Here’s what makes me love the season so…

The smells. It is all about the cedar and juniper and fir. And the decadent Feu de bois candle. And a new favorite since last year: my German wooden Dragon Smoker from legendary toy company Dregeno (extra points for its utter ridiculousness) and its Crottendorfer incense cones.

The Dregeno Dragon

The Dregeno Dragon Smoker

I’m also newly in love with Lite + Cycle’s Urban Forest candle (thanks, Anna!) Palo Santo wood incense sticks from Atomic Garden.

The sounds. My seasonal playlist has developed a very specific arc that goes something like this: starting in late November, it’s Thanksgiving by George Winston from his December album. Then on to my very personal mix: everything from John Lennon and Chrissie Hynde on the respectable end to Wham on the highly despicable end. And if you’ve never listened to Bing Crosby and (ohhh yes) David Bowie crooning a duet of Little Drummer Boy, this year needs to be the year. For bonus points, see the video and watch Bing trying not to get too distracted by our David’s mascara.

But I digress.  The pop is followed in early-mid December by a little Eartha Kitt before we go straight to the main event: Handel’s Messiah, and Carols from St. Pauls Cathedral, starting with with the lone boy soprano singing Once in Royal David’s City and ending with Hark the Herald. And a continuous loop of O Magnum Mysterium (Morten Lauridsen) with its meditative, swelling choir makes for a very happy, very chilled out girl. And yes, it’s Ella on the way to New Year’s. Thank God my car is reasonably soundproof. At least I think so.

The sights. Like Anna, it’s got to be Love Actually. Though my favorite scene is, uh, differently sweet than Anna’s though I absolutely adore hers too. It’s embarrassing how much I love that movie.

Christmas Rose Bakery

Christmas comes from the Rose Bakery

The taste.  It’s all about Christmas/Dundee Cake—yes, a fruitcake—made with my version of the recipe from the incomparable Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Meals of Rose Bakery by Rose Carrarini. Trust me on this: anything that relies on the maceration of Thompson and golden raisins, currants, cranberries in whiskey for 8-24 hours has got to be good.  If you’re completely put off by the fruitcake idea, though, you should try Lee Havlicek’s Panettone. Sublimely better than store bought.

The feel. Ah it is about touch. The hugs of friends. The bracing cold and the joy of coming into a warm room. The indulgence of a morning in bed. And good 3-ply cashmere. I don’t think there’s anything else to say.

Mostly, though, I love the relative calm of the season after a crazy year, and the time to think about what makes me happy at this time of year, and to share it with friends. That feels like the biggest gift. Happy holidays and yes, Merry Christmas, everyone.  May you savor every moment.

 

The gift of procrastination

Posted on December 10, 2015

When I think about what impedes the quality of my life, about what saps both my pleasure and my energy, it’s got to be procrastination. But not in the way you’d think.

What's procrastination about anyway?

What’s procrastination about anyway?

While I procrastinate a LOT, I think the problem is the quality of my procrastination, not the fact that I do it, or even do a lot of it (which I do).

Google “procrastination” and you get all these ways to stop it, get around it, get beyond it. It is evil. It gets in the way of progress, moving forward, making things happen, growth, achievement. All those things that are what we (in the west) are supposed to be about.

Yes of course, there’s “bad” procrastination: not getting important work done (note the word, important); putting off a trip to the doctors when you feel that lump; not paying bills.

The problem with the bad, wishy washy type of procrastination is that it oozes insidiously into our lives, along with the attendant guilt.

But there is such a thing as “good” procrastination, and I believe it can improve the quality of life.  The etymology of that particular word is instructive, or at least inspiring:

1540s, from Middle French procrastination and directly from Latin procrastinationem (nominative procrastinatio) “a putting off from day to day,” noun of action from past participle stem of procrastinare “put off till tomorrow, defer, delay,” from pro- “forward” (see pro-) + crastinus “belonging to tomorrow,” from cras “tomorrow,” of unknown origin.

I love the optimism of this: it’s saying that there’s a tomorrow (always a good thing). Procrastination is actually a profound privilege: it means that we have the option of putting something off till tomorrow – something that our subsistence forbears didn’t really have. I also love the wisdom of it. Maybe there are acts that aren’t supposed to be in the now. Not everything can be in the now: this is about what deserves to be compartmentalized into the tomorrow. Or the never.

Done right, good procrastination could bring us more joy, more pleasure in our lives. It could mean the time to be idle, to be inspired, to explore, try new things, to do something you want to do, or just to be. Instead, when I procrastinate (badly), I feel guilty, and my inner critic comes out and has a good romp at my expense. Given the amount of time I procrastinate, and how guilty I feel for the bulk of that time, it certainly means that I’m not living as well as I could be.

The key to better procrastination is to own it.

Own your priorities. Let’s be honest: not everything is important. Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, famously wrote to his son, “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” What sanctimonious blather. Not everything needs to be done today. Sometimes it’s too early. Sometimes problems do go away and you’ve either wasted your efforts or created an even bigger problem. Often you irritate people by jumping the gun.

As a friend once told me, “Every project has its own rhythm. It happens in its own time. Don’t fight it.” When I heard it, I thought this was utter bullshit, excuses for not working to MY schedule. But it worked out. And it worked out again. What he was saying was that big deadlines matter. Little ones, not so much.

And I came to understand that so many things are like that. Listen. Don’t push. Let it happen. And if you call that smart planning, being canny about timing, or procrastination, who cares? (The reality is that someone is going to call it procrastination.) I think it’s about being efficient, and it’s making time for what really counts, which is what you really want to be doing – or not doing.

Own your time. For me, I’ve found that “bad” procrastination often comes from making too many commitments. Make fewer commitments; get rid of the should’s and you’ll have less to procrastinate about. Ask yourself if something really matters. Commit – really commit – to being good enough, not perfect in some areas of your life. (Most research agrees that the root of most procrastination lie in the fear of not being perfect). Then stop thinking about it and let it go.

Own your decisions. I often put things off when I can’t – or won’t – decide what to do. Here’s the deal: you do know. Your body knows, so listen to it. Make the decision (which for me is usually “no”) and just say it. And move on. Less guilt: more time for pleasure.

Own that you dislike, or might even hate whatever it is that you’re putting off. Don’t sugar coat it. Don’t rationalize it. You don’t have to love it. In fact, revel in your hatred of it (there’s energy there.) There’s crap we all have to do, so just do it in short sprints at your most tired, grumpiest time of day (3 pm for me, when the urge for chocolate is strongest). I like to think of these as sprints, where you go all out to do it for 60 minutes. For things that take longer, I’ve taken to scheduling a day a month when I ruthlessly tackle everything on the refined (see above) to do list. In fact, I’m trying to create a procrastination list on both the home and work fronts. Anything I put off for more than a couple of days goes on that list, and I tackle it in my sprints. It’s working so far.

Own your pleasure. I’ve of course, waited till the end to say the most important thing. There’s no point in putting something off till tomorrow if you don’t know what you want to do today. Maybe it’s reading the paper (offline, even). Web surfing mindlessly. Social media. Shop. Organize your shoe collection. Pet the cat. Bake something wildly experimental that’s likely fail. Have sex in the afternoon. Have a  drink. Stroll the city. Browse in a library. Read philosophy. Learn origami. Smell the flowers. Take a walk. Take it slow. Explore. Fall in love. Do nothing. Nap.

Just own it. Know that you want to do it and do it. And commit to being in it. All that other crap can and will wait.

I think I’m going to take a nap now.

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Maybe she has a point