Seth Godin makes a great point (when does he not?) when he draws a distinction between long and hard work.

Long work contains the number of hours one puts in at the office, such as the lawyer that bills a fourteen-hour day. Hard work is the effort put forth by the lawyer who synthesizes four disparate ideas to come up with a closing argument that wins the case — in less than five minutes.

If taken further, this idea reveals that effectivity has nothing to do with the amount of time one puts in, but rather with the ingenuity one has when spending the time one has.

That is not to say that hard work is not the direct beneficiary of long work. We all know we have to have moments of toil to get places. After all, I wouldn’t be working in German television if I couldn’t speak German. It took more than a Berlitz class to perfect my language prowess. Neither does one become President overnight or, in most cases, a star (although some network programming would have us believe that is true, too).

What does it take, then, to catapult oneself onto the hard work stage?

You may be tired of hearing me say it, but with Memorial Day in the near past already, the official summer season has begun. In full power of slow style, I tell you ingenuity can only live if you do, too.

In a word: vacation. Time off. Siesta, baby! A holiday for a week or two can work wonders, moving your mind from the long of it to the hard of it. You can, indeed, rejuvenate and then create when you’ve had a bit of a respite.

Benjamin Lichtenwalner’s blog reveals how little time off Americans have. According to his sources, only 57% of Americans use their allotted annual vacation time, while one out of four US workers does not have paid vacation at all. In fact, there is no US regulation mandating paid vacation, something Take Your Time Back is combatting vigilantly.

So live a little. No, live a lot. And in that life you can work, play and breathe. The best minds are those that are rested, clear and focused. Without vacation, you can have none of it. Passion alone cannot feed your fire. A little vacances can go a long way so that your long work is less and your hard work pays off.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Two years ago my husband and I participated in a TV science program about life without petroleum products for a day. It was astounding how many things we use that are petroleum-based. Plastic is just one of them.

The animal kingdom, the plant kingdom and the mineral kingdom have been trumped by the fourth kingdom we call plastic. Susan Freinkel, author of Plastic: A Toxic Love Story, investigated the world of plastic that surrounds us and made some amazing discoveries.

Between the years 1941 and 1979, plastic production superseded that of  steel. During that very short time span, plastic had become “the skeleton, the connective tissue, and the slippery skin of modern life.” (page 6)

Today we consume six hundred billion pounds of plastic annually.  In 1960, the average American consumed thirty pounds of plastic products. Today we’re consuming 10 times that!

The quote below summarizes the story of plastic, which she tells using eight every day objects to weave her tale (the comb, the chair, the Frisbee, the IV bag, the disposable lighter, the grocery bag, the soda bottle, and the credit card):

“We take natural substances created over millions of years, fashion them into products designed for a few minutes’ use, and then return them to the planet as litter that we’ve engineered to never go away.” (page 10)

Other highlights include facts such as these:

  • We’ve produced nearly as much plastic in the first ten years of the new millennium, as in the entire preceding century.
  • All Americans now carry traces of dozens of synthetic chemicals in their bodies – including fire retardants, bactericides, pesticides, plasticizers, solvents, heavy metals, waterproofing agents, stain repellents, Teflon and other compounds. Even newborns harbor chemicals – on average 200, according to one study.
  • Plastic debris is now found in even the most remote places, like the Antarctic Ocean.
  • Though most plastic can be recycled, almost none is. Only plastic beverage bottles and milk jugs, #1 and # 2 plastics are recycled in any great numbers. Even so, nearly three-fourths never get into the recycling stream, and instead wind up in landfill or incinerators

Life without plastic. Is it possible?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Quotes on Time

May 21, 2010

My sage stepmother sent me some gems I wanted to share with you. She has an inspirational calendar chock full of wisdom. She even tossed in one of her own. The subject? My favorite: time.

“Life is all about timing… the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable become available, the unattainable, attainable. Have the patience. Wait it out. It’s all  about timing.” ~ Stacey Charter

Ah, a delicious notion of savoring the waiting! How we hate to wait! But did you know that the waiting place is the schoolhouse of wisdom? I am beginning to understand that now.

And another of my favorite women writes:

“Since time is the one immaterial object which we cannot influence–either speed up nor slow down, add to nor diminish–it is an imponderably valuable gift.”  ~Maya Angelou

You can expand your consciousness, according to Marianne Williamson. It involves meditation, a slowing down of our internal metronomes to the Oneness of All Things. See NPR interview I did with her.

To cap it off, we have one more beauty to share today:

“Use [time] wisely and enjoy that gift for as long as you have it.” ~ My wise stepmom

So there you have it! What are your favorite quotes on time?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 148 other followers