Framing Priorities

On today’s “Before Breakfast” podcast, host Laura Vanderkam shared a great way to frame priorities.

Instead of asking myself yes/no questions, instead structure them as “Would you rather?” questions instead.

For example, don’t ask, “Do I want to hit the snooze button?”  Without an alternative, the answer may always be yes. Instead, I could ask myself, “Would I rather hit the snooze button — or get up and run?”

There’s no right answer — some days, it make sense to get a few more minutes of shut-eye. But since snoozing is invariably lower in quality than a good workout, the latter often wins out.

Fateful Decisions

While listening to last week’s Slate Political Gabfest, John Dickerson shared his answer to the following Twitter question:

A couple of ideas came and went in my mind, before I settled on sharing something previously-untold that had decades of consequence.

It was the last week of my senior year of high school. This was before texting or even email, so I was likely saying final goodbyes to lots of peers.

One of my classmates, a tomboy named Micha, was planning to immediately leave for summer school at Texas Tech. Up to that point, we were closer to buddies than friends, but we were acquainted enough that we decided to become pen pals.

That moment turned out to be the start of the longest friendship of my life, spanning 24 years until her untimely passing. It transcended mere friendship, as we felt & acted like siblings. Pretty darn trajectory-changing, if you ask me!

A Better “Write Every Day”

There’s another way that blogging makes my writing better: writing every day makes it easier to write every day. When I was a baby writer, I thought the injunction to “write every day” was purely aspirational, like “do an hour’s aerobic exercise” or “eat five helpings of vegetables.” I deeply regret the years in which I waited for inspiration to strike before writing (as I regret the years when I didn’t get adequate exercise or nutrition) because of all the practice I missed and the habits I waited too long to develop.

Cory Doctorow, The Memex Method

The last sentence struck me hard. I’ve had this blog for nearly as long as Mr. Doctorow, yet by becoming fallow it’s lost its power to drive my current & future thoughts.

The last sentence was enough to inspire me to write something, anything, maybe as a germ for future regular authorship.