Inner Space
Hi, I’m Diana Demco and this is the Inner Space newsletter about my reflections on living an examined life. If you're new, you can find old editions here. You're getting this email because you signed up on my website. If you'd like to unsubscribe, click here.
I've recently came across the following idea and it's been rolling around in my mind ever since:

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

It belongs to Stephen Covey, the author of the popular book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which I haven't read and don't plan to, as it sounds way too "new age productivity" for my taste. But that particular idea has resonated with me greatly. It's one of those punchy quotes that isn't only clever, but also true.

We all have a main thing that our work revolves around. Maybe it's communicating with clients, fixing vulnerabilities or finding great people to mentor. Whatever it is, the main thing is the one that pulls the most weight.

As someone who enjoys dabbling in adjacent activities besides my main one (writing), I get easily distracted and swept away in rabbit holes that seemingly don't have anything to do with writing. I'm the type of person who would take a one month course in illustration to create my own images for my articles, or read an entire book just to make a secondary point in one of my essays (which I've done more than once).

The thing is, even when I'm not actively working on my main thing, I'm still thinking about how I can transfer the insights and lessons I get from whatever I'm doing, into writing. So perhaps it isn't so much about only dedicating time to your main thing, but keeping it on the top of your mind so that whenever you're taking a break from it, you're still trying to relate back to it, to enrich it with your new findings.

We need to strike a balance between our main thing and adjacent activities (or as some would call, distractions). Distractions are unfairly vilified nowadays, but there's definitely a place for them in our work (perhaps a topic for another day).

First, identify what your main thing is, then see how you can focus on it for at least 70% of your time. This way, you'll allow wandering time to refresh your mind and you won't get stale with your primary activity.

Timeless Content

On Wasting Time
Sven Schnieders | 3 minute read
To come up with great ideas, one has to waste a great amount of time.

I thought it would be interesting to pair my ideas about the main thing with an article that is a bit at odds with what I said. This isn't so much me playing devil's advocate, as it's just an attempt to show how nothing is black and white and there are always exceptions.

The article in question is a short read that makes the case for why "wasted time" is not always wasted. Unproductive or uninspiring periods are bound to happen in everyone's career, but they have a purpose nonetheless. They can be the fertile ground for when inspiration does struck.

Perhaps doing your main thing isn't always yielding the result you hoped, so you need to step away from it for a short period in order to allow your creative juices to flow again.

Picture of the Week

Source: John Holcroft

Quote I'm Reflecting On

Choreographer Twyla Tharp on knowing who you are:

Another thing about knowing who you are is that you know what you should not be doing, which can save you a lot of heartaches and false starts if you catch it early on.

Source: The Creative Habit

Questions For You To Ponder

What is your main thing in the season of life you're in? How can you keep it the main thing?
Thank you for reading.

Until next time,
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