Prepackaged, Unbundled

Yesterday I wrote about some questions and issues that I’ve been having with time, particularly as it might connect to some of the dastardly advice from The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis.

I think a lot of the questions and issues of time and work today has to do with strengths and weaknesses, habits and routines, and what you can do when you know better.  For instance, I’m a morning person.  By the early afternoon, I don’t have much left (which is why an energetic G period is always a positive lift).  So getting to bed at a decent time is important.  I can’t always make that happen (particularly when community is involved), but it is a good and noble goal.

As I’ve been reflecting over these last few weeks looking for ways to ameliorate some of my everyday frustrations, I’ve noticed a couple of interesting knots with things.  The first is the persistent need to prepackage things.  Prepackaging is a part of our culture, has been since at least the dawn of the frozen dinner.  It’s obviously a food trend.  It’s also become a trend in work for me.  Part of it is the move to online content sharing, which requires you to work ahead (and creates a weird but pleasant lag time between your work and the actual finished product).  And part of it is the realization that if I don’t get things done on Monday, I might not get to it again until Thursday or Friday, which is totally unacceptable.  Even when I’ve done my best to get things prepared, I find things left undone.  Granted, there are big prep cycles and smaller ones, but still.  These last few years have moved me in this direction, but this last year even more so.

The other, more frustrating, trend for my management of time has been the bundling that has been happening.  On some basic level, I try to live as simple a life as possible.  It’s not about laziness, I hope.  It is about having space and time enough to breathe.  A lot of my worst moments these last years have been from trying to take care of too many things simultaneously.  That’s definitely been even more the case this last year, where every trip for one reason became a trip for two.  It’s probably a small thing, really, but it’s been something that has nibbled at some of my joy.  And so I’ve been thinking over the last couple of weeks on how to “correct” it.  That’s the thing about times like these, where stuff gets jabbed and jumbled together: you have to be careful of how things land because getting “locked in” to bad habits or practices can be disastrous.

I’m hopeful that one day the world of the prepackaged and the over-bundled will come to an end.  It will at least have some ebb and flow.  But I’m convinced that a better way forward will have at least a little less of both.

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