I consider myself a busy person, and I do a pretty good job of convincing others of just how incredibly busy I am. We all do. "Ugh, I'm so busy lately! I'd love to but, you know – BUSY!" And I guess I'm busy. Maybe I'm busy. If I were to make a list of things I am "doing" right now, it would be long and impressive and possibly even make you wonder how a man of my size living in a universe of such constricted physical laws – 60 seconds in a minute, 24 hours in a day, etc. – can get it all done. Well, here's the answer: I don't.
That occurred to me on the way to work today. I don't get it done. Really, I don't know how anything gets done because I don't do it. It's been a very long time since I remember writing anything substantial. In fact, it's been a while since I've even written a short joke that I can remember, or commit to long enough to polish into something beside a vaguely funny premise. (Instead, I have a notebook's worth of these strange sorts of half-finished jokey thoughts. For instance, "Humiliating forms of exercise with a personal trainer: NON-CONSENSUAL PUSH-UPS, ASSISTED SUICIDE DRILLS, TAMPON RELAY.")
Last night, before performing at a comedy show (busy!), I was speaking with another comic about being distracted to the point of paralysis. She was explaining that, individually, she loves all of the ways technology has helped her communicate – the Web, email, cell phones, text messaging, stuff like that – but, combined, they represent a great threat to her sanity. Each piece of technology becomes a small invasion on anything you might do in solitary, like write. That's definitely been the case for me. For example, here's what a typical hour of writing looked like for me five years ago:
think write write write write write write write cookie write write write write pet cat write write save.
And here's what it looks like for me now:
stare think stare stare peck write check email write email check myspace check email think write google image search play frogger check email check myspace take cell phone call think think touch cat's nose put cat on top of other cat laugh play with stuffed monkey buy album on itunes check email write email write google old friend from college who recently got divorced cookie save forget.
I'm doing so much more, and getting so much less done.