The "Swiss-Army Knife of Vegans"
My "hyperactive hive mind" was downright depressing me, until I realized how multi-faceted, sharp, and handy I could be.
I’ve been trying to remind myself how totally uninteresting it is to talk about how busy I am all the time. Most of us exist in a “hyperactive hive mind,” according to author Cal Newport—by way of last week’s episode of The Ezra Klein Podcast.
A hyperactive hive mind is “a workflow centered on ongoing conversation fueled by unstructured and unscheduled messages delivered through digital communication tools, like email and instant messenger,” and this is basically how I live.
When I heard that episode, it’s like my pretty little hyperactive hive mind was totally blown, and I felt at-once seen and despairing.
How could I possibly be the extremely productive, creatively stimulated, multifaceted writer/editor/podcast host/nonprofit founder/VP/actor/Scorpio I boast on my on-crack LinkedIn page if I’m as unstructured and scatterbrained, as Cal Newport (who recently wrote A World Without Email) says I am?
Putting this fancy framework around my over-stuffed schedule and constant state of low-key anxiety depressed me. After all, I like to think of myself as a do-gooder, a change-maker, a rabble-rouser. I paid extra money to get my business cards on fatter, wider cardstock in order to fit in all of my many titles in a way I thought was charming, not concerning. (It was charming, wasn’t it?)
The possibility that my many jobs, titles, responsibilities, and obligations were not really that good for me shattered me on some deep level—mostly because it affirmed something I have known deep in my soul was a problem for a long time. And though I’m frequently the person who has the answers (or so I pretend), the connections, and the contact info, when I thought about the fact that I have indeed bitten off more than I could chew, I had literally no idea how to fix it.
And then, just as I was about to throw out my career alongside my computer collection, I was tagged in an IG photo for International Women’s Day and referred to as a “Swiss Army Knife of Vegans.”
A Swiss Army knife? I love Swiss Army knives! They are reliable, handy for just about any project, and having them around makes you feel badass.
Suddenly, with this new descriptor attached to me, I was reframing my “always too much and never enough” mindset (that also just so happens to be the name of my memoir, which was my first book) as something that can really work for me—as long as I focus a little more diligently at time-management, prioritize deep work sprints, ensure my mental wellbeing is authentically ready for uninterrupted creative time, and am always maintaining a thousand-foot high view of my work so that I can be sure it’s all pointing to the legacy I want to leave one day.
This newsletter is going to act as an interactive whiteboard so that I can stay accountable to myself as I explore how to optimize my time, elevate my activism, express my creativity, and evaluate my life’s purpose. Accomplishing this will require assessing those things that are working and those that aren’t, being radically honest with myself (and with you) when I need to move in a different direction entirely, celebrating the small victories along the way, and having a strong sense of humor and humility—since this will definitely, definitely not always go well.
In my forthcoming posts, I’ll tell you more about the tools and resources that I’m using; the podcasts and audiobooks that are offering me great value; and I’ll give you the inside scoop on how my jobs, writing, and advocacy efforts are all being informed by my time-management explorations.
Since I’m a long-time vegan and animal activist, you can also expect some tips on veganism, and possibly some plant-based recipes—but this is definitely a place for the veg-curious, too. Oh, and since I three dogs and a very annoyed cat, I’m sure I’ll tell you about the life lessons they’re teaching me, as well.
So, more on the many hats I wear in an upcoming post …. For now, I want to leave you with one specific tool that is currently helping me. I’ll end each post with one clear takeaway or tool.
I want to offer you an added layer of value to your days. I want Jasmin’s Jargon to be something you look forward to on your quest to being more diligent about time-management, more conscious about your consumer choices, and more radically compassionate with your relationship with yourself.
Though I definitely won’t have all the answers, I can promise you that I’m endlessly trying to do and be better, and I’m very, very excited to share what I’m learning with you.
We are all connected in ways we don’t understand. I think that otherworldly connection can inform the way we go about our lives.
Thanks for connecting with me here.
One Thing I’m Jazzed About
Caveday. I’m actually in a deep work session with Caveday right now, as I write this. I’m sure I’ll talk about it a lot more in future posts, but for now, I’ll offer this: If you crave deep work sessions, work remotely, or need accountability, try Caveday. A membership will cost you $40 per month (but you can try it for free for thirty days) and the virtual space encourages you to prioritize a no-distraction zone. So, as I type this, my phone is in another room entirely; I’m “mono-tasking” on writing this newsletter; and as soon as my hour-long sprint is over, I’ll come back together with my virtual group of fellow Caveday dwellers to share with one another what we’ve accomplished. Even in the few weeks that I’ve been involved in this virtual community, I’ve been incredibly productive and have developed better boundaries around my work. I hope you like it! Let me know if you try it.