Avoiding the In-Between
3 min read | April 24 2023
I think in general I aim to stay in one of two states at any given time:
- I’m at a computer and actively working / producing
- I’m not at a computer and actively living / enjoying my life away from the digital
And I think the characterization of the states I try to stay in helps me understand and better-describe the states I try to stay out of. The states that seem to be so available in the modern culture: the ‘between’ states.
Between-state-A (BSA): where I’m at a computer but not actively working or producing, just doing other stuff (often while still trying to maintain the appearance of working1.
And Between-state-B (BSB): where I’m not at a computer but still trying to be digitally ‘available’ either personally or for work. You know the drill — make sure you have Slack on your phone and your phone with you at all times; constantly check said phone for email or messages; never give anyone the sense that you might not be available at the moment.
The between states don’t bring fulfillment though. And they certainly don’t bring happiness. They’re both just means to look a certain way without really doing the real thing. E.g. being online on Slack 24/7 will never actually get any of your work done for you… and you can’t fake that. Similarly, you won’t enjoy life off the computer if you’re spending all of your time trying to look like you’re still on it. Between states are excuses for not fully diving into the things we ought to be and giving them the weight they deserve.
Eliminating the in-between and simply putting in the time you already know you should be to accomplish the tasks and project set before you, or (on the ‘life’ side) give people your genuine, authentic, fully-attentive self, is what leads to real fulfillment and happiness.
Not exactly shocking news here, and this may well be an alternative angle to looking at procrastination in the first place; but I thought it was worth sharing. Try to stay out of the in-between!
1 Ultimately an incredible futile sense of self-requirement born of guilt for procrastinating in the first place… I work for a fully remote company. Nobody watches or cares if I ‘appear’ online.
2 Fulfillment (and a great deal of happiness) is giving legitimate focus and attention to something long enough to see it bloom.
(12/20) — Going Deep
(05/21) — Going Deep: Follow-Up Pt. 1
(07/22) — Digital Minimalism Follow-Up Pt. 2
(07/22) — Procrastination Illustrated
(10/22) — Diet as a Primer for Making the ‘Right Choice’
(10/22) — My Morning Routine, Explained
(04/23) — Avoiding the In-Between (This page)
(04/23) — Back to the iPhone: The Luddite iPhone