This is part two of the Structure That Doesn’t Suck podcast series! Visit part one — Structure That Doesn’t Suck — and listen in before the following will make sense.
I promised we would talk about priorities. How do you decide what’s vital on any given day, and how do you make room for what’s most important?
Let’s make it really simple, starting with Step Zero.
Your priority is to engage with your opposite for one hour per work day.
Part of our measurement of growth as humans is moving beyond the settings we’re born with here on earth. If you’re an introvert like me, that means you’ve had to learn how to engage with people. You’ve had to learn protocols like, when someone says, “How are you,” you have to say, “I’m fine thanks, how are you?” For the first seventeen years of my life, I just said, “I’m fine” and walked away. I had to LEARN how to engage with people. Likewise, introverts, you’ve walked away from interactions with people completely wiped out, and you’ve walked away from gatherings of humans completely filled up and absolutely wonderful. (Looking at you, best concert I’ve ever attended.)
Your asshole brain said you were gonna hate every minute of that party, workshop, or concert, but actually it was lovely and you learned a lot. That’s because you grew.
This Priority Practice is similar: you’re gonna push your own edges in the name of growing as a human.
Eventually, you’ll be able to switch between your Hermione and Luna bits seamlessly.
I can say this only because I used to Luna so hard that I didn’t know how much money my business was making per month. I was a photographer at the time, and I trusted my business partner to handle things. Likewise, at some point in the past ten years, I didn’t know how to operate WordPress, email lists, SEO, Google Analytics, or social media platforms. I didn’t know how to follow up on a sale, nor did I know how to hold a profitable workshop. (I was so excited to hold a workshop that WHO CARED about making any money at it!!????)
My learning to Hermione has been a process. Now, I can tell you how much my business has made this month down to the dollar. I operate all the online things all by myself with no trouble. I follow up on sales like a champ, hold profitable workshops, and coach others to do the same.
Which is to say: you can do this.
You can absolutely learn to be a bit of your opposite by engaging with it every single work day.
This is deceptively simple: if you’re a Luna, block off one hour per work day to handle all the Hermione-like tasks you normally avoid.
Use Hermione time to tend to the physical world tasks that bring your work into reality.
These are the tasks that keep you from living out the ‘starving artist’ stereotype, and that, counterintuitively, give you more time to be your fully Luna self.
If you own a business, that means using your Hermione hour to do things like: sharing your work with others, packaging orders, communicating with clients and potential clients, following up with those who have expressed interest in your work but haven’t yet purchased anything, processing emails (meaning send and archive, not keeping emails in your inbox to remind you of to-do’s), sending invoices, bookkeeping, applying for grants or gallery showings, and otherwise doing all the boring, tedious, and/or difficult tasks that you normally avoid like a flaming spider.
If you’re like, ‘That’s overwhelming, I don’t know where to start:’ which undone projects or tasks make you feel guilty or shameful at this moment? Start there. Those are the tasks to add to your calendar right now. (Also: your shame is not interesting.)
The point is not to judge the tasks that make you feel guilty or shameful. The point is to add them to the list and then work through them during your Hermione Hour.
You’re naturally not going to want to do this, and it’s going to sound impossible. BUT. The Hermione Hour is only an hour. If you try and batch your life — i.e. buy 3 pounds of mung beans when you decide to convert to an all ayurvedic diet after reading a single book about it — you know how it goes. Those mung beans are still staring at you from the back of the cupboard seven years later.
We’re actively undoing the tendency to batch life and SOLVE IT ONCE AND FOR ALL. We’re slotting your most dreaded business tasks into simple, straightforward blocks of time that help you rise up from your own self doubt and self loathing to get shit done.
Ways to get the most out of your Hermione Hour:
Hire a pro. It’s okay to use Hermione time to hire a professional! I have a bookkeeper and accountant because if left to my own devices, I would keep zero records and then owe 20% of my total income at the end of the year to the tax man. (Been there, done that, cried hysterically. 2010 sucked HARD.)
You might need the help of a graphic designer, a coach, an event planner, an editor, or another pro to get your work into the world. It’s okay to give up on DiY-ing every last portion of your work and actually hire help. Hire a Hermione! It’s so much easier than trying to become a Hermione!
You don’t have to do it all at once. Part of the reason you’ve avoided doing these tasks for so long is because they seem overwhelming. Please refuse to be overwhelmed. You put one task, and then another, on the calendar until you’re caught up.
It might take days or weeks or months or years, but you’re starting now — which is better than starting later. (Starting last year is not an option, so please don’t beat yourself up about any missed opportunities.)
Ask for help. You’re most likely to need accountability not for individual tasks, but for making the time to function as your opposite. It’s a great idea to ask a friend, colleague, or coach for help with forming this new habit. (Preferably a fellow Luna, so you both do it and share your experiences.)
Have a plan. If you just put Hermione Hour into your calendar with no plan, it’s not going to happen. Make a list of alllllll the tasks that you avoid doing. (It’s okay if the task list is infinitely long! Keep writing and get it all out. Your job is not to beat yourself up, it’s to make a list. That’s your Hermione work for the foreseeable future.)
Add up to 3 tasks per day to the calendar, keeping in mind that most tasks take far longer than we’d like to imagine when we schedule them.
If you’re a Hermione, block off one Luna Hour per work day to do all the things you ‘never let yourself’ do.
That might include: meditating, reading, writing, journaling, dreaming, imagining, playing, wondering, visioning, and generally not being ‘productive’ in the strictest, most capitalist sense of the word. The Luna Hour is also perfect for breathwork, yoga, or any other spiritual practice that normally gets shoved to the early morning or to a single half-hour on the weekend because you ‘don’t have time for it.’
You’re gonna use Luna time to tend to your interiors.
There is nothing more productive than doing this work for future you, but for the long term it may seem like ‘nothing is happening’ and you’re ‘wasting time.’ To that I say: keep going. Asshole brain and capitalist society desperately need you to measure your human worth in terms of output, but you also require input.
Use this time to feed yourself spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and/or physically in any way you see fit.
Luna Hour hacks that make doing this work a bit easier:
Schedule it. Leaving the Luna space completely blank will backfire. Yes, we’re attempting to add silence, stillness, and space into your routine, but if you go from being busy for every minute of every day to an hour of nothingness, you’ll abandon this entire process immediately.
If you’ve scheduled an acupuncture appointment for yourself, downloaded a playlist, set up a friend date, or otherwise prepared for this time in some way, you’re far more likely to both enjoy it and to reap the benefits. Take a few minutes to order library books, gather workout videos, cultivate a playlist, gather art-making supplies, or otherwise ‘trick’ yourself into some down time.
Make this time non-negotiable. I know you could be using this time to answer emails even faster, or make more money or more connections or more projects. I know.
The discipline here is to teach yourself to hold a space sacred.
To reinforce the idea that you’re not the planet to do laundry and respond to emails. You’re a whole-hearted, full-bodied being, and Luna Hour honors that truth. You’re also teaching yourself to separate your work from your worth while giving your nervous system a reset.
This is important work; it’s just not your usual work. (It will feel quite different for that reason.)
Find an accountability buddy. Hold each other accountable for keeping this space free of work. Your natural pattern will be to completely ignore the life-giving hour I’m asking you to create. Find a friend to help you make space for silence and stillness in some small capacity. As you go through it, you’ll both be feeling lighter and freer within a few weeks.
THIS IS TOO SIMPLE, KRISTEN.
IT WILL NEVER WORK.
At first, no. It won’t.
You will fight this like you have never fought anything else in your life.
You will kick. You will scream. You will barrel through the allotted time with 43,000 excuses.
Keep coming back to the Priority Practice. Keep scheduling time to give this a try.
When you start to sink into the rhythm of it, I guarantee your life will get easier.
If you’re a Luna, you will have actually looked at your business numbers. You’ll know your enough number, know what you have to do to maintain a profitable practice, and you’ll be able to bring your steady and experimental income into play.
If you’re a Hermione, you’ll have created breathing room for your soul. You’ll be less stressed, less dependent on time travel to be in two places at once, and less likely to ignore the whispers your intuition has been giving you all along.
No matter what, the Priority Practice gives you a sense of accomplishment and growth, which equals fulfillment.
Your only step right now is to schedule one Luna or Hermione hour per work day for the coming month.
You can absolutely change your habits, make new patterns, and thrive, no matter how hopelessly devoted you’ve been to those Hermione or Luna tendencies.
But first, you’ve got to make space in your calendar for that change to happen.
Go on, take the time now to schedule your Priority Practice as specifically as possible.
P.S. Keep going! Here’s the rest of the Structure That Doesn’t Suck series: