morning head: Wednesday, 22nd July, 2015

Never having been one to take heed of my mistakes the first time I make them, there comes the moment when the excitement that the wifey and the wee man are coming home early from the bush finds itself brought to an abrupt halt by the realisation that I haven’t done nearly as much as I could have or wanted to while they were away.

It’s a common problem, it’s causes manifold. I tick most of the boxes on the “this is why you don’t get anything done” list:

1. Overwhelmed by length of to-do list. Check.

2. Suffers from ego depletion. Check.

3. Caught in the Facebook/Twitter dopamine cycle. Check.

4. Compensates for dopamine slumps with coffee. Check.

5. Compensates for over caffeination with beer. Or whisky. Or wine. Check.

6. Compensates for slight inebriation with coffee. Check.

7. Deals with attendant physiological stress by going to the nothing place. Check.

This is a typical male trait, the nothing place. It’s how we deal with stress – by switching off. This might be accompanied by an activity that does not appear to be completely and totally mindless: driving, tinkering in the shed, whittling. And the wifey will ask what you’re thinking about, and to the reply “nothing”, states firmly that you can’t be thinking about nothing.

Which is not true.

Certainly, sometimes we say nothing, because saying “I was thinking about having a banana cannon on the front of the car so I could shoot bananas up the exhaust pipes of the cars in front of me” is, well…

But more often than not, we are in fact not thinking about anything. The smarter of us have learnt to couple this with activities that don’t invite analysis of our cranial activity, like playing video games. Which is perhaps not that smart, because once we’ve turned the xbox off, we’re no better equipped to deal with the to-do list than we were to begin with.

It might be much cleverer to go for a run, but of course, that would require some willpower. Which brings us back to point 2.

It’s a vicious circle.