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Willamette Weekly

Afternoon Rituals

If I’ve done my job well and managed my time properly, most of the crunch time work has happened in the morning. I work every morning, afternoon, and most evenings, but in different ways.

The afternoon is a slower form of work. I have at least 40 minutes for lunch, which I usually read with the New Yorker or Economist or (when in my hometown) the Willamette Week. Afterwards, if the weather’s nice, I might walk for a while. I run an errand or two. Eventually, I end up at a coffee shop, or I pick up a pastry and head home.

The 2pm-4pm work period is nice and easy. I might have deadlines but I usually avoid calls or interviews. I plan ahead and do some editing, a bit of writing, maybe some business work. But it’s thoughtful. I’ve already read all the news in the morning, but I might read more analysis or an article on Longreads with my coffee.

I used to say something like, “Reading is the most important work I do. I read two hours a day.” Well, aside from the fact that it sounded pretentious, I don’t actually read two hours a day anymore even though I certainly think it’s important work. I might read for an hour or so, but not continuously. The age of technology and continuous access has set in hard lately, I’m afraid.

But I do read, and I do think, and I do whittle down the task list as best I can. There’s a lull during this afternoon work period, but then it usually picks up again toward the end. And then another cycle begins.

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Images: 1 & 2

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