When in doubt, for a moment stop.

I was not good at woodwork at school. I have no idea why this was the case - I am pretty good with my hands, and have even managed to make my own dining room table (still standing after 6 years of hard use). For some reason though, I was always trying to make the thing I was suppose to make, rather than the thing I wanted to make.

Anyway, for all my anguish in woodwork class my teacher did leave me with one pearl of wisdom. He told us students that if, while we were cutting a piece of wood with a saw or plane or chisel, we got a hunch or were worried that we were going off course, that we should tell our hand to stop straight away, and if it failed to listen to us, to take our other hand and force it to stop.

With woodwork, once the wood is cut away it is very difficult to get back into place. Taking a moment to assess the situation before proceeding is the best way to minimise damage.

I am a big fan of the lean way of working - test and learn, progress in small steps with a tight feedback loop, experiment. I am not writing to counter this wisdom.

I am writing to say that sometimes the best course of action is to stop experimenting, to stop testing and progressing, and to pause. Remove as much sound as possible from our environment. Remove all distractions. Make a cup of tea. Sit down. And allow ourselves a moment to come back to earth and remember what it is we actually care about.

Today is one of those days for me. There are so many things I think I need to be doing, and I seem to be doing none of them. Time to stop trying to do any of them. Time to sit and allow myself to calm down.