• davidswallow

Dusty mindfulness

Mundane tasks can clear your head

I won‘t be alone in finding my productivity has gone right down since the pandemic changed life for everyone. Normal routines have been disrupted, the kids have become nocturnal, and I find myself staring at the ceiling at 3am with my mind whirring.

But oddly enough, the most boring of tasks helps. A lot. You may think the life of a woodworker is all glamour and excitement, but not always. Making an end grain board, for example, is 10% skill, 37% glue, and 329% sanding it down. I view the world through a haze of sawdust coating my glasses, and look like I have some awful skin disease as I peel off excess glue.

So there I was this morning, sanding away, headphones on listening to something cultured (Meatloaf, possibly) and I realised I hadn’t felt anxious for a little while. The process of taking a beautiful maple and walnut cutting board, with imperfections, and smoothing those out with the repetition of sanding, had emptied my mind. Sanding is particularly good for this because you ‘move through’ different grades of paper towards a smooth surface, so you spend a long time doing it, and make a lot of dust.

So I guess that, whilst I may be greatly less productive than normal, when I do get out to the woodshop, taking small steps and doing things that don’t exactly set the world on fire, really make a difference.

Oh, and a nice cardigan helps too.

To view my range of boards, click here

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