Working Hard at Work Worth Doing

The hours go on and I sit in my office, working away, waiting for inspiration, and scratching away at one of my numerous drafting pads. Desk drawers full of notebooks, shelves full of books, and file boxes full of papers line my office- hopeful reminders of my past and decidedly present inspirations. Black pens quiver in anticipation of something new and truly great. Papers clutter the wide, seasoned desk, remnants of former busy nights.

The morning comes early, dreary, and cool. Promptly, I rise and get moving, eager to start working once again. After a quick run and then prepping for the day, it’s an hour or so of emails and notes. I write and play piano and design all morning, and then it’s off to a couple of meetings before coming back to the office for more creativity, more work, and especially, more coffee.

Theodore Roosevelt once said “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

I’ve always loved that quote and felt that it describes my life and goals in many ways. When I reread that quote, which is hung above my desk, I am reminded of why I spend long hours doing research and working on numerous projects. I remember that I am working to make the world more beautiful, more elegant, more equitable, and more loving.

Often in the course of our professional lives, we are forced to work on unnecessary, rather uninspired, and unworthy tasks. It is at these moments that we realize how rewarding it is to work away at things that are truly worthy of our efforts. For, lest we turn into lonely, saturnine individuals, we must work every day to ensure that all of our energy is utilized in making the world a better place.

When I finally fall to sleep in the deepest hours of the night, I always try to look back on the day with gratitude, but also with austere, censorious meticulousness. Because the day I lose those compulsions toward detail- especially as it is corollary to the beneficialness of activities, is the day that my efforts and my work will no longer be worthwhile.

I pride myself on my constant pursuit of my better self, yet I am also forlorn when I look back upon the mistakes of my past. And so, it is with regret, but also motivation, that I go about my work, striving for greatness, but not getting lost without the most-important, larger picture. Work is only worth doing when it is done with the utmost passion and impressive scrupulousness. At no other time will work be worthwhile, no matter the honorability or meritoriousness of the work itself. It is what each of us instills in our daily duties that gives our lives meaning and gives relevance to the words of Theodore Roosevelt.

If nothing else, we owe it to ourselves to nurture our lives through thoughtfulness and hard work. One day, we too may look back and see that our endeavors were worthwhile. If nothing else, it’s something to strive for.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Manage Your Life

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So much of managing life is about being able not only to focus well, but also to know how long everything takes. As a business owner, musician, writer, and designer, I constantly have to manage my time, not only in what I’m doing, but also in the breaks I take, my personal life, and in what is not getting done. Scheduling becomes a nightmare when personal life, professional life, and entrepreneurship are all put together. But when one adds in more layers of logistics such as travel time and other people’s schedules, dealing with one’s calendar turns into hell on earth. It is so key in life to be able to organize logistics and scheduling well.

When my business officially opened in October of 2013, it was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. But it was also the start of a major time-suck for me, even if I love what I am doing the majority of the time. I am now constantly updating my calendar and am somewhat of a scheduling junky. I don’t attach myself my calendar because I like being attached to a life plan, although I do, but because I realized that if I want my dreams to come true and my life to stay on track, I have  to be incredibly organized with everything I do.  Both time management and organization have become second nature to me because it was and is necessary for them to be.

So many people in this world lack the basic skills of time management and organization, and it is clear to me that we would all be in a much better place in our lives if planning were much more prevalent. One begins to wonder why it is that the most important and relevant people in our society are sometimes the least together ones.

But experience shows us that the most organized people are the ones who get ahead in life. The CEOs and millionaires of this world are the people who schedule in their every waking minute and communicate the best with their peers and coworkers.

So what should one take away from this- when life gives you work, have fun with it; when life gives you more work, get organized; and when life falls apart, schedule in time to fix it!

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Time, Effortless but Everlasting

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The rains falls gently by my window, wetting the green earth. All is dark outside, covered in a blanket of darkness as secure as it is unforgiving. Inside my room, the reassuring lamp-light nourishes my hopes and dreams as I write on into the night. There is a feeling that comes with the rain. A desperate feeling of longing along with a calm serenity encase the world around me as the music plays on.

As I sit in my room, the minutes draw on, each one a little bit longer than the last. Time seems to both race on towards the perpetually life-less end and sit unyielding and still, trapped in the methodical moments of now. Each object in my bedroom seems plainly familiar, yet simply immaculate. With no effort but to move my pen across the paper, I merely exist. And for what? My work is done, the schoolbooks lie in an intemperate pile at the foot of my bed, a constant reminder of my imposed purpose. So many stories are written about purpose, but who among us can honestly say we can even begin to comprehend the meaning of purpose.

As I sat last night, the hours drawing on, I blearily jabbed at my computer keyboard. I sat there writing for a very different reason than I do today, although a considerably similar story is seeming to be told. Writing my own bio for my website at 2 AM- that’s living for you. Why was I alone in my bedroom at 2 AM indulgently writing about nothing more than Me, Myself, and I? Because somehow, as short as life is, it is not at all effortless. I was writing to manifest the essence of me to the world just one more time in the infinitely endless time that draws on. I was writing I think to provoke some conspicuously omniscient force that would suddenly reveal itself and enlighten me about the purpose of existence. But what I provoked instead, even if mistakenly, was an ambitious desire to do more. To not just wait for some apparently substantive being to just drop my purpose clumsily in my lap, but to work everyday towards some inextricably tangible goal. Through the tedious process of bio-writing, I realized that not only am I working towards a solely paramount goal, but I have an abundance of futures waiting for me.

From fashion design to interior design, from styling to piano to makeup design to blogging, I have an inconceivable plethora of passions, dreams, and futures waiting just for me. Sitting, writing bios at 2 A.M, I realized something crucial, that I also love writing deeply. I love talking almost as much as life itself, so I guess writing doesn’t seem so outlandish. But I think between all my passions, I have come to the revelation that I want to be an artist. Designer, composer, virtuoso, playwright, creator, musician, architect- call it what you will, but I want to do all of it. I want to represent, to inspire, to perform, to create.

As time draws on, purpose slowly divulges itself. Truths become evident, Lives move on effortlessly. Time changes all of us in its way. Time is endless yet sudden, effortless yet gripping and constraining. Time is irrelevant now, nothing but the pattering of the rain and the soothing envelope of my covers affixes itself to my mind as I drift lazily on into forever.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones