The Problem: I feel massively unproductive of late. Pep talks (from me, to me) and chastisement (me to me) have not moved me into action.
The Solution: Combination of Acceptance and Do the Next Right Thing.
I do feel acceptance is the beginning of change, but since I wrote about acceptance in this post, this one is about another method I use to get off the couch and into action.
I’m off work right now (IT contractor between gigs) and I had great expectations of all the things I’d do during this much needed and anticipated down time. Endless hours of Bejeweled was not on the list, however!
As a former life coach, who wrote a book about goal-setting and achievement (Be Your Own Life Coach: Dream It! Plan It! Do It!) it’s not like the concept of what to do to set and achieve goals eludes me. I actually DO a lot of what I wrote about in the book – including setting monthly, weekly and even daily goals. I know what to do – I just don’t always do it. Can you relate?
One of the maxims I have encountered on my spiritual path is “do the next right thing.” My brother first alerted me to this saying and I thought “what the heck is THAT supposed to mean.” He told me “Don’t worry about being the Doer of All Things (he calls me that sometimes), just do the NEXT RIGHT thing.”
I think one of the reasons some people gravitate towards very structured jobs and lives is that this decision is then removed. If you have a workplace to be at, a child to pick up at daycare, a meal to fix for a family there’s really not a lot of mystery on the next right thing (the mystery is more “how on earth will I get all of this done?). For those of us with less externally imposed structure – temporarily, as is my case, or permanently, the days can “roll by like a broken down dam” as John Prine says.
For me there are two issues: scattered brain and avoidance.
Scattered brain/ADD/Gemini rising/high energy girl – call it what you like, I am more the hare than the tortoise. So looking at a page long to do list for today seems so overwhelming that “just a few games” seems like it will calm me down. So to help me do the next right thing and not feel overwhelmed, I pick ‘the next five things” and do those, one at a time. This has helped a lot.
Avoidance. Ah, this is the harder one. Sometimes I’m avoiding things because they really are hard and a big deal. Other times, when I figure out that I’m avoiding something my avoidance seems laughable even to me. Like not filling in birthdays at all on my new 2012 wall calendar (yes, I know about electronics and actually don’t use a paper calendar at all except this one way – it just makes me happy). Why was I not finishing this task? Because I have a little color coding system and the colored pens were smearing. Using a ball point pen would work but then I’d either have to buy those pens in colors or abandon my little conceit. Once I figured that out, I abandoned color coding and got the task done.
The last piece is acceptance – yes, again. I had foot surgery in December. I had not had any measurable time off in 15 months and prior to that I’d had one week off – so a week of down time in approximately three years – of course I want to do a little loafing!
But I’m happier when I am productive (my brother named me correctly – the Doer of All Things). And now I’ve outed myself to you. So I’ll cull my page long list to the next 4 (because writing this blog was on the list) and spring into action.
How about you? How do you motivate yourself to do what needs doing?