So, it’s back to my regular life — getting past the upheaval of the past few days , saving my energy for just taking care of business — and working on overcoming my difficulty getting started with things.
I have a personal project going on that really has me motivated and inspired. It’s very exciting, and I think it’s going to have some good results. And it gets me out of my head. I did a bunch of work on it last weekend (and it cost me some hours of sleep), and I made good headway doing some sketches and writing up my notes… but it is turning out to be a lot more work than I originally anticipated.
Which is often the case
So, I have this project that I’m very excited about, and I have very clear steps to follow to get it done. It’s all mapped out for me, and I know what my steps are.
The challenge I face now is just getting started on each of the steps. Sometimes that just doesn’t happen.
A great example is yesterday – I had a lot of time in the evening work on this, but I frittered away the hours looking at social networking sites and reading news. I had enough time to really make some good headway on my project, but I blew the evening, pretty much, on distractions and heady entertainment. It puts me in a bind, for no good reason.
Truth to tell, I was pretty tired yesterday. I was feeling sick and out of it most of the day, and by the end of the day I just wanted needed to take a break. I have been pushing myself a lot, lately, so in all honesty, I did need to take a break. I just didn’t plan it that well. And I ended up feeling badly about “wasting” my time.
Now, feeling bad isn’t always such a bad thing — regret, as I’ve said before , can come in handy and provide me with more motivation to get going. That happened this morning, when I woke up at a decent time and then got up to do some of the things I meant to do last night.
I got a lot done, too — more than I expected to. I had expected to do only one sketch, but I ended up doing four — and then I scanned my sketches and transferred them from one computer to another, which is a critical next step. And this happened with less than an hour to work, vs. about five hours last night, when I had the time to be systematic and really concentrate on things without distraction.
So, how is this possible? Well, I think that timing really is everything. Having a sense of urgency matters with me, and if I don’t have at least some pressure around a task, I often can’t get started. Last night, there wasn’t an intense sense of urgency — at least in part because I was pretty tired and couldn’t muster the energy to sketch, but also because I thought, “Well, I have time… I can do other things first…” But this morning, with an hour before I had to get ready for work, I was able to sit down and just start one step. And once I got going, that one sketch turned into four… and then I was able to take care of yet another critical next step.
So, on a fraction of the amount of time I had last night, this morning I was able to do five times the work (maybe more), and I did a pretty good job, too, if I say so myself.
I think the thing was, I didn’t give myself hours and hours to get it all done. I gave myself an hour – tops – to do this, which didn’t give me endless time to confuse myself and bog myself down in endless details. I just didn’t have the time to supply all those details that came up in my head last night. And I also didn’t have the time to psych myself out and overwhelm myself with the whole progression of … stuff… I need to do… all those details…. all those steps… all that detail…
Also, I really need to finalize things by the end of this coming weekend. I have a deadline for submission of this project, and I have to get it all together and make sure everything is in place. This is a preliminary submission for a larger project, and it doesn’t have to be perfect, but there are some things that need to be covered. So, not everything matters, but enough does that I need to pay really close attention. And that gets overwhelming. And everything that could possibly go wrong, is coming to mind. And everything that could go right, is also coming to mind. And it’s a lot to parse.
If I give myself the time to parse it all out.
So, that being said, I realize (yet again) that things work so much better, if I don’t devote a ton of time to them. Once upon a time, I thought I could spend hours on something and go from one step to the next to the next, and ultimately I would have a finished project, and I would feel great about it. That’s what I thought, anyway. But in reality, I would start all kinds of projects and spend a lot of time on them, and I would get nothing done. Because I would get overwhelmed and would drop it all. This is the thing that earned me the reputation as a “quitter” when I was younger. It’s been a long-term problem – from as far back as I can remember – and I’ve struggled with it for so very long.
Now, though, with so much on the line, money being tight and my job situation being a lot more precarious than ever before, and my energy far, far less than it was in the past, I have to change my ways. I have to actually give myself less time. This is a good change, even though it feels rushed and confusing at times. It scares the bejesus out of me at times, truth to tell.
But it’s how I have to do things. The old, long, meandering way doesn’t work at all. I need to break down the things I need to do into small bits, and do them a little bit at a time with a lot of energy and focus, blocking everything else out. It can be tiring — which means I need to rest more, in the meantime — and it can be anxiety-producing, but when I get past the internal dramas, things have a way of working themselves out. I just need to have faith that they will.
Timing is everything – and as it turns out, not having much time at all is the best thing of all.