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“Did I Do the Work I Needed to Do, and Did I Do It Like a Motherfucker?”

Posted Feb 08 2013 12:15pm

I won’t lie, living where the sun comes out everyday can be a little distracting for me in the work department! Since I’m working mostly from home, I have further distractions (laundry, Hulu, etc.). I’ve got a good system going now–early morning client, go for a walk, cup of coffee, work… yoga, friends, etc. I figured out that I need to separate the place I work from the place I “hang out” in my studio apartment (apparently my brain associates the couch with relaxing, not with being productive. But the kitchen table?! I can get in my zone there…).
Also, plans, strategies, and lists keep me on track. It may seem like a lot of work just for me to do what I need to do in a day, but my brain thrives on structure and rules… and no one is making the rules for me these days!

The reason I’m sharing this is because I’ve recently figured out an overall plan or focus for the next year+, and so now I feel like I can get into the nitty gritty work part of it. As a result, I need to channel that girl who wrote 150 pages of her dissertation in two weeks and the one who paid her student loans off in 6 months (where the heck did she go, anyway?). I figured out that I need something specific to work toward, or I just kind of float around doing things here and there (which can feel really nice too).

I recently read Cheryl Strayed’s book, Tiny Beautiful Things (amazing book—please read it!), and afterwards I searched for more from her on the Internet. She writes for a column called Dear Sugar on the Rumpus, and one of her lines has become my work and life mantra. When I sit down with my list at the beginning of my day, I look at it, and when I finish the day, I re-read it and ask myself….

(sorry for the swear word)

I’m not just reflecting on work though…but life too. Was today all half-assed and going through the motions, or was it real and meaningful even if it was full of washing dishes and doing laundry? Either way…. how’d I approach it?

I know, I know. I’m being cheesy. I just know that so many people face the same thing as I am — like, either not being motivated because things seem kind of pointless or undirected, or forgetting to enjoy the process of seemingly pointless things like washing the dishes . The reason I know is from the billion hours I spent wellness coaching in the corporate setting—people working at jobs that they were “forced” to be at and grasping at finding some purpose and meaning with it… and if the only purpose is to pay the bills, then what?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a specific answer, but I can tell you if you find a way to make stuff meaningful, then life feels much better. One big clue I keep seeing is that it’s more satisfying and meaningful to follow passions and make good things happen that are not directly related to the idea of just making lots of money. On my way to meet my client in the morning, I pass an art gallery that recently had a red door hanging up in the window. It had painted on it: Follow Your Bliss. Doors Will Open.

I liked it and meant to take a picture of it to share, but it’s gone now. So I’ll just share the sentiment…and if it’s annoying to hear advice like that (like it used to be for me), it probably means it’s exactly where your focus needs to be.
What are your tricks for being focused and positive and motivated in life and in work?

How do you find the meaningful things to focus on that make you want to tackle the day’s tasks full on?

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