Fear, procrastination, fear. I'm not sure at what point I've realized how much that pattern has permeated my life until this year. Maybe because before I didn't know how to name it, and now I can.
Mindfulness has greatly helped, and so has the un-procrastination month at Sea Change. When I went through that challenge I started writing down the reasons/beliefs/fears that were stopping me from getting on with some MITs. It really helped me see the bigger picture. And by bigger I mean the picture that was hiding underneath, ever present but oh so quiet.
Sometimes the fear had no apparent link to the MIT at hand, but was something global, attached to my present circumstances. And so doing some work in the computer may have been stalled by worries about money, or my relationship.
Since creating this blog and knowing I had to write about how fear affects my procrastinating over things I started noticing many examples. Too many :) And just today, thanks to the Self-Compassion Month, I started thinking that I'm ok giving myself time to figure things out, to not expect immediate action every time I want to do something or create a result. I can put my mind to something and accomplish it in small steps, letting go of previous ideas of what productivity means (...and breathe). The 'lighter' I manage to make a task seem, the more fun it becomes. Making it smaller is working wonders so far. That's the best way I've found to beat the fear, catching it before it has time to settle and become overpowering. I've been focusing on that for a few days now, and I'm looking forward to getting more into the process.
Thanks Leo for all your great advice and for the great Challenges you've set this year so far!
I've been setting MITs I can do in a short 10 min session alongside my usual MITs. It's been wonderful so far. The idea of doing 10 mins only (or to start with, at least) takes the pressure off totally! I've been able to do things I've been intending to for a long time, and to do them fast :) Maybe the time 'limit' makes me think less and act more? Also, after finishing the MITs I wrote down I kept on doing other ones. Loving it so far. And when I started procrastinating I payed attention to my feelings, was self-compassionate, and still got them done.
1. How did I do?
Very well, maybe too well.
2. What got on the way?
Overdoing it, adding too many and too big MITs.
3. What can i do next week differently to remove those impediments?
This was a tough one! :)
My week only really started on Thursday (long story) and on that day I simply froze in front of the challenge of facing something I've been avoiding for months. I made myself busy with other things and totally procrastinated on it. I was too afraid of it to even analyze what exactly I found so scary about it, because honestly, it really isn't (it's editing some photographs). I guess the longer you leave something the harder it is to get started.
Today I went round in circles getting my other MITs done, and finally, I opened the folder with the photographs I'd like to edit. The pain in my body made itself very present. It was located in my upper body. I saw flames, as if I was on fire. It was scary to go there. Slowly, I moved through the images, I saw where I had left it and where I would need to pick it up, etc. I was mentally counting the seconds, longest 3 minutes of my life!! I have left the folder opened (I can see it now, peeking at me) so I can do another 3 minutes on it tomorrow. It can't be harder than it was today!
The article for this week's mission was brilliant. Really helpful. Touched many key points. I will read it and re-read it tomorrow before going to that folder.
This week's evaluation:
I've been procrastinating posting in here, but I've been thinking a lot about my ideals and seeing how they get on the way. Firstly, I started being aware of my ideals regarding my partner, and once I payed attention to them, those ideals seemed silly, trivial, limiting, uptight. I also became aware of my ideals about my children, specially during difficult times (ie. around bedtime). I realized that my ideals were hurting me more than helping me. They were adding stress to the situation and things were easier once I relaxed and adjusted to the fact that I have no control over the situation, or over them.
It was harder to observe the ideals I have about myself. And by harder I mean more painful. Half of the week I did extremely well when it comes to MITs, then the other half of the week I procrastinated big time and I felt very disappointed in myself. I had set very high standards for myself (If I am able to do all my MITs one day, I should be able to replicate this everyday, and be highly productive) and I couldn't shake hat feeling of disappointment off. After two days of procrastinating I was able to pick myself up in the evening (after reading Leo's latest article, very inspiring and obviously motivating!) but I still carried with me that heavy feeling of not having done enough/not being enough. I saw the week as a failure, silly as that may seem.
My ideals are making me feel like I'm stuck, when in fact I'm always moving forward, even if slowly sometimes. They make it difficult for me to see my progress and to celebrate it.
This exercise has made me see how hard I am on myself. I'm sending self compassion to myself as I write this :) Now I want to focus more on what I do right, on my positive sides, on how well I'm doing and how much fun life is. That's what I try to teach my kids, and I want to lead by example.
I love this mission! It makes so much sense! I don't think this is silly at all. It's useful and very helpful. After I wrote my last post I was keen on finding a way to deal with how I feel about my ideals. Or rather, a way to deal with how they make me feel (not that good). My MITs were to write down a list of the things 'I do right', my positive qualities, and things I like doing/are fun. Then in the evening I read the mission (I'm European time) and I thought it was so much better than my own mission :) because it doesn't make look away from what I don't like about myself and then focus on things I like better, it makes me look at what I don't like and accept it. Really good.
Today I did my first session, and it was easier than I expected. Maybe because I knew it would only take about 3 minutes. I feel uncomfortable about not having achieved as much as I would have liked professionally this year. I focused on that. It was like a burning sensation, hard to take. Very quickly though, I felt a wave of compassion and ease as I stayed there. I saw myself as someone who's scared of not achieving enough. I held myself in my on arms and felt much better. I'm human, imperfect, but a good person regardless.
July has been challenging as I've had constant changes to my schedule (kids are at home, we are away quite a bit, we go to bed and wake up at different times than we've done for the rest of the year...) While on holidays I gradually stopped meditating, yoga, and everything else I call my habits. I kept on saying to myself 'this is the way it is now', and went with the flow. I felt guilty when I came back, for being off the rails like that, but I accepted it and moved on pretty quickly, going back to doing my MITs and habits.
Accepting myself as I am (or the process of accepting myself, rather) seems to be changing things inside and out. Some changes are quite small, but all together I'd say I'm taking care of myself more, I'm being more compassionate towards myself, I'm giving myself time to figure things out and to follow my own rhythm. Because of this, I'm enjoying my work more, even the parts I didn't enjoy before. Which in turn means I'm procrastinating less! I feel things are moving forward!
De-cluttering month hasn't been as successful as I'd like to. Just as last year, this module took place during the summer, when I'm not home that much! It's a shame, because I think this is one of my weakest points and I'd love to be able to tackle it full-on. Maybe next year this module can be proposed in a different month? :) I may get back to all the content in September, or whenever I think I can handle two modules at the same time.
Having said that, another thing I've been focusing on is 'the positive' side of things. And what has helped me this month while doing minimal, inconsistent de-cluttering, has been thinking of how I want the space to look like, what I want my wardrobe to have, etc (as opposite to freaking out for having too many magazines or paper, or going into cold sweats at the thought of getting rid of items of clothing I own).
August will be as chaotic in terms of schedules as July, but somehow I think I'll manage to do more (photography) work. I'm ready to keep on getting out of my comfort zone. It's scary but I think that's where the good stuff happens.
Yesterday's webinar was very inspiring. I was so happy that it was all happening at a European friendly time! I've been throwing things into the ocean since the beginning of the moth: expectations, ideals... I'm looking forward to doing it as I go along my day, and not just in the evening. It's a nice, gentle practice, and very useful. I find I feel more compassion towards others as I do this.
I'm off for a week, small break at the beach. There'll be plenty of challenges in there, I'll keep on tossing things into the ocean!
Thanks for the great webinar!