This whole writing thing has been escaping me lately.
I think about it often, trying to come up with some brilliant topic that stirs my heart enough to warrant the time it takes to sit down and write. Before I get any sort of idea, my ADD brain is right on to the next
task form of procrastination.
This whole procrastination thing has been biting me in the butt even more so lately than normal. Which is saying something, because I’ve essentially earned a bachelors degree in procrastination. It’s that bad. However, over the last few months, I’ve allowed myself to come up with absolutely any form of distraction that allows me to escape the necessary task or assignment or cleaning that’s next on my list. So much so that I gave up Netflix for lent (something I’ve never actually observed before) in hopes that it would free up my time and maybe even force me to read once and a while. But wouldn’t you know it, I’ve completely failed at the entire concept of lent and have filled that “extra” time with just about anything unproductive and nothing that has furthered my relentless pursuit of The Creator. So, not only have I failed at being productive, but I’ve completely failed at harnessing the potential power behind the proper observation of the season of lent.
So, I’ve decided to change that – a little later than I probably should have. I’m taking back what time I have left in this season beyond lent to cultivate an environment of not only productivity, but curiosity and creativity.
*In an effort for full disclosure, I wrote everything up to this point and switched over to Hulu. So clearly I have a little ways to go to fully put this into practice.*
So, two days after I initially started this post, here are the top five ways I’m changing my habits to become more productive and intentional.
- When you think about it, do it. I’m a procrastinator through & through (shout out to my fellow ENFPs), which often causes a task to take 3x longer than it should to complete. I’m such a pro at thinking, “oh, I’ll do that in a little bit,” when I think of something that needs to be done. This becomes SO DANGEROUS for me and my productivity. This “little bit” turns into hours which turns into days and weeks and suddenly I’m overwhelmed by all the tasks I’ve put off. So my solution: when you think about it, do it. I’m trying to be proactive by completing tasks as soon as I think of them. While this isn’t always necessarily possible, it does somehow make me feel more productive and saves me a little bit of stress in the future.
- Start moving as soon after you wake up as possible. I often tend to start my day by catching up on a TV show from the night before. However, on the days when I get out of bed shortly after waking up, make a cup of coffee, start my breakfast, and just move, I find myself to be 100x more productive throughout the day than I would otherwise be. And, I mean, coffee is involved – so it can’t be all that bad.
- Set small goals throughout the day. I love a good list. I’m such a visual person, it helps me immensely to see my calendar and tasks written out. I’ve found that I’m able to be more productive when I not only write my tasks/goals out, but also when I set small attainable ones throughout the day. By setting these small goals, I find my day less daunting. It breaks things up and makes them seem manageable. I often tend to reward myself after completing a set of tasks. Sometimes it’s just as simple as walking to get the mail, but it motivates me to push through.
- Keep your morning routine constant, but not boring. I’m a creature of habit, but I also thrive with change – which makes things complicated. I love having my plan for the day, but if it’s the same day after day, I get bored and tend to procrastinate more. I’ve tried to set a simple morning routine of getting up and making breakfast/coffee, but I tend to mix up what I do after that, or the music I listen to, or even just what I eat. Sometimes I go to the gym in the afternoon, while other times I wait and go in the evening. I crave something new and different each day, but maintaining some kind of routine allows me to thrive within that changing schedule.
- Reward yourself with something other than TV or other mindless entertainment. This is a really hard one for me. My go to is Netflix and Hulu – allowing myself to check-out for 40 minutes as I fight fires in Chicago or hop over to Seattle to perform a quick surgery. However, not only is this a complete waste of time, it’s also entirely mindless. I don’t have to think or process much at all. This is not to say that there isn’t a time and place for mindless TV, but it needs to stop being my go-to. Instead, I’ve tried to reward myself with either something that still makes me think (like reading) or something that gets me moving (like going to a class at they gym or simply getting outside to get the mail). This keeps my mind engaged and I’m less likely to “accidentally” spend my day hitting the “play next episode” button.
Goodness, I am by no means succeeding at this even 50% of the time these days. I find myself failing more than I find myself being productive and intentional. I try to implement just one more thing that I did the day before. One foot in front of the other, one good choice after another. It’s a slow process, but it’s something that I’m intent on mastering moving forward from here.
My word of the year is fearless (which is something for another post), but I also want to strive to be intentional. I want to be intentional about what I eat, what I do, what I read, and who I build relationships with. Not only that, but I also want to be intentional about seeking out opportunities, feeding into my curiosity, and cultivating gratefulness and joy in as many moments as I can. I’m 150% sure I will fall short of all of these goals, but I want to fight for them in each decision and action I make – moving forward with determination.
So, here’s to 2016. Here’s to a year of redemption, clarity, and fearlessness. Here’s to being bold and curious and intentional.
Here’s to planting one foot. And then the other. Again and again.