Getting back on the horse…the writing horse…

It’s been a while since I have written in this blog.  I was so proud of myself for upholding my weekly manifesto, for over two years with only a few delays.

Yet…here I am… with months going passed and only a few words published.

I like to blame work.  Of course it is their fault.  I’m back working full time and there just are not enough hours in the day.

Which is semi-true.  Sure. I feel like I have less hours.  But there are also plenty of days when I have the whole evening free but I decide to lounge in front of the TV instead of getting out my writing.  Or the weekends that pass by with plenty of free moments, but I choose to cram them with chores or a sneaky read of my book.   My brain is so fried I don’t have anything left to give.

But I know there is more to it than time…because I know that I’ve stopped writing because I’ve started to overthink it.

I have started to worry that I have nothing more of value to say.  That I’m not funny any more (because seriously, I was being SOOOOO hilarious before, my writing was amazeballs).   I feel like I have nothing new to share, there are no more stories to tell.  That you…the reader…are getting bored with me and my rantings.  I am scared what the people from my work will think.  Whether this will change their opinion of me.

I have…infact…written a few blog posts over the last months but none of them have made it out the starting gate.

Is this perfectionism creeping back into my world?    Hell…I know I’m not perfect… but that desire to wait until the flash of inspiration and the thunderbolt of amazing words come tumbling easily onto the page… is stopping me getting even a single word onto the page.

I have to remind myself that I started writing this blog, just as a practice for myself.  And I know, deep down inside…somewhere real deep… that I just have to get back on the horse.  I have listened to so many writers who say that sometimes it is a real struggle for them to write, even though they love it,  they have to force themselves to do it.

I have to get back to writing each week as a discipline, regardless if I “feel like it” or not.  And some weeks,  it might not be great, there might be some crappy stories or average words.  But amongst all of that maybe…just maybe…one person will read my musings and think “yeah, I feel like that sometimes too”.  And if I can make that one person feel better about themselves because they know that there are other crazy random fools just like them out in the world… then that day will be a great day.

So…peeps…it is time to get back on the horse.   If, for no other reason than to practice my writing.  And get random things off my chest.   And if it is not great…well…I’m sorry in advance… but hopefully it’ll inspire you anyway,  to get back doing something that you love…even if you feel like sometimes you are pretty average at it.

signature

 

Decluttering my brain…

My life feels like it has gotten a little out of control recently… it wasn’t one big thing that happened…  but little bit by little bit,  chip chip chip chip…until I find myself in a whirlwind of chaos.

Arghhh

Nothing has actually gone terribly wrong (yet) and I still seem to be getting through each day…by the skin of my chinny chin chin.

But I hate this frazzled, disorganised feeling.

There is a part of me that thinks the answer is about letting go of having things “perfect”.  To make peace  with school notes going in on or after deadlines,  with less priority work emails going unanswered,  with the increasing pile of “to action” documents on my study table and catching the sight of the kids bathroom from the corner of my eye and wondering “hmm…when was the last time we washed those towels”.

I simply need to let go.  To accept that I can’t do it all.

Except that I can’t.  I feel like this black cloud is lurking around over my head.  I hate being disorganised.  The sight of the piles of crap on my study table makes my stomach lurch when I walk into the room.  When my husband asks me a question about money, a shot of adrenalin shoots through my chest, as I am reminded that I haven’t looked at our bank accounts in months and I am just hoping everything is OK.   My mind is distracted at work when I’m trying to focus but can’t find my pen under the piles of stuff on  my study desk.

For me,  I don’t think it is about seeking perfection…it is about having some order and structure to streamline my days, to control the chaos.  It is about making active choices about what I will and won’t be doing..not just forgetting things.

Shannah Kennedy talks about this in her book “The Life Plan”.   “Simplicity brings clarity” she says,  and she talks about having a life full of clutter (internally and externally) becoming a drainer in your life.  The more drainers you have the more they weigh you down and make your feel more stressed.

“Many people are surprised to realise how much satisfaction they can drive from doing small, seemingly inconsequential task, such as putting all their gadgets chargers in one place, booking a check-up with the dentist or filing documents in their correct folders”…

Oh soo true…I get a LOT of satisfaction from these kinds of things and they become really impactful in your day to day life.  For example,  the Tupperware cupboard in our house is currently overflowing with an assortment of mismatched tops and bottoms.  When we unpack the dishwasher,  the current method is to open the door, chuck the Tupperware in and then shut the door as fast as you can before it all comes toppling out.   Of course, this makes school lunch packing time a very frustrating experience.   I spend a good 15min every morning trying to dig out the right size containers, with corresponding lid, then piling everything back into the cupboard that has fallen all over the floor.  I know if I just spent 30min one night pulling everything out and sorting it into piles, I’d cut my lunch making time in half every morning. (anyone got a tried and tested method for storage, I’d love to hear it!?)

OK,  so it is time for action.  I’ve made a list, yippee! School holidays are coming up soon, and I’m going to do me a bit of spring (winter) sorting.  I’m going to tackle all those every day areas which are contributing to the daily feeling of chaos.  The Tupperware cupboard, the key/cord/money/everything-else-we-haven’t-put-away box in the kitchen, my wardrobe (with the clothes scrunched up in balls) and my beautiful home office space.

Just making the list made me feel better.   Ironically,  just before I wrote this post, I was trying to find my notebook and the list I made, so I could remember and write about it for you… but I couldn’t find it.  I spent a good 10min pacing the house, looking under piles, under my bed, in the dogs cage…  I was about to start crying when I found it in an old supermarket bag on the floor in the corner…how?..why?

Anyway, I think the universe just gave me a hint that it really is time to take action.   OK,  I’m on it.  I’ll let you know how I go.

signature

 

A little tip for keeping on top of things…

Here’s a simple but very effective strategy which I use to help clear my mind of all the myriad of things it tries to throw at me every second of every day…

Always have a notebook with you…

I’ve been doing that at work for as long as I remember.  I’ve tried to move to doing it electronically on my ipad, but I keep coming back to a simple notebook and pen.  It’s just so easy.  That notebook follows me everywhere at work,  at meetings, on the phone..even at lunch.   I write notes during meetings, I use it to capture actions and things I’ve agreed to do (or other people have agreed to do) and, most importantly,  to jot down all those random thoughts that suddenly pop into my head when I am in the middle of something else.   It helps me to stay focused on the task at hand, and also makes it easier at the end of each day…to tally up the “to do’s” and write them up ready for the next day.    It’s not that often that I have to go back to old notes (although I have sometimes),  but I think merely writing things down helps it to stay in my brain.

Weirdly, though, it is only recently that I realised I need to do the same thing at home.  So now I have also have a “personal” notepad that lives in my handbag.  For those moments when I am eating dinner and suddenly thing “don’t forget to fill out that note for school” or when someone calls and I need to jot down a number.   Just like at work,  I use my notebook to go back and tally up the “to do” items and get ready for the next day ahead (for the record, I spent a lot of very pleasurable time shopping for an appropriate notebook.   It is green and has a lovely soft cover.  Surely the beauty of it makes me far more productivity…surely?).

I find this is one of the most simple but effective things I have done to help me feel more in control and less overwhelmed.  Clearing things out of your head and onto paper, makes space for your brain to do other things.   And it helps me to focus my attention, because instead of jumping from one task to the next…I force myself to simply write things down when they pop up,  and then keep focused on what I am doing.

Do you have a key strategy that works for you in keeping everything in your life on track?

signature

P.S Here’s an interesting fact, or maybe not an interesting fact at all?!?   I wrote this post a while ago but decided not to post it because…well…quite frankly, it’s pretty boring isn’t it? who wants to read a post about a notebook? Surely this advice is not valuable.  But then last week I was reading a book called 15 Secrets Successful People Know about Time Management By Kevin Kruse…and BANG, there it was…carry a notebook.   So…maybe it is not such lame advice after all,  clearly, I am a highly successful person,  just like Richard Branson (because he has a lame notebook too…so there!).

Just do it…

IMG_0165

Do you ever procrastinate when you actually need to work on something big?

I’ll admit,  I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed recently.  My brain is in overdrive.  Everything is whirring around in my head like a machine.  I have all these ideas to blog, but I haven’t posted anything for weeks (err..sorry guys).  I have major new projects that I need to implement at work…but I haven’t exactly started them….I’m still researching them…

I am sitting on the computer,  clicking, reading, sorting…thinking…thinking…thinking… tick tick tick tick.

Not surprisingly feeling increasingly anxious and uncertain which is leading to more clicking and reading.

Then I was listening to a Straight and Curly Podcast ( lots of what Kelly Exeter says really resonates with me) about when you need to start “learning nothing new”…and as they were talking…it dawned on me exactly what I’m doing.

I’m looking for a silver bullet.  I’m feeling nervous and unsure,  so instead of just getting started..I’m doing “productive” procrastination where I feel like I am being productive because I am reading things and keeping busy checking emails and updates…because I’m frantically hoping that something in all that will give me the direction that I need, it will give me exactly what I need to get the job done.  Something will inspire me to write a brilliant blog post.

And I realised that I do this all the time.  Weirdly,  the more pressure that is on me, the more overwhelmed I feel…the more likely I am to put down my tools and start just clicking/thinking.

But actually, what I really need to do…is just get started, with something.

This morning I started work, and I set myself a challenge. I got out my trusty timer again and put it on for one hour and decided to just START writing a plan for my major project even though I wasn’t exactly sure where it was leading.

(OK…short side note…hmm..not procrastination…just roll with me here….was looking for a link to last time I wrote about using my timer,  and realised it was another day when I was totally procrastinating…seems like this might be a habit of mine…  OK…so anyway,  back to writing my plan this morning)..

I decided it doesn’t matter if it is a crap plan…but I have to spend at least one hour without distractions and just get something down.

Then tonight,  I sat down and promised myself that I would write at least one blog post.  Doesn’t have to be brilliant…it just has to be done.

So…my work plan was started.  It wasn’t perfect,  but it was a start and then I had a much clearer idea of next steps and real actions that need to be taken.   I have committed to doing the same thing every day this week…at least one hour of committed time building on the plan.

And…here I am on the blog.  It isn’t my best blog post ever…but it is done.   And, you know what,  I’m going to be OK with that this week.

Are you procrastinating on something big?  Is it time to force yourself to just do it?

signature

 P.S I’m super excited today because I learnt how to put this nifty little button at the bottom of my posts… woo…so if you are not already subscribed to my blogs, I’d love to have you join the gang and I get to drop into your email box each week (or whenever I get past my procrastination and write something!)

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Sorry I missed you last week…

cropped-cropped-p10206502.jpg

You may (or probably not) have noticed that I missed my blog last week.   Since I started this blog I’ve tried to consistently blog once per week.   Last week it all felt a little more crazy than usual.  My husband was away traveling for work for the week,  the home phone and internet stopped working (which is a pretty big deal when you were planning to work from home!) and one morning I whipped out my inner domestic goddess to make pancakes for the kids (on a school day no less), poured maple syrup all over them…only to be informed by my son that there were chunks of mould all through the syrup.   I caught myself trying to wipe the mould off with papertowel before finally conceding defeat and throwing them in the bin (and trying not to vomit).

Something had to give and sadly, it was this.  And quite frankly,  the inspiration wasn’t there either.  I didn’t want to cram this in as another thing on my never ending list of things to do.  It was the right thing to do.

But today…today is different.   Today, it is early in the morning.  I am sitting on our deck.   I’ve cleared a space on the table (between the possum trap …long story… kids toys, dog lead and potting mix which are currently adorning the outdoor table) and set up my laptop.   I’m still wearing my pyjamas and I’ve got my ugg boots on.  I have a cup of green steam steaming beside me and the sun warming my back.

I spent a while this morning thinking of the myriad of things that needed to be done this morning.   The different ways I could have maximised the time I had this morning (while my daughter is at a sleep over and my son is happily playing computer games).   I should have gone for a run (I could have dragged my son away from the computer and made him ride with me), I probably should at least be walking the dog,   the kitchen needs tidying up, infact, the whole house needs a clean up.  There is a shopping list that needs writing, so I can get the food shopping done before the shops get busy and we head over to a friends for lunch.  I also need to cook some food to take to a dinner we are having this afternoon.   I thought about watering the garden (poor garden,  those thoughts often come but are not often actioned) and, that reminds me,  we were going to go to the shops to get some more plants to replace the ones that died last week.

But in the end,  I decided to do this instead.  Because of all the things that I probably should be doing,  this felt like the thing that I wanted to be doing.  I missed it last week.  So it was time.   And right now, in this moment,  I’m so glad that I did.

What choices are you making about the things you should or could be doing with your time?

signature

 

 

P.S As always,  I’d love you to join my tribe of followers.  Simply press the button on the website to get updates when I post…just once a week (or…sometimes less?!)…