I was stuck; seriously stuck and it really began to weigh me down. Creative productivity was no longer at my fingertips. I couldn’t get started. I felt immobilized. How did I get here and what was holding me back? My own thoughts and attitudes? Some outside force? I had things to do and time was wasting away. Even if I sat down with work as my goal, it didn’t take long before I was following the twisty road of distraction everywhere except back to the start point of the project at hand. Eventually, my total lack of productivity became unbearable and I was desperate. I was missing deadlines. Whatever was going on with me went beyond a little run of the mill procrastination.
Right before things started to improve for me, I remember trying to read articles on ‘getting organized’. Even my ability to focus was weak. I left the web-site after a paragraph or two because I just wasn’t interested or maybe I was distracted. This whole productivity void thing ... it was bad. I began to wonder if there was something psychologically-based that was throwing me off my game. In my case, this was just another excuse not a reason or a solution. Yet, I chased after the possibility and bought into it for far too long.
It was at this point in my procrastination-from-hell when I realized that I needed some help. It slowly began to dawn on me that perhaps I wasn’t being entirely honest with myself. Sometimes we see only what we want to see. Bottom line, I was shirking work, wasting time and it made me feel like crap. How’s that for honesty? Maybe it’s just me, but I needed to understand why?
My husband and I had recently sold our home, moved and bought a new home. We packed up the house ourselves and had unloaded of a ton of stuff through both charitable donations and the junk yard. I am not afraid of hard work. Was I burnt out after showing a home for nearly a year and enduring the selling and buying process? Possibly. I know burn out and this didn’t feel like burn out.
One afternoon, when as usual, I had been unable to get started on my work load, I decided to draw a line in the sand. I was going to get to the bottom of this mess before another week dribbled away. I went back to the idea that I had about honesty. Not only did I need to get honest with myself, but I had to come clean with another human being about what was going on with me and my complete lack of productivity.
While I waited for my husband to get home I went back to reading articles about getting organized. The honesty breakthrough had me on a bit of rally and so I pulled out my day planner and wrote down a laundry list of every last little task, big and small, that was messing with my serenity. A jumbo ‘to do’ list. I looked down at it and felt overwhelmed. It was then that the best idea of all occurred to me; I decided to pray.
At the other end of the prayer circuit, it probably came off as a rambling, crazy woman kind of prayer, but I was humble and asked for help. It would be cool to report that God immediately zapped me with super woman strength, but that’s not how it went down. My husband got home and we sat down and I laid the big ‘ol mess out for him. He was wonderful, helpful and encouraging. I felt better after letting someone into my world and it was then that I realized that until I was back cranking along in life, I needed to be both honest and accountable to another human being. Luckily for me, I live with that person and so it’s pretty convenient.
So, I had a course of action. Pray with humility and ask for God’s help to lift me out of this procrastination hell. Be honest with myself. Be honest and accountable to another human being. One more thing ... write it all down.
You really can pick up all kind’s of great advice from organization ‘how to’ articles. I’m sure you’ve heard them all too. Clean up your e-mail box on a daily basis. Plan your day or your week in advance. Schedule your tasks at a time of day when you’re most likely to produce. Avoid distractions. It’s like losing weight, we know it’s about upping our activity level and decreasing our calorie intake - it’s the actual follow through that has us tripped up.
For me, motivation on the ‘follow through’ comes from a relationship with God. What was missing from my busy, busy life was a daily, spiritual check-in with my higher power. Moving is just plain crazy and then at the end of the road, there’s this tower of boxes to unpack. Maybe all that stress did distract me and throw me off the path. Yet, I’ve been in that position before and it took the pain of separation from God to open my eyes. It’s amazing how many times I’ve said to God “hey, thanks for the help, I’ll take it from here.”
So here’s the bottom line, there will be chaotic days that not even your highly evolved day planner can anticipate and there will be days when you are easily distracted. When you find yourself having trouble getting started or sticking to a tough task, stop and humbly ask for God’s help. Maybe it’s direction you seek or guidance. Ask, listen, be patient and do the next right thing. Above all, remember to invite God to the power meetings. The presence of God in your life, in and of itself, is a successful way to start your day.
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