Well I just realized that my goal for January wasn’t made. I intended to have an episode out to you guys for last month. I even know what the episode contains! I just didn’t get it done in time. This post explains a little bit about why that is.
I realize I haven’t written here in a while either. Part of that was because I went back and forth about the issue of “does anyone read the posts”? Because my feed contains both the posts and the podcasts I don’t know how many read the blog. (hint – feel free to speak up in the comments section if you do so I can get a count)
Of course then there are all the other life reasons. I experienced some seasonal depression, there were holidays, and amongst all of that I spent time pulling myself further into unhappiness because I couldn’t figure out why I had things I knew needed to be done, things I wanted to get done…but not the ability to get myself motivated enough to do it.
This is a problem I’ve had for quite a while. And I expend a decent amount of brain power beating myself up about it. I found myself at Barnes and Nobel in the self-help section a week ago quite by accident. On a lark I decided to look through the books to see if anyone had any big advice on how to get motivated. There were a few on procrastination and I picked up one that I’m going thru a little at a time. I’ll be happy to recommend it if I find that it becomes helpful. I’m sure I can’t be the only one out there with this issue.
(I may have just come up with a good idea how to get blog posts to those people who only listen to my feed.)
Anyway, one of the things the book was useful for was finding out “why” you procrastinate. At first I couldn’t answer this question. It wasn’t like I didn’t know what to do. I even liked doing a bunch of the things I keep putting off. I’m not really afraid of making a mistake while doing them. So why did I put off things like putting up a post or a podcast? Why did I promise myself tomorrow I’d write some on Guardians? Or the same with any number of things I put off? It’s certainly not the full answer…because there is a hint of fear that what I write won’t be good enough or that I’ll write it and find out it’s wrong and needs to be re-written (an upcoming post)….
But the answer is…I find so many cool ideas I want to pursue that I bury myself in projects. Podcasts (I help with 3 right now), my book (short stories to draw attraction until it’s finished), voice work (for pay or for traffic – I’ve got two parts I’m currently playing besides mine), working on my fitness (food, trainer, cardio and weights), interviews (I have 3 ARC’s to read and at least 6 other people lined up I want to interview for the podcast), critique partner auditions (5 currently “auditioning”…3 who’ve sent return scenes to critter), helping others in my circles (I have 3 people expecting me to eventually get around to reading their current projects and maybe crit for them), and the endless list of podcast novels and shows I want to listen to (don’t even ask me how many that is).
Are we seeing a trend? I simply get overwhelmed by the amount of things I need/want to do. I don’t look at it that way in the moment. When I’m thinking about how I don’t want to write right now or “I think I’ll edit that later”…it’s just this dread…this tiredness. But when I look at the larger picture it’s clear to me…why on earth would I want to do any of the things I have to do when I’ve picked so many things and have so many people counting on it to all be done NOW.
There are people waiting for new episodes of Tale Chasing, people waiting for Guardians to come out, people waiting for the voice work, and expecting me to interview them. There are people who are looking forward to seeing my fitness progress. And I’ve told them all I’m working on each thing right this minute. Though no one but me knows it….each track has the same deadline. The immediate future. I think that calls for a reason to feel overwhelmed.
So…what am I going to do about it now that I know what’s happening. It’s not a perfect plan and like the book says, the object is not to “cure” procrastination but to do it less. I was referred to a site called Team WorkPM. It is a project management site and I’ve found it useful to seperate the projects I have and list the tasks that need to be performed and in what order to get them done. That has a least let me get it all out of my head so I don’t feel like I might forget something. And knowing what to do next is helpful.
Another suggestion from the book is to pick something little and accomplish it. Even something so small as writing an email is enough to get the ball rolling. Accomplishment gains momentum the more you add to it, and the more you add to it the more motivated you are to get things done. Because you feel that you can, you know that you are capable.
The last note on how I’ve been working on this is the obvious. Stop adding to the pile until I get something significant done. I have already caught myself twice going … “no, now is not the time to take that on.” And to me that’s a huge success. (of course reading back on this post I realize that while my idea on how to help those of you who don’t read the blog is part of the “Podcast Project”…techniquely it’s a new thing to add to the list of things to do. Some habits are hard to break but at least I caught it.)
So….if any of this sounds familiar…I hope this entry helps you.
(as a side note: There are two podcasts recorded and set to be put up shortly. Guardians is on it’s 5th chapter and I’m at 8500 words. I’m set to re-write the first chapter and get it back to a crit partner. I’m doing well with my fitness and have done two training sessions and have a plan on how to get better progress. I’ve also managed to stay away from foods I shouldn’t eat and keep with the every 4 hours eat thing.)