There hasn’t been much excitement around the Turtle lately. We’re in between trips, it’s rained nearly constantly this summer, and we’re both working hard to build our businesses. So I don’t have any great camper mishaps to share with you on this (hopefully not for you) rainy Friday.
As I sit here with my cup of coffee and watch water trickle down the windows in my tiny corner office though I do have some advice. You’re welcome to take it with a grain of salt or two Ibuprofen, it’s your choice. Here it goes…
Sometimes you have to quit before you can start.
There are things that we all do every day that can really get in the way of making life changes and doing big things.
There’s the obvious stuff, quit spending so much time on Facebook and go do something important instead. Quit eating so many miniature Kit Kat bars and go for a walk. Both of those were directed at me today by the way.
Then there’s the not so obvious stuff, stuff you may not even know you’re doing. You may have to really pay attention to realize what you need to quit.
If none of the things on this list apply to you then congratulations, you’re a robot.
Quit Doubting Yourself
You’re not too old, or too overweight, or too busy. Those are excuses your mind dreams up because you’re really too scared.
There’s a boy in our town with only one arm. I’m not sure if he lost the other one as a baby or was born without it, but now he’s around eleven years old and just as capable as any other little boy, and some grown men.
He’s also one of the best baseball players I’ve ever seen. He can catch a ball in his glove, throw it up in the air while simultaneously dropping his glove on the ground, catch the ball back in his bare hand, and throw someone out at second before some of the other kids even realize what’s happening. It’s pretty awesome to watch.
Kind of makes all our excuses invalid, doesn’t it?
I thought I would write about this later, but I guess I’ll get it out of the way. Badda bing.
Seriously though, 90% of the time when I put something off there’s a deeper reason for it. It’s not that I just don’t want to do it. Usually what it means is that there’s a step in the process I don’t fully understand or am afraid to do.
And nearly every time that I finally make myself sit down and tackle the issue it takes such a minimal amount of time that I can’t believe I put it off that long. Especially when putting it off resulted in a late charge, missed deadline, or some other equally yucky thing. That just irks me.
Quit Trying To Make It Perfect
Most of the time done trumps perfect. I think the only exceptions are brain surgery and rocket science, and you should skip this if one of those applies to you. I’m flattered, but you probably have better things to do anyway.
Get it done, get it out there, and then work on making the next thing you do better than the last.
Quit Building Things In Central Park
In his book Start Jon Acuff talks about the concept of what Central Park does for New York City. It’s this huge patch of green land in the middle of a bustling city, kind of out of place really. Obviously they could find a thousand things to build in that space, there could be more offices and apartments and probably a great pizza joint. But they don’t. Because they need Central Park to keep the city working properly. Central Park is a break in the middle of the crazy. Not to be confused with Central Perk, which is what formed my opinion of Jennifer Aniston and all coffee shops.
Jon goes on to say that everyone needs their own Central Park. A space to rest, time to think and breathe. If you’re constantly rushing from one task to the next without spending a minute in your happy place you’ll quickly wear yourself down. Just like good design your mind requires white space to be effective.
Quit Forcing It
I’m talking to myself here. I worked hard yesterday… I stared at my design program tweaking pixels for nearly 10 hours with very few breaks. I wrote and did chores and caught up on lots of things.
And I’m feeling it today. I’ve had writers block all morning, I’m having trouble focusing and I just feeling scattered. And now I really just want to eat mini Kit Kats and watch Friends.
I know that pushing myself to do great things today won’t work. I’ll get frustrated and instead of getting in the ‘flow’ of work I’ll have trouble making my thoughts show up right on the screen.
So instead I’ll focus on small tasks. Things that have to be done – emptying my inbox, doing the dishes, website updates for a client, maybe just one tiny Kit Kat. These things don’t require a huge amount of thought on my part, but I can get them done and out of the way so tomorrow I can do big things again.
What have you quit in the name of simplifying or doing big things? Are you looking forward to relaxing this weekend or is that when you get things done? I’ll be catching up on Season 4 of Breaking Bad before the premiere Sunday night… if the rain will let the satellite stay on!