A blog post a week—that’s reasonable, right? Indeed it was. For four weeks. Then I hit a wall.
Here are some of my excuses for not writing my weekly blog post and some questions to challenge myself:
I have more urgent things to do.
This is a common excuse in all areas of my life! There are things that need to get done. I am often so distracted by the urgent that I put off what’s important. The dishes will get moldy; my waiting blog post won’t. So that means I must do the dishes now, right?
Are the things I consider urgent really so?
I want gratification now.
I crave two things every day: A sense of productivity, and income. (Okay, three—add dark chocolate). I can get the first by doing the dishes. Or playing a game of Ruzzle. I can get the second by investing my time in activities that are a long-term investment. Like sharpening the saw, as Stephen Covey says in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s easier to chop down a tree if you take the time to sharpen the saw first, rather than hack furiously with a dull blade. I’d be more successful if I took the time to invest in big picture activities that will eventually yield both productivity and money.
Also, writing is work. It takes a lot of time with no immediate reward. There’s no writing fairy that taps me on the head and gifts me with brilliance and motivation.
What are the consequences if I put off the more time-consuming, important things? How can I have a balance of accomplishment and investment every day? Where is my copy of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People?!
I’m a perfectionist.
I want every blog post to be interesting, helpful, maybe even profound. Sometimes the imposter syndrome kicks in, and I doubt my ability to offer anything useful. Sometimes I want to dig deeper into a topic but feel the effort to do the research won’t pay off or that it will take hours (see previous points!).
What can I do to just start, to get out of my head and into my fingers? Would a little chocolate treat help?!
My decision-maker is tired.
My brain gets tired of making decisions all day long (it’s been estimated that we make thousands of decisions a day). What should I write about? Are my posts coming out in a logical order? Should I even be trying for some kind of logical order?! What day is good to write this week? When is the best time of day for me to write? What photo or graphics should I use?
Can I let the process be more organic? Should I just decide on a certain time to write my blog post—in other words, make a major decision that removes a lot of the minor decisions?
I don’t manage my time well.
I confess: I spend way too much time on Facebook, looking for that quick dopamine hit. I play too many games of Ruzzle a day (a quick hit of accomplishment). I work for a couple of hours and feel I deserve a reward (this is embarrassing to admit!). Sometimes I crave structure, and other times I want the freedom to do whatever I want. Often, in my rebellion to do what I want now, I sabotage my own future success and happiness.
When I’m really stuck, I set the timer and work like crazy for thirty minutes, then take a ten-minute break. This system really breaks through a lot of my inner resistance to a project. And often the break means doing the dishes or going for a walk—activities which give me a sense of accomplishment or recharge the body for another round of sitting.
How can I include deep work and free time in my life every day?
I believe work should come before fun.
Like a well-disciplined child, I have a voice that tells me I need to work before I have fun. And crocheting is fun! So I think the house needs to be clean before I sit down with my yarn and hook. Or that my crochet work should only be done in the evenings and on the weekends when it’s my “free” time rather than during “work” hours.
Is this way of thinking discipline or bondage?
I have psychological problems.
It’s the only logical conclusion! I resist the very thing I want to do—seems like a deep psychological issue to me. I have identified several bad habits and ineffective ways of thinking, but I’m not sure I’ve pinpointed the root cause of my resistance. But I can’t let stewing about it (or perfectionism) stop me from moving forward. Maybe action itself will reveal the subconscious hesitation; perhaps new behaviors will change my thinking.
Do I need to read The War of Art again? Or just get moving?
The conclusion of the matter? I have spent hours on this post. In the middle of the day (I’m already stretching myself!). I am tempted to sit on it another day and read it with fresh eyes tomorrow. See, the procrastination monster is attacking me! So is the fear of imperfection! I’m going to hit Publish—then check this week’s blog off my To Do list. And have some dark chocolate.