I am not a morning person. I don’t like getting up early and I have a hard time focusing on the tasks at hand when I start work. When I was working full time, I would stare at my computer for the first hour upon my arrival hoping my computer and the gallon of coffee I just drank would jump start me into my day.
This morning was no different. I sat down at my computer and pointedly ignored my To Do list while clicking on Facebook and fashion blogs. It wasn’t until I clicked on this article from Tiny Buddha that the light switch finally came on. For the past 6 months I have been swimming in a large pool grasping on the smallest item as I tried to give my life a little more direction. Some of things have lead to successful partnerships and others not so much. Two weeks ago I met with a Life Coach for a free consultation and halfway through our meeting, she threw up her hands and asked me if I even knew what success looked like. I probably looked like a fish hit me in the face because I knew what it looked like financially but nothing beyond that point. I sat there in the busy Starbucks and realized I was a little … lost.
The article on Tiny Buddha didn’t talk specifically on how to get un-lost so I figured I would make up my own list and submit it for your review.
- Start with what you love. What gives you happiness? What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning? I love the creative process, I love finding new things, and I love to travel. I love funky restaurants and coffee shops. Having a clear idea of what I’m going to get done that day, looming deadlines and a sense of purpose gives me reason to get out of bed in the morning. What keeps me in bed is not having anything on the calendar and a long list of vague ideas and concepts with no real direction or plan for expansion.
- Chunk it down – The best way I deal with big lists is to turn it into easy-to-swallow chunks. For example, one item on my vague To Do list says: Update website. Nothing sends me to Facebook or fashion blogs more than vague concepts and ideas. What my list should have said is: Write bio, post an introductory statement and organize blog into categories. I can further chunk these ideas down: Write a 500 word bio, post an introductory statement with three key items, and organize my blogs into categories: Reviews, self-help, business and marketing, travel. If you like to write, create art, or want to start your own business, this is the best way to stay on track and make sure each day is focused and clear.
- Organize Your Day & Recognize Rhythms – When I’m working, I do my best when my day is full. I don’t do well when my plate only has a few random things on it. I have also found I do my best work Wednesday through Sunday and I’m fairly useless on Monday and Tuesday. Instead of forcing myself to be productive, I spend those two days planning and organizing my week and sending out e-mails. For those with 9 to 5 jobs, it can be a little harder to adjust your jobs to your rhythms but what you can do is schedule your weeks and productivity based on your own peaks and valleys. I tend to put too many things on my plate at once so I have learned to spread the tasks out through the week allowing for wiggle room when things come up
- Set Limits – Advancing technology gives us plenty of distractions with the latest shiny object, app for folding and sorting your laundry, Facebook cat posts and Pinterest pages. Sitting down at the computer to work can lead to hours of looking at useless web pages and fashion blogs. We all need a little escape so instead of spending hours surfing useless websites, set a limit as the amount of town you will spend online. Better yet, set a time with a goal of writing for half an hour or painting a picture or working on your business plan for one hour. When you’re done you can update your Pinterest page for 15 minutes and then go back to writing or working. I also recommend getting up and moving around and stepping away from your work.
- Have Fun – It’s kind of sad when we have to schedule fun time into our days but it’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae instead of enjoying the process or just taking time to enjoy life. Many of us feel we have to spend money to have fun but that’s simply not true. Last week my husband and I went to a free lecture on the state of the publishing industry (yes, we’re nerds) and really enjoyed ourselves. I have attended many free art lectures and recently found a local (free) authors lecture series. I make a point to find out when local galleries and museums have their “free night” or get to festivals and events early and pay a discounted price.
It’s so easy to feel lost in a sea of internet overnight success stories. It’s also easy to feel lost when you’re the only one sitting behind your computer trying to making a go of things with no map or compass. What do you do when you’re feeling lost? Schedule your day to the minute or just let things flow naturally? Let me know and I’ll share your ideas in a later post.