Tag Archives: administration

Today is the day

I’m going to finish my November project. Today. April 17 instead of the November 30 I hoped for (yes, that doesn’t say ‘I planned for, I know…). You’d think I’d be excited, happy, relieved. Instead I’m tired, full of resistance and desperately longing to not work on it today. Why? I don’t know.

So, again, this blog post is to make myself accountable. I WILL finish it today.

I’m not sure whether I want to look into my resistance and learn from it, or simply bypass it. I do know the resistance annoys the heck out of me.

I remember that I wrote about unmet needs as a productivity block. Maybe that post brings some insights.

I have gotten my poem for #NaPoWriMo done, so I can’t procrastinate by doing that. There are five sweet kittens in my house  that I could look at for hours. Maybe I can make those my reward for getting my first steps done: reading the blog post I mentioned, and creating a plan for today after that.

 

Paper pile monster

 

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To do or not to do

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I’m going to make fool’s resolution today: to complete both National Poetry Writing Month (#NaPoWriMo, #GloPoWriMo or #AprPAD) and my administration project with the many Piles Of Doom.

The fool part is not that it’s an April Fool’s joke. It means that it’s probably not foolproof to try and do both. But #NaPoWrimo brings a lot of inspiration, connections and fun each year, so I don’t want to miss out on that. And my darn administration is still the project I blogged about during National Blog Posting Month which I never got to finish. I used to be quite allright in doing my administration, but since a couple of years it brings out the worst in me.

I guess I know how to deal with my foolish plans: values, boundaries, keeping an eye out for the drama triangle, taking care of my inner child. Still I fear I might drown. I’ll probably need to revisit every post I’ve written during November (or since), to remind me that I CAN do this. Maybe some of them can be useful for you too, whether you’re in on #NaPoWriMo or your just trying to get something done.

Wish me luck!

If you’d like to follow my creative endeavour, here’s the link to my blog: Unassorted Stories

How kittens can lead to doing your administration

To my own surprise, I just realised that I’m working on my November project. How did that happen?

First of all I blame the cat. She’s moved her kittens upstairs, and stressed me out endlessly by dropping one of them down two flights of stairs. Then she the chose an impossible place to put them. I put them in a box instead, and I’ve been spending the whole day upstairs to check if everyone is doing okay. So far I seem to be the only one who’s stressed. There’s lots of napping going on. (… are they warm enough in this room? Does everyone get fed? Why has she put one of them aside from the others?)

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There seem to be two lucky things about this:

  1. I got bored and decided to work on my administration
  2. The anxiousness about the kittens left no room for other stress.

It was more than a coincidence though. Yesterday I realised what I needed to get back on track with the project:

  • Go through each and every pile to see if there’s administration on the year 2016 in there.
  • Put 2016 in a separate, clearly recognisable box.
  • Create two other boxes, to make sorting through the big piles fast but effective. One box that says administration older than 2015. One box that says other things to archive.

So I freed up some space to put the boxes in a place where they are easy to reach, and grabbed some piles. Meanwhile keeping an eye on the kittens and the cat. The sorting went quickly. One reason was that I found much stuff that was half sorted already. Another reason was that the three boxes worked perfectly!

 

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All my careful observation made no difference for the kittens. Mum has just again dragged them to a spot where I don’t want them. She wins, for now. I have a customer coming in half an hour. I’ll go and brew some coffee, let the cat have her way, relax a bit, and enjoy how much I got done today! Oh, and thank Lisa for writing this book, for it sure helped my thought process yesterday: http://less-stuff.co.uk/product/piles-to-files-paperwork-book/

 

Start with the smallest step you can think of

The bigger the fear, the better this advice is. You know that joke about how you eat an elephant? The trunk first? There’s a reason why there’s no such joke about eating a quail. And it’s not just because a quail has no trunk.

The bigger the fear, the better this advice is. You know that joke about how you eat an elephant? The trunk first? There’s a reason why there’s no such joke about eating a quail (and it’s not just because a quail has no trunk).

I reminded myself of the smallest step technique today, because I know I need to restart my November project soon, and I dread it. I had to quit the project because of the flu – two or three rounds of it, I lost count. Then Christmas came, and then work happened. In the meanwhile my brain has labeled the project a FAILURE, and it’s frantically sending anxiety signals as soon as I consider picking it up again.

But it needs to be done. I want to get it done. And I want my brain to recogniseI did well, even when I didn’t finish it. The failure interpretation is an unfair distortion, and harmful too. Not to mention that it’s a clear invitation for procrastination!

So, my first small step today was revisit this blog. I replied to some of the comments I hadn’t replied to before, which reminded me of what a positive the experience othe blogging about my project has been.

It helped me reconnect to the feeling of ‘I want to get this done’. So I decided on a second small step: checking my diary if I had space (both time wise and mentally) to restart next week. Turned out I have SOME space. Which is enough when you think about small steps; it’s not too daunting to work on it a bit.

Obviously my third small step has been to write this blog post. It’s out in the open now: I will restart my November project. In February. Those taxes need to get done…

Today’s illustration is linked to the idea of taking a first small step. I made it on a day when I hadn’t painted for a long while. I wanted to paint, but felt like it would be impossible to create something beautiful. I felt I had lost all my skills, and certainly all my faith in being capable. So I decided to simply grab paint and create something that I would probably throw away because it was ugly. But at least I’d have handled some paint again. I did it. It worked. And I never threw it away. My son loved it (much to my surprise), so I gave it to him.

A lucky mistake?

Please read the post first, and then discover what the mistake was… It’s at the bottom of this post!

I’ve made a start on my November project: digging up the stuff I need to do my taxes over 2016. Lisa, if it’s okay with you I might write regularly on how I handle it. One reason would be that it might help others. The other, more selfish reason would be that I’d like to be witnessed and applauded for what I expect to be a struggle (or, share my joy about whenever and however I manage to avoid the struggle!).

My start has been completely different from what I normally do. I didn’t touch a thing. I sat down and thought. I’ve used some techniques from working in projects, a bit like writing a project initiation document (a light version obviously, but something I can use to keep this thing from turning into a big bang and creating an expanded universe I drown in).

The other thing I thought about is: how can I control this as a process? I know 5 things per day will be to little and will not bring me my goal (taxes done). So I’m considering 5 minutes (or 10, or 15, or 30, I think I’ll have to find out what amount suits my levels of energy and the stress that will come up). I’ve also thought about things like: What will my boundaries be? When will I stop or seek help?

A third thing has been to notice how I’m feeling as I write all of this down (my body sends loads of stress signals), what I’m thinking (chocolate! Go binge watch Sopranos!! Don’t start this, it’s too big!!!).

My last thoughts, is how I would deal with my child if he’d feel fears as big as mine feel now.

This took 30 minutes, a bit of more if you include me typing this here. My stress level is going through the roof, and I want to show myself what I’ve learned over the years. So:

– I’m patting myself on the back. Well done for getting this far and facing all these emotions.
– I draw a line. This is enough for today. If I stop know, I’ll feel amazed at the steps I’ve taken. If I continue, I’ll drain myself and feel I’ve failed.

It’s hard to stop now, but I will. I really want to make this project a success. My definition of success is not just getting these taxes done, it’s also feeling I can handle myself.

So what’s the mistake here, and why might it be lucky? I’m part of a private decluttering group on Facebook, called Less Stuff. In the group we work on gentle decluttering, instead of the purge-type decluttering that has been doing the rounds these last years.

I thought I was sharing my post there and there only, in a group where people know what it’s like when you feel like decluttering is like climbing Mount Everest: exhausting, taking a big toll (whether physical or mental or both). To my surprise I received responses of people that weren’t in my group: likes, loves, thumbs up… I had managed to share the post on my own Facebook wall, for all my friends to see.

The responses made it clear to me that I’m not the only one who struggles with this, even outside the fabulous Facebook group I’m in. People were cheering me on, and telling me they’d love to read the rest of the story – a story that still has to be ‘written’.

So I’m thinking about sharing my journey here, on the ‘old’ Procrastination Coach blog. I know that this project has a lot to do with procrastination. Both the fact that my administration is buried in a mess, and the techniques I want to use to get me out of there – both organised and sane.

Like everyone else who procrastinates, I feel embarrassed about it. In my case maybe even more so, because I’m procrastination coach… I should know better! At least, that’s what the critical voice inside me keeps telling me.

Truth is, I do know better. But, well, things happened, in my life. And I fell off the badwagon of doing things, wrestling with the being part of my life. I understand how I got here. It’s human. And now I want to get out.

As Procrastination Coach, I know accountability can work like a charm. So I think I will join #NaBloPoMo (national blog posting month) where you’re supposed to write a blog every day. I still dread the project, so I also dread the NaBloPoMo idea. There’s something atractive about it though. I like writing. I’ll have to make sure that I leave some energy for writing (yay) after the project work (yikes). Which will probably help me stick to my boundaries and not drain myself…