Tag Archives: NaBloPoMo

Today’s situation

* Health: throat aches, bad cough, slight fever, croaking voice
* Relationship: it’s our 15th anniversary today
* To do’s: more than I have energy for
* Blog: feel like I should share some wisdom because I think that’s why people read my posts.
* Inner critic: grumpy that it can’t criticise me for not taking good care of myself yesterday and blame the fact that I feel worse today on me. It feels cheated.
* Inner adult: plans a lot of rest between the two appointments I have today that I can’t cancel
* Inner child: wants to watch tv
* Wisdom: not today
* Enthusiasm: for other people’s blogs, for example:

A woman who combines decluttering wisdom with ethics.
The most generous writer I know, always spreading the word about people’s work.
The most surprising story I’ve read today.
The most playful man with words I know.

There are more blogs I love and enjoy, but my headache is growing and I think my inner child is right: time for tv!

Obviously, I won’t work on my project today. But #NaBloPoMo day 22 is done.

An inner critic might never be satisfied

It looks like yesterday’s ‘meh’ was a sign of me getting ill. I have a sore throat, a head ache, a cold sweat when I move, annoying things like that. Yet, I worked for an hour on my project, even though I’d given myself sick leave. You’d think that made my inner critic cheer and clap and admire me determination. Not at all.

Somewhere in me it’s grumpin’, complaining how that chore I started isn’t fully under control yet. Moaning that I worked too hard and didn’t stick to my planned time box or boundaries.

I’ve written a post called done is more fun than perfect. My inner critic doesn’t agree. It just always finds fault with me, no matter what I do…

Actually, that’s not entirely true. If I had read my own post before I started working on my project, I probably would have stopped sooner. Not when EVERYTHING is done (my usual, unspoken goal), but when I noticed it was draggin’ me down.

If I had stopped in time, I would be proud now about what I got done. I would be giving myself credit for working when I’m not feeling well. And applauding myself for stopping in time.

Instead, there’s moaning and complaining and telling me off going on. My inner critic always knows how to find me when I’m off balance… and is not likely to retreat voluntarily.

In a minute I will run a hot bath. I’ll take my cold, my headache, my inner critic and a good book with me. I’ll soak (everything except for the book), and float in warm comfort for as long as I feel like it.

Obviously, my inner critic doesn’t think I deserve a bath. Truth be told, I don’t think my inner critic deserves a bath. Yet I’ll take it with me, and it can see where it goes from there. I’m just not going to fight. It can leave whenever it wants to.

And I’ll not wait for it to compliment me that I got #NaBloPoMo day 21 done 😉

Commitment and accountability

One of the good things about National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) is that your commitment to a post a day invites you to write every day, even when you don’t feel like it. One of the bad things about NaBloPoMo is that you ‘have to’ write every day. And my inner child yells “I don”t want to!!!”. All perfectly according to that darn horse shoe I’ve drawn.

One of the reasons to write this month, was accountability for working on my November project. Well, today is the day I dreaded: I haven’t worked on my project, and I’m not sure I have a valid excuse. I could try to make one and see if you think it’s valid, but who would I be fooling?

I’m too tired at the end of this day, even without working on my project. I’m stressed about it, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to finish it in time. Wednesday will be a very busy day, and I expect to have no time for it then.  I expect to not have the energy to compensate for that on another day.

What will happen if I don’t make my deadline? Nothing. We might even still be able to do our taxes in the month of December, which is what I was aiming for. So I might be able to reach my goal, even when I don’t deliver my planned result on time. So why worry?

I’m too tired at the end of this day, even without working on my project. I’m stressed about it, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to finish it in time. Wednesday will be a very busy day, and I expect to have no time for it then.  I expect to not have the energy to compensate for that on another day.
What will happen if I don’t make my deadline? Nothing. We might even still be able to do our taxes in the month of December, which is what I was aiming for. So I might be able to reach my goal, even when I don’t deliver my planned result on time. So why worry?

I think I have a thing about being committed to commitment. When I have a plan, I feel I should stick to it. When I set a goal, I feel I should reach it. When I tell all of you about what I’m doing, I feel I should at least be doing it!
Today is not the day. My inner critic is ready to throw rotten tomatoes at me and tell me what he thinks of me. I’n not sure I’m willing to listen. My throat aches, I’m tired and I wonder if I’m coming down with the flu. Why make things worse by listening to a bully?

I’m tagging my post now and wonder if I should add ‘procrastination’ as a tag. Which would feel like I declare myself a procrastinator today. I’m too tired to care if my choices today were procrastination or sensible. Or maybe both, why not? So, I’ll add ‘meh’ as a tag. That’s the part about today that feels relevant now.

If you want to read something sensible, I have a post about accountability. A good one, with useful comments.

The fact that I post even when ‘meh’, counts as commitment. #NaBloPoMo day 20 done. Tomorrow is a new day.

Practice, stumble, practice again

In general I’m not a ray of sunshine in the morning, but this morning was specifically absent with light. I’d had a nightmare filled with anger, powerlessness and feeling stupid, and somehow my mood wouldn’t lift. I had a party to go to… What to do?

My brain being my brain, there was a lot of internal discussion going on. One voice tried to keep me at home, explaining in a thousand ways how that was the safest option. Another voice tried to make me go out, reminding me that I think birthdays are important and adding a thousand other arguments. I won’t bore you with all the details.

I wondered how I was going to make a decision I would like, and remembered the horse shoe of have -to I created earlier during #NaBloPoMo. I realised the part of the horse shoe that stands for ‘I can’ might get me somewhere, so I made a list of ‘I can’ that felt relevant for today:
– I can go to lunch.
– I can go for a walk.
– I can paint.

The first two options were part of the party I was invited to. The third option would have me stay at home. The list of ‘can’ cleared my mind. I realised:
– I want to go to the party.
– I can go home if it’s not working for me.
– It will be easier fro me to join the lunch than a 7km walk.
– It’s lovely weather so I’d like to walk a bit.

I ended up walking to the party to join the lunch, and walking back home when the other ones went on a hike. I’m back home now, and I have time to rest before my son comes home. And time to write this post.

Since my brain has had a lot of training in negative and worried thoughts, I’ll have to practice it in the thoughts I want to have more of. The horse shoe of have-to can help me. Getting in touch with my values may help me, but only when I watch out for the difference between a value (a carrot for my inner adult or inner child) and a norm (which is a stick for my inner school master). Whatever decision I make will feel better if I manage to step away from I have to and find my way to I want to.

How will I do this after National Blog Posting Month is over and I don’t write about all this stuff any more? Hmmm, I guess I’ll have to search for my I want-to’s…

Values to the rescue

I’m tired and full of resistance, so I may as well have a look at my values to see if they can help me move forward today. My urge is to just crawl away and get noting done, and saying I needed it. If I’d really do that, I’d like it to be a positive choice and not a defensive one. So here it goes:

* Honesty (with myself and with others)
– I am really tired today.
– I think I’ve done too much this week already, even though I had promised myself to do better than last week.
Realisation: I am doing better than last week, even when I am this tired. I’ve given my inner child space and that worked.
– My resistance comes from being so tired: I’m afraid that if I get stuff done today, I’ll end up as tired as I was last week, and feel really, really stupid and like I haven’t learned anything at all.
Realisation: my inner schoolmaster has been nagging me from the moment I got up today: ‘don’t be lazy, get your stuff done, don’t give in to how you feel, work!’. My inner critic is warning me at the same time to not be stupid and make the same mistake twice. My brain is a battle ground.
Realisation 2: Someone has given me a wonderful tip on how I can integrate those different voices and make them work for me, but I haven’t followed it up yet.

Personal growth (I can deal with the setbacks because I grow from them)
Feeling this tired already in the morning is a setback. How can I deal with this in a way that makes me feel better about myself instead of worse?
Realisation: there’s something about being nice to myself, but I don’t know what that looks like yet. Adjusting my plans, by doing shorter time boxes? Following that tip about stuff that can help me? Taking the afternoon off? I’ll do more thinking about that when I’ve finished my list of values.

Family (my project is not allowed to make me exhausted and grumpy and make my loved ones suffer)
Last week I got so tired that I was unable to deal with my child as a parent, when we got into a fight. I turned into a child myself, and it was an ugly fight. I’ve said sorry and we solved it before he went to bed. I still hate that it happened though, and REALLY don’t want to have another day like that.
What does that tell me about my day today? Maybe that keeping my stress levels down today is more important than anything else. More important than my project, more important than my to do list, more important than my household task. That means that I should take the pressure off from getting things done, and make self care a priority. Things CAN get done, I don’t want it to be an excuse to do nothing. But they’ll have to got done within the framework of taking good care of myself. A priority is a priority.
Realisation: working less because I need it felt defensive. Working less today because I want to leave space for being a nice mum and partner, feels like a positive choice.

Realisation: When I feel like this, there’s no room for fun in my head. My head is filled with negative expectations about my day, not feeling that real fun is possible. Maybe ‘methadon-fun’ (meaning a substitute for real fun) is possible: doing small things that make me feel less bad. But to actually enjoy something and feel good? That seems impossible to my brain.
Realisation 2: I’m not willing to accept those ideas as true. Fun IS possible. And I need it.

I think I’m going to have a reverse day today: normally, I choose something fun as a reward for getting things done. Today, getting something done will be my reward for getting my fun done ;).

I know it sounds weird, and I don’t have a clue if it will work, but at least it got my mind into playful mode: I like this silly idea. And I’m wondering what silliness it will bring.

I’m sorry readers, my mood today makes me want to post this without working on the lay-out. Something went wrong, and working on it is just a drag. I might do it later though, the look of this pains me.
For now I’ve chosen meeting up with a friend as a self care part of the day. See you later!
#NaBloPoMo day 16

Planning is a way, not a destination

Yesterday’s results

  • I created a planning for the rest of this month
  • I got my planned filing done
  • I stuck to the planned time boxes (15 minutes for planning, 15 minutes for filing)
  • I enjoyed my planned reward

From the over-abundant use of the word plan in these four lines, you can concluded that I’m very relieved that I finally made it: to create a planning and stick to it.

What worked well?

  1. Planning in a time box of 15 minutes worked like a charm. I was aiming at getting the planning done, and didn’t get stuck in endless maybe’s, but’s and what if’s.
  2. I planned a time limit that was small enough to leave me energy after I’d finished it, and big enough to make me feel happy about how much I’d got done.
  3. I liked that it was just 15 minutes. It soothed my fear of doing too much and getting exhausted. It also soothed my fear of doing too little: 15 minutes today, 15 minutes tomorrow., etc. Small but steady works, as I learned from Less Stuff.
  4. I managed to let my inner child do the painting. She simply enjoyed to play with the materials and didn’t care about the result. I felt satisfied and relaxed within 45 minutes.
  5. I even created a limit for how long I want to work on these blog post (45 minutes maximum).

What worked less well?

  • I’m can’t remember if I really finished the planning, or just finished those 15 minutes.
  • I had promised myself to make a list of activities that I need to get done to get my planned result. I chose another chore this morning, because I really felt like doing, not like thinking.

My inner critic would like to tell me off for not sticking to my plan. My inner adult shrugs when she hears this. She reminds me that a planning is a way to get something done, not a goal in itself. The planned result is my destination, and I worked towards that.

The values I wrote down yesterday were honesty, personal growth, family and fun. My decision to postpone making a list of activities until tomorrow, is in line with those. I was honest with myself about really not wanting to do this today. It’s personal growth to let my inner adult run the show instead of the inner critic. I need to save some energy for later today, because my son comes home from school at 12.30 PM. Since my active, concrete chore didn’t drain me, I have energy left for some fun. Probably more painting.

#NaBloPoMo day 15

Does it lurk or skulk?

I am so good at avoiding planning, that I even mislaid the note pad I was creating my planning in. Years ago, before I became Procrastination Coach, I would have spent the rest of my day searching for my lost item, until I found it or was too exhausted to do anything else.

I’m smarter now. I searched for a new notebook, because I know the project is in my head. I am able to do further planning even without my original notes.

But, procrastination always lurks… I thought I was doing well: simply use a fresh notebook and start planning. But then I found myself:
– writing this post
– searching through my files for a text I’ve written about the importance of having a plan B
– visiting my official website to see if I had posted about it there

When I realised this was SO much distraction that I was allowed to label it procrastination, I went back to my note pad. I wrote down the basics of my project, as I had designed them before. My mini Project Initiation Document.

Still, procrastination lurked… I realised I hadn’t yet used all my project management skills in defining my plan. So I figured I’d look up some of documents I work with in my training, just to make sure that I wouldn’t forget anything. Maybe I can call the one who suggested this to me my ‘inner distractor’.

Because when I think about it a bit longer, I know I have all the knowledge I need right here in my own head. Searching for those documents was nothing more then giving in to the whole sense of fear that the subject of planning installs in my: “You might not be able to do this. You are going to mess this up! You’re headed towards a disaster!!”. So I’ll start looking for things to back me up, as an external safety net: theory, documents, different methods. The hidden reasoning probably being something like: if I’m not good enough, as I fear, they will catch me and I’ll still be able to do my work properly.

I have already stepped into the different method trap: when I couldn’t find the documents I needed as fast as I wanted them, my inner distractor told me ‘wait, you have a coaching method that might be helpful. Tie your project to your values, they can be your compass when your planning goes wrong. So I wrote down:
– honesty (with myself and with others)
– personal growth (I can deal with the setbacks because I grow from them)
– family (my project is not allowed to make me exhausted and grumpy and make my loved ones suffer)
– fun (totally lacking last week, being too serious all the time is not good for me).

And then I realised that was procrastination too. I was still avoiding my planning task. I can tell it’s procrastination because it made me feel bad. I wasn’t left with the feeling: ‘yay, that was an important step, I’m glad I added it.’ I was left with a feeling that said ‘you’re not getting yourself where you want to be’.

After that, I wrote this post. Great for both avoiding and personal growth. I’ll finish this now, and apply my own methods to me:
– . I won’t post it before my planning is done. (that will work out as accountability)
– I will make the planning process nicer by playing music that soothes me or gives me hope. (adding positive things to a task you dread or dislike).
– I will time box: I’ll set a timer to 15 minutes. I’m going to do as much as I can in those fifteen minutes, because when the bell rings I’ll quit. 15 minutes looks too short to me, which will motivate me to not spend too much time on thinking without making decisions
– I’ll plan a reward. Since I didn’t plan fun last week, the reward will be 2 hours to paint or do whatever creativity I’ll feel like (this will also help me stick to my 15 minutes: I know if I get exhausted I don’t even want to do something creative any more)

Today procrastination lurks. And skulks. It pussyfoots and mooches. But you know what? there’s a success I can pat myself on the back for anyway. I am SO aware of the fact that fear triggers procrastination, that there’s no room for my inner critic to tell me off. He wants it, he wants it so badly! But I know it’s normal, it’s human, and I’ve found a way to deal with it. My 15 minutes of planning start now.

I did it. 15 minutes. My planning is done. My #NaBloPoMo post is done. I don’t feel relieved, I feel stressed. Probably created a planning has ignited my fear of failure. The cat is on my lap now. She will make things better.