Tag Archives: result

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.

How to slay a scope creep

“The things you do always grow bigger and bigger”. My partner wasn’t making me a compliment, he was providing unwanted but much needed feedback. “You suffer from scope creep”. Of course the first thing I did was deny it – that way I had brain space available to check if he was right (or so I tell myself).

I wonder what dressing up as a scope creep for Halloween would look like... I know now what it looks like in my real life: I start something, I have a vague idea of what Iwant to accomplish, new ideas come up (new insights, new possibilities, extra opportunities) and before I know it what started as something manageable ends up being too big to finish. Or takes way too much time, or way too much energy.

My partner was right. I do suffer from scope creep. I blame my creative brain. I like to develop things on the fly. I like to improvise, be in the moment. My brain works very associative, so one idea will lead to another. All of that is very nice, when it helps me move forward, create new things, go on adventures. But it’s a disaster when it comes to things like decluttering and organising. This is how that typically goes:

‘Ah, here’s something that doesn’t belong anywhere yet. Let’s find a place for it’. *Opens closet, and sees things that don’t belong there*. ‘I’ll remove these things first, to make some space’. *Puts something in a drawer, realises the drawer is a mess, takes something from the drawer that can be thrown into the recycling bin.*Oops, I had promised to empty the recycling bin, let’s do that today’. *Opens another closet to put one of the things from scene one away, and realises this closet holds children’s clothing that don’t fit anymore and should be dealt with.*

Etc. I’m not going to bore you with the rest of that story. My point is: decluttering and organising are like a wildfire in my head. I start off with one thing I want to deal with, and I end up with a picture of EVERYTHING that’s wrong in my house. Which is quite a lot, since I’m not very organised… No wonder I tend to procrastinate on decluttering – I know it makes me feel bad (I’ve described some of those self critical thoughts in yesterdays’ post.)

When I started thinking about my November project, I realised scope creep had entered my mind before I even started. My promise to my partner was that we would get our taxes done, and I would find the information we needed. My scopecreepy brain had automatically added ‘yay, that’s a great opportunity to finally unpack those boxes from moving your office back to your house, create space for your stuff in your cupboards, and sort out those cupboards because there is no space yet.’ Yes, that’s a really long sentence. Gotta love that brain!

Moreover, when I took the time to do a little thinking, I realised I had something extra in mind that was great as a starting point, but really dangerous as a (stealthy) requirement: I would do all this in such a way, that I could apply all my learnings from working with Lisa from less stuff, from being coached on my personal development, etc. Etc! Basically ALL learnings that I could possibly fit in – and I had thought all of that without actually realising I was adding it to my plan.

I tell you, scope creep is creepy. It makes it impossible to reach your goals, and sets you up for failure (with so many bars it’s impossible to reach all of them!). So I realised I needed to do some thinking. How to avoid my usual pitfalls, and make this work?

Slaying methods step one

When in danger of scope creep, start with creating a scope instead of just doing

  • define a concrete result to deliver on a specific date.
  • define what goal that result should bring in the future (so after delivery).
  • define boundaries: when to quit the approach because it’s not working

In my case (insights added in italics):

  • Planned result: On 30th November 2017, everything that’s needed to do our taxes is handed over to my accountant (I’m self employed as a ‘small business’, hence the accountant).
  • Goal:  our taxes over 2016 are done before the end of the year Realisation: I need to check with my accountant if he has enough time available to do that in December, if not, I need to redesign my planned result or change my goal!
  • Boundaries: When my fear of drowning in the project becomes reality. I can ‘measure’ that by me feeling bad about myself. Bad moments are okay, when I keep feeling bad that’s not okay, then it’s time to change my approach (for example ask for help).

The thought process around result, goal and boundaries turned out to be very helpful.

Yesterday I did too much, and the aftermath lasted all day. Or even longer. When I got out of bed I found myself thinking ‘When is the best part of the day to get exhausted today?’. Luckily I heard myself thinking, and noticed that’s not a reasonable idea. I realised slaying method #1 is just a start, and I need more ways to control this process.

To be continued…

One of the things I like about #NaBloPoMo is to pay things forward and discover new blogs. It was my online friend David Ellis who made me aware of the existance of this month. David is a beautiful person and a wonderful poet, and I fully recommend his blog TooFullTooWrite. I love his work. During NaBloPoMo he publishes a new poem every day, both in written form and (bravely, I shudder at the thought of doing that) performed on Facebook live. He also shares a lovely blog roll of fellow participants.

Day 1 done!

It was really weird yesterday, to stop without doing any work at all, just thinking! And talking, because I talked about my plans (and fears) with my partner.

I was totally right about stopping when I still felt okay though. When I went outside for a walk, I noticed I was feeling some pride. I had started my project, instead of giving in to my longing to procrastinate about it one day longer. Just one day… You can guess what could have happened the next day: still not the right day to start, due to… (no matter what, there’s always something).

Instead, I faced my fears and started. And I started wisely!

You know what I normally do, which is one of the reasons I dread this project so much? I work until I’m totally beat. After that, I don’t feel satisfied, I feel frustrated. I don’t feel that I accomplished something, my brain is totally stuck on everything that’s not finished. It races like mad, it’s in total overdrive. I don’t know how to relax, and I feel stupid.

One of the triggers for procrastination is when one dreads the outcome of the task at hand. So it makes sense that if I expect to go slightly mad, I feel a lot of dread. Very uncomfortable dread.

I’ll use this blog to stay conscious of what I’m doing. And share what works, and what doesn’t work (for me, it can be completely different for you).

My first success: I started.

My second success: I stopped in time and was able to feel satisfaction.

My third success is that I got started with actual doing today. I’ll probably write about that tomorrow, it’s time to step away and relax now!

Lot’s of exclamation marks. I mean all of them 🙂 This is my second post for #NaBloPoMo, even if both were written on the same day. It’s now day 4, so I’m two post behind if I want to catch up.