If you can’t finish it don’t start it. That’s been my hidden mantra for way too long. It’s a mantra for procrastination and you could add to it, if you can’t do it perfectly don’t do.
Until this January, I’ve been a fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to living the author life. The last few years have derailed my production and I thought I had good excuses.
- I work part-time
- I was watching my grandkids one day a week–who could resist that? 🙂
- I have to get the housework done–who am I kidding? It never got started because I didn’t have time to finish it.
- Grocery shopping and menu planning –can I get an Amen? Well no. I can order groceries online and my husband picks them up.
- The cat is too needy today. I can’t get to my keyboard because he wants attention.
- If you make a plan it something will always change it.
- I’m tired. I need to take care of myself and rest.
- Sitting in my chair makes my back hurt so I’ll write when that goes away.
- Math. Yes, math, figuring out what my ROI (return on investment for those of you who are like me and had no idea what that was) is too hard.
- Writing blog posts are great but I have the most boring life.
Pretty pathetic when I look at my list of reasons–Okay okay! They are excuses and nothing more.
So what happened in January? I read finished reading Automic Habits for the 2nd time (slow to pick up or rather I didn’t want to follow the advice). the idea behind it is to start one task and do it daily but add to it the next day. For instance, I want to write so I make sure the first thing I do when I sit at my desk is open my file and read yesterday’s work. The book explains the method well. It’s not just for writers it’s for anyone who struggles to maintain good habits. Because let’s face it maintaining those bad habits is so easy one doesn’t need to read a book on how to do that.
Another thing I started to use is a word tracking spreadsheet made by Jamie Raintree. If you are a writer and terrible at spreadsheets check out her tracker. It’s $10 and amazing. And I bought a planner from Audrey Hughey You can find my post about the planner here and here.
So back to what made the change. I picked a few habits to try–easy ones. I plan our meals for the week and I sprint (that is: write as fast as you can no editing) with a friend I met on the plane to a conference. Thank you Sally Henson! She and I also share photos of our planners on Sunday evening. Accountability plays a bit part in getting things done.
Has it worked? Yes! Those 15 minutes aren’t long enough for me to think I can finish anything but I found I can do between 500-700 words during those minutes. We sprint early in the morning and that either gets me going for more time if I’m not working that day or I have a feeling of success because I’ve written on a book I want to write.
And ta-da the book is now coming up to being halfway finished!
The meal planning has gone well! I follow the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating or I did and had great success, then life got to busy and I went back to old habits like Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. Sugar is a mean beast once it gets a hold on you. Now I make them at home with stevia and I’m satisfied. I’ve been back on plan now because I have our meals planned and sometimes my snacks.
Am I seeing great success in other areas of my life? Not as many as I want but I’m getting more done than I let myself believe that I can. And guess what? Plans can be easily changed by writing in pencil or erasable pens. I like these from Fixon.
How about you?
Have you tried breaking things into small chunks of time?
Were you surprised by the results?
Be sure to pick up your free book if you haven’t already!