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until there is consideration, it’s all scary + haphazard

April 30, 2017 , , , , , ,

I used to wonder why things would stress me out so much, and when I actually committed myself to the seemingly insurmountable job at hand, it would take around 11 minutes. ELEVEN MINUTES FOR HOURS OF WORRY!

And when I wondered some more, I realised that things ARE scary when they are a nebulous cloud of unsorted mess. The vast unknown. And it all seems so difficult to begin navigating; too tiring, too much, other things to worry about, such as dishes + ironing.

But if you just start, however small, and find a tiny pathway in, or start unpicking one thread of the giant knot, it somehow becomes a little more possible. A little less IM-possible. You’ve moved the arrow along the continuum, and you’ve inched your way along.

I am prepping for 3 major presentations right now, all as exciting as the other, all jostling for my time. Just even THINKING about them as a large, inert, combined mass made me a little bit of a hot mess. So I started unravelling them, just a little, bit by bit, on my walks. I am an avid walker, and this is where I get my best organising and thinking done.

So the first presentation; what was I going to do first?

  1. Short-list my topic
  2. Pull up a Word document and do a 5-minute brainstorm on my 3 favourite topics
  3. Take the one with the most resonance + spark, and create a mind map
  4. Figure out my PowerPoint slides; just the skeleton
  5. Finish

I walked and created a plan. And after starting, all I had to do each day was do one thing more to chip away at it. Two weeks’ worth of “tiny chipping” is vastly more invigorating and useful than one day of “immense vomit on the page in a crazed state” could ever be.

Each day, I made my dot points.

Each day, I toggled between presentations and came up with new ideas.

Each day, I surprised myself at the clarity of the ideas, the quality of what I was coming up with, and the amount of work that was getting done in 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 45 minutes when I was absolutely on a roll. 

Because the fact of the matter is, you’re only really good for about 20-30 minutes, then it becomes hard slog of much lesser quality. Why not just take tiny, incremental steps?

The magic trick? To really want it. To FOCUS.

I can waste 10 minutes faster than a toddler can destroy a clean house. But when you start deciding that you actually really want those 10 minute pockets of time, then it’s a little bit surprising what’s possible.

Of course, you can decide that 10 minutes is for glorious wasting, to be squandered in leisurely fashion. Or you decide that in those 10 minutes, you’re going to get the washing on, brew a cup of tea, fold the sheets, and to a quick dust-bust. It’s actually possible, I’ve tried, without trying!

As for finding a pathway into those scary topics, that “walk-plan” is god-send. It also works for rehearsing challenging conversations, figuring out where savings need to go, decompressing from a manic day in the classroom, figuring out what warm-ups to do in choir rehearsal…or just buying time.

Every step, new breath in, sense of life flowing, new health in the veins, and just a little bit further along the continuum of problem-solving.

Insurmountable mounds of work are hard work, but the become far less stressful after you’ve dived in and done the thinking behind them. The fear factor goes out of them. They just become a pathway to walk, rather than a mountain to scale. 

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