A day of celebration, family time and relaxation (hopefully).
I took the opportunity of a three day weekend to do some chores (I know but I did relax as well). My list included a closet clear out & donation to thrift store, clear away all my filing (larger job than expected) and a bottle depot trip and recycling center trip with a stack of cardboard. It is always satisfying to complete chores that seem to pile up unnoticed for some time.
My friend, Linda and I watched the local Canada Day parade from the comfort of our deck and cheered loudly for friends floats and more. And later watched the fireworks. I also visited a friend recovering from a hip operation and my daughter for a short time. And finished one book and am now on the sequel.
We have all seen the documentaries and ‘discoveries’ of native people living far away from the trappings of modern society. Some of us may wish we could escape and live a simple life but in reality these ‘lost’ people have a hard existence. Food has to be gathered, hunted or grown, they do not have the convenience of food stores, in fact no stores at all in many cases. Bartering with other villages and meager supplies from other sources can supplement their provisions but it is not an ‘easy’ way of life. However, they do have structure, incredible skills and do not waste anything. It is a completely different change of pace and cultural experience, if you happen to be honored with acceptance by these indigenous people.
All processes are hands-on, such as grinding corn for flour, carrying water, or chopping wood for a fire. The majority of the day is taken up with hunting, fishing, gathering and then the cooking of meals. Planning for the day’s activities to ensure everyone is fed is followed by actions and then sharing across the generations, playing with children and the telling of stories complete the day. Everyone has a vital role within the village no matter their age – a real community. The wisdom and skills of elders are revered and passed from generation to generation.
Many tribes live within certain areas, utilizing known seasonal fruit and plant provisions as well as animal habitat. Others follow the seasons for grazing and other sources of food. Housing is created using natural forms and materials found nearby while others are made from skins and other natural fabrics and reused time and again.
In reality could you live this kind of simple life?
Many of us have to juggle family commitments while writing. Finding the ‘perfect’ balance between the two is always a challenge. You may be in the depths of a scene when a small hand lands on your lap and pleading eyes look up at you. Can you delay the toddler’s wants for your own? Do you crumble and leave the narrative in the hope you will remember the details later?
No matter what age your children are or how involved your partner, there is always a demand for your attention. There will be times when you just want to immerse yourself in your creativity, undisturbed. These three blog posts cover some of the emotions and stresses felt. As well as tips on how to organize your time productively.
Dilatory – definition: 1. tending to put off what ought to be done at once : given to procrastination; 2. marked by procrastination or delay; intended to cause delay, especially said of actions or measures
What aspect of your writing life do you procrastination the most about?
Or do you put off other aspects of your life for your writing?
The latter is most certainly me – yes I admit it – the housework can pile up! Given the choice I would immerse myself in my creativity 24/7 – alas that’s not possible – YET! The day job gets in the way as does the dreaded chores but retirement is a golden carrot (well in my case, a golden pen!) dangling ahead of me, drawing me ever closer to my dream.
Do you have any tricks to stop yourself procrastinating?
1. The First 30 Minutes Of The Day Is Always For Work
Does this sound familiar: you start the work day/study session telling yourself – you’re “just going to check email/facebook/twitter/reddit for 5 minutes, then I’m going to get to work”. Before you know it, 5 minutes has dragged into 2 hours, and 2 hours has dragged into 4 hours, and you realize you have spent half your day sucked into a never-ending loop of checking email, social media, youtube, and your favorite viral news sites?
The first 30 minutes of your day/work day/study session should be spent doing work. If you really need to check email or your social news sites, do it once you have established a good work groove and you’ll find it much easier to shut it off. Or better yet, block distractions out completely until you’re done.
Having trouble jumping into those first 30 minutes? Tell yourself that you’re just going to get 10 minutes of work done and if its just too painful, you’ll give yourself a break. That first 10 minutes is usually all you need to start getting focused.
2. Become More Self Aware
Procrastination usually comes in two forms. There’s:
Difficulty in starting a task
Getting distracted while working on a task
They both follow a similar pattern of self rationalization.
You tell yourself “I really need to get started on this.”
You feel stressed.
You feel an urge to do something else, so you tell yourself “I’ll get started soon, but I can afford another 5 minutes doing this one other thing.”
Giving yourself this little reprieve relieves the stress temporarily and reinforces the neural pathways associated with procrastination, making it just a bit easier to fall victim to procrastination again, 5 minutes later.
Try this next time you find yourself facing this never-ending cycle. Next time you’re about to start a task and you feel a voice in your head telling you to “check your email, it might be important!”, or “I wonder if anyone commented on my Facebook status”, resist the urge. Tell yourself you’ll just resist it this one time.
You’ll find that the urge does pass once you acknowledge it for what it is – a sudden impulse driven by your reptilian brain.
3. Block Out Distractions
Did you know that willpower is a limited resource that can be depleted like any other form of energy? Much like going on a morning jog tires you out for your evening work out, the more energy you spend resisting temptation, the less energy you’ll have for resisting temptation later on. This has been confirmed by real studies.
What does this mean for someone trying to get rid of procrastination? It means that just knowing that Facebook or Reddit is one click away can make it more likely that you’ll get distracted and start procrastinating. While you might be able to resist the temptation during the first half of your work day, as you expend energy focusing, you’ll become more and more likely to give into temptation and start procrastinating.
To avoid this, use software like Rescuetime, StayFocusd or Freedom to block distracting websites, or block the internet out altogether. Not having to deal with the temptation of constant distractions will not only make it less likely that you’ll succumb to momentary temptation, but it will actually give you more energy to focus on your work and avoid procrastinating when you’re tired.
4. Embrace Imperfection
One of the reasons we procrastinate is to avoid having to make tough decisions and deal with a difficult task. If you’re trying to write the perfect paper, coming up with the perfect thesis can be so intimidating that you don’t even want to get started.
Instead of always aiming for perfection, start intimidating projects by just getting started. Can’t come up with a perfect first line for your essay? Just start writing anything that comes to mind on the topic. Can’t think of a topic? Just start writing down anything vaguely related to the subject matter.
The same can be applied to studying. Is the thought of reading that thick textbook too intimidating? Just start by reading the table of contents, or the first page. Too tired to take notes or really process the concepts? Just skim through what you need to get through and come back tomorrow to re-examine the material when you’re refreshed. Getting something done is better than doing nothing, and once you get started, you’ll often find you have more energy than you thought you did.
5. Make Yourself A Date
Human beings can be strange – if we’re meeting a friend, we’ll set a fixed time to do so, and we show up. Most of us would never make an appointment with a friend and simply avoid showing up for no reason. Yet when it comes to important tasks like going to the gym, or getting another chapter written for your novel, we’ll just set vague goals and feel perfectly comfortable pushing back our self-imposed deadlines.
Start scheduling your important tasks and showing up every time, no matter what. You would not bail on a meeting with a friend just because you feel a little tired, would you? So why do you do it with the gym? If you want to go to the gym 3 times a week, instead of just telling yourself you’ll go 3 times this week, pick 3 days and 3 times that you’re going to show up, and don’t miss those appointments no matter what.