If you are struggling to get back on track and make things happen the following might help.
What it’s Like To Be Free?
For the first time in my life, I am taking a sabbatical after working without breaks for nearly 18 years. And I am very excited about it! So, one would think that with cutting between 40 to 60 hours of work per week, I should have all the time in the world. But, I still find myself extremely busy and not meeting my personal project deadlines. In fact, I am busier than I’ve ever been.
Of course, I do have more “I-time”. But somehow it all fills so quickly. For instance, I couldn’t motivate to do my morning therapy a few days ago. Instead, I took an Epsom Salt bath and sat on the floor naked listening to the grateful dead, reading the essential crazy wisdom for an hour or so. I felt amazing afterward. And I don’t consider these 2 hours a waste of time. On the contrary, I was able to get back on track and complete one of my projects.
But, there are times when I zone out on Facebook or binge on some science-fiction gig. Not to mention, wasting time interacting with people I don’t really care for. These are the time-sucking vampires of my life. The following list helps me to get back on track, make things happen and remove time-sucking vampires.
How To Get Back On Track.
1. What are the things that truly bring you joy?
To me, life without joy is not worth living. I’ve experienced a lot of hardship in my life. So, I make sure to incorporate joy in my life. And I don’t mean the type of one-time, fleeting joy I get stuffing my face with food, booze or buying a new pair of something.
Here I am talking about the inner long-lasting joy. Firstly, I keep a log or some call it morning pages. I study my ramblings to really get deep into discerning true joy. Secondly, I practice mindfulness. Thirdly, I spend time in nature. The combination of mindfulness, journaling, self-study and nature allow me to get an insight into things that truly expand me and bring me closer to my true self or bring me joy.
This is what you can do:
- Sit on a chair or lie down; place one palm on your chest and the other on your belly, and focus on your breathing with no special technique. Just pay attention to your inhalations and exhalations for about 12 breaths.
- Take a walk in nature and fully focus on your surroundings, listening, staying focused on where you are.
- If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the present.
- Once your mind is quiet, you can ask yourself a question. It is essential to do this after you have quieted your mind.
- Grab a notepad and a pen, set a timer for 10 minutes, jot down 10 things that bring you joy
- It is easier to come up with your own answers after your mind is quite, and not what you believe others expect from you, or from your memories.
- Consciously practice this so that you learn to differentiate between what you believe is expected of you, and what you really want.
2. Recognize your priorities and write them.
I use an excel spreadsheet and google document where I keep track of my life. In fact, I can’t really imagine life without writing.
You’ll generally have certain tasks like work, taking care of children, house, etc. Some are more important than others. Figure out the top 3 and do them first thing in the morning. My top 3 are health (morning therapy), writing and teaching. So, I spend a few hours daily to practice all 3 the first thing in the morning.
One way to assess your priorities is to consider the impact of each task or sub-task and the consequence of not doing it. Next, add the things from the first exercise, that are important to you. Regularly going through your list will also help you to get rid of anything that is either not helping you advance your own goals, or is a regular “sink” of time and energy.
3. Start small.
I get stuck in an “all-or-nothing” approach. And it sucks! With about a million-and-a-half ideas to write about and another million things I would like to do, my “monkey-mind” can thrive on distractions and greed if I let myself go there.
For example, instead of waiting for a vacation or free weekend, I started writing every day, first thing in the morning before my workday, and dedicated an hour or more to writing every weekend.
This is what you can do:
- Choose some time of the day to dedicate to the activity from the list you created in the second exercise.
- Add a calendar alert and allocate 15 to 20 minutes to it.
4. Be disciplined, be persistent and be consistent.
Even doing something you love requires some work and commitment. You can find a lot of excuses why not to do it. Commit to yourself to do your activity daily. Also, try to focus on the work itself and not the results.
“Write every day without fail, even if it’s only for half an hour, even if you’re savagely hung-over and your grandmother has just fallen out of a third-story window.”
5. Accept setbacks.
Seriously, I hate setbacks! I feel like if I do everything by the “right”, I am entitled to success. And this is pure BS. The truth is, I am only entitled to actions, and actions alone. The success of failure (outcome) is always uncertain and not mine to grasp.
So, I hate to admit, but I give myself permission to slack. And, I find this the most difficult and very important challenge. Relieve the pressure of needing to achieve perfection in every task on the first run. Promise yourself you’ll go back and try it again. Also, know when it is time to give up.
6. Beware of your “input.”
I would have put this as my first point, but it takes some time to become aware of your “input” and to get to this point. You can think of your input as anything you take in, but can’t digest: food, information, environment and “your close circle.” It’s very important to live in the place where you feel safe and happy, to surround yourself with people who support and inspire you, to make appropriate food choices, and be picky at what you read and watch.
Remember, you are not what you eat, but what you don’t digest. Some people have bigger stomachs and can digest more. I am personally very sensitive and don’t have a strong digestive system. For that reason, I have my daily morning therapy practice, I live in a small mountain town in Colorado, I minimize TV and my diet is 100% plant-based. It took me many years to figure out what I can and can’t digest.
However, I feel like the luckiest gal alive! I attribute it to choices to sort my input. This is not a leap type of step. It takes self-knowledge, correct practice, some time, strength and faith. Of course, I still fuck up with food, Tand allowing fall for the wrong friends. But, with discernment, it is so much easier to say NO!
7. Give yourself a credit.
We tend to hop from one task to the next. Whether you have lost five pounds, finished a novel or were kind to your neighbor – you should stop and smell the roses.
Thanks for stopping by!