Have you ever felt like you have come completely off your tracks? Projects just not getting done in time, disconnected from your routine, commitments not being met? Of course you have. We all have, and I have too. In fact, I have been off track for the past few weeks (probably months) now. Let me tell you three tips I used to step back and take control again. Read on.
I read a ton of blogs across a wide spectrum of subjects. One could say they are my resistance. I like to think I am learning and fine tuning my research into procrastination. Seriously though, from these blogs I pull ideas that I want to apply in my personal life. I have written about a few of these and, honestly, I’m not doing that great in any. So many thought leaders in the world of blogging say that you have to be honest, real, and open in your writing. Well, this is me ‘fessing up. It is also me passing on some steps that I am working on to get back to my commitments. If you are in a rut and off track a bit, hopefully my experience is of some help in getting you realigned.
So, what happened?
No one thing in particular really. I’m sure that is the way it is with you. For me it was an unplanned trip to Canada, the pressure of finance for boarding school education for our son next year, my wife away for a week, house guests for three weeks and the ensuing late nights, a cold that just would not go away. And work, of course, mixed into all that. What it all added up to was a reduction in productivity and output. What specifically fell apart.
I LOST TIME AND BROKE MY ROUTINE. One of my early blog posts was on getting things done. In ‘6 Tips To Get Things Done & Achieve Your Life Objectives‘ I wrote on techniques I applied in my life to get things done. Well do I ever feel like a fake now, at least on the first two points. #1 – Time Management has been a complete afterthought lately. #2 – Routines are no longer routine! What has been the result? I have achieved less. Not suddenly, mind you, it happens slowly, just slow enough that you can not see the damage it is doing to your productivity. And then it hits you. I missed a Sunday blog post. The same papers keep coming home in my sling bag, day in – day out.
I wasted time and I broke my routines, with little to show for it.
I BROKE MY COMMITMENT. At the start of this year I wrote a post titled ‘Will Your Year Be A Fireworks Show?‘ In it I made a bold commitment. I wrote, “Start. Do something. Be diligent about it. The answers will come when you stop making excuses and get on with it. Carve out time to do the thing that you want to do. In my case, in 2013 I plan to set aside 15 minutes a day to write.” Have I done this? No. Since January did I ever come close to writing 15 minutes a day. Only for a few days in a row, off and on, during the past 5 months. Now, I type slowly. I revise constantly as I think and type. Even so, if I sat down and wrote for 15 minutes per day and was able to bang out just 150 words each session I can imagine that I would have been over 20,000 words into that e-book I dream of writing.
I broke this commitment to myself and squandered time that I will never have again.
I ABANDONED MY GOAL. In March I wrote a piece detailing my experience with an online logo service. ‘Let The World Design Your Next Logo‘ included in it the outline of a podcast that I am planning. It was to have been launched in May. We are pretty much at the end of May now and still weeks away from it starting. What happened? These side projects need time. Time to plan, to think, to outline intros and closers, time to plan how to transcribe show notes, time to perfect the website. Guess what happens when you deprive yourself of good time management, abandon your routines, and neglect your commitments? Nothing happens. Simple.
I set a goal to launch my podcast in May and failed to do the groundwork to make that goal a reality.
So, where do I go from here? How do you get realigned and back on track? Three tips from my experience.
1 – ADMIT THE PROBLEM Nothing is going to even begin to get fixed until you raise your hand and say…”help”…. in some way. It does not need to be public like this blog post, but you must come to terms with your self in your head space and admit to yourself and anyone else that may have relied on you that you realise you are not meeting an agreed goal, target, or commitment. I guarantee that when you do admit the failing a huge burden will be lifted in that action alone.
2 – DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND Admitting the problem and then doing nothing to fix it is useless. You must make a definitive break and a re-commitment to your goals or objectives. Now, you may find that part of the reason that you came undone was that the goal or commitment was unreasonable. If that is the case there is no harm in adjusting the measurement. Change that launch date. Adjust the days or length of time you will write. Tweak that exercise plan to a more realistic wake up time.
3 – RESTART Get going again. The important thing is to get back to the commitment you have made and work to stick to it. Do not wait until the conditions are perfect. Seth Godin noted that ‘there is a big difference between not settling and not starting’. Start. Again.
Have you struggled and overcome periods when you lost your way towards your goals? If you thought about it how did you get back into the game? Please take a moment to share your comments in a reply to this post. Its great learning for me, and for others who read these musings. And thank you, for reading this more personal of posts.