As we near the end of 2019, I am seeing a lot of signs saying the end of the decade is here and how are you going to make the most of the 20s.
Well, this isn’t one of those posts.
This post is to remind you that you have permission to keep going as you are if you want to.
You also have permission to switch things up and try something new.
Not because it is the end of a decade, but because it is true of any time.
I love fresh beginnings.
Each new decade, year, month is a handy signal to reassign my priorities, set fresh intentions and plan ahead. But this isn’t limited to calendar milestones.
It is lovely to show up with a fresh slate, but it is one thing to think about the plan and another to actually work on the plan.
Sometimes when we sit down and show up for the plan, we can feel flooded with uncertainty, dread and overwhelm.
How do we work through this when we want to get actual traction on the project.
Having a big picture helps.
Each big picture will have categories and natural dividing breaks that lead us to completion.
Schedule those chunks.
Actually schedule the big picture tasks.
Like grab a pen and jot those suckers down into your calendar and journal and agenda.
Put them as point items to check in with on your phone.
Set an alarm if you need to.
It seems excessive and silly when you know the big picture already, but trust me that feeling in the pit of your stomach will thank you.
Unless you have an accountability super power, chances are good that your brain would rather check Facebook (again) than actually get down to accomplishing the hypothetical.
So scheduling the big task is a way to add that extra push into your day.
When we sit and face the whole big picture, it can feel heavy.
When we break it down into chunks and categories, it becomes easier to navigate through to success.
Picture the whole project as a massive boulder.
We can spend time being overwhelmed by the size of it, or we can break it into chunks.
The boulder will break into big rocks and rubble.
The rubble is easy to move and sort. Daily little items like checking email and grabbing yet another cup of coffee. It is convenient and feels like work, but it won’t actually lead to moving the main pieces.
When we schedule pushing and chipping away at the big rocks, as we dedicate time to moving it, we can strengthen our muscles and get somewhere.
It’s totally okay and normal for this to feel gross at first.
When you start working this way, you have to sit with the distractions and become aware of how much of our time is spent with the rubble.
I am definitely guilty of this.
At first, there will be a huge gulf between what you think you should produce and what you are actually capable of producing.
But with practice, and more importantly, discipline, you will train your body and mind to meet the challenge.
Think back to having to write an essay in school.
The point of an essay is to show that you know the subject and can write about it coherently. I don't know about you, but when I went to school, the assignments were given and we had to figure out how.
It wasn't until my grade 12 year that an English teacher actually took the time to show us how to schedule and plan out the steps so the task was easily managed.
Suddenly it made sense and was clear how to write the darn thing.
No more last minute panic and overwhelm.
If you schedule the big tasks and break them down, the assignment basically does itself.
Once the overwhelm is removed and we get down to actually working, it is wonderful at how the work actually produces something.
Like doing a jigsaw puzzle, if you lay the edges first, and sort by colour or shape, you can easily enjoy the process.
Such is life.
What are the big pieces of the project you are trying to accomplish?
Once you have those mapped out, check in with your body.
I bet you will feel a sense of relief.
Then possibly panic.
But remember: panic at having to sit in front of a small chunk is still vastly nicer than having to sit in front of the whole boulder.
Tea-loving awesomeness. Challenging perfectionism.