Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What's Stopping You?


Let’s say you’ve decided on a project. You have all the tools and materials you need to complete this project. You have set aside the time needed and you’ve done your research so you can move forward. Nothing is stopping you. You’re prepared. And it’s going to be great. Ready?

It’s go time!

Wait, what happened?

Why are you stalling? What’s keeping you from completing the project? Oh…YOU are.

Gotcha.

How many times has this happened to you? An idea comes to you and you’re psyched. You jot down the information, figure out what it’s going to take to complete, and get all pumped up to do it. Maybe you even tell other people about this fantastic project. You’ve got the visual in your mind of how it will look when it’s done. But even after all of that time and preparation, all the planning and dreaming, you aren't any closer to completion.

Don't sabotage yourself. Don't be the one standing in your own way. Be cautious of all the little signs that try and veer you off your path to success. They're bright and pretty and sparkly and sound a lot more fun than doing work ever will. We all want to have some fun in our day, and we should incorporate fun in our day, but even that has to have a limit. We owe it to ourselves to keep moving forward and working toward our goals. We owe it to ourselves to do what we're passionate about.

There will always be times when life puts up road blocks. You can’t plan for every crisis. Maybe you have health issues you have to work around. Perhaps a family member came down with a cold or the flu. Maybe your spouse gets laid off from work. Perhaps Mother Nature decides to have her say. Interruptions are a part of life. Teach yourself how to make use of the time that you have. Don't wait for the time. Make any time productive.

If you have only fifteen minutes to spend on the project a day, then make those fifteen minutes valuable. Give those fifteen minutes all of your attention. Baby that fifteen minutes. In as little as fifteen minutes a day, every day, eventually you will complete that project. If you can spend fifteen minutes on the phone, watching TV, playing a game, hitting the snooze button, reading emails, getting off track while researching, or sitting down thinking about how much you don’t want to do something…you have that time.

If you’ve been wondering how you’re going to fit in the time to write when you already have a busy schedule, then set aside smaller increments of time. If it means setting a timer and making yourself write for a minimum of fifteen minutes without distractions in order to get your writing done for the day, then set that timer and have at it. If it means getting up fifteen minutes earlier, then it may be worthwhile.

Say you can type 1,000 words in fifteen minutes. In seven days you could have 7,000 words of your story written. Over time these words add up.

Say you want to build a cabinet or clean out your closet. Don’t make the decision to try and do it all in one day. The task will seem too big and you’ll talk yourself right out of it. It’s easy to do. But by breaking it up into smaller bits of time, you may surprise yourself how much you can accomplish.

If you want something bad enough, you’ll make the time. You’ll never find time, but you can make it, and you can make it work for you.

Do you have a spare fifteen minutes in your day? What can you fill it with?

~Ann Cory

11 comments:

Tanith Davenport said...

Amen to this. I've been trying to get going on my next novel for days and have nothing but excuses and chapter plans to show for it. Need to remember that just because I can't sit all evening and stare at the screen doesn't mean I can't get anything done!

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

I'm easily distracted so...I do set 2-3 hours aside each day to write, when I'm not traveling. I also make my goals smaller - 250-500 words per day. I don't want to set my goal so high that I can't reach it and quit in frustration.
Anything over 500 words is gravy.

Ann Cory said...

Morning Tanith :) That's the spirit! I like to use a timer for the times I feel like I'm not being productive. I set the timer and just start writing - and eventually something comes from it.

And doing a little each day can get you closer to your goal faster :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Ann Cory said...

Hi Julia! *waves madly* I agree - small goals that you can do will contribute to a positive attitude and that sense of accomplishment much better than big goals you know you can't get to. Who needs more negativity in their day? lol.

Being productive and breaking up your day into manageable activities is super healthy and good goal planning!

Thrilled you popped in!!

Romantic Heretic said...

My two biggest obstacles are my depression and my fear, my fear of 'bigness' for a lack of a better word. I get very, very nervous when involved in anything that involves more than me.

The depression I deal with through walking and keeping my mind busy. If it gets bad I makes sure I restart my medication. It nearly killed me once and I've been very careful ever since.

My fear I deal with by what may best be described as 'guerilla warfare'. I look for odd methods of attacking problems, find ways to do what I want that wouldn't occur to other people. It's why I'm going the self publishing route for my next book. It will allow me to bypass the more complex path of going through a publisher so I won't be scared I'm going to do something wrong.

Works for me. :)

Ann Cory said...

Depression isn't easy to deal with, but it sounds like you've found ways to manage.

As to self-publishing or going with a publisher - it's all about finding what works for us and keeps us creative. I hope that it allows you the freedom that you're looking for :)

Thanks for stopping by Romantic Heretic :) Always a pleasure!

Casey Sheridan said...

Great post, Ann.

All of us need to do some adjusting at times. Making goals smaller and more attainable is a great way to use 15 minutes of time.

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