Working Through The Blocks (or The Puppy Approach To Getting Things Done)


"Keep away from small people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." – Mark Twain

Sometimes our to do list becomes more like a clogged drain than a list of goals!  We work around items that fill us with dread, make us anxious, nervous or will bore us to tears.  The likelihood is that all of us will procrastinate our way out of doing tasks we just don't want to do.  it's like trying to force your dog to go for a walk when it's pouring down rain outside.  It has to be, but puppy don't want to go!  So what to do?  What to do?

Force ourselves?  "I will sit in this chair until I balance my checkbook!"  Eight hours later…you're still in that chair, the checkbook is open, but you're otherwise engaged — reading a book, doing a crossword or chatting with a friend….

At times our stubborn procrastination can astound even the most jaded among us.  And then the recriminations start…"What's wrong with me!?!  Why can't I just do this!?!"  Etc, etc, etc…

Nothing is really wrong with us — we've just hit our comfort wall.  The next step we take will take us out of our comfort zone and some inner part of us is shirking at the idea of it — as if there will be no oxygen when we take that step.  And metaphorically — there won't be.  Because at some level — if we take that next step — we will change (or have to change).

So to start, look at what could possibly be there fear element in the task.  is it dealing with finances?  Easy when you have money, not so fun when you're living on the edge, paycheck to paycheck.

Is it making a phone call to ask someone for something?  Rejection is a dirty word and begging seems so sad!

Could cleaning the bathroom really be out of my comfort zone?  Perhaps — if it forces us to admit that we too are part of the great unwashed and no better than anyone else — even if we've earned five degrees and make enough money to hire a cleaning company to come  in weekly.

Do you see where this is going?  Figuring out where your anxiety takes control is the first step.  The next step is to approach the task to be done with baby steps.  Pulling your bills and receipts together…reassuring yourself that the funds aren't sooo bad…checking your account balance each day, etc.  Allotting yourself 20 minutes to organize and then being done and coming back to it later.  It's a matter of getting comfortable with the task at hand and to do that you approach it like your puppy…sniff it, dig at it, push it, taste it, bite it, play with it.  And that puppy approach may include practicing your phone call request, getting help to wade through your finances or wiping down the kitchen before starting on the bathroom.

Baby steps expand your comfort zone just as much as skydiving.  They just take a little longer to see the effect.

Enjoy your day!