Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Getting Started, or Not

One of my major issues in life is getting started. Perhaps you think I'm describing simple procrastination. Certainly it's a form of procrastination. In my case, though, it's paired with a seemingly paradoxical compulsion to answer every email as soon as I receive it, leave no dish unwashed, and repair every household defect as soon as it's discovered. Perhaps I'm suffering from a case of screwed up priorities.

Inertia sets in when I think of moving on from whatever I'm doing and beginning something else. Once I manage to overcome my inertia and start the new activity, it quickly becomes absorbing, but then it's hard for me to stop and move on to the next task.

Getting started writing this "daily" blog can be a challenge. Sometimes, like yesterday, I fail entirely to get started, giving the lie to the "daily" concept. Once I do begin, though, I can work on it indefinitely, usually to the detriment of Cosmo's walks, laundry, dinner, or whatever item is next on my agenda.

I would love to find a strategy that gets me over the "getting started" hump. I've noticed that the activities I find hardest to start are often those I ultimately find most rewarding—writing this blog, working on my BreastFree.org website, conquering a mechanical challenge (like learning to use my new camera), or doing regular exercise.

I've discovered that it helps to make a to-do list. I love the process of checking off the items I've accomplished and I feel motivated to finish everything I've put on my list. When I have a lot to do, it makes the tasks seem more manageable. Only problem—most of the time, I can't get myself to make a list in the first place.

Probably if I had a paying job, this wouldn't be an issue. A sense of obligation would push me to transition efficiently from one task to the next. While I love having the flexibility of working on my various projects at home, I seem to lack the requisite discipline to maximize my productivity in such an unstructured environment.

On the other hand, there's much to like about an unstructured life. Yesterday, E. and I went out to lunch on the spur of the moment, then did some errands together. I like being available for the unscripted events life offers. Maybe productivity isn't the be-all and end-all. Still, when I plan to write my blog mid-morning, I'd like to get started before dinnertime. Come to think of it, I'd like to get started cooking dinner before dinnertime. Maybe in my next life.


  1. I went to the priest today that last week said "oh" instead of "oh, no." Today he spoke about the process of just lightly accepting one's story of who they are, rather than beating themselves up with that story. So who you are is someone who does lots of things before they write. Is the guilt really necessary (which I share as well)? As well, it seems that those pre-writing activities do a good job of feeding your writing, don't they?

  2. I hope so, Kim. ~bonnie