I can’t believe it’s been 7 weeks since we had Damien! So far, Anthony and I have been handling things as best as we can. Now that he’s getting older, he definitely wants to stay awake longer. And when he’s awake, he wants someone to hold him or play with him. Sometimes, I want to do a bit more work, but I also feel guilty that I’m not giving him enough attention, so I spend more time with him. But by the time he falls asleep, I feel so tired and drained, I end up not doing anything. I know that I end up making excuses, and this happens to me all the time. The process usually goes something like this: I decide to do something, I do it for a while, then something happens and I get interrupted… then I come up with excuses and don’t go back to it. It’s frustrating, because deep down, I get upset and I feel like I failed even though I know I shouldn’t be so harsh on myself. It can become quite a vicious cycle, and I end up with nothing to show.
Recently I got overwhelmed, and had a little meltdown. I told my husband that I have so much to do, but I feel I have no time to do anything. Luckily, Anthony was very supportive. He told me not to dwell too much on the end result and focus on each day. We just have to do a little bit each day. Even though it is a very common and simple piece of advice, it seems strange that my brain tends to reject it when I give this advice to myself, but would accept it when it comes from someone else. I have to say that it is wonderful to have a brand new website up and running (thanks to Anthony). It really is a great way to kick start my work process again. In addition to this, I have taken a few steps to get myself in gear, and I want to share with you what I’ve done.
5 Steps To Get Back Onto The Bandwagon
1) Reorganize the work space
Anthony always shakes his head at me when he looks at my desk, that’s because it usually looks like a bomb has exploded in my work area. Cleaning out my desk is one of the first things I always do when I feel I need to get back into the groove of things. The motion of cleaning out my work space is a way of letting my brain know I’m getting down to business, which makes me a little more productive. Also, the cleanliness and extra space make the work area more calm and inviting.
2) Treat yourself to a little something upfront for motivation
I am brought up to believe that rewards are meant to come after hard work (and sometimes, it’s not even necessary, since you’re supposed to work hard anyway). So I rarely treat myself to something as a pat on the back. However, I recently found a notebook I bought a while ago. It’s an Alice in Wonderland Edition Moleskin notebook. It’s brand new and I haven’t written in it. I thought it would make a great tool for my book ideas and research.
To get this notebook started, I tried to decorate the inside with my limited doodling skill.
It seems so easy when I watch other people doodle! But it’s actually quite difficult haha! At first I wanted to fill the whole page, but it took me a long time just to do the bottom area, so I will leave it as is for now.
This notebook made me realize that it’s quite nice to get something new for myself before I tackle work. Even though I bought this notebook previously, the act of cracking open a new tool makes it seems like it’s an official start. It definitely gave me a boost of encouragement and motivation. I love stationary, especially cute notebooks. I believe this treat doesn’t have to be big or expensive, just something that can give you the motivation to get things started.
3) Set deadlines for the goals
I know that setting an actual date for the deadline is very important, especially when none of the projects are considered “urgent”. But I know without deadlines, nothing will happen. This year, I would like to get two children activity books out by the end of the year. I set the first one to be September 30th, and the second one on November 30th. I don’t know if these will happen, maybe a little too ambitious? At the end of the day, if my projects don’t get done by the deadline, I won’t be extremely upset. I mean I have to keep it realistic since I have a baby to take care of. But I hope the actual days won’t be too far off from the deadlines I set. We’ll see how things go!
4) Breakdown the task list to small manageable chunks
One of the things I spent time on is to figure out what kind of activities I need to do, and how much time I need for each, to achieve my goals. That’s because, unlike before, I can’t sit for a long stretch to do one task now. If I’m lucky, I get to spend 15-30 min on a task before I’d get interrupted. This is by far the biggest lesson I have learned from the past few weeks. But it is what it is, and we have to adapt to it. So I have listed different tasks I need to tackle in 15-30 minutes increments. Every night, I would look at the tasks, and list out what I need to do for the next day.
5) Get an accountability buddy
I am blessed to have met Maureen from Adult Coloring 101. She is a wonderful lady with a lot of great ideas. We talked about the projects we’re working on, and I proposed we become each other’s accountability buddy! I think it’s a great idea because I don’t like to make empty promises and disappoint other people. So even though we didn’t set specific times to check in with each other, in the back of my head, I know that I’m being held accountable for my actions. Even though it’s only 1 person, I want to be able to deliver what I want to deliver.
And that’s what I did to get myself back onto the bandwagon. I’m sure I’ll fall off again from time to time, but I will also keep trying to get back onto it. What about you? What do you do to get yourself back onto the bandwagon when you fall off? I would love to hear your tips and tricks!