Everyone has “rocks”, you know, those things that are in the way of us making progress. Whether large or small, something may be holding you back from doing whatever it is that you want (or need) to do. Whether it’s something tangible (other people in your way, lack of money or no time) or even the inability to stay focused, it’s important to know how to eliminate these “rocks”.
For example, I’ve realized the importance of setting deadlines for the tasks that need to get done. It’s also important to alternate activities – because it’s so hard to focus for long periods of time on just one activity. No matter what works for me it’s imperative to develop what works for you & adapt it with your own flavor accordingly. Here are some ways to address the “rocks” that are blocking your progress:
Pebbles are small issues that add to your resistance. I don’t know about you, but every morning when the alarm goes off, I don’t wanna get outta bed to work out. I would rather do anything else — check my email, start cooking breakfast or watch the morning news — than work out. That’s because my biggest problem with exercise has always been getting started. Once I get started and get into it, I’m just fine. I sometimes even lose track of time! So for me, the challenge is all about getting up & motivated so I can put on those gym clothes & head out!
Consider striking a deal with yourself. Tell yourself, I’m only going to work out for 15 minutes. For whatever reason, this feels like such a tiny amount of time but it usually turns into 20 or even 30 minutes. And that’s my first pebble of the day. When I’m done, I give myself a break then get ready for work.
Once I’m up & out, I sometimes face “stones” which are larger problems that may hinder my productivity. It’s best if I have SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attractive, Realistic, and Time-Framed) so I can get those undesirable tasks out of the way. Once I have the nerve to start an even larger task, I seem to face even bigger resistance. Negative things or even mundane distractions are thrown at me each of which is designed to take me away (physically or mentally) from the task at hand. For example:
- I’m hungry
- No one is returning my phone calls
- I have to use the bathroom
- It’s too hot/or too cold
- I have other things I could be doing now. Maybe I should work on those things now instead of this boring work in front of me.
Sound familiar? If something is truly important, I can act on it after my task-at-hand is complete. As you can probably predict, once I’m done with my task and it’s time for a break, most of those seemingly urgent things are no longer important.
Every now & them a “boulder” will come across my path or even larger obstacle that may be difficult to contend with. With that said, I do occasionally have a lot to accomplish in a short time period or face an insurmountable task. It can be an uglier, more below-the-belt type of “boulder” and might even be aimed at undermining my confidence and self-worth. Ugh!
I believe that one of the best ways to get over these “boulders” is to ask for help. Whether it’s a call to a colleague, checking on my parents or even a mid-day chat with my friends, it helps to get the right type of motivation. Whoever I’m talking to usually asks me how things are going, which is an incentive to give a positive report. These “boulders” can trigger greater and uglier forms of resistance as well as require more organized external accountability. So when I overcome a “boulder” of mine, I celebrate!
Needless to say, the whole reason I enjoy the image of various sizes of writing rocks is because I understand that getting things done can be a slow, long and gradual process. It’s important to feel good about completing each step of the process not just the end result.
The thing I like most about my “rocks” is that they help me understand my time differently. Getting accustomed to differentiating between pebbles, stones & boulders means that I feel empowered to block out of my days accordingly. Maybe one day I’ll tackle a pebble first or maybe I’ll go straight in for a boulder.
I’ve described my “rocks” as a way to stimulate your thinking, so now it’s time to ask yourself: What is my current process? Is it working for me? Do I have realistic expectations? Have I tried short bursts of productivity, or do I assume that all work requires long & agonizing hours at a time in front of the computer?
I hope this week brings tremendous creativity in adapting your daily work habits to your own unique needs.