June 7, 2021

How To Get Something Done

​I have been remiss. Again. Despite promising myself that I would get my ​newsletter, The Mind Minute, out more regularly since February, I have failed. My excuse is that…well, does it matter? It’s all the usual stuff. But I gave myself a pass, you know, what with the global pandemic and just focused on writing my book. That is now largely done and I will be telling you how you can get hold of it soon.

But what this experience taught me is that sometimes you just have to let other things go, and when you do, it’s not the end of the world. I knew I would come back to writing the Mind Minute, I just needed more headspace to do it.

The problem is not always a lack of motivation, but rather, how do you get back into doing something which you need, or want, to do but has now taken on Everest size proportions of difficulty in your head? It’s been hanging over you, gnawing at you, bugging you, tapping you on the shoulder but you’ve become a pro at ignoring it. It’s pretty hard to start a habit, but really easy to lose it. The key is knowing that you will, but having some tools at your finger tips.

Here’s how I keep going when I fall off the writing wagon (which happens a lot) and how I get back on again:

1.     Plan when you are going to get started. Write it in your diary. As I write this, it’s 11 am on Sunday morning and I am on a train to Devon. I had earmarked this time to write one Mind Minute.
2.     I made getting started as easy as jumping off a piece of paper on the floor. I told myself that all I had to do was write for 5 minutes and then I can stop. Somehow, this trick always works on me and I go on to write more. The limited time appeals to my inner tantrum thrower – I can stop when I feel like and when I want. So there.
3.     Let go of perfect. This might be shit. It might not. Just get it done and keep moving forward. You can only improve at anything if you have something to work with. I can’t improve with an empty page.
4.     Reduce the friction between you and your task. When I want to draw more, for example, I put all my art things out on a table. There’s no hunting around for oil pastels and 2B pencils. And no hunting around means no excuses.
5.     I listen to brown noise. It’s like white noise but less stressful. I don’t know how, but it really works. I need some noise but not distracting noise.

Ok, so there you have it, a few ways to get yourself back in the saddle. For me, it really does boil down to this. And not only have I written this newsletter using this technique, but I managed a whole book this way too. Don’t beat yourself up for falling off the habit wagon – because you will – instead, dust yourself off and start again. Keep moving forward.