Transitions, Part One: Changing my Mindset
Some transitions are hard for me. The most difficult are the ones where I’ve been deeply focused and overworked for a deadline. When the product has launched or deadline has passed, giving me time to finally take a breath, I find that sometimes I feel cast adrift and unfocused. Empty. With all of my new-found “extra time” not much gets done. Procrastination rears its ugly head big time.
This happened recently, when coming down from the euphoria of launching my new course, Mastering Your Procrastination: A Participatory Course. Neglected housework and projects were crying out finally to be taken care of but I had no interest in doing them. This would be a great time catch up on networking and put-aside business or even to indulge in fun things I’d put off, but I didn’t know and couldn’t think of what I wanted to do. Until this point, my work was laid out in front of me. Now I had to figure out what to do and calculate how to balance my time.
Deep down, I knew what I wanted. But during my busy period I had shut down parts of myself so I could stay focused and meet my deadlines. For example, I had denied myself stories, either via novels or movies because I didn’t want to spare the time. When I suddenly had more time, and I wanted to catch a film, I had to fight with my conscience to allow myself a “non-productive” activity. Something about busyness is addictive to me—the way it keeps me focused, the way it reinforces my self-worth.
Several strategies helped me get back on course for my new goals .
- Notice. When I find myself in this cast adrift, unfocused state, I give in to it. It feels much more purposeful when I say to myself, “OK, you have this afternoon or these few hours to follow whatever inclinations arise.” I then let myself drift from doing laundry to reading a short story, working in the yard or just chilling out. Again, keeping track of time is my secret tactic to keep my work in balance.
- Celebrate the completion. Yes, I had a great launch party and celebrated well with friends, colleagues and family, but for me, this isn’t enough. Public celebrations are wonderful but they are also even more WORK. I needed my own personal, private festivity to celebrate the milestones. So, I gave myself an evening alone—going for a walk in the neighborhood, eating special celebratory foods, dancing solo to loud music, doing a ritual I developed for celebrating, and writing in my journal. The journal writing included critiquing the past busy time and the event, listing the things and people I’m grateful for and finally opening myself to what I want for this emerging period.
- Make a plan for the new period I’m transitioning into. Plans give me direction and make me feel safe and secure. Even if I don’t end up following them, having them gives me focus and a direction to move forward.
Stay tuned for Part Two of Transistions.