|megpie71 (megpie71) wrote,|
@ 2011-08-09 04:48 pm UTC
|Current location:||In front of the keyboard|
|Current music:||The slow cooker lid rattling away|
|Entry tags:||achievement: meta, explaining the inexplicable, living with: depression, the personal is political, why variety is a good thing, wibble, writing|
Next up, we pause for a note on context and perspective - that of a chronic perfectionist with an anxiety disorder to show for it, plus chronic depression which feeds into the anxiety and vice versa.
Those two things considered, might I offer an alternative path toward the great goal of Getting Things Done.
This is one I've been puzzling out for myself over the years, in between bouts of depression, over-anxious worry, "oh gods I'll never get it *headpiano*!!!eleventy!!" and so forth. It boils down to this: set your goals small, low, achievable, and repeatable. As an example: I'm coming out of two weeks of 'flu (and this year's one was a nasty pasty, trust me - I'm still dealing with partial labyrinthitis and hearing loss on my right side) and since I'm the primary housekeeper, the house therefore looks like a bomb hit during the middle of everything. Now, I've recovered to the point where I could just throw in a day's work, and clear the backlogged mess. However, I'm not going to. Instead, I'm sticking with my standard, every-day goals: one sinkful or rackful of dishes per day; one cooked meal per day; empty bins as required; clear surfaces as required; fold and put away ten items of clean laundry per day. I'm doing this because I know how my brain works - first off, if I spend the entire day cleaning the house, then sure, the house will be clean. But I'll have worked through about a week's worth of housekeeping enthusiasm, and I will sure as eggs are eggs not be willing to deal with the dishes or the cooking tomorrow. I'll also be a bit more emotionally fragile, and more likely to get upset with something disturbing the tidiness I've attained.
So instead, small steps, achievable every day, repeated every day, and dealt with on a daily basis. And slowly the bigger tasks (like catching up with a week's worth of backlogged dishes, and a couple of weeks of backlogged laundry, and so on) will clear themselves up. Then I can move on to the next "big" task (which is to catalogue the pile of discards from my library, type this up for display on Freecycle, and see about getting rid of the excess bookage; this is either preparatory to a move somewhere else in town, or to reshuffling the furniture so we can get everything put away properly, depending on whether Himself gets the job down in this area he's angling for or not). In between times, I have three hours of mathematics practice per day (modulated by whether or not I'm attending lectures and/or tutorials that day - lectures Monday through Wednesday, tutorial on Tuesday, so Monday and Wednesday get 2 hours each, Tuesday is only 1), and various things that I actually want to do strung around other stuff. Plus visits to my DES provider (gods bless and keep them, because quite frankly I don't want to) and Centrelink that need to be scheduled in on either Thursdays or Fridays, depending on what the situation is.
If writing resurfaces on my list of things I'm going to be doing every day, I suspect it's going to be a very small amount of writing per day - maybe 500 - 750 words actual new content per day. Doesn't have to be right, doesn't have to be keep-able, just has to be new stuff. Plus the overall goal I'm going to be aiming for is most likely to see whether I can actually finish one of my longer plot lines - some of those get up to the 25,000 - 30,000 word level before the steam pushing them runs out and I get flattened by Real Life sneaking up on me.
This sort of schedule works for me, mostly because I'm the sort of person who runs on little decisions. Big goals and big resolutions tend to daunt me, because I can only see what I have left to achieve, rather than the progress I've already made. Give me something small, something achievable every day, something I can repeatedly achieve, and I'll manage it (most days - I still have the chronic depression, which means some days the bundle gets dropped well and truly). I'm also still learning to forgive myself for having the chronic depression, which means I'm still trying to avoid my habit of "catching up" for previous days all at once (which is the other part of why I'm not going to be doing the entire load of two weeks worth of housework all at once... failure to complete is one of those things which can trigger a downward spiral).
Basically, the entire thing is inspired by a few different sources. The first is a bit of the GROW program:
"Settle for disorder in lesser things for the sake of order in greater things; and therefore be content to be discontent in many things."
The second is a song by Paul Kelly: "Little Decisions" - the chorus is the main bit that sticks with me. The chorus runs:
Little decisions are the kind I can make
Big resolutions are so easy to break
I don't want to hear about your big decisions
This is very much the key to the whole thing for me - I can make the little decisions, but the big resolutions become too easy to break, too daunting, too overwhelming. So I stick with the types of decisions I can make, but I still have this niggling little fear that I'm not being a "proper" grown-up, which is why I don't really want to hear about someone else's big decision.
Instead of a single big decision, what I prefer is a string of little decisions, which can be put into action almost immediately, and put into practice. For me, that's massively important. I need practical things that I can do - I'm very good at over-intellectualising a problem, and I'm very good at theorising things to death, and I'm also very good at looking for the perfect, ideal solution - and all of those are very good excuses not to do anything about anything. If I want to do something, I have to have a practical task - something small and achievable, where I can very quickly look at the binary of "is it done yet" and mark off a yes or a no. It's a process of building momentum, like a kid on a swing. At first, there isn't much happening, but as you build up your momentum, things get faster and faster and higher and higher, and eventually, you're flying.
The final one is the chorus of the song "Hands" by Jewel:
My hands are small, I know,
But they're not yours
They are my own
No, they're not yours
They are my own
And I am never broken
That one, for me, is a real statement of personal power, in a world which seems set up to deny it to people. My hands, my actions, are mine, and they are powerful in a way that nobody can deny me. So when I do these little things, they may not be much, but they're actions I've chosen to do, actions I've made mine, and that makes them significant to me.