[Structure Supports Flow]
You know that thing (or things) that just seems to never get done, or it’s always the thing that you end up doing at the last minute, in a rush, just trying to get it done as fast as possible? These things can range from simple household tasks to checking my bank statement to a work-related challenge that is just not my favorite thing to do.
Some items on our to-do lists are simply less fun than others. For me, when I have to deal with the less-fun things, it often seems like a better thing to do is something more engaging.
All of this is fine some of the time, but ultimately, that thing is going to need to get accomplished, and I’m only making it harder on myself by putting it off.
I have tried a number of ways to help myself through these times, as my awareness of them has grown. At times I give myself a reward, only allowing myself to do what I want to do once I do what needs to be done (get a pedicure, call a friend, go to the grocery store, etc).
Rewards work well as incentive, but I noticed that it sometimes took hours. I’d sit down to do it, kind of work on it, get distracted, pull myself back to the task at hand, and repeat.
So I incorporated something I’ve been doing for years when I write, because sometimes it can be hard to get a piece of writing going and staring at a blank page just sucks. What I do is set a timer for 30 – 60 minutes and then just write, no editing, no reading, just get.it.out.
I find it’s easier to do what I am resisting if I know I only have to spend a finite amount of time on it. Instead of the task being daunting and feeling like the whole morning is going to be consumed by this thing that’s not coming easily, it’s like “Okay, I am going to do this one thing with all I’ve got – GO!”
And guess what? When I do, my energy starts to flow, ideas start popping and I can get a ton done in that small amount of time. What is more, regardless of how much progress I made, a momentum builds that makes it easier to come back the next time and complete it.
At this point, I’ve used method with various tasks –15 minutes to clean the kitchen, 30 minutes to respond to emails, 60 minutes to write these Structure Support Flow tips, etc.
“Setting a Timer” works so well that it has become a structure in my life that supports flow in all areas of my life.
Give this one a try the next time you notice yourself resisting something, or when you realize that a certain thing just isn’t getting your attention. Use an egg timer or use the timer on your phone, give yourself 30 – 60 minutes – TOPS.
Next, just do the thing with all your GUSTO for that allotted amount of time. When you’re finished, marvel at all you’ve accomplished and then celebrate it. (Celebration is important, don’t skip this step.)
I’d love to hear how you incorporate this into your life. Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.