Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Small Goals Do Succeed

Posted by: Joely Sue Burkhart
January is almost over.  How many of your New Year's resolutions are still in effect?

I'll be the first to admit I haven't done as much as I wanted this month.  However, I have started a few new habits that I do believe will make a big difference throughout the year.  And since they're small, I can stick with it!

I've read two non-fiction books this month:  Deep Work and The Miracle Morning.

While I'd love to build my tower out in the woods somewhere and lock myself up until my book is done, the reality is that would be impossible.  I have too many day-to-day responsibilities, including an Evil Day Job and three teenagers.  However, the idea of getting set time without distractions is very powerful.  I've actually implemented some adjustments at the Evil Day Job (with my boss's approval) to not keep my email open all the time.

It's so easy to get sucked into fighting fires all day, rather than getting anything done on my to-do list.  By minimizing how often I crack open my inbox, I can reserve at least the first 1-2 hours in the morning to distraction-free "deep work" sessions.  That way, I know whatever nightmare does wait for me in email, I've at least already finished something!

I'm trying to do this with writing too.  My sister and I started a collaboration more than a year ago, but haven't been able to get together without distractions (my kids, work) to make progress.  So we're planning a "retreat" at her place - away from the distractions of my family!  Just a weekend - but I'm hoping we can get a considerable amount done, and if nothing else, at least have a good time doing it!

As for the Miracle Morning, I haven't been able to actually get up an hour earlier each day.  I already have to be up by 5:45 AM everyday.  While I have had great success writing "Dark & Early" - I have to be deep into a project with the burning desire to just finish it already in order to get up when the clock says "four" for the hour.  However, one takeaway I'm still working on is daily meditation.

My job is extremely stressful and I have a lot of personal drama going on pretty much everyday.  (I have three teenaged girls.)   So taking ten minutes in the morning to just work on my mind and be quiet and still is really nice.  I haven't hit every single day, but I am making it a workday habit.  I purchased a year's subscription to HeadSpace and am really enjoying it.

Now if only I could figure out how to make myself get up at 4 AM and finish the book....!

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