Friday, December 3, 2010

Slip Sliding Away

I love the world of ideas (and, really, it’s about the only place on earth where I feel “at home” besides my house).  However, I absolutely hate—got that?  hate—trying to get momentum going with new projects. 

And that is where I am right now.  I have to present a paper in a little over a month, but because I don’t yet have what Howard so aptly calls “traction,” I am lost and fumbling.  Sliding around hopelessly and finding mostly ways to distract myself from working. 

This is made even worse by the fact that I have to read most of my documents on the computer, rather than in hard copy, since I just took images of all of them.  Given that I plan to continue to copy documents via camera—it’s better for my back, my pocketbook, and the environment—I’m going to have to get used to it. 

So, my strategies for getting this paper going this week have included:

1.      Make small goals and praise myself for anything that gets accomplished.  Every step is, as they say, a step forward.
2.      Accept that much of my time this week needs to be focused on family—Chanukah is starting, and I have had the kids on my own while Howard is away on business.  Just focus on moving ahead.
3.      Invite coffee and tea in to my writing and note-taking process, no guilt allowed.
4.      Bribe myself with treats for doing focused work (today: this blog post).
5.      Try to keep my office and desk—well, manageably clean.  Let’s face it: I’m not inclined toward complete organization and tidiness.  But, I also do not function well in total disarray.  I am using this blessed sabbatical time to work on establishing that ever elusive middle ground.  I’m kind of getting there.  Really, it’s more organized than it looks.
6.      Stop at a place where I know how to pick back up again, preferably with something that excites me.
7.      Focus on the process and the journey, rather than my achievements on any given day.  I’m getting a little better at that.

I like the number seven.  Let’s stop there.
I’m hoping that I am not the only one with this eternal organizational and disciplinary struggle!  I think it’s just terribly hard to start new projects and structure one’s own time.  If anything, having kids has made me more efficient, because I know that at a certain hour I have to transform from Dr. O’Connor back into Mum.  And, mostly, I do.    
Do you have strategies to overcome work blockages??? 

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