Doing It Backwards

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I’ve talked before about how I’m a person who needs routines.  The stability of routines is a comfort to me, but I often find it hard to follow a routine.  It was easier when I had a full-time job, because the job itself required routines – you had to show up on time, lunch was a scheduled time, you went home at a scheduled time.  Since most of my day was scheduled for me, life was somewhat easier.

For many years I was a stay-at-home mom, and I’m thankful that I had the opportunity.  I only work part-time now, and I’m finding it more difficult, especially as my kids get older, to find a routine that works for me.

When my kids were younger, their days consisted of routines (mostly because of school), so it was easier to stay on track, especially when I was also working full-time.  Once I wasn’t, and they were older and able to take more responsibilities themselves, I found myself with time on my hands and no idea what to do with it.

Well, that’s not strictly true.  I had things I wanted to do, I just couldn’t seem to make myself do them.  I mean, I wasn’t working, I wasn’t tied to a job routine, so my day could be whatever I wanted.  Unfortunately, that usually meant my day was either spent mindlessly in front of the TV or reading.  Now, I don’t consider the time spent reading a waste, but I certainly wasn’t getting anything else done – cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.  You know – all those things that make your household run smoothly.

For the past few years, I’ve had a part-time job and that has helped.  The days that I work I am forced into a routine.  However, that still leaves me with much of the week unscheduled and unstructured, and usually me bored out of my mind.  Boredom is bad for me for many reasons – I eat when I’m bored, I get overwhelmed with all the things I think I should be accomplishing, and that kind of thinking sends me a downward spiral.

Finally, I hit that wall.  You know the one – where you finally decide enough is enough and you have to get off your lazy bum and get something done.  Determined to find a way to force myself into a routine, I tried a variety of things.  I tried the Fly-Lady method – which is great, but just doesn’t work for me.  I tried making lists (I’m a list-maker from way back).  I tried Bullet Journaling.  I couldn’t stick with any of them.

I have a ton of empty journals – because I love analog writing.  You remember that, right?  With an actual pencil or pen and paper?  But I never seemed to stick with writing in journals either.  I decided to try something different.  Instead of a never-ending to-do list that only ever seemed to get longer, no matter how much I did, I decided to do it backwards.

I would keep track of things I’d done, but only after I’d done them.  Which sounds kinda crazy, now that I’m writing it down.  But so far, it’s working! At the end of the day, instead of focusing on all the things I didn’t get to, I can see all the things I did.  I’m still not accomplishing as much as I want to with this method, but I’m certainly accomplishing more than I used to, which is the goal, so I’m going to call this one a win!

Imposter Syndrome

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Last time I was talking about my (lifelong) tendency to procrastinate. I hope I’m doing better (past me is writing this, so I hope future me is doing better). However, I’ve been dealing with a lot of Imposter Syndrome lately.

For those of you unfamiliar with Imposter Syndrome (lucky you!), it is defined as ‘the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.’ (Dictionary.com) Basically, I feel like a fraud and that at any moment, someone will discover that I really have no idea what I’m doing.

It’s the opposite of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which is defined as ‘a cognitive bias in which people of low ability have illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is.’ (Wikipedia.com)

I wonder if there’s any way to trick my brain into switching one out for the other?

Every time I sit down to try and work on designs for my (eventual) store, I am beset by doubts. Nothing seems good enough. That little voice in my head starts whispering about how I’m not trained, I’m a hack, an amateur, a fraud. Then the very next day (or sometimes sooner), I am looking at other people’s work and thinking, pfft, I can do that!

The Imposter Syndrome was so bad that my Cameo, after sitting in the box for two weeks, sat for another two weeks in my office before I actually tried using it. And I only did it then because my husband was busy working on some designs of his own and wanted to use the machine to cut them (he was making vinyl decals).

I nixed him getting to use it before I did, so I finally sat down and tried cutting out some sticker files that I had purchased on Etsy. (That is another failure story, so keep an eye out for that one.) So, I have now used the machine and learned a few things, but I am still suffering from both Imposter Syndrome and my usual procrastination.

Meanwhile, my husband is busy creating designs and cutting out decals in his spare time and has decorated several of our vehicles with them. Le sigh.

How do you deal with procrastination and/or Imposter Syndrome?

Procrastinators Unite! Tomorrow

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I am a procrastinator. Which is bad for a home business, probably. I work best under pressure (like writing a 5 page college paper the night before it’s due, etc). I think I get overwhelmed by choices, so leaving things until the last minute forces me to make quick choices and I don’t have the time to over think them. (I think there’s a sticker in there somewhere!)

So when I decided to try and start a sticker business, I was making list after list after list. What would I use as a name? Did I need a blog? What equipment and supplies would I need? My husband, on the other hand, was immediately online, researching what the best equipment and supplies would be and encouraging me to order them asap so I could get started.

We ended up purchasing a new printer, since my current printer was about 7 years old. We also bought a Silhouette Cameo 3, which I will be using to cut out the stickers I plan to sell. The printer we bought locally, but both items sat in the box for about two weeks – I needed to rearrange some things in my office to make room for the new machines.

We finally got around to rearranging the office so we could set up the new printer and the Cameo. A few days ago I set up a separate bank account to use for the business and got a PO Box as well. So now I don’t have any more excuses for not getting started.

So, have I? Of course not.

I set a deadline for myself of April 1, which has come and gone. I do have the machines set up and I’ve been working on designs and learning the ins and outs of the Cameo. But it seems that external deadlines are easier for me to worry about than internal ones. So I’m going to try my hardest to meet the next one – by May 1 I want to have at least 10 products ready to launch. Crossing my fingers that I can stick with this one.

How do you keep yourself motivated to meet personal deadlines?