First off, apologies for radio silence on the old blog last week. After a good start to my self-employed life, I hit a wall. A big f**k off brick wall. My head was ready to explode and I had literally a million and one things swirling around my little brain, flitting from one thing to the next and getting nowhere fast. I felt like my creativity had just got up and done one!
Adjusting to a life of doing what I want when I want is definitely more challenging than I thought. Going from a structured job role with set hours, set tasks, set goals, to a blank page is actually pretty daunting. Especially when you’re prone to procrastination and the odd nap on the sofa.
So I thought this week I’d sum up what I’ve learnt about myself so far this year plus some positive actions I have decided to take going forward to get out of this rut I’ve found myself in.
5 things I have learnt about myself
I have the attention span of a gnat
I’m like blummin’ Dory off Finding Nemo. I start something then, before I know it, I’ve moved on to something else. Sometimes productive, sometimes not. Why can I not concentrate on one thing at a time?!!!
Looking back, I was like it at work. I’d be mid-task and an email would pop up that looked more interesting so I’d drop what I was doing to deal with it. And it’s been magnified since being totally in control of my day. One thing makes me think of another and I never seem to complete any of it! And those ceiling lights don’t dust themselves, y’know!
Lists don’t work
How I long to be one of those super-organised people with carefully laid out plans and lists/planners all written in beautiful handwriting on pretty stationery. The reality? Lists stress me the hell out and my notebooks look like the contents of my brain right now – a complete mess! I have every intention of them being all neat and tidy and, to my credit, page 1 often isn’t too bad. However, page 2 onwards? Random doodles all over the place, shopping lists to book review notes, stuff upside down and every which way….
The reality is I’ve never been a massive planner. I’m more of a get-on-with-it kind of person, preferring to work the rest out as I go along in the main part. So trying to force myself to plan and write lists etc has just stressed me out.
I need accountability
I’ve definitely realised how important accountability is. When I don’t have anyone checking in on me, or any definitive deadlines, I’m more prone to give in to the distractions. That’s why the coaching worked so well for me and how I managed to go from a Dolly daydreamer to taking action and leaving my job. Problem is, I no longer have the boss or coach to give me the proverbial kick up the backside to get stuff done. Cue a lot of social media scrolling (for research purposes, obvs!) and an incredibly spotless apartment!
I work better lastminute.com
Just like this blog post. I wrote it today, as I do all my blog posts. Because, true to form, I had no plan as to what I was going to write about. Did I carefully craft it over the past week? Nope. I simply thought “sh*t! what am I going to write about today?”
So, given I am feeling totally overwhelmed right now, I felt like that was a pretty good place to start! I’ve always been the same. Homework, revision….I was always up until all hours the night before getting it done. It’s just in my nature. And the reality is, my best work comes when I haven’t overthought it. Which leads me nicely in to……
Too much time = a LOT of overthinking
This is the biggie. Having all this time on my hands has meant I am overthinking EVERYTHING!
An example – last year I seemed to be able to get blog content out weekly without too much of an issue, this year I’m overthinking it. So many questions! Will it suit my audience? Who are my audience? What’s my blog even about? Do people really want to hear about that? Why would people want to know what I’ve been up to anyway? What photo shall I use? Oh look! The hall lights need a polish. Arggghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!
The reality is, if I’d just referred back to my Myers Briggs personality test results, all of the above would have come as no surprise as, after rigorous questioning, I turned out to be somewhere between ESFP & ENFP which I think pretty accurately sums me up:
Outgoing, friendly and accepting. Exuberant lovers of life, people, and material comforts. Enjoy working with others to make things happen. Bring common sense and a realistic approach to their work, and make work fun. Flexible and spontaneous, adapt readily to new people and environments. Learn best by trying a new skill with other people.
Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and the their verbal fluency.*
*translation : flies-by-the-seat-of-pants, often wings it 😉
3 POSITIVE ACTIONS I HAVE DECIDED TO TAKE
So during the latter part of last week, the fog in my head started to clear a little and my inspiration started to creep back so I made the most of it and have committed to the following actions to keep up the momentum :
Enlist the help of an Accountability Buddy
As I have quite quickly deduced, I need to feel accountable to someone. So Kate and I have decided to become Accountability buddies as she is struggling with some of the same things as me. And today is day 1. The idea being, we set and communicate our daily intentions and check in at the end of the day with our progress. So far so good. One of my intentions today was to write and publish this blog post. So hooray for Kate 🙂
Set myself some personal photography projects
One of the things I have been overthinking is my photography. Mithering about my style, training and not picking up my camera enough. Self doubt is creeping in as a result as I worry if I can match up to some of my previous work.
So, after listening to a very inspiring Me & Orla podcast with Xanthe Berkeley, my creative juices started a-flowing and I have 2 projects lined up. One is top secret but I am very excited about it and will feature on my blog so watch this space for that (I know! Planning ahead! Whatever next?!).
The other is the annual colour boost challenge where each week, for 5 weeks, I will be taking photographs featuring a set colour. This first week is blue – you can take a peek at my first attempt over on my Instagram page where I will be continuing to share my contributions. Today’s effort may or may not have involved me manically scouring the house and lamenting the lack of “creative” blue items we own (whatever constitutes a “creative” blue item is anyone’s guess!), a LOT of overthinking (standard!) and having a little cry/foot stomp in the process. Lol! But I got there even if it’s not the most creative photo in the world. However, at least I posted something.
So onwards and upwards and all that! Oh! And taking and posting the photo was also on my intention list sent to Kate this morning sooooooo #WINNING.
On Friday I went in to Stourbridge for some Google training on Social Media strategy. It all happened atop a double decker Google bus and was really very good and inspiring. So I am going to make the most of the resource at the Google Digital Garage in Birmingham and attend some more of their training. That and make a decision on some online training to focus my mind a bit.
So wish me luck. Would love to know how you conquer overwhelm in the comments below if you have a mo – every little helps and all that! Oh, and if you happen to see anything interesting and blue in Kidderminster this week, give me a shout!