Monday, October 03, 2011

To Done

I'm not going to lie. When I took the year off, I had a lot of vague notions about how the year would go. Clearly, twenty minutes after I quit, I would be offered my own television series, movie franchise or multi-book publishing deal. A month later, I was supposed to be voted most powerful producer in all the land. I still wouldn't be able to afford a house in Los Angeles, but I'd be getting close to it. A month after that, my husband (George Clooney) and I would start our new studio. I was willing to allow for some deviations in the length of time this would take, and the exact details of my success (perhaps I was voted "most powerful producer in my apartment"). However there was one thing I was absolutely certain of: I would have nothing on my "to do" list.

That assertion was completely false.

What I have found is that the "to do" list is a lot like a purse. The bigger the purse, the more crap you carry around. Seriously, I carry a hard drive around right now. No good reason for that other than the fact that it went in there once, and there is room for it. Likewise, the more time you have the more tasks occupy that time. I thought I would be bored. I was wildly incorrect. I'm as busy now as I was before I quit, I'm just focused on different things. Sadly, those things don't pay me right now, but that's a different issue for another day.

In reality, the "to do" list just grows—and not just in volume, but in complexity. For instance, in addition to "get groceries" I now have "write great American novel" along with the slightly more reachable goal of "post blog." I think the theory is that now that I have all of this time, I should be able to reach loftier goals. The list now resembles a combined daily tasks, New Year's resolutions and grab bag of fate manifesto. I can't decide if having "get oil change" and "find meaning of life" should be on the same list (bonus points to all of you who just yelled out "42"), but the moment they share space. Unfortunately, rather than rolling up my sleeves and really trying to get some of these tasks off my list (Chapter 1 would be nice), I'm gripped by inertia. I've fallen back into the same old pattern: if I have every option in the world, I choose nothing. If I have a million things I could be/should be doing, I only do the things I absolutely must do to survive (and even then grocery shopping will be a last resort).

I'm curious if any of you have ever faced a similar motivation problem. How did you kick start your progress? I've made the big gesture: I quit my job. I took charge: "I am woman, hear me roar." Except with me, it really has been more like a whisper.

Kate (watching House Hunters)

P.S. Fallacy #2: "If I didn't have a job, I'd be really fit because I'd work out every day." LMAO such a kidder.



Carey Hagan said...

Fear and love are my biggest motivators, with fear winning by a narrow margin. Also, photos of me looking like the Pillsbury dough girl have a motivating force, resulting in increased jogging mileage which then results in a foot/leg injury of some kind. My other motivating factors would be chocolate, junk food, and alcohol, but I couldn't tell you what they've motivated me to do. Probably nothing good.

Kate, Dating in LA said...

@Carey LOL OR they motivated you to do something very, very good.

bdkz said...

This sounds really simple but the answer is...just do it. When I started working from home 5 years ago I realized that it's a lot harder then working at work. There is structure at work. There are more people to talk to , deadline created by bosses, etc. When you are your own boss it's easy to be soft on yourself. To get started pick 3 things off your list and make yourself do them for one day. No matter what! Easy...but hard.

Dee Murray said...

There was a time that I was involuntarily out of work, (it was AWESOME, but scary!) and I structured my day just like a regular work day only instead of "work" it was "looking for work". I got up, showered, coffeed, read the paper, want ads, stalked my headhunters, etc...the fun part was running errands during the 10:00 - 11:30 and 2:00 - 3:30 time slots when everyone else was working...I just kept it as structured as possible because I know me and I'd be in sloth mode before you could finish saying "sloth". I agree with bdkz - just make yourself do it. Even if you write junk on the page (per se) at least they're words...and it will give George something entertaining to listen to when he gets home from work!