Monday, June 10, 2013

Are You a Saboteur?




Do you sabotage your work? Not intentionally of course, but how often do you dance to the tune of procrastination? Or allow distractions or lack of confidence to get you off your game?

At my house, pending projects fade into the background when the dryer's lint screen is full. Spotlights appear out of nowhere, shining on every single cobweb. The sticky spots on the kitchen floor can no longer be ignored. Alas, I become a saboteur....

With a book deadline pending, I'm reassessing my days, and hence, my strategy. Even with the best of intentions, writing time is wasted more often than not. Can anyone relate?

So here's the breakdown on the new plan.

1) Prioritize - Everything clamors for attention it seems, but some are more pressing than others. Weigh things in order of importance. When in doubt, pick one, do it, and cross it off the list. Voila! Progress.

2) Set Goals - Daily, weekly, or whatever works best. Without a target, we wander aimlessly and get little done.

3) Deadlines - Even self imposed ones can motivate, build self discipline and productivity. The feeling of accomplishment after meeting one? Priceless.

4) Ignore the Gobblers - Assess what gobbles time (Facebook, email, laundry, phone calls) and determine, even for short stretches, to ignore them. Tackle must-do projects or errands at designated times to lessen distraction potential. 

5) Utilize Unproductive Time - Years ago I heard Roger Palms (author/former editor of Decision Magazine) speak; he stressed the importance of taking advantage of unused time. You know, the five minutes here, ten minutes there, while waiting for a call, or before you leave for an appointment, that are sometimes available and are otherwise unproductive. I call them pockets, and use them to make an outline, scribble a paragraph or two, visit blogs, do internet research, etc. They provide opportunities to chip away at the to-do list.

6) Keep Moving Forward - One step at a time eventually brings us to our destination. Meeting a goal provides a sense of satisfaction. This stifles doubts and boosts confidence.

Simple points, I know, but ones that help me stay on track.

How about you, do you sabotage your work? What steps do you take to avoid the saboteur syndrome?

Happy writing,

Karen 

Photo credit: Stock Exchange

34 comments :

  1. YES! I do often sabotage my own work. But at least I realize it and can get back on track (usually). Setting weekly goals instead of daily goals usually works for me.

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  2. Great post, Karen. I was allowing some of the gobblers to get me. I've taken a step back, and my productivity has skyrocketed.

    I like number six. It's so important to keep moving forward!

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  3. When you make writing a priority, it gets done.
    Using unproductive time is how I manage to visit so many blogs during the day.

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  4. After reading this, I think that yes I am guilty of this sometimes. Thanks for making me take notice :)

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  5. Hi Karen. Good to see your post. Well, yes, I probably fall into saboteur status, especially when it comes to things I don''t LIKE to do. ha haha

    However, I somehow manage three part-time jobs (taking care of my grandbaby four mornings a week is one of them and I DO consider it hard work, filled with love). Plus my blog. Plus taking care of our house and all meals.

    It's amazing how much we can get done when we put our minds to it. Susan

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  6. Jennifer,
    I am so glad that I am not alone! I'm with you; weekly goals are best. Thanks for chiming in! :)

    Loree,
    Thank you! Glad you are making progress. That's my goal too! :)

    Alex,
    Yes, that's for sure. I need to do more of that! Those pockets of time really can pay off! :)

    Keith,
    I don't want to be so uptight about it, but I can get a lot done when I figure out and do something about where all the time goes! :)

    Susan,
    Maybe if we wear a disguise it would be more fun? lol Wow, you really do have a lot going on. Congrats on your productivity! :)

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  7. Oh, Karen. I can relate on a sickeningly high level to this. Right now it's the yard - 3 acres. I've vowed to do better with it this year and it's cutting in on writing time. Sigh. Maybe that's why God has sent so much rain lately. LOL

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  8. I'm the master of little bits of time here and there. I hate to procrastinate though. I like to knock things out of the way quickly.

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  9. Susan,
    Oh I hear you! Working to find the right balance here too. My garden is calling me (with plenty of weeds) in much the same way. :)

    Diane,
    I admire your resolve! I admit, some areas of my life don't cave to procrastination. Sadly, writing often does, though. I am inspired by you! :)

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  10. Ah, I can relate! I start a project, walk away from it half-completed with every intention of returning to it, then start something else that caught my eye, leave it half-done with every intention of returning to it...you get the picture. ;-)

    I now make myself stick to the following mantra: one thing at a time, with both hands. It's amazing how much more we get done when we prioritize, then see the project through before moving on to something else.

    Your posts always speak to me! Be well...

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  11. These are excellent, Karen. Excellent.

    Yes, I'm familiar with some of the gobblers on your list and the ways one can sabotage one's own work. Thank you for shining a light on it for us, my friend.

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  12. I definitely procrastinate--I think I psych myself out and then avoid, LOL!

    Once I sit down and actually start writing, things are OK.

    Love your tips!

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  13. Guilty. *sigh* You offer great tips to get me going, though. I've tried the "time pockets" and haven't hit the magic groove to make it productive. There is a lot of wasted time, though -- it is worth revisiting!

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  14. Janette,
    Ha- I do that too, walk away from a project - especially when cleaning before company comes. My methods are scattered, just like my thoughts before the guests arrive. :) My sister, daughter, and I have a saying, "Eyes on the prize." It means that we need to focus on what's at hand at the time. We toss it around a lot and it helps us get things done. Thanks for your kind words! :)

    Rhonda,
    Well, you know a little about what's been running through my head of late, so this is one way to focus! Thanks for your faithful support. :)

    Laura,
    Me too. I get my head so tangled with stress and lack of confidence that turns into a major procrastination session! :)

    Lisa,
    Well, let's start a club then, okay? Tomorrow. lol I don't hit all the pockets of available time, but I figure anything is something! :)

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  15. I love your tips. But yes, I'm also guilty of most of it!

    Nas

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  16. If you have a Gobbler controlling mechanism, I'd like to try it.

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  17. Oh yes. So guilty. Been doing much of that the past two weeks. I try to use the excuse I am busy with the building of our home but I know I could find time to write. I keep saying tomorrow. Tomorrow I will work in some time . . .

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  18. Procrastination... probably my biggest enemy! Unbelievable, the things I can come up with in order NOT to start writing :)
    Thanks for sharing that simple list, it works.

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  19. yup definitely guilty of this every now and then. I do sabotage my own schedule sometimes. :S
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  20. Nas,
    Me too! So we are forming a club and you are more than welcome to join. LOL :)

    Lydia,
    I'll have to get on that one! There are also the spur of the moment, must do circumstances that we cannot avoid but must work around. Will have to see how the device tackles that one! :)

    Terri,
    I am so glad that you are making progress with your house! That is exciting. I think it gives you a little bit of an excuse for now. :)

    Marja,
    Ah yes, and mine as well. I have gotten SO many other things done when procrastinating! :)

    Nutschell,
    Oh me too, but working on it! We'll get there! :)

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  21. This last two weeks are a perfect example of lost writing time. Life hit in a big way. The car had to be towed, the bathtub drain clogged, special meetings at church, additional responsibilities with family and friends - you get the picture.

    Things are simmering down, but I'm so tired that my brain feels like mush. Hopefully, some rest will revive the creative juices.

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  22. Such a good list. I try to do too many things at once. With such divided time, some things don't get done. And I worry what is done could be better. I need to get better about this. Thanks for the suggestions, Karen!

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  23. Susan,
    I know it's been an interesting week for you! Glad you are persevering through it. More writing time coming! :)

    Theresa,
    I try to do too many things as well. I guess it's sort of like having too many windows open on your computer, you can't work on them all at once! :) Good to know we aren't alone.

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  24. Yep. Your list describes me. After reading it, I decided I need to make some changes.

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  25. I was blogging to keep my writing sharp but my sewing has taken the lead and I'm turning my attention there for at least the summer. I am also back at the library and am settling into a summer of reading! That always makes me want to write but we'll see if that happens come fall. Hope the summer is going well for you:)

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  26. I have become a big procrastinator from the past few days, need to catch up with writing now.

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  27. Donna,
    Ah, yes, and this is me too - so often my posts are dealing with me, right this minute! :)

    Sally,
    Best wishes with all the sewing, and reading too! Wishing you a restful and productive summer. :)

    Rachna,
    It seems we all can fall to this sometimes, in some form anyhow! :)

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  28. I was raised Catholic, so that means that I feel guilty about EVERYTHING. I love my internet, computer, and blogland way too much, so I'm purposefully staying awhile until I get all the estate garage sales done for my MIL. It may take a month~! No more procrastinating for this girl!

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  29. yep, I can totally relate. #4 is the hardest to conquer.

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  30. Joylene,
    Ah, it's a tough balance, isn't it? And the guilt thing, well, I hear you, even though I wasn't raised Catholic. lol :)

    Lynda,
    Yes, I think you are right. That's a biggie for me too. Then to get back on track after the fact takes self discipline as well. :)

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  31. I, also, am familiar with those saboteurs. Your list looks a lot like mine. I hope your time away is very productive.

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  32. Cecelia,
    I have been fighting them off with a sword these past few weeks! lol
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  33. I do, it is as if the end of a project is not welcomed.

    For instance, I knit a sock and a half and I stop and start something else... I cannot explain to myself why, I have even studied the cycle of starting a project to the end of it and I recognize that I stop in the same place many times, as you know I eventually finish it but.

    Maybe it is the letting go. Your question has certainly challenged my procrastination.

    On another note, I was in the States recently and I often thought about you even though I was not in Kentucky at all. I have come back with a new perception of your country and fellow country men. My admiration has just grown even more.

    Hope you are keeping well. Take care. Big hugs and kisses. Raymonde. xxx

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  34. I'm guilty of sabotaging my own schedule sometimes--especially in the summer. I blame it on all these awesome tv shows.
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!