I have good intentions. But carrying them out tends to be a challenge.
I operate in cycles. I work like crazy, then I need lots of rest. I have trouble putting work away once I’m into it and trouble picking it up again after I’ve been away for a while.
I’ve never been able to corral my creativity or productivity into a regular schedule.
This is who I am. How do I make that work?
I used to really beat myself up about this, thinking there was something wrong with me. Now I accept these things as part of how I’m built. The question then becomes: “How do I manage within my limitations?”
Having a crazy, productive creative cycle can be a good thing. I can get a lot done in a short period of time.
Businesses, however, are built on consistency.
So I’ve been practicing with consistency. Trying to find some regular habits and practices that I can maintain.
What can I do consistently (and succeed at)?
Enter the “Monday Morning Motivation.” A *short* weekly email.
I wanted to set the bar low enough so that it would be *possible* for me to succeed.
I made it clear that it would NOT be anything as serious (or as long) as a *newsletter* – I even hinted that I would probably may write it late at night after a couple drinks.
I come across motivational/inspirational ideas all week long. All I’d have to do is capture one, write a couple of sentences, pop it into the autoresponder and boom! Illusion of Consistency. If I got on a creative roll, I could probably write up 6 months worth of the things in a day.
I lasted 10 weeks before I missed one
And it’s not like I forgot. My journal entry for last Sunday (right under the reminder to send out the MMM) reads: “OK. The experiment is called: who will notice?”
I was feeling “meh” about it. I questioned if I was being useful at all…or if I was just cluttering up inboxes.
I decided no one would notice if I missed one week. So I didn’t send it. And last night I decided not to send it again.
Something seems familiar about this
I went to bed, and as I laid there…I noticed an old pattern. The same pattern that keeps me from getting regular exercise or making my bed every morning. Once I stop doing something (or stop not doing something), once I fall off the wagon, so to speak, I tend to stay off. It’s an all or nothing thing.
So I broke the pattern. I got up and fired off the following:
I don’t know if you noticed, but I didn’t send a note last week.
And I almost didn’t send one this week.
We like to be consistent. To do the things we say we will. And sometimes we mess up. And then comes the choice: either we stay down. Or we get back up.
Consistency is over-rated. Resilience is not. If you’ve faltered on something, pick it up and start again.
It seemed to resonate with people. Over 10% of my list sent a response to it. (10% sounds much weightier than “5”, yes?) They noticed that I missed a week. They even claimed I’m helpful. (To be fair, I’ve received thank you notes almost every week. I heart my readers.)
But there’s more to it than that
I want to add to that message. Because there’s the other side:
“Having a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sometimes dropping the ball is a hint that we need to reconsider.
And we need space to test and evaluate. To try things out and see if they work.
Because if every time I try something new, I tell myself that I have to “be consistent and finish and carry this on forever and ever” – I’ll never start or try anything.
So…it’s not always as simple as picking something up and continuing.
It’s making a new decision.
We need to ask questions:
Is it working?
Is it still meaningful?
Do I *want* to continue this?
And we need to remember:
It’s OK to change your mind.
It’s OK to decide when you’re finished with something.
It’s OK to tweak and make changes and experiment.
It’s OK to pick up the ball and carry on.
It’s also OK to decide to call it a day.
As far as the blog goes, I will continue to be consistently inconsistent.
How about you? Is there something you need to pick up and start doing again? Or maybe something to stop doing? Any other thoughts? Please share in the comments. (Comments consistently make me happy.)