At the end of July I wrote a post about Sprinting vs. Jogging, using those terms to describe the method in which we approach tasks in our daily life. A sprinter works on tasks when inspiration strikes and tries to get them done in one session. A jogger does a little each day.
At the beginning of August I decided to do a little experiment called Embrace the Inner Sprinter, where I paid more attention to my sprinting. I wanted to find out if Sprinting really worked for me and if giving up the jogging (daily tasks) would create less stress.
I didn’t really come to much of a conclusion on those items, but I did find out something more interesting. I found things that would block my attempt to start a sprint.
Sprinting is very much based on inspiration. When I get inspired to do something, whether it be writing, decluttering, or some other activity, I have to take action right away or the moment passes and I fall back to doing nothing.
When things block my start, I don’t get anything done. Here are some of the things that were sprint killers for me.
I don’t typically watch much TV, but in the last couple of months I’ve been lounging on the couch more, and with that has come some mindless TV watching. Some of this has been due to stress, both at work and at home. I need balance in my life, and when things get stressful or require a lot of effort, I need a lot of downtime to recover. And that has been happening a lot lately.
Whatever the cause, TV is a soul sucker. When I’m vegged out watching TV, nothing gets done.
Family Activity Conflicts
I had this plan to declutter my closet. That plan sat for a long time waiting for inspiration and motivation to get started. Every time I thought about getting started, something else would come up. I knew it would require a bit of time to get through it, so I needed a long stretch of free time on a weekend.
Our weekends over the summer were filled with activities and visits by my daughter’s friends and cousins. I didn’t want to tackle a major decluttering job when my daughter had guests, so the project sat until we had a free weekend.
Finally that weekend came up and I felt motivated to get it done. I had to squash some other plans that were starting to take shape that morning and focus my time and energy on the closet declutter.
Having more time for family activities was one of the main reasons we decluttered and downsized, so it’s a bit ironic that those are now getting in the way of decluttering. Still, sometimes you have to make time to maintain order in your home. I worked around most of the activities, but finally had to jump in when I saw an opening.
Increased Clutter Coming In
I had a major demotivator during August when we had some additional items come into our home. This is a challenge many of us face when we start decluttering. Sometimes it feels like it’s coming in faster than we can get the clutter out. This was an inspiration killer for me.
What worked was for me to process the feelings surrounding the cluttering events. I refocused on the love for the people rather than on the dislike for the clutter they brought in. Love is a strong motivator and that helped pull me out of my funk and get back to some good sprints in terms of decluttering and writing.
Skipping My Morning Shower
On days when I don’t have much going on, I often skip my morning shower and instead take it later in the morning or early afternoon. When I started paying attention to my sprinting, I noticed that skipping my shower leaves me feeling a bit icky, and it definitely kills my desire to do anything productive.
This was doubly counterproductive since I do my best sprinting in the morning. I do most of my writing and start most big decluttering projects in the morning. Feeling icky makes me not want to start any of that. And then if I do get started on something it will get interrupted at some point when I decide to take a shower.
Sometimes the Sprint Needs to be Forced
On many days, inspiration never came. There were times during this experiment when I had to force myself to get started. Writing about my minimalist setbacks is one example of a time I forced it. It had been a week or two since I had posted anything new on the blog, and I knew I needed to get something written. I sat down and forced myself to start. Once I started inspiration grew, and I knocked out a series of four posts over a couple of writing sessions.
Sometimes you have to force the start, and inspiration will grow out of that action.
The most important thing you can do as a sprinter is find sources of motivation and know what things block your motivation. By eliminating the things that block motivation and increasing the things that create it, you can be more productive in your sprints of activity.
Share your thoughts in the comments section below. What things that block your inspiration and what things create inspiration in your life?