Slow and Steady wins da Race

"Productivity and motivation do not have to be extremes - push and release. It can be more balanced and working casually and calmly can be as efficient as huge leaps then huge rests. It doesn't have to be vast vacations after pushing yourself to your limits. A number of small breaks (Cat naps) can be just as enjoyable and the work done between just as good as the other method. Obviously that hasn't been working out for me too well and has driven me crazy and then lazy. I need to calm and focus my mind and take things slowly and methodically and not frantically and obsessively. Let it happen, don't try to make it happen."

  • (A couple months ago a wise wise friend of mine told me something that has stuck with me ever since. He said "Don't try to make things happen, let them happen." Whenever you say try - stop, and replace it with "let". After he told me that, I realized how often I said "try" or "Trying" I didn't "Get it" until really recently, but it has made a huge difference in how I think about everything I try to do.)

A few days ago I had a personal "revelation" about my working/writing process and pretty much my MO (Mode of operation) in general. I've always had the propensity to procrastinate - waiting until the last minute to do everything. When I was in school i would wait until the night before a 10 page paper was due and not even start working on it until that evening. Somehow this usually worked out for me and I could still pull off an acceptable grade. Then there were other times, well -ok, twice. That I actually put in a real effort and worked on it everyday. Although I don't think I've ever really given anything "my all" or tried my "Best" a couple projects came close.

During my senior year we had a project in Economics where we had to create a hypothetical "business". I chose to do a car wash, but not just a regular car wash but one that did total interior restoration and exterior restoration. Instead of just washing and cleaning the car - the business would completely restore the car to how it looked when it was new. If there was worn or scratched interior panels- we would order and replace them. If there was dents or scratches on the paint - they would be removed or replaced. Of course the bulk of the business would be normal car washes and detailing, it would also be taken to the next level. Give us your car in any condition - get it back "like new".

I went into so much detail that I found where the business would be located, how much the rent would be, how much the employees would get paid, designed the store with blueprints, and even how the lobby would look. I also went around to over 5 different competing businesses and took pictures of their buildings and gave their pro's and con's and how that compared to my business.

When I turned it in the teacher said it was the best project she ever had since she had been teaching that class. I'm not "Bragging" it was probably the only time I ever gave anything in school, or my life, any kind of real effort.

The point of this post, since it is in the "What i've learned in 29 years" leading up to my birthday - is this: "Don't save for tomorrow - what you can do today." If you have something nagging you that you know you "Should do" and your putting it off for no good reason, and your going to sit there and be nervous and anxious about having to do it - just do it now. Then you can have it done and relax. Its a mundane example, but putting out the trash or doing the dishes - just do them. Get it out of the way and put it out of your mind. You WILL feel better.

Applying this theme to "work" or projects is similar. I've been "working" on my book for almost 7 years now. I can type fast enough, and know exactly what I want to write - but yet, I perpetually put it off. I don't have a "Dead Line" and even if I gave myself one I could, and probably would, make up some excuse to keep procrastinating. Why do I do this, why do most people do this? Cause we can. If we couldn't - then we wouldn't. If I had a gun held to my head and someone said "I will keep this gun pressed upon thy temple until yee finish, if you stop - I will pull the trigger." I would finish the book. BUT if that is possible, then why can't I apply that motivation mentality without the gun? I guess, I can.

My revelation' if you could call it that, was the realization that how I have been working - isn't working. I will wait and wait and wait and then write for hours at a time, typing thousands of words in one day - then wait and wait, sometimes for weeks or months without working at all.

SO what i've learned is that I need to be more consistent and ironically both less and more patient with myself. I don't need to build up the motivation and then let it explode, I need to tame it down to a steady stream. "Slow and steady wins the race"

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