As a yogi, the hardest part of practicing is getting on the mat. As a painter, the first stroke is the most nerve wracking swipe on canvas. And as a student, simply opening up Microsoft Word can make you reconsider whether you really need this capstone essay to graduate.
Starting a task is harder than completing it. There, I said it. Yes, follow through and execution are difficult. But right at this moment, how many tasks do you need to do but really aren’t doing? The same can be said for different facets of our lives. Let’s face it, things get busy: we have companies to run, kids to juggle, gym memberships to use, weddings to plan…the list is unending. But how do we approach these as a call to action?
For some of us, the task only has to hit paper before we swiftly cross it out. Others, need a bit more coaxing. As a creative, I’m guilty of hiding behind the cloak of “inspiration”. On more than one occasion I’ve proclaimed myself unable to complete something for lack of it. Inspiration- the fuel to creativity, the engine of passion, the well that will one day dry up. This isn’t to say that inspiration is finite, but rather it isn’t always constant. For many it ebbs and flows, but attaching productivity to this can create dependency on a moody external source.
Though working off a muse can be quite poetic, this reliance carries risk of being fruitfully unproductive. The short cure is to find inspiration in more than one place: Pinterest boards, role models, music and so on. The lasting cure is to perhaps no longer wait for inspiration to drive the work. The office space you’ve been planning to redesign, the business cards that need rebranding, the meal prep you’ve been meaning to implement- finding a way for these to exist beyond our emotional state is bound to make us more effective.
But all talk and no play makes Jaqueline rather dull, so what are some ways to push beyond the absence of enthusiasm?
1.) Delete unnecessary apps/notifications from your phone. I detest red bubbles and need to clear every notification I receive. In our digital age, this can be a job on it’s own. Something I’ve found extremely helpful is to delete unnecessary apps or turn off their notifications. The less white noise alerts I get, the more I can focus on the important ones.
2.) For those important ones, schedule it. In your journal, on your calendar, on multiple dates, everywhere. Schedule it, and schedule it again. And once more for good measure, schedule it.
3.) After you’ve carved out the time, be sure to show up. Truly speaking, you are your most high profile of clients. Without you, nothing gets done. As a personal trainer you wouldn’t miss a session with an important client. Following this logic, why miss a session with yourself?
Of course, we’re not perfect and we won’t always accomplish every task immediately. If however we find that we’re weaker in a certain part of our lives, it’s worth looking at the why. Chances are there’s a good response in there. Chances are there’s also an excuse in there. Yes, yes, it’s not fun to acknowledge we sometimes perform mental gymnastics, but it allows us to take ownership. With this ownership comes the mental bootcamp to kickstart our goals into action. Because after all, dear thespians, we don’t always need a muse of fire to ascend the brightest heaven of invention!