Big Goals and Nesting Dolls
The past month hasn’t felt very productive.
How can I write about creativity or goals if I’m not doing things?
In an attempt to inspect that feeling, I made a list:
When did the non-productivity begin?
-Launched Indiegogo campaign for my book (early May)
-Got stuck in LA dealing with life-logistics for a few days
-Met a man (as promised, it wasn’t through dating; rather, it crept up on me like the best kind of unpreventable, lasting cold)
-Literally got stuck in LA and took an all-night, brain-draining train to Santa Fe after missed flights. (mid-May)
-Went to a week-long writing workshop with Natalie Goldberg and Bill Addison in Santa Fe. I loved Bill! (late-May)
-Helped the Workshop create a promotional video
-Went across the world to visit “the man” (early June)
-Flew back to LA (now)
Two things jump out at me here:
1. Travel seems to lose me around six productivity days per round trip. I’m mentally scattered the day before and after, and generally distracted with movement on the actual day.
I’ve made two trips, so that’s 12 days. With more discipline, it probably could have been closer to four. People with “real” jobs do this all the time out of necessity. Ugh!
2. Since I’m a vagabond without fixed scheduling, I often rationalize reasons not to work on big goals
(brain too groggy->wouldn’t be effective->more optimal to work on minor/easier goals instead).
Rationalizing enables me to put off more difficult things that actually matter to me long-term in order to accomplish the simpler things that only matter short-term. What’s left in the end?
I assure you it’s not long-term satisfaction.
Yes, I would prefer a life where I had all the necessary resources to work only on my big goals. The rest of my mental energy would go to reading, cooking, relationship maintenance, and fitness.
A current meaningful goal is to get my book published, but since I don’t have all the resources I need, I do things like launch funding campaigns. Campaigns take effort and check-ins along the way, little minor maintenance “goals” on the to-do list that don’t feel important.
We can’t get to the top of a tree by jumping.
We have to climb. To deal with scratchy branches, unstable footing, secret spiderwebs.
I have to stop bemoaning the routes I choose to take. It’s like resenting an orange for having a peel.
Big goals have little “must-do” goals nestled within. It’s a nesting doll; there’s a system at play.
My resistance toward the little guys also causes me not to register when they’ve been accomplished. Some days I do no direct work on my favorite projects; then, I’m angry at myself and angry at the tasks and errands I did get done.
I’d like to try to be more accepting of my minor must-do goals. To count them wholeheartedly as valid steps toward ideal goals. I’m not going to draw causal relationships, I’m just going to accept the day’s to-do list and aim to give myself kudos over resentment.
All that being said, I still plan on reinstating a fixed study/work schedule.
…But attempting to welcome [valid] distractions along the way.
If you relate, leave a comment—it means the world!