Confessions of an equivocator with delusions of ruthlessness
There’s a lot of things I didn’t finish during my Christmas vacation. I have three very different half-written blog posts that I wanted to squeeze in before the end of the year. I spun my wheels for many reasons, one being that I wasn’t sure that the particular mood or perspective on the issue under discussion was something I wanted to put out there. This is similar to one of the reasons that I didn’t do any updates about my goals for the last few months. After completing the move, I re-evaluated the goals, because two of the big goal categories had been centered on the move and things that we had to take care of before moving. And certain parts of the new goals weren’t topics that I felt were appropriate to share in a public blog post.
The other problem I had was that I was trying to get my Patreon creator’s page sorted out. I’d set it up with an introduction and some levels and things, but the rewards or whatever you want to call them were contradictory, and not necessarily things that I could really commit to on a monthly basis. So I was trying to get that plan sorted out. And it occurred to me that a monthly blog post about my goals and how I was doing on them was more appropriate there, and is a fairly common sort of benefit to get at a low level of patronage. So it would defeat the purpose of the Patreon if I were sharing those posts for free at this blog, right?
Then there was just the craziness and stress of work, the holidays, the continuing existential crisis posed by our current political system, trying to figure out how to take care of ourselves for the holidays without have to navigate the minefield of my trump-supporting and often homophobic relatives, and NaNoWriMo and my actual writing (which is what a lot of the goals, particularly the ones that ought to be shared on Patreon are in aid of), and so on…
Not to mention the panic kicked off when Patreon announced the big change in fees that caused thousands of patrons to rescind their pledges and the creators to start scrambling for alternatives before the policy was rescinded!
The upshot is that I’m still trying to find a new rhythm to get my workweek, writing, and social life in synch….I really like routines. They help me organize. At least that’s what I tell myself. So for instance, I have a tradition of taking down the Christmas decorations on New Year’s Day. If I have a day that I think of as the proper day to do it, I’m much less likely to procrastinate for weeks and weeks after the holiday. So, on New Year’s Day, I took down the outdoor lights and the lights in the windows then undecorated the tree and put everything away. I was finished!
Or at least I thought I was!
When I sat down at my laptop to work on other things I looked up and realized that I had missed the plushies. We have a small number of teddy bears and Santa mousies and such that I pull out at Christmas time and put out amongst the bookcases and so forth in the living room. There are also some little silly Santa hats that I can put on the plushies which adorn the house all year. Guess what I didn’t put away? So I had to take them down and go pull out the boxes again and find room for the plushies and mini Santa hats then put the boxes back where they belong.
Then two days later I noticed that the needlepoint Christmas tree thing that my grandma made years ago was still up in the hallway so it had to be put away. But I’m still not finished, because there is at least one ornament missing. Among the decorations we kept was a set of 16 gold, red, green ball ornaments with contrasting glitter-strips. The complete set was there when we decorated—I know because when I did the major downsizing of decorations, one of my rules was that unless it had a historical/family significance, only complete sets were kept—but when I finished taking the tree apart, there was one empty spot in the 16-ball-set box.
Once we’d both looked under furniture and behind bookcases and such, we concluded that it had probably been pushed to some improbable location by the Roomba, and we’ll find it months from now. So I was careful to put the ball set’s box at the top of a storage box that I placed in an easy-to-get to spot in the closet. Except I wasn’t thinking about that missing ball an hour or so later when I put the plushies away. I had to pull a bunch of the boxes out to find room for the plushies & hats. So I strongly suspect that the box where the missing ornament ought to go is now buried back behind all the other boxes.
If I can’t even put away the ornaments without a bunch of follow-up tasks and dangling unknowns, is it any wonder I’m still working on organizing my writing and other goals? And it’s not just a New Year’s Thing. The holidays always throw routines and schedules into at least a bit of chaos, and after they’re over, as I return to regular work schedule and so forth, I have to do a bit of a reset.
So the beginning of a new year is just a natural time to think about these things and make some decisions. So far I know that I need to write up (even if only for myself) my final report on the previous set of goals. Then I need to reaffirm them and set some new ones, make a plan, and figure out where I’m going to post them. Because when I post them and post periodic reports on my progress (along with changing tasks as I either succeed or fail to meet portions of the goals) I’m more likely to work on them.
And I continue with the principle—stolen from a friend’s blog year’s ago—of treating this the same way you train a pet: you can’t get rid of bad or unwanted habits without understanding what motivates them, then replacing them with a better habit.