I'm still not feeling 100% Kris with a K today. I almost wasn't going to post at all, that old adage "if you haven't got anything useful to say, don't say anything at all" ringing in my broken ears; but while re-reading Week 3's activities, I spotted a task I figured I was up to. In what is perhaps a bout of schadenfreude, I'm going to tackle three of my bad habits.
I don't like having to air these habits. Mostly because I know they're bad habits that as a life coach and trainer I've helped other people to overcome. Why have I been incapable of heeding my own good advice? This is a private source of shame, something Week 3 will tackle full on. Confessing my bad habits here as part of this task will hopefully exorcise them and encourage me to take positive steps to develop better habits.
I spend far too much viewing the world vicariously through the posts, pictures and status updates of friends, family, peers, contacts, connections — even people I don't know. At night I can easily while away 2-3 hours reading, replying, refreshing, retweeting; updating myself on actions and activities that have no actual relevance to me. I no longer look out windows and watch the world while travelling, instead my head stays bowed to my iPhone as updates flash past before me. Why do I do this? I complain about not having enough quality time to write, to catch up on the shelves of novels and plays I'd like to read, or to get started on the projects and ideas I'd love to be working on. Social networking isn't something I'm going to give up on completely; it does, after all, have its uses in staying in touch with people, keeping up-to-date on events and opportunities. I do need to cut back on the amount of time I devote to the internet and spend more time present in the real world either being creative or quite simply having space to do the things I enjoy.
Putting Things Off
I make to-do lists. I commit to lots of things. I have great intentions of getting all these things done. I've read at least a dozen books on productivity and have actively coached people to help them achieve more of their own goals. Yet I am the King of Procrastination, and I put things off for as long as I can. Part of me enjoys the rush of doing things with a bit of last minute pressure, that rush of adrenaline as you race towards the finish line. Overall I know it's not the best way to work, I know I am capable of achieving more than I already do by making better use of my time, and that I could eliminate a lot of stress and tension by getting things done in a more constructive manner. Not getting things done is one of my sources of shame: I start to feel useless when things go unfinished for too long, like I'm not achieving anything at all.
Putting Other People First
This is a tough one. I'm the type of person who will always put other people first. I'll stop what I'm doing and help someone out if I know that I can, regardless of how tight a schedule I might be on. I've missed out on opportunities to do some of the things I've always wanted to do — work, dreams, ambitions — because I've been asked to do someone a favour, or felt obliged to do something else because it was charitable or I thought it was the right thing to do. I've said already in the blog that I'm the type of person who tries to live a life of no regrets, but the deeper I analyse my past actions I realise I've probably given up on more chances than those I've pursued. These detours are the sources of some of my blocks and blurts. I need to be more sensitive to my needs and desires, I need to start putting myself first and focus more fully on doing those things that help me achieve my own goals and ambitions rather than always contributing to those of others.
Julia Cameron forewarns that Week 3 of The Artist's Way can be an angry week. I figure by starting where I have and taking an inward look at myself and my habits, I might remember to go easy on the world as the week progresses.