Tuesday May 24, 2016
Have you ever had a time when something drained your energy and confidence every time you thought about it?
It might not have been something important - maybe it was just a mess on your desk, an email you'd been planning to send, or a side project you'd started but never finished.
But whatever it was, it was - or still is - nagging at you, stealing your energy every time you think about it, and creating an uneasy feeling of "If I haven't even finished THAT, can I trust myself to finish the next thing I start?"
The project wasn't important, but...
I recently had an experience exactly like the one I just described. The project was nothing big - just a humor piece for a YouTube channel that I use to share my creativity, entertain my subscribers, and draw traffic to my author site.
But when it was almost finished, I lost all motivation to work on it. I only had a bit of work left to do, but working on it wasn't fun anymore, and because nothing important was riding on it - or so I thought - procrastinating on it was easy.
There was one big problem with that, though.
While the project itself wasn't important, its effect on me was.
Procrastination and scattered focus came at a cost.
I've found that I tend to be pretty focused in my business, but very scattered in my hobbies.
I like to write, draw, sing, and make music videos, along with a scattering of passive entertainment activities that I use when I don't feel like thinking or making things.
Because I have so many creative projects vying for my attention, it's easy for me to start too many at a time, and then not finish any in a timely manner.
When this happens, it causes me to hesitate to start new projects, even if I really love the idea that just popped into my head. I wonder if I'll be wasting my time, if I'll start it but then cease to enjoy it, and if it will start to feel more like an obligation than a happy pastime.
As I continued to neglect a couple of my projects, particularly the abovementioned humor video, I found that I had less and less faith in my ability to commit to completing the projects I started.
Every time I thought about that project, it drained a bit of my energy, and I began to associate a once-beloved pastime with feelings of discouragement and guilt.
How do you remove these thorns in the side of your mind?
In order to remove this drain on your mental resources, it's necessary to resolve the project or problem that's nagging at you, one way or another.
The exact solution you use to resolve it will depend on your situation and the nature of the thing that's draining your confidence and energy, but in a moment I'll give you four good options to choose from.
If this issue has been nagging at you for a long time, and it's having a noticeable impact on your motivation and energy, I strongly recommend choosing one of these solutions and implementing it today.
Solution #1: Set aside some time to get it over with.
Maybe cleaning the desk isn't fun, or perhaps you hesitate to send that email because you can't fail if you don't try. But if you just set aside twenty minutes to get it over with, you can finally be free of that looming distraction forever.
There may be similar obstacles in the future, but the fact that you overcame this one will boost your confidence in your ability to handle the next thing life throws at you.
Solution #2: Delegate it.
If you don't know how to complete the project that's weighing on your mind, and it's far enough outside your area of expertise that taking the time to learn would detract from your main area of focus, that's a good time to ask for help.
The same goes for simple busywork that anyone could do. If your spouse, one of your kids, or a random person on Fiverr could take this load off your mind while you focus on more important things, it's well worth the small expenditure of time, pride and/or money to reclaim the focus and confidence that this distraction is stealing.
Solution #3: Put it in your calendar.
If you don't have time to do it in the next day or three, then scheduling the nagging task for a point in the less busy future can allow you to get it off your mind, while still reassuring you that it will be taken care of in due time.
This enables you to focus on more immediately important things, without feeling like you've failed or being haunted by a project that hasn't been addressed.
Solution #4: Let it go.
Sometimes, something truly isn't important enough to spend your time, money or energy on.
If that's the case, you may need to make a conscious decision and tell yourself, "I choose to let this project go. Not because I'm incapable of dealing with it or because I can't make the time, but because I choose to focus my energy on more important things."
Be sure not to use a negative circumstance as an excuse for your decision. If you do that, then you've mentally shifted the power away from yourself and onto your circumstances, and that only increases the feeling of helplessness that you're trying to leave behind.
Instead, take full responsibility for your decision, and whenever the thing you're letting go of returns to your mind, remind yourself that you CHOSE to let it go - of your own free will, and for a good reason.
Have you ever used one of these methods to reclaim your peace, confidence and mental energy, or are you planning to?
Which of these 4 solutions have you found to be the most helpful?
Please let me know in the comments.