Take a break!
Have you ever tried to make yourself do something?
Doesn’t it feel simply yucky? (the making yourself instead of wanting to)
Do you ever just stop, take a break and come back when your attitude is fresh and in a different place entirely?
Do you notice a difference in the feel of the outcome - URGH and struggle vs EASE and flow?
Yes it gets done (or not if your computer crashes, but that’s another story entirely)
I’ve been watching this as I move thru my days. There are some things I really don’t want to do and when I push thru them, they seem harder and really distasteful. I catch myself and notice when I’m doing that thing that I do to get thru things. And then I just tell myself to stop and take a break. Just walk away. Really, literally, just walk away.
It seems to be working. Doing this used to be hard for me (and honestly, sometimes still is). I hear the conversation in my head – “I started something and damn it, I’m gunna finish it, no matter what effort it takes” “one more thing, I just need to get this done and over with” “this has been sitting on my desk, just dive in and get it over with already”.
But as I began to watch myself I noticed, the harder I struggled to get thru it, the harder it became. My thinking froze, I wanted to cry and give up, I told myself how hard this is. So why the heck didn’t I just get up and walk away? Because I have a belief that quitters walk away and give up. And I’m not a quitter. So damn it, wrestle it to the ground, work as hard as you can, don’t give up, you can get thru this, don’t give up. Sheesh!! Taking a break isn’t giving up unless you walk out telling yourself it is. Do I walk out wanting to get away from this task, telling myself how hard it is, grumbling and frettering? Uhm, most often yes! Duh.... no wonder it’s hard and unpleasant. Can I just give myself a little break? A break doesn’t mean I’m walking away for good, nor does it mean I’m a quitter. It means the mental environment I’m in is certainly not conducive to productivity and ease. So just walk away for a bit and release my “mind thoughts” about what I was struggling to do.
My step away activity of choice is the garden. Dig a few weeds, smell the flowers, plant a few seeds. Just a bit of a break that gets my body and my mind in a good feeling place. I can even just gaze at all the pretty flowers and it will do the trick! There are lots of little break opportunities all around if you just allow yourself to see them and choose one. And I do remember that this is a little fresh air, adjust my mental focus and attitude kinda break so I can come back with a fresh perspective, not an escape and never come back move.
Then I have choice. Coming from a relaxed perspective, how can I view the task I was doing in a different way so that ease will prevail? Maybe I do it in chunks of time and only go as far as it feels good to do, then take a break. It seems to work.
Ok.... so it does feel like I have a choice at the onset? Of course sometimes you just don’t want to take a breath or two to notice. Take a minute to picture the process with ease instead of setting it up in your mind to be a pain in the ass. Does that yucky in the tooshy feel really set you up for a positive and a “good” experience? Ya might as well stop right there and do a deep dive into your mind, and adjust the attitude button. You really do have a choice and if you just take a moment you will see it. Yes.... this is me, talking to me. You have a choice to look at this as being hard and difficult or easy and pleasant. Notice that feel and make an adjustment.
I personally believe we do so much on autopilot that we forget we have a choice. We’re on autopilot, we don’t notice, we just go in and plow thru it. I think it actually takes longer when we push thru something to get it done and over with.
Here’s a great example:
I’m balancing my checkbooks (does anyone do that anymore?). It’s not not one of my preferred activities and I would rather brush it under the table. When I’ve brushed it aside for over 8 months, I notice how much I REALLY don’t want to do it. I imagine how much effort it will take, how long it will take me to get thru it, and generally how much I just want to avoid it. But... I have now figured out how to approach it by reminding myself I can and will take breaks and not get to the place where I feel that heaviness in my body, that URGH, let’s get this over with.
Seriously, what flows with ease when you start the activity feeling heavy in your mind and your body uttering the word URGH, let’s get this over with? How can you even tell yourself the outcome will be positive when you start like that??? Every time I do that I end up spending twice as much time. I check everything off only to find the balance is off and have to uncheck/undo everything and start again. All the while I’m reminding myself how distasteful this job is, how right I am to avoid it, how right I am about it being so effortful and unfun.
Well, I set myself up for that ya know. I avoided the task, I let it build up, I psyched myself up for it to be hard and cumbersome.... and it was.
Compare that to my recent experience.
I’m sitting at my desk. I’ve got some time. I wonder if there’s new statements to balance. Yes. So I go thru the process in no time at all. I noticed I wanted to do it and it just flowed. All my entries were there, all I had to do was check them off. If I had one of those EASY buttons from Staples I could have tapped it with enthusiasm for sure!
Honestly, I'm noting - I could have been in even GREATER ease but chose to ignore my inner knowing during this process. I got to the end of the balancing process and see I’m off by $2. I quickly scan all my checked items, I don’t see anything missing. There’s that URGH feeling. How the heck will I find this discrepancy? There was a flash of thought that popped in to look at the deposits side yet I ignored it and defaulted to my old habit of simply unchecking everything and doing the entire process over. OK. So after unchecking them all, for some reason, I'm drawn straight to the deposits section. Within 2 seconds I find the discrepancy.... in the area my flash of thought directed me. If I had listened and held off doing what I normally do just for a second I would have saved all that time repeating the balancing process all over again. I just smiled. I knew it. I really did. I got to feel what happens when I don’t listen as well as feel what the flash of thought (those knowings) feels like.