Thursday, January 7, 2010

Second Lesson of the Year: Stop Procrastinating

If you want to stay in the creative yellowfish zone or at the very least just stay in a calm and rational state of mind...don't shop at Walmart. It's a sensory battle zone, the most unhealthy location for creativity and has a vacuum over it just waiting to suck out every ounce of your spirit. And it builds. There's no place to park. Okay, I love to walk no problem I'll park in the outer bands. There's not enough cart room in the aisles. Okay, I'll be the one that smiles and gets out of the way. There's never an employee when you need one. Okay, where did that computer kiosk go that helps you locate stuff? And then it gets even the very best of us. Your entire being screams to get out and meets the deer in the headlights at the check out line. You pan across the row of twenty-five check out aisles and see that fifteen are open and every one of them has eight people waiting with overflowing carts. You know you should just leave your cart and run but life says you gotta get this stuff shipped out today so suck it up, take responsibility for your actions and get in line. 

[Hold on. The sun is rising as I am writing this and I need to take a few minutes to soak it in. Deep breath in....and out. Ahhh.]

Ok. So what did I learn and how can I help myself and others avoid having days like this? Don't ever shop at Walmart again you say? Well maybe. But the true lesson here is to stop procrastinating. I could have done this weeks ago. And online with free shipping!

But this waiting until the last minute isn't a new thing for me. Just ask my parents. Birthday presents and anniversary gifts have usually arrived wrapped in red, white and blue = dropped inside a FedEx package. And at work I was the one that stayed late and worked all weekend to finish the presentation/project. And now that I'm able to connect the dots I wonder, why is it so much easier for us to go the extra mile for someone else's needs versus our own? 

Well, here's what it will take to turn this around: 1) get better organized, 2) set small daily passion-feeding goals and 3) help stop the insanity. You in? 

P.S. Take a look at this book, Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod. You can see it, as well as his very cool cartoons here   I love his tips and advice on how to be more creative - in art, business or whatever. Enjoy!

P.S.S. A note from Hugh about the cartoon at the top of this article: A Crazy Deranged Fool [CDF for short] is, like me, somebody who has the temerity to aspire to work in a way that produces both joy, meaning and contribution for both them and others, while also paying the bills. It’s about creativity, it’s about finding meaning, but it’s also about living in the real world. That’s the reality I want to live in.

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