I recently experienced a major disappointment; some news that did not come as I hoped it would. Although I know I will find the blessing, the lesson, and even the opportunity of that moment, the disappointment is natural, and still fresh.
I know from this disappointment I will have some larger message and some deeper thought will come together in my mind. I also know now is not the time that this thought will come to completion. It is just forming and if I rush the thought, the truth, the lesson, or the opportunity will be lost.
I am balancing this acknowledgment against a commitment I have made to myself and others to write and share my thoughts. What do you do when you can not quite bring to completion the larger message?
It's funny how the answer may be found in an everyday dilemma. We all face the challenge of balancing large and small commitments, and even just keeping ahead of the everyday stuff that comes into our lives.
What do you do when the next step to a larger project is buried in the clutter of today?
When you lose momentum how do you regain it?
Have you found that when working on a larger project or looking to tap into your creative side, you sometimes are distracted or even blocked?
Well, maybe the answer is to allow ourselves the time to clear the clutter.
When working in corporate America, I called it "beating back my desk". Allowing myself to focus on a few minor tasks that had accumulated gave me the opportunity to feel a few easy "wins" in my day. Sometimes, it was just organizing a few piles so I knew where things were. With a few completions and with renewed energy, I was always ready to come back to the larger project. Many times, the idea I was struggling with seemed to come more easily, with more attention, more interest, and more presence to focus on its completion.
As I was kicking around this idea I was reminded of a great message and tool presented in the book "Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" by David Allen.
Allen speaks to "open loops"; agreements we make with ourselves -- opportunities/items that can pull at our attention. Some are small, and some are big (projects). Allen speaks to acting with more consciousness to each "open loop". In his book, Allen provides a system to coordinate and integrate small and large "open loops" for clarity and momentum. With Allen, I found agreement that sometimes we need to close some small circles (small open loops), have a quick win, or clear some space to bring consciousness back to larger projects; the larger agreements we have with ourselves.
Allen offers some great tools to bring day to day "to-do's" into alignment with how we want to "be" in our day. Allen shares that for relaxed control and inspired productivity we should manage at all levels; identify all the "open loops" big and small; acknowledge all the "in completions" as best we can right now, and then make conscious choices.
One of my favorite lessons from "Getting Things Done" was Allen's criteria for choosing action. Allen offers "The Four Criteria Model for Choosing Actions in the Moment" and suggests we consider; Context, Time available, Energy available and Priority when choosing action.
Energy available!? - This dimension I had not previously considered but certainly had been affected by before. Whether it is our physical or our emotional energy too often we force a "to do" even when our energy is not matched to the level of the task. The result is a missed opportunity for peak performance.
Let's be honest with ourselves. Rather than beat ourselves up, let's acknowledge when our energy is low. Let's respond to our reality, and then use it to consciously take care of a few small wins in the time we would have spent beating ourselves up for not "doing the Big Things". No victimization, No anger, just Action.
"When you start to make things happen, you really begin to believe that you can make things happen. And that makes things happen." David Allen - "Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity"
For all you procrastinators out there this is not a free pass. We still have those larger projects to complete, those lessons to learn, and those messages to find. But if today the energy is just not there, clear some clutter, focus on what is on top, organize ,and regroup. Put a few small wins on your score card. Make room for what is to come. Life does not stop when you don't have the big win, so complete what you can and celebrate even some small wins every day.
Complete a few small circles and know that the larger opportunities are still right there ready to be brought to complition.
If having an accountability partner would increase your energy and focus your attention for those larger agreements with yourself consider working with a coach.
Coaching is a confidential partnership of the client's intention, choices and actions, supported by the Coach's active presence. Coaching encourages client self discovery, client generated solutions and holds the client accountable to their desired targets. The partnership connects purpose and passion to process to produce extraordinary results.
Contact me for a free one hour client discovery and coaching call.