World Poetry Day

A quote that became one of my favourites, when faced with adversity . Please do research Zora Neale Hurston, she was a uniquely talented poet.

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What Is Important?

‘What is important is seldom urgent. Urgent equals ephemeral, and ephemeral equals unimportant.’

This is a short excerpt taken from John Le CarrĂ©’s excellent novel ‘A Murder of Quality‘ (if you haven’t read it, I recommend you give it a go). I read this book a short while ago, and the passage instantly caught my attention. Why? Well after reading it over a few times, and after a little consideration, I decided it was simply because for me it rang true.

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Objects, occurrences, or people who frequent your existence for just an instance barely merit a second thought in most cases. Sometimes however, we get caught up in trivialities, and give them a status they hardly deserve. What is important for us, is that we ‘step outside the box’ every so often to truly evaluate what is preeminent in our lives. And attempt to look at things as objectively as we possibly can. We can ease some of the unnecessary pressure we place on ourselves by asking whether what we are doing really is urgent, or vital. In many cases tasks we have prioritised as vital can take the back burner, or have no need to be pursued at 100 miles an hour!! Some rearranging of our everyday tasks, or abandonment of a few of the inconsequential assignments we have burdened ourselves with can lead to a reduction in our stress levels. And in doing so, will lead to an uplift in our general mood. So ask yourself, ‘What is important?’

Procrastination

In the not so distant past, this blog post would have taken me almost a month to complete. Why? Well, I wasn’t really sure why!!! Maybe I was busy with other more important things. Or perhaps it was snowing, and too cold, so I couldn’t really get started. No, that’s not it. It was because my imaginary dog ate the draft!! Or was it because I was upset, due to the fact that Arsenal were playing badly? (don’t they always??). Excuses, excuses, and then yet more excuses. Anything to get me out of actually sitting down, and completing my task. It is something that afflicted me for many years. Initially I put it down to a combination of laziness, and a lack of ambition. Certainly there could be an element of truth in that thought, but there was one other aspect I was overlooking. It was that I was afraid of the scale of my task. Each time, the assignment I faced seemed as though it was as tall as Mount Everest, or as deep as the Pacific ocean. And because they seemed so monumental to me, I would always find some excuse to delay doing them, or in some instances, not bother with them at all.

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I had to attempt something. Find some solution to this crippling lack of action. There were times when my mind was screaming ‘DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING!!’ As with much that is resolved in life, the way forward for me was relatively simple. I was looking at the top of the mountain, or the bottom of the ocean, and it scared me because I didn’t know how I would get to my destination.

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I had to plan. I had to do tasks that were so minor, or seemingly insignificant, that to any other person, they might seem ridiculously pointless. But for me, just writing out a title, or setting myself a target of 10 words for the day was huge. They were my climbing gear, or my deep sea diving equipment. They were my tools that gave me the kick start I needed to complete my undertaking. Without them, I would have no means of building the momentum that I so desperately sought. When I located my tools, and felt confident using them, I built momentum by slowly increasing my workload. I’m at a stage now where I instinctively know how to approach a task, and procrastination is no longer an issue for me.

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To get a grip on this, I had to source some learning aids online (see the example above). There are worksheets you can find which help you to plan your tasks out methodically. Plan tasks out daily, weekly, monthly. For me, just looking at the sheets, I found that what I needed to do was so blindingly obvious. However, when you have that brain fog, where your thoughts are far from clear, it is a massive help just to have the answer presented to you. This was my way of making progress. I had to find out where I was deficient, and seek the solution that fitted my way of learning. How do you tackle procrastination? Let me know.