Thursday, 31 January 2013

Timed tasks.

It's just after eleven in the morning as I sit down to write this. I'm in my local library with my laptop in front of me and iPod earphones playing Dylan tracks on shuffle, just loud enough to (mostly) drown out the conversational racket all around me. By the way, when did libraries stop being places in which people had to whisper? Call me old-fashioned, but I really did prefer it that way.

Anyway, I've allowed myself an hour to write - it's generally how long a Moodscope message takes me - in fact simply to get this far, ten minutes have already ticked by.

And my point? Well when I opened my eyes this morning I knew it was going to be one of those 'so so' days: not dramatically awful, but not especially sparkling either. I knew. My Moodscope score confirmed it.

When I feel a bit yucky, I know how easy it can be to give in to the glums if I don't set goals for myself. If I'd sat in my office at home, I'm sure the morning would have drifted past unproductively, so coming out to the library gave me a sense of mission. It also seemed to help that I'd allocated an hour to this particular task, twenty five minutes of which (gulp) have now passed.

I'm even successfully resisting the urge to check my email until I've finished, which is helping focus me on the task in hand.

Maybe it's an approach that can work for you, too, next time you're facing a less than dandy day? The key steps seem to be:

1. Choose a mission for yourself, ideally one that can be completed in a limited period of time.

2. Change your location if you can, even if it means moving to a different room in your home. Who says you can only prepare vegetables in the kitchen? Why shouldn't you change the duvet cover in the living room?

3. Carrots and sticks can be helpful. Modestly reward yourself for achieving your goal, but definitely decide what your 'prize' will be before you start.

It's not really rocket science is it? In fact I'm sure it's something you've already tried in the past. Sometimes, though, perhaps we all need a little reminder of such survival tactics? I know I do.

So there we go, time's up, and the achievement does feel surprisingly good. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to check my email.