So I haven’t blogged for many days. In fact, a quick check tells me that I haven’t blogged in… 10 days.
As you may have guessed, that is probably because I have gotten way, way off track.
Fearless Leader Jon’s last 3 e-mails went unread for several days. His fourth-to-last e-mail went all but ignored. The “all but” was a nagging feeling that it really should be attended to, as it was a great idea; in fact, it was an idea I had read (in a slightly different form) on a different blog: my work-from-home guru Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom.
I could offer up loads of excuses. Oh, brother, do I ever have excuses. (Although I prefer to think of them as “reasons,” because I’m not saying that they were worth getting sidetracked over.) What they boil down to is that I got really, really distracted.
What did I get distracted by?
A few things. Prime among them is a new laptop that I finally had the chance to order, thanks to a happy comingling of two large freelance paychecks and a great deal that my husband Eric found for the laptop I have had my eye on for months.
When you get a new computer, it’s a good time to take a critical look at the files you have on your current computer, to see if you should maybe dump some of the old files you know you don’t need to keep, before you back up the rest so you can move it to your new one.
I spent the first two days of this past week doing just that. The house wasn’t looking so bad, so I didn’t feel too bad about neglecting housework to do this. I kept up with the dishes, and I did wash a load of my younger daughter’s laundry, so I didn’t feel too neglectful.
But while I was cleaning out my computer, I found two novels I had written about 4 years ago. Amused, I read them.
And I discovered that they were good. Much better than I remembered, in fact.
And then, I remembered that I had learned a couple of years ago that you could self-publish your own books in eBook format, put them in the Amazon Kindle market, and actually make money off them.
And I thought, I could do that. No, actually, I should do that.
This would have been the perfect time to do something Jon had just talked about in a recent e-mail (one I haven’t blogged about *cough*): the Not Now Note, or NNN. I didn’t really have the time just then to start working on either of these novels. I needed to carve out some future time to work on them, but NOT NOW.
Unfortunately, instead of writing a Not Now Note about the novels, I decided that now was the perfect time to start working on them.
So I was distracted by these novels — which, mind, were something that needed work. But I really equally needed to not work on them just then. So that was one distraction.
Another distraction has been the Olympics. They have actually been far more distracting than the Australian Open was last month.
A third and possibly nail-in-the-coffin distraction was that new laptop. I was so excited and eager to start working on it, but then I discovered — after it arrived Wednesday afternoon — that its touchscreen didn’t work properly.
Rather than doing the writing I get paid to do, rather than any kind of housework, I spent almost all of Wednesday (aside from the time when I was at church) trying to get my brand-new computer’s touchscreen to work the way it was supposed to.
I lost basically an entire day due to a touchscreen, in other words.
Thursday wasn’t much better. I called the laptop manufacturer, spent about 30 minutes to an hour on the phone with a technical associate while she tried to remotely test my computer and see if there was any hope for it, and was then told it needed to be sent for repairs. I spent the rest of my morning preparing to send the laptop back, then spent the afternoon taking it to FedEx and running other errands.
There went most of my Thursday.
Friday morning was spent shopping with Eric (he had the day off); Friday afternoon, I finished two pieces of writing (out of the four-plus I needed to do) before heading to my younger daughter’s school for her class Valentine’s Day party.
(Which I was late to.)
This brings us to Saturday. Oh, people. I was so woefully behind. The laundry had piled up everywhere. The house was a disaster. The kitchen was a disaster. We were out of bread. I hadn’t done the grocery shopping I was supposed to have done by now. I was behind on writing.
And don’t even ask about our budget or account ledger. I haven’t updated either in days.
Basically, I was a wreck. I literally felt like my hustle lay in tatters. My morning routine had been dreadfully, woefully neglected, as had our budget. The proof lay in the many tasks that I should have been doing, that my morning routine had spurred me into doing, that had gone undone.
And I couldn’t even really start picking up the pieces Saturday morning, because Kiersten had a tennis match. I had never seen her play tennis in competition with her own peers before. This was my first chance, and I wasn’t about to miss it.
Wow, when I read back on everything I’ve written, I almost feel like I should be ashamed of myself.
Don’t get me wrong, here. I’m not proud of myself. I have definitely not been doing anything that looked remotely like hustle this past week.
But here’s the crazy thing about doing these 30 Days of Hustle challenges. The biggest thing I have learned is that when the going gets rough — and it will — the last thing you need is to beat yourself up.
That’s been huge for me, because I am harder on myself than nearly anyone else in the world could possibly be on me. I am almost predisposed to consider myself a horrible failure who will never achieve anything in life when even the slightest thing goes wrong. (One could call me a drama queen. One could be right.)
So when I looked over the flaming wreckage that it appeared my life had been over the past week, the temptation was to say “oh my GOSH, what on earth made you think you could get your life under control? Look at this mess.”
But my Hustle Challenge training led me to, instead, calmly look it over and say, “Okay, this needs to change. What do I need to do to get back on track?”
On the way back from Kiersten’s tennis, I made a list of everything that needed to be done to get caught up on this week.
Ignore the date — that’s when I first created this To-Do list. I’ve been using the exact same note, updated constantly, since then.
Now, as you can see, a lot of things didn’t get done. But that’s okay. I had/have a lot to get caught up on. But it’s there. It’s on the list. What didn’t get done yesterday, I’ll give myself about 3 hours to attempt to finish today (so as not to completely wreck my Sabbath). And what doesn’t get done during that time, I will chip away at on Monday.
I will add that I didn’t actually do everything on this list, either. Kiersten and Elena actually picked up the living room (and they did a great job!) Eric did his own laundry and got Kiersten’s started. He also vacuumed the living room.
Which means that the only thing I actually did on this list is clean the kitchen and put away Kiersten’s laundry. Which doesn’t sound like much. (Well, it wasn’t much!) Did I mention that the kitchen was a disaster? It took me a long time to clean it. That’s what happens when you neglect the kitchen as badly as I had!
Anyway, the point of all these words is to say that distractions can make your hustle fall completely to pieces. But it doesn’t have to stay in pieces. You can pick them back up and start to rebuild. And you don’t have to beat yourself up to do so, either.
(I’m going to devote another blog post to catching up on Fearless Leader Jon’s e-mails, because this post is already too long!)