“Why is there a big countdown on the front page?” I hear you ask.
Well, It is yet another deadline. A very important deadline.
Truth is, as much as I may complain about constant deadlines, I am the type of person who needs it otherwise nothing gets done. I thrive on this great motivational force called “Last Minute Panic” and without that sense of urgency I tend to keep my ideas and chores in the realm of “someday soon“.
In all honesty, I put the “pro” in procrastination.
“All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain” Roy Batty, Bladerunner
So many times I have emerged from the shower, like a modern day Archimedes, with an answer or idea fresh in my mind and with towel barely covering everything making my way to my notebook to write down this glorious new concept.
For a brief moment this idea would be the flaring bright in my mind, yet by the time my wife is shouting down the passage about the wet footprints all over the house the excitement and drive would already be fading, slowly being overshadowed by the next idea or plan taking shape.
Brilliant ideas, great concepts and honest new year resolutions all stayed on the drawing board, gathering dust and fading away until they wound up on the growing list of things that I never did but “still plan to do”.
Eventually one night as I was looking through some of my old notebooks and the great ideas in there I had to admit to myself that this is a big part of my problem.
Once I knew what the problem was, I could look at ways to address it.
A sense of Urgency
The first reason for the countdown is to create a sense of urgency.
Initially I assumed I had a willpower problem, specifically the lack thereof and I worked my way through a number of books on the topic to find ways of battling this. While it was part of the problem the answer eventually came to me from a book called
What I loved about this book is the message that we should move the focus from “What is wrong” to “What is strong”. Your brain tend to naturally gravitate towards what it enjoys, or what they call your strengths and most of our behavior can be analysed in that context.
In my case these strengths turns out to be learning, research, planning and conceptualisation, not so much the doing. What I realised was that my procrastination does not come from a place of laziness, I am just more content doing the planning part of a project so I tend to already focus on the next project that I come up with rather than sticking with what I started.
That is why I need the countdown, it is there to remind me daily when I log in to this site that there is a deadline to this project. I need to let go of the other ideas and do this first. It cannot be a “someday” project, it is a “today” project.
A sense of accountability
The second reason is a form of accountability to myself. By putting this out there and making it public I am putting eyeballs on the deadline and project. Some people follow to support you and others watch to see you fail, but in both cases it urges me on and certainly in the case of the latter I wish to prove them wrong.
When the counter reaches zero
The next obvious question is what exactly is it counting down to? What is this big project?
The answer to that is a renovation, a big overhaul of my life.
Currently I see my life like a dilapidated house. It is a great house, sturdy, great design and it was once very desirable and great to live in. Unfortunately years of neglect has taken it’s toll. There is still much potential but it has faded and is buried under years of dust, grime, weeds and the effects of prolonged exposure.
It needs a lot of attention and love but before I can fix it I need to prime it by dismantling the rusted parts, cutting out the rotted timber and sanding through layers of paint down to the raw wood.
Only once that is done will I be able fix it up and restore it to the glory it once was and should have been.
For me it means focusing on the following:
- Physical Health
- Mental and Spiritual Health
- Financial freedom
I believe those three parts of your life need to be in balance to be truly fulfilled and the counter is is my deadline for the preparation stage, a cutoff point for putting everything in place that will allow me to build on again.
It is counting down to midnight,December 31, 2019.
Do I expect to have a happy fulfilled life by then?
Sort of, truthfully, I don’t know. But I know in my heart all of this is a necessary step.
By the time the sun rises for the first time in 2020, I need to be ready for the next phase, restoring the house to what it should have been.