Getting Out of the Urgency Trap

Getting Out of the Urgency Trap

Chapter 21 – Getting Out of the Urgency Trap

Your email pings. Your message app pings. Your other message app pings. You’ve got forty-seven notifications and thirteen new requests and an overflowing inbox. It all seems urgent. After all, it pinged. That must mean it’s important.

Your brain is hard-wired to respond to immediate stimulus. This is another survival mechanism. Anything that sounds like “Alert! Something is happening!” gives us a little hit of adrenaline, whether it’s a rustle in the bush that indicates a hungry tiger is nearby or a text from the spouse reminding you to get milk on your way home.

Correspondingly, our brain releases a hit of the “feel-good” chemical dopamine each time we feel a sense of achievement, even if that achievement is simply texting back, “Yes. Milk. Love you.” As Simon Sinek explains in his brilliant book Leaders Eat Last, we can get addicted to the cycle of doing and doing and doing, and we fail to notice that nothing is actually getting done.

We get addicted to the cycle of doing and doing and doing, and we fail to notice that nothing is actually getting done.

Bringing just a bit of mindfulness to your daily movements can help a lot. One way to check in with yourself is to play the Because/Because game.

The Because/Because game asks you to pause for one moment before you begin an activity and ask why you are doing what you’re doing and why you’re the person doing it.

So, in the moment before you start catching up with the bookkeeping for your side hustle, you might have this conversation with yourself: “Why am I doing this bookkeeping? Because it’s important to me that I know whether this side business is really profitable. Why am I the one doing this? Because even though I dislike doing these kinds of detail-oriented tasks, I’m the only employee.” Now, this awareness might not lead you to hire an assistant immediately, but once you’ve had this conversation with yourself five times in a week, you might start to see the value of getting some help.

On the other hand, if you find yourself dreading a visit to Sad Susan, your friend who just ended yet another disastrous love affair, you might hear yourself thinking, “Why am I going to see Susan? Because she needs a shoulder to cry on. Why am I the one doing this? Because even though Susan’s love life is a non-stop soap opera, I care deeply about her happiness.” Remembering your true motivation can put a smile back on your face as you stop off along the way for the margarita mix and ice cream.

Little Changes Action Step: Put a few of your least favorite activities through the Because/Because game. Are there any that you could you eliminate from your life today?

To finish reading… just grab a copy here:

Quit Buying Groceries at the Quickie Mart

To really get the benefit of this chapter you need to read it in completion (get your copy here.)

But I didn’t want to leave it out because even if you just go with this snippet it will help:

Chapter 12 – Quit Buying Groceries at the Quickie Mart

When people talk to me about not having enough time in their day, I usually find some combination of these misjudgments:

· not being realistic about how much time some tasks actually take

· not prioritizing activities, or allowing priorities to shift

· failing to think things through, not planning ahead

When you are not realistic with yourself about how much time something actually takes, you feel rushed. And when you fail to prioritize your activities, you end up spending way too much time on the wrong things and don’t have nearly enough time for the right things.

When you fail to plan ahead, you end up scrambling around at the last minute, and often the results are unsatisfactory.

For example, maybe you often don’t remember that you’ve got to make dinner until you’re on your way home, forcing you to grab whatever groceries you can find at the local Quickie Mart. Instead, take the time to put those responsibilities into your schedule right along with your other commitments. Too often your personal tasks end up being crammed into the corners of your day, and you then you are forced to rush, which just adds to your feelings of being overwhelmed.

Remember to account for transit time: getting stuck in traffic time, finding a parking place time and waiting for the elevator time. Failing to account for the time it takes to get from one place to another is a leading cause of pernicious lateness, and is one of the hallmarks of the permanently overwhelmed.

To finish reading… just grab a copy here:

Ways to Take Control of Your Time

Yep it’s that time again!

A team member chose this chapter to share because she actually implemented the first suggestion… and is LOVING IT!

Without further a dieu…

Chapter 6 – 6 Ways to Take Control of Your Time

Time is so slippery, isn’t it? The time spent in line at the bank goes so slowly you can practically feel yourself wrinkling up as you stand there. But the hour you spend on the phone with your best friend whizzes by. And remember the moment when they first put the baby in your arms. Time ceased to exist entirely.

I hear from . . . well, from almost everyone, really, that they have trouble managing their time, so here are a few critical little changes you can make today that will help you stop struggling with the idea that there’s never enough time and start enjoying the time you have.

Get Your Cell Phone out of the Bedroom

The first few moments on waking are an important time of day, especially for the creative, sensitive, and overworked person.

Your reticular activating system is the part of your brain that helps regulate your levels of consciousness and tells you when to wake up. (If you’ve ever wondered how one tiny sound, like the creak of a floorboard, can wake you out of a deep sleep, you can thank your reticular activating system.) Science tells us that your waking-up time is one of your most creative moments in the day, because your brain has spent the night organizing your memories and thoughts, and your body is relaxed, so you are more likely to make unusual connections between ideas, discover new solutions to problems, and have especially entertaining thoughts first thing.

Nothing ruins the cozy mood of a morning like a cell phone.

There is nothing on the internet that cannot wait for twenty minutes while you do some mindful breathing and think grateful thoughts.

To finish reading… just grab a copy here:

You Just Don’t Have The Time? (Start Right Where You Are)

“I’m so busy…I just don’t have the time.”

“Now is not the right time…maybe later.”

“I’m not ready yet.”

You know your projects are important to you…but you just can’t seem to find the time to work on them.

Or maybe you feel like there will be some time in the future….once the kids are in school, or once you lose 10 pounds, or maybe after the holidays….

Or you honestly believe that you are not yet ready to begin. You need another certification, or maybe a training, or you just need to feel more ready.

I hear this all the time.

And in all love, I gotta say: BALONEY.

You DO have the time. You’re just spending it on something else.

And I guarantee there is no time in the future when it will be more “convenient” or a “better” time to begin.

And you are ready.

Believe me, the fact that you have had the idea tells me that you’re ready. If you weren’t ready, you never would have thought of it.

Look, we all get the same 24 hours.

Nobody gets more and nobody gets less.

And I know you have real demands on your time…the job, the kids, the spouse, the parents, the community….but I bet you can find 15 minutes, right?

So do that.

Commit to that right now.
Put your hand on your heart and say this pledge:
“I promise that I will spend 15 minutes every single day, 365 days a year, on my project, starting right now.”

And then set your timer or the alarm on your phone and do it.

Even if you just stare at a blank piece of paper for 15 minutes – that’s great!

Or maybe you want to meditate or pray or breathe or stretch or dance or play with polymer clay or embroider a flower on a scrap of fabric or compose a few bars or write just ONE SENTENCE of your memoir….

Whatever the project is that you know would make a difference in your life, spend 15 minutes on it right now.

And then do that again tomorrow.

And the next day.

And then – and this one might be hard because somehow doing more than 3 in row of anything can be a little challenging – you’ll want to do it again. And maybe give your a little reward (like a nice walk around the block or a phone call with an old friend or a nice swim….) just for being so good and brave.

This little missive in one is a series of 7 that I’m doing to encourage you to Start Right Where You Are.

Start Right Where You Are is a lovely, live, 6-week teleclass that starts next Friday, Oct. 16th. It’s only $197 (payment plan available) and “satisfaction guaranteed or your tuition cheerfully refunded.”

Here’s where you can go to find out more about it:

And here’s where you can watch the straight-from-the-heart preview event:

Which got these responses:

“awesome very helpful answer – so joyfully actionable. I’m on it!” – K.

“totally laughing out loud” – C.

“Yep! I even snorted” – T

“love that reframing – actually brought tears for honoring and being authentic..” – K.

“very emotional…. thank you Sam” – S.

When was the last time a webinar made you laugh AND cry?!!?

Plus there’s a special offer that’s only good for the first 50 people who take advantage of it, so listen SOON, OK?

So just to recap, here are your opportunities:

1) Spend 15 minutes right now on a project that means something to you.

2) Watch the “Procrastination & Desire” video here:

3) Check out Start Right Where You Are at and see if it feels like a good fit for you.

And please write me back and let me know how it goes for you, OK?

Remember: The World Needs Your Art.

Make a “Could -Do” List

Make a “Could -Do” List

Get out a piece of paper and write “Could Do” at the top.

I like “could-do” lists because I find “to-do” lists too dictatorial.

They make me feel pressured and antsy and reluctant and even belligerent — like a pouting high schooler who’s being harassed to do her homework.

But the words “could do” put me in a place of choice.

I could do the laundry, or I could walk around in dirty, smelly clothes.

I have a choice.

Even if the task is something I know I must do, I feel more relaxed if I remember that I have the option to not do it.

Plus, we’re not trying to think of things that you will do for sure; we’re just brainstorming things that you could

Maybe you will, and maybe you won’t — we don’t know yet. We ’ll just have to see how you feel.

Here are some suggestions about where to start your own could-do list.

1. Write down the name of a person who could really help you out on this project. Maybe it’s someone you know, maybe it’s a hero who inspires you, or maybe it’s someone from ancient history who could serve as an imaginary

You might also want to make a note about how this person could be of assistance. Could she give you advice? Introduce you to someone? Cheerlead? Proofread?

2. Write down the name of someone who will not help you out on this project. Maybe it’s someone who will be helpful to you down the road (but not right now), or someone who is always a big ol’ Debbie Downer. Regardless, take a moment to think about the person with whom you will not discuss your project today.

Notice that it doesn’t mean that you don’t love him, admire him, value his opinion, whatever — it just means that as of today, you are going to consider the option of keeping this project out of his sticky, sticky hands.

3. Write down one simple, easy, and affordable step you might take toward working on your project. This should be something that will take you less than fifteen minutes and that you can very easily afford. That’s right — I’m talking baby steps.

What is one tiny, incremental gesture you might make toward your project today?

Is there:

• something you could research?
• some tool you could buy or borrow?
• some doodle or outline you could sketch out?
• some phone call or email you could easily execute?

Yep. That’s all there is to it.

If you write down one small thing you can do every morning (before checking your email) you will make astounding progress and — bonus — you will feel great.

Because as much as procrastination hurts your heart, moving forward — even just a little, tiny bit — makes your heart sing.

Tell a supportive friend or colleague about your project, and ask them for any encouraging ideas, insights, or suggestions.