Give Yourself Some (Tough?) Love
Do you routinely follow through on commitments to others but put your needs on the back burner? Do you tend to back out of the commitments you’ve made to yourself? Schedule over the time you’d planned to do that thing you love? Or, maybe time to do nothing.
Welcome to the human race. Unfortunately, that habit isn’t unique. We find it hard to be <gasp> unproductive. Or to give ourselves permission to play.
What IS unique? Actually telling others NO, following through on the commitment we’ve made to ourselves, or creating space to step back from the daily grind. Sadly, that practice seems to be rare, and in the face of all the things we legitimately want to do, and who we want to be, it’s easy to schedule over something vague like “quiet time for myself.”
On the occasions when we DO find ourselves quiet and with nothing immediately pressing to do, it can be oddly disturbing. What do we do when no one is clamoring for us and we have no deadlines to meet? That stillness can bring up all the things we’ve successfully pushed out of our conscious awareness. And who wants to deal with that? Being busy and overscheduled may be our (unconscious) way to keep what’s unpleasant hidden away.
There is always more work, more laundry, more cleaning to do… the one thing we can’t get more of is time. While it may feel indulgent or selfish to allow ourselves to create, play or do nothing but daydream, research shows it’s essential for being efficient, productive and creative.
What I’ve found is that when I allow myself to be creative, to play and to “indulge” in fooling around, I have way more energy for responsible adulting. I’m a better coach, a better friend and a better family member when I actually take care of myself.
But giving myself permission to do that? It still takes practice. It’s still easier when I commit to others or invent deadlines for creative projects.
For those of us who tend to procrastinate on our creative projects, let commitments to ourselves slide, etc., I thought it would be helpful to have an accountability group--not to be “productive” but rather to do something fun, creative, or quiet. Or set time aside for whatever I tend to let slide.
So, I dreamed up something I’m calling The Accountable Hour. It’s a one hour accountability meeting on Monday nights from 7:30pm - 8:30pm where we DO the thing we often avoid/have been meaning to do/sounds fun but we never get around to it. We don’t talk about accountability (because...yawn), we just go do the thing, whatever it is. You decide what you need. All you have to do is put it in your calendar and then actually show up. It’s One. Hour. Per Week.