It’s not the thing, it’s the thing behind the thing.

Both kinds of dread!

Pretty much everything is more interesting to do once you’ve taken a couple of levels in Self Awareness.

F’rexample, I’ve learned in the week or so since I started this post-every-day-but-Sunday-experiment that the biggest reason I resist writing articles like this isn’t the actual writing of the article.

As long as I’m careful about the expectations I set for the writing (translated: as long as I don’t say, “Okay, article, you better be a goddamn masterpiece.”) this bit I’m doing now is usually pretty fine.

I don’t mind writing and editing articles. I hate all the things I have to do once I’m finished.

My torment, let me show you it:

Decide on a title.

Find the right picture.

Do all the SEO stuff.

Schedule a couple of tweets.

Doesn’t sound terrible. But now I pay more attention, I can feel my energy levels plummet while I’m doing it. Doing that ten minutes of work acts like the parachute they attach to drag racers. I was going along fine, and then FOOMSH.

But why does forty minutes of writing leave me feeling fine, when only ten minutes of admin squashes me like a bug?

’Cos they’re different kinds of work.

The writing is creative work. The choosing of the “right” (or at least “adequate”) title/picture/keyword/category/tag is analytical work.

And analytical work is, for me, the worst possible thing to start the day with.

Even ten minutes of it noticeably deflates the rest of my precious, precious morning. A client session will help to get me back to where I need to be – they are a super-injection of energy – but I have quite possibly lost an hour in aimless Facebook dickery before then.

So what to do now I know this?

Two things:
1. Short term, get more organised so I don’t have to do the argh-inducing bits first thing in the morning.
2. Longer term, hire someone else to do it for me. I would write a lot more often if I didn’t have to do the bits I hate.

I’m also wondering how many other things I resist doing where it’s not the actual work that’s the problem. I plan to keep an eye out for this and report.

A challenge for you!

Next time you’re doing a task you dread, pay attention. Is it a never-ending pit of suck, or are there just a few steps that taint the whole experience? And if so, do you have to be the person who does those steps?

Experiment and report in the comments!

7 thoughts on “It’s not the thing, it’s the thing behind the thing.

  1. Great observation! It’s true – we tend to think in terms of projects, actually, not individual tasks. But we confuse the two, and thereby pour a mega-crapload of resistance over the whole experience. Breaking it down to the task-&-habit level makes it much easier to tackle.

  2. I totally have this same problem with the same tasks, heh. It’s amazing how many different kinds of tasks make up the things we think of as single-entity projects. I found out, though, that sometimes just having a list of all the things I have to do (when I write a post, for instance) that I can follow along with is enough to make it bearable.

    You know, I think this happens to me with cooking too, come to think of it. I love to cook, but the cleanup drives me nuts. Or my weekly shopping — I don’t mind the shopping part, but I hate trying to remember what I need to buy. Now that I’m thinking about it, examples just keep coming to mind!

  3. Hmmmmm… I suspect this is something I’m going to need to be paying more attention to over the next while – figuring out *exactly* where my strengths are and where I’d be much, MUCH better served by partnering with someone who does those things better than me. Good food for thought on a Saturday morning – thank you!

  4. I must admit, it is loverly to be able to send a post to my person and know that there will be posting presently, and announcing to the list, etc. 🙂

    Am very much looking forward to being able to do that with more of the enacting stuffs. Not having to do them for either myself or others sounds heavenly. 🙂 :>

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