My quit list!

Ok, before I get into today’s post, I am totally going to blow your minds. Hold on to your horses, tighten your belt buckles, and strap yourself in….I….am….in…two…places…at…ONCE!!

Can you believe it?!?!? I know…me either! Only in the blogosphere can a person be in two places at once.

So, you can hang out here, read my uberliciously wonderful post on my quit list, fire me off a comment (cause I know you are just dying to share your thoughts) and then head RIGHT ON over to my best blog buddy’s digs, Barbara McDowell to read a guest post (her first guest post I might add…eeekeee) by yours truly! That’s right. I am over there today talking about my experience venturing into writing fiction and how I use music to inspire greatness! FUN!!!

Let’s get to it.

Isn’t it remarkable how when you start to shift into a new realm, the universe sends you things to affirm your decision? Sometimes in the form of an expected conversation where you have an “aha” moments. Sometimes a commercial on TV that drives a point home. Or maybe in the form of fahbulous blog posts.

Most of you know that I’ve been making writing a bigger priority in my life for a while now. In July 2010, I started this blog as a way of bringing writing back into my life. For about a year, I posted on average once or twice a week (around 1000 words a week). Given that I hadn’t really written much in 10 years, this was a huge boost in creative writing productivity for me.

In October 2011, I stepped it up again. I took Kristen Lamb’s blogging to build a brand course and started posting 5 days a week (about 3000 words a week), another huge jump! I also joined ROW80 and embarked on plotting my first novel.

Each of these steps was instrumental in my saying to the universe that writing is a priority for me. And each has been wonderful and fantastic. I’ve been blown away by all I’ve accomplished and the writing movement that’s taken place within me. But as 2012 approached, I recognized that if I want to make fiction writing (writing outside of blogging) a priority, I was going to have to find a way to increase my productivity yet again.

That’s when the universe, in all its wisdom, sent me two blog posts that were exactly what I needed to hear. They were like a huge affirmation that I am on the right path and they provided me with the tools to move forward.

First, I came across Jane Friedman’s post on the Secret to Finding the Time to Write, Market, Promote, and Still Have a Life. In it, she outlined 5 key strategies to boosting productivity. She also pointed to another article by Clay Collins on Quitting Things and Flakiness: The #1 Productivity Anti-Hack.

The posts gave me great ideas I could implement to ramp up my writing productivity like hiring a cleaning person (hubby said he’s game) and stop watching so much TV. But for me, the biggest one was to let go of guilt and…more specifically unwanted commitments. This is the biggest struggle for me and it was like the universe was clearly sending me a message that it was time to start putting my passion first in my life.

Clay wrote in his post “Unwanted commitments seem to beget more unwanted commitments. They’re like lies: they multiply fast.

Hilarious and so utterly true. I feel like when I agree to one commitment that I’d rather not do, another one follows shortly after and because I did unwanted commitment 1, I somehow feel obligated to do unwanted commitment 2. To be “fair”!?!?! I don’t know.

Clay’s suggestion is de-simplification. Of course there are those tasks that I might rather not do but they are a real obligation. Then there are those task that the obligation is simply a matter of perspective. Clay points out that my biggest issue is probably that I haven’t been differentiating between very real non-negotiables and fictional non-negotiables. All too often I get wrapped up in the “should” of the moment.

  • I should go to that get-together.
  • I should sign-up for that committee.
  • I should attend that birthday party.
  • I should go to that event.
  • I should help this friend with that thing.

I need to start analyzing every request to ensure they are true non-negotiables or things I really want to do (over writing) before I say yes in order to start removing the unwanted things from my life. That means saying “no” more often. And it means likely disappointing a few people…and being ok with it!

So, for 2012 I’ve come up with a little “quit” list for myself:

  • Quit saying yes to an invite if your first instinct is to groan when it comes in.
  • Quit worrying how disappointed a person will be if you say no to their request. It doesn’t matter!
  • Quit blindly saying “yes” to all family event invitations. Evaluate which are most important to you and say yes to those…and no to the others.
  • Quit worrying about being a bad friend, bad daughter, bad aunt, bad employee, and overall bad person if you say no more often.
  • Quit worrying about losing friends/family. If they walk out on you because you are trying to live your best life, they weren’t really a friend to begin with.
  • If you feel like you “should” do something (but deep down don’t want to), say no out of principle alone.
  • Say “no” to requests more often. You can always change your mind after the fact if you realize it’s something you’d really like to do.

So far, so good. Last week I received a request to join a fundraising committee for an absolutely fantastic community event. I would have had a blast on the committee, it’s for a great cause, and it would have resulted in amazing networking for my career. It would have also meant a fair amount of evening and weekend time. I thought about it for a few days and responded declining the opportunity. I was very proud of myself. It was hard, but I did what I knew was right for me.

In the end, I know it’s not really about productivity. It’s about making sure that I am spending more time doing the things I love and living a more authentic and passionate life.

What’s your quit list for 2012? How do you make your passion a priority? How do you manage the “shoulds” in your life?

If you enjoyed this post, check out more blog deliciousness here:

  • Wonderful post by Elena Aitken on how we must respect ALL Mom’s; whether they are working moms or stay-at-home moms.
  • I read a poignant and touching post by Amber West that reminded me to stay focused and centered on the most important things in life.
  • August McLaughlin is kicking the new year off right by bringing us lifesaving resolutions and her fist installment on mindful driving hit the nail on the head with fantastic tips to stay alert when behind the wheel. Her second installment on dodging diets rocked and her third on laying off the toxic waste (like smoking) came out yesterday. Fantastic stuff!
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