Thursday, August 22, 2013

Progress not Perfection!

I have said and read "Progress not Perfection" frequently through the years. I've preached it to my children and to myself over and over and over; how shocked I was to realize I was preaching to the choir while I was the congregant with earplugs AND fingers jammed in her ears, stomping her feet in anger, frustration, and confusion at this message. No matter how many articles, books, blogs, statuses, tweets I read to support the statement, I could not accept this for myself.

Through learned behavior from different, well um, negative "life experiences" I believed that everything I did was just not good enough rather than baby steps forward. I could encourage anyone and everyone that they should be proud of each and every achievement no matter how small it may seem, yet if my own action was small I would berate myself for not doing it better. While I never used the word "failure" for myself it was always tossing around in my mind, sometimes a quiet but constant little whisper that was just enough to keep grabbing my attention away from whatever task was being attempted; upon distraction that whisper would become a screaming, screeching voice bringing a pain so deep I was at times reduced to tears. 

Lists were, to me, evidence of all the things I didn't do. While all "the experts" (many I truly admire, including my oldest daughter) kept insisting successful people make lists, my answer was always "yea, but..." or "they just don't work for me!" I could not get past those things that didn't get crossed off and the thought of carrying those items forward--adding them to the next day's already full record--was not only failing but also impossible and overwhelming!

I stumbled across another book, about a week into this jambalaya of techniques I'm implementing, called Organizing for Your Brain Type: Finding Your Own Solution to Managing Time, Paper, and Stuff , by Lanna Nakone . After only reading the first few paragraphs I thought, "She knows ME!" The descriptions of my brain type(s) seemed tailored just for me. Being able to connect accurately and directly to a specific "type" allowed me to further break free of the hard barriers I had built in my mind against organization, and left me with an empowered feeling with the knowledge that I can't possibly be alone in this if there is a published book! "Number of times a piece of paper is moved before it is tossed or filed: 8", writes Ms. Nakone. Reading her analyses and suggestions was like reading something in a language I hadn't realized was my native tongue.  Everything made sense and filled me with a sense of calmness in attitude I have never experienced in my life.

I am still a work in progress, I still have far to go. Last week I added several new post-it notes to the top of my calendar. Not every post-it was making it to the calendar day and I was starting to feel discouraged. Rather than scrap the entire project (as I would have in the past), I looked those post-its straight in the--well, okay, I looked straight at those still up top and said, "it is OKAY, I'll move you a different day!" And you know what? It really was okay, because still that calendar day box was filled with completed tasks! Realizing a couple of the notes were too broad or had more than one task on them, I began to erase certain things. My initial self-reaction was negative and punishing; I felt my throat begin to tighten and burn with the urge to cry making an attempt to surface. NO! I was not going to, and did not, allow that stinkin' thinkin' to have its way with me, I'm no longer that kind of girl!

I erased and edited. An example: one sticky note had "tighten legs of living room table" and "clean living room table". I erased the first part and changed "clean" to "straighten". Clean is a perfection word in my book (no, it's not written just!), but straighten is kinder and more flexible. I went to write the "tightening" on the next day in my planner but had the brilliant idea to write it 3 days further into the week, knowing that I still have a tendency (inexplicable--though it is attributed to my brain type!) to avoid something written down. I tricked my own brain into tightening the table the next day! Ron commented on my previous post how good rewards are; it may seem silly to need rewards at my YOUNG age yet perhaps by considering it "silly" was another way I was being far too harsh with myself. The journey continues...join with me!

My dining room table every night, and the most recent calendar day!

There's a website for Ms. Nakone's book! Organized World Website

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