Procrastination: a passive aggressive resistance to self-discipline and the birth of some spectacular internal tantrums.
Self-discipline is as unattractive as a bridge troll with a head cold which happens to be the same reputation as New Years’ Resolutions, CrossFit, and people who have way too much get-up-and-go. So, what happens when I try and exercise some self-discipline? Sleep, usually followed by a franticly dedicated cleaning of the house which leads to a kitchen that any display home decorator would salivate over. Each activity artfully denying the pathetically weak voice (think Milton from Office Space) begging me to just be better.
Recently, I have made friends with self-discipline. I would even argue that the troll has gotten over its cold and is taking on a more positive attitude when dealing with bridge walkers.
Originally, I committed to a single activity. I started with the simple plan of: wake up early, do exercise and for a while I did. Then came the cavity which followed exercise. Why was I up so early if I had nothing to do? I didn’t fill the time, I just stopped and this attitude lasted a ridiculously long time for me. I had a complete lack of inspiration for what I was doing which made it impossible to believe the in the routines I set for myself.
That was until I rediscovered music. Music is so unbelievably easy to give up on. There are influences everywhere that encourage you to get a real job or say that music is a post-high school joy ride that gets parked when you start learning about superannuation. I have been writing songs since 2006 and performing for even longer. Music has been a soulmate in my life and now I am finding more and more support to continue doing it.
After the songwriting course, which I go on and on about (you’re welcome), I was so inspired to talk, do and be music. I started conversations with musicians, met new teachers, started new projects and it inspired me to do music – as a hobby. Hilarious, right?! All this inspiration and my brain was still ticking over and going “but it’s a hobby though…”. Let me remind you that I had rediscovered music. Instead of putting any pressure on myself, my goal was just to do it for fun, let it be my hobby and enjoy it for a change. In the past, I was driven like a corporate maniac, putting together spreadsheets and plans, booking shows, endlessly cold-calling and emailing, throwing shows together, designing posters. Doing everything that can throw a dull and dusty light on the music and it did. It became so hard because it wasn’t fun anymore. There was so much work that had to be done and I just didn’t allow music in.
Screw that. I’m a demon with a fire in my eyes, smiling maniacally down the barrel of a gun. I found self-discipline in a goal that piqued every interest my body wanted to devour, music. I am talking, doing and being music. I want to show the processes that consume me when I write, both the good and bad.
The self-discipline troll that drove me away from the bridge and back to the safety of the village is now discussing bridge politics with me and starting a union. Every day I set myself challenges in music. This blog on self-discipline is on the list. All my next blogs are on the list. Writing a new song is on the list. Even the groceries are on the list. I get more done between 5am and 10am that I have ever done in my life – except for when I was a wee babe as I’m sure my parents would argue…
Finding a goal is just as much striving for achievement as it is following inspiration. Without the inspiration, I was floundering in procrastinators anxiety. It bore me down like a giant woodpecker sitting on my back, hammering at my spine. Ever since I started Quarter Short I have officially adopted the mantra of “don’t think about it, just do it”. Before I wrote this blog I thought “Why would I write this? Why would anyone care? What’s the point?” – Don’t think about it. Just do it.
My mornings are now filled with exercising to interesting podcast, recently Worklife or Ted Talks Daily, followed by Object Writing before moving onto my daily tasks. It feels so good to wake up the next day in such a positive state of mind and being able to enjoy the chill time it earns me without guilt. When I do spend time on my phone, or if I have a nap, it’s because I’ve earned it.
Aside from the songwriting course, there were a few other people that inspired me to be more self-disciplined. These started internal dialogues, open conversations and probably a week or two of exercise before I took total control. All of them started me on a path to somewhere which has lead me right here.
- As small moment from the songwriting course with Pat Pattison, who said to just do it for 10 minutes which is such a great attitude. I can give 10 minutes to anything.
- Lastly, my teacher Nathan Seiler. We chatted about his early morning routine and what he achieved, reminding me of how enjoyable mornings were when everything was quiet.
This list will continue to grow and I truly look forward to finding those people who inspire me to take more steps in the right direction.
If I go on about something (songwriting course, Austin Kleon, etc.) it’s because I’m still discovering my sources of inspiration. Please feel free to share yours with me so I can go on about them too.