Friday, May 22, 2015

5 Biggest Ways We Rob Ourselves

The other day I was listening to Todd Henry's podcast on "The Dailies". They're his daily practices and disciplines that he says help ensure his creativity. I was fascinated (and sort of terrified) by the concept of making a list of things you are to accomplish every single day barring hell or high water. It stuck with me for a couple of days and then I realized it was worth a try.

I wrote out a list of six daily tasks I am to accomplish without excuse. And I've done well for the last week. But it's brought out a weird awareness in me, a realization of how often I rob myself of productivity.

I've always blamed outside elements for my lack of inspiration. I usually look around and say it has to do with how my bed didn't let me sleep that well last night or my lunch for being less tasty than I was expecting or my coffee for forgetting the importance of its caffeination in the midst of my afternoon slump.

But, if I'm honest, I rob myself of productivity (and creativity) quite often. What's the point of noticing your own thievery without some sort of resolution to stop? Nothing, so I've created a list of how I steal precious time and energy from myself to help in taking that loss back.

Here are the 5 biggest ways I'm a thief.

When someone compliments you, hear their words and take them in. We're so busy being our biggest, hardest, meanest critics and often miss the obviously awesome things about ourselves.

I know, it's so painfully awkward to be complimented. But simply say thank you. Maybe even mention that such kind words mean a lot to you. Because they do, or at least they will.

The other day my mom and I were texting about a chapter in my book that she looked over. She said she heard me in the words and she believed in the way I have (finally) decided to go about crafting the story line. I was floored and emboldened by her kind words.

In the depth of my being I believe that the best thing we can give one another is a vote of confidence. There's nothing like hearing that someone believes in your passion and your dreams. But we've got to pay it forward and tell the people we believe in how deeply we do.

There are two kinds of people in the world: the ones who see and do the big things and the ones who see and do the little ones. And then, if you don't fall in one of those two groups you're like me, an in between. I see and do things -sometimes big and sometimes small. But I underrate the small things, I pretend like they don't matter. I sometimes spend what I think is just minutes cruising Facebook or  Instagram without thought. Suddenly, a half hour seems to have disappeared into thin air.

The little chunks matter, they add up, what is ten minutes here or there a few times through the day adds up into a half hour or two. And you've just blown a tenth of your waking moments with little gain on that goal you're pursuing.

I am the Queen of Wasting Time. Yes, I sit and think and spend more time brainstorming than I do writing. It seems productive until I realize that an hour has disappeared into the past and I'm no further along here in the future. I've realized I have to put my thinking in a box and get to work. Even (or maybe I mean especially) when I'm writing.

Sometimes you've got to check your brain at the creative threshold and get to work. The beginning often isn't about quality, it's surely not about perfect, but about getting going. Stop thinking, start doing.

Maybe you don't tell yourself you're stupid, but you do doubt your own genius. You think of something that's cool, then remember that no one will care, people might think it's stupid, and so on. Might as well respond "That's stupid" to yourself over and over again.

The only way people get to invest in our dreams is when (and if) we believe in them.

How do you steal from your own productivity?


  1. Truth all around, lady! Sounds like you're finding some inspiration, and thanks so much for sharing xx (Guess I better get back to work now and be a little bit more productive haha) xx

  2. Dismissing the compliments is such a good one friend. It's so easy to be like "oh's not just because of me" or "It was just luck". You know what, sometimes it was all me and it was not luck and it's ok to just say thank you!!!!

  3. Amber, these are so good! Thinking of doing these things as robbing yourself is a new perspective for me but that's a great way to put it. The worst for me is something that builds off #3...I waste time but then I lie to myself about it! I put my blinders on and pretend that being on my phone all the time is productive, etc. when really it's keeping me from actual accomplishments.

  4. This. All of it. It. is. so. good.

  5. I was trying to decide which of the things you listed is my favorite and/or the one I'm most guilty of - but I just couldn't do it! I love all of them and am too guilty of all of them. Great list and wise words, friend!

  6. I love all of these! It makes my day and sometimes my week when people tell me they believe in me and my passion!

  7. Mellisa JeffersonMay 24, 2015 at 12:37 AM

    Mellisa Jefferson

  8. Sooooo hello wake up slap the soul and get real talk going. The stupid one is real big for me: I'm always reminsing myself how stupid I al and my ideas suck.

  9. I'm really loving this series about your creative process! I find it so interesting! What are your dailies? ;) Yes I'm being nosey and curious!

  10. What a great post. I agree that the little things can take up so so much time and we don't even realize it. Thinking instead of doing is a big one. I think sometimes you just have to start doing something, and keep practicing at taking little steps (like getting words on paper for writing). It's almost like training a muscle, the more we do the better we'll get.

  11. UGH TO NUMBER THREE. That's the one that I struggle with the most. Usually because I lie to myself and say that the little distractions don't matter either. AND THEY ALL DO DAMN IT.

  12. Oh girl. YES. GET BACK TO WORK. Oh, and actually I need to too! :)

    But really, how do things near up on us little by little.

  13. Yes. Just thinking and thinking and thinking without realizing that I'm wasting all my time with theory instead of practice. UGH, tricks me every time! :)

  14. Girl yes. I realize that I dismiss them all the time. I pretend that it's me being humble, but really, I'm more like denying whatever is being kindly served to me and that's, well, not fair to me or the one complimenting me.

  15. Thank you! :) The phone is so hard for me. The phone and the way that it's just simple to type out Facebook or Twitter or Blogger instead of typing the words that are written all over my life and my heart...

  16. GIRL, me too. But then I realized, there's no answer. Or maybe it's that the answer is (E) all of the above. And then I sort of want to kick myself for being such a stumbling block for MY VERY OWN PROCESS. :)

  17. Yes, real talk baby girl. All the real talk for all the days! :)

  18. I have a post for my dailies coming up! :) Mostly because I'm not 100% sure what they are... Because I have all kinds of ideas but they haven't all panned out in the way that seemed as fruitful and good for my process as intended. :)

  19. Thank you! :) I have learned that I have to push myself to just begin. Sometimes it's painful all the way through, but I've not once been mad at myself for beginning (even if the process is minor). :)

  20. YES. There is something so, so, so insanely nice to have someone say I share in this with you, I can appreciate this with you, I want to join alongside this happening as a vote of confidence with you. And, well, everything is better with friends.

  21. This one hit me. I am SO bad at accepting compliments. I often even put my husband down for complimenting me, sometimes believing the lie that he just does it because he has to. GREAT post, girl.


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