I have and I hear numerous conversations that begin with the words “as soon as”. As soon as I have the time, I’m going to promote my Etsy shop… as soon as I have the money, I’m going to buy some bark for my paths…and I’ve noticed that “as soon as” rarely arrives at the appointed destination. There’s no action in the words. Just longing.
Not that longing is bad. It maps out the possibilities. Then it needs specifics.
I have more creative ideas than time or money these days. Usually, that’s because I get lost on the inspiration trail and forget to turn off toward the doing place. Doing and getting done. Because “as soon as” also turns up around finishing projects. Money and time don’t magically appear until I prioritize both.
Currently, I’m reading a new book by Julie Morgenstern titled “Never Check Emails in the Morning”. Really? When I saw the title, I had to know more. One of her points is that if you read your emails first, you can easily get lost. Instead, she suggests that you dedicate the first hour of work toward what YOU want to accomplish most. This sets in motion a momentum that will carry you across the email river when you get to it.
The first day I gave her idea a try, I felt like I was playing hooky: doing what I wanted to first… establishing my own priorities. As a self employed person, I don’t get paid just for showing up at the office. I get paid for what I accomplish. And though emails often contain the seeds of new work, I always have projects to finish, deliver and bill for. So instead of “as soon as I check my emails, I’m going to work on that canvas job”, I started sewing. Wheee! My favorite part! I was having fun and making money from the start.
The habit was difficult to sustain. What if there was something urgent in my inbox? I was reminded of that “what if I miss the bus” anxiety. I found myself scanning email subject lines. Soon that lead to checking one or two and that lead to distraction. Here’s what Julie says:
“Even checking your email for a minute is a surefire way to open up all the different drawers of your brain and immediately distract your mind with a zillion issues. Once that happens, prolonged concentration on anything, critical or not, is nearly impossible.”
More practice. I started planning my first actions of the day the night before. And this got me back to thinking about my longings again. What if I turned my longings into action plans: I’m going to save $5 today toward bark for my paths; I’m going to spend 15 minutes working on my Etsy “About” page? Now that is the art of longing.