Monday, January 21, 2013

Five Minutes a Day to Reach Your Goals

I feel like this is me most of the time!

Are you someone who starts a gazillion little (or big) projects, but never seems to see them through?  Welcome to my universe.  Better yet, welcome to humanity!  Life is so full of persnickety details that it's hard to find time to get down to our dreams.  Like you,  I have a lot of them!

I think the biggest issue is finding the time.  Am I right?  Rhetorical question.  I KNOW I am right.  Life is busy.  Life is full of obligations. There is no shortage of stuff to do.  And then there's facebook.  What did we do before facebook?  It's a blackhole of voyeurism.  Given my predatory leanings, it's the best entertainment I've ever not paid to have.

So, yes, technology and the vortex it can suck us into certainly can bog us down.  But what about 20 years ago before the internet was more than a clunky version of the postal system you used to send someone a thank-you letter from your AOL account?  Did we still not have time to fulfill our dreams?  Absolutely we did NOT have time!  We will ALWAYS, into past and into eternity, find a way NOT to do what our soul wants and to find time to do every single other useless, time-wasting, brain cell sucking activity that we can clutch at with our greasy, Dorito-stained hands.  Why?  Because that's who most but the best of us are: creatures of habit, creatures of comfort, creatures who love to eat processed orange junk food in bed and deal with the repercussions later.

Another excuse not to work?  Bubble bath time!

I think that's the crux of it: it's so much easier to focus on the Quality Street Chocolates beckoning us from the leftover Christmas stash than it is on finding a solution to poverty; why not watch an episode or ten of Seinfeld rather than tapping away at your potential bestseller?

I get it, believe me.   There are a few "driven" people in life who can hammer away at their dreams without stopping for a rest, but most of us take more time on our stops for beer than we do on the actual pounding.  It's just the way we are.  Complacency is comfortable.  We need time to rejuvenate after bringing home the tofu bacon, (for us vegans who want a meat-like substitute for our job euphemisms).  We associate rejuvenation with zoning out whether it be watching a Breaking Bad marathon or lolling in front of the Kardashians. (And for all the bashing they take, those gals really ARE driven and living their own versions of the dream.  I gotta say: I respect that Kimmy and her family.  And if I had an ass like that, I might cash in on it, too.)

Anyway, I've found my own little way of dealing with my dreams and giving them a bit more room in my far-too-busy life.  My dreams are big (talk show host, best selling novelist, motivational speaker, Thai villa owner), but my motivation still wavers in the face of my life-is-pretty-darn-good-the-way-it-is attitude and the fact that I need a lotta Leah-time.

My preferred position!

So, without further verbiage, here's my little plan of attack that has yielded me somewhat pleasing results over the years:

It's the five minute game.

Here's the thing: I fancy myself a bit of a writer (I've just reached 10,000 hits on this blog!), yet once I open up this laptop, it's much easier to go straight to perezhilton or my facebook page than it is to a lonely-looking empty word document that I have to fill up with words.  As wordy as I am, it still takes effort to put fingers to keys in order to type out something other than a pithy, witty status report.

But who among us can't pause for just five paltry minutes to work on a plan?  Five measly minutes?  I mean, really.  In the scheme of things, it's almost laughable.  You probably spend more time that that each day picking your nose or your zits or your eyebrows.

When I'm immersed in the everyday craziness of working life and kids (which just at the moment I am not because of a medical leave), the only rule I set for myself is to take five minutes out of each day to work on a project.  For the last year, I've been writing this blog and also writing a puberity memoir.  I'm proud to say that I'm about 100 pages in to my flighty little memoir and I've published 110 blog posts, due to my five minutes a day rule.

Granted, I have TAKEN quite a bit more than five minutes a day, but that's because the passion (sometimes not always) kicks in and I find myself doing 10 minutes a day or sometimes even 15 instead of the prescribed five.  Honestly folks, I seldom work for more than 15 or 20 minutes a day on my writing, yet I have achieved Tolstoy-like results.  (Okay, that's a lie, but you see what I am getting at, don't you?)

Basically, just chip away at your plans.  Tackle one at a time.  Do a bit at a time. When you look back at how far you have come in a few months, you'll be amazed.  I know I am.  My masters degree, the books I've written, my course work and certification, my public speaking successes?  None of them are major, except to me, but they're taking me in the direction I want to go.  And they have all been due to my five minutes a day commitment.  I'm not Oprah or Erika Jong yet, but I'm making progress.  So could you.

That's what I want people to say!

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