I crafted a Rose Raspberry cocktail, complete with muddled rose petals and lime. Brava. From conception to execution, it was a joyful and spectacularly delicious undertaking.
Upon some introspection this afternoon, though, I’ve learned that I don’t always enjoy the entire process. In fact, there are parts of it that I consistently want to poop-tackle. Today’s introspection was fueled by dread for our upcoming Girl Scout meeting. Exhausting. Draining. Obligation. Shackled. Require. Debilitating. Lists. Mess. Trips to the store. Overwhelming. Planning. Printing. Remembering. Despise. Obliterated. These are the words I found pocked throughout my latest journal entry. “Exhausting” won the popular vote.
I could carp, or I could uncover a solution. “You need a break.” “You’re burned out.” But it’s been a month since our last meeting, maybe more. I’ve had the break. It hasn’t solved anything. Worst (and best) of all, the girls want to earn the Home Scientist badge, which means messy hands-on action with tarps. It means planning, gathering empty bottles, making lists, thinking. I despise thinking. So, untrue. Lady, you sound psycho.
Breathe. Again. Okay.
Take any task you dislike and break it down into smaller tasks. Which tasks specifically do you dread? Which, if any, do you enjoy? Which can you delegate? Which can you bite the bullet and just get over with in bulk, as fast as possible?
I broke tasks down into these 4 buckets:
- Think: Ideation, Research, Collaboration
- Plan: Making the to-do lists, creating and drafting itinerary
- Prepare: Shopping for the supplies, doing any pre-assembly work, organizing materials
- Execute: Carrying out the idea and bringing it to life. Being the energetic attractive force who energizes the project. Helping others in action.
I’m not gonna lie. I actually enjoy this part of the process—the analysis and hunt for underlying meaning behind choices—where pinpointing my own strengths and likes feels like a personality quiz that will later profile me as a creator, a researcher, a doer. I live for personality tests! Though they always tell me stuff I already know: “You have a great desire to learn and continuously improve; the process of learning, rather than the outcome, engages you.” “People with the Thinker / Reasoner talent are characterized by their intellectual activity: introspective with an appreciation of intellectual discussions.” Things that I’m not: competitive, prudent, strategic (I want no part of thinking through potential obstacles) or interested in contextualizing situations to avoid repeating mistakes of the past. So how does any of this show itself in daily life?
GIRL SCOUT MEETINGS
If someone said I’d only need to think up a meeting idea with fun activities to include, I’d be less than thrilled, but I’d bulk-perform, getting it all over with at once. But doing all 4 steps each and every meeting? It’s a special kind of hell. A holy hell. Which leaves me in a trance wondering why in the heavens I volunteered for this gig. What this tells me: I need more help.
Getting help is a task onto itself, which is part of the problem. I need to delegate someone else to delegate for me! Because I despise the thinking and action surrounding the delegation process! Yes, really. Composing a list of all that needs to get done, then assigning those tasks? That shit takes time and overwhelms me, which is why I end up in the exact position I’m in today. This is where I need to welcome all the control freaks into my tribe and let them take over.
If the topic was a meal, for example, my favorite parts would be Think and Plan, and I’d want as little to do with the Prepare and Execute sections as possible. That’s why these “dinners to your doorstep with just the right amount of ingredients” programs don’t appeal to me. They eliminate steps 1-3, leaving you only to execute. Though, it certainly does simplify your life, leaving you to focus on the execution, which alone might be far more enjoyable.
Here’s what I really think: I think the part I like least of all these moving parts is anything involving leaving the house. Or standing. Showering. I think maybe I’m depressed. Maybe this is why I always wanted to be a writer; I can remain in the same pajamas for 4 days and still be productive. If only I didn’t need to stop to think about dinner, or getting dressed just to take my kids to activities. If it were up to me, and there was only me, I’d rarely leave my house, and do so only to spend the day in a movie theater.