I have been struggling with blank page syndrome. I have tons of ideas about what I want to write about, and then when I sit down to do it, the blank page is staring at me. I cannot seem to get started. When I do finally start something, I don’t like it and don’t finish it.
One of the suggestions I have seen to overcome writer’s block is to write every day. You may remember that my last post was about my plan for the new year of getting up earlier so I would have time to do that. Time management has never been my strong suit. I am a procrastinator. I could never get my work done in college until right before it was due, which resulted in a plethora of all-nighters. I once heard that the South Park guys are also huge procrastinators and that they are sometimes finishing a show minutes before it is supposed to air. When they tried to create their show earlier, with time to spare, the material just wasn’t as good. So they went back to procrastinating.
I feel the same way. It is much harder to produce without the pressure of a deadline. Turns out, a scientific study, discussed in this fascinating article in the NYTimes, showed that procrastinating increases creativity. So it’s not just me.
This brings me to a confession. My plan for the new year of getting up earlier is a fail. Yep. Already failed. To both be more productive and sleep better, I planned to commit to getting up every day at 6:30 for 30 days. I read that 28 days makes a habit (I have also seen 21 days.) I chose 30; give myself a couple of extra days, just to make sure. I thought I can do this for 30 days. Hopefully, it will work for me. I will then have more time in the morning to be productive; and, establishing a regular sleep schedule, should help me to sleep better. Didn’t happen. Not once did I get up at 6:30.
Instead, I changed the plan. I scaled it back. 6:30 is too early for me right now. I think I can get there but not all at once. I employed a different habit forming strategy, the strategy of incremental change. I am slowly getting up earlier. My wake up time varies a little based on my schedule. I keep it within 30 minutes, however. I am waking up between 6:50 and 7, getting up out of bed between 7:10 and 7:20. And, most nights I do sleep well. I had a few nights in a row where I woke up before my alarm and could not get back to sleep. After three days of that, I was exhausted. But then I slept well. Fell asleep quickly and stayed asleep. Of course part of the challenge of getting up earlier is going to bed earlier. I am still working on establishing a consistent bedtime.
Clearly I can do better, but I am making progress so I’ll consider that a win. Did you set goals for the new year? How are they going? Let me know in the comments.