Love Doing? Or Love Having Done?

I heard a story of Ray Bradbury giving a lecture.  He starts with asking the audience how many of them want to have written a book and virtually everyone there raises their hand.  Then Bradbury asks how many of them want to write.  Only a few hands lift this time.

I think of this story often, considering whether I enjoy the process of doing something or if I prefer the result of having done the work.  As a professional organizer, I do enjoy most of the processes of organizing.  Not many people I have worked with actually enjoy the process, but rather can appreciate the final product of having organized. 

Then once you have the final product – the organized space – many people don’t want to think about how messy it was before they cleaned it up.  Isn’t it easier just to forget about how bad it had gotten?  After all, thinking about it could make you feel bad about yourself.

The challenge I present to you is to try to appreciate the hard work you did put in.  I found that when I started to acknowledge the difference of the work I did, I actually felt more motivated to tackle some of those other areas that I was procrastinating!  This also applies to many people I have worked with.

Try to soak up the effects of your hard work.  You probably did not enjoy the process of it, but you can appreciate the results of it.  The effect of having spaces cleared of clutter, knowing where many things belong (if not all of them just yet), and wanting to keep up the level of organization will help you keep the momentum up to continue organizing, even when you just want to call it quits.

We all struggle with degrees of procrastination, avoiding things that are unpleasant to us in some way.  What is most important in the long run is what action we decide to take to deal with these counter-productive patterns.  There are many ways to challenge these tendencies, some of which I discussed last week, and I’ll share more in the future.

Finding ways to give yourself credit for the work you have done is a great way to invigorate yourself to jump into other area that needs attention. Become your own personal cheering squad!  Rah! Rah! It looks fabulous and feels awesome to have it done and off the list.

For me the best feeling is a quiet, contentment that fills me up; and I re-discover that feeling every time I go into one of those spaces that has been “re-done.”  The emotional response applies to areas that I looked forward to just as much as the areas that I had dreaded working on.  The difference was that I felt relieved and contented for a longer period.

We are a pleasure seeking society, and in wanting to experience that sense of quiet accomplishment, I found additional motivation to improve other areas.  It is a double win, I would get things done that I wanted off my list and could feel satisfaction for a while at my efforts.

What are you going to do to help yourself accomplish the dreaded tasks?

P.S. I mention the story of Ray Bradbury and although I searched to verify it as more than an urban legend, could not find any information one way or the other.  If you happen to have any information about the truth or falsity of this story, I would greatly appreciate any of it.

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