The Vision Thing
Sunday, May 5, 2013
After I started telecommuting (in 1998), it seemed like I’d have a lot more free time in my life, but I didn’t. (I didn’t think about this in advance, but many things actually take more time when you’re working from home. You can’t just stop and pick something up on your way home from work, or rearrange your schedule to leave a little earlier and go to the gym in the morning. When you work from home, everything you do outside of the house is its own thing to be figured out. It’s different, and it was hard.)
I was frustrated that I didn’t have more time and started reading organizing books, because it seemed like the problem was that I wasn’t organized enough, that I needed better time-management skills. I read a whole bunch of organizing books that were not at all useful before I finally read one that was.
The book is called It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys: The Seven-Step Path to Becoming Truly Organized by Marilyn Paul and the main reason I liked it is because instead of giving specific strategies (only touch a piece of paper once! get rid of clothes you haven’t worn in a year!), it helps you figure out why you want to be organized and what is getting in the way of it, so that you can come up with your own strategies that will help you address the things you actually care about.
It’s a self-help book with all of the requisite self-help elements (worksheets, exercises, personal testimonials, etc.), but I have a small weakness for the self-help genre, so that doesn’t bother me. But it might be a problem for some people. So if you look at it and think it’s silly, don’t hold it against me.
One of the things I realized after reading the book was that there were a lot of things in my life I wasn’t getting done because I didn’t really give a * about them. So that was nice to figure out. I just stopped worrying about those things. It was very liberating.
However eventually I’ve realized that a number of things I don’t really care about actually need to get done, so it’s not helping me so much anymore.
So now I’m focusing on some of the parts I skipped over the first time I read it, specifically the part about visioning.
The idea of visioning — imagining what you’re trying to create — feels totally hokey to me and makes me think of Stuart Smalley: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” But I have to say that one idea really struck a chord:
Imagining a different future makes you believe that it is possible. It is very difficult to make something happen if you can’t even think about it.
It’s hard to argue with that.
So I decided that the first step in getting done some of the things I need to get done — especially the things I don’t really give a * about — is to imagine them being done.
I’m as of yet unable to imagine my back porch with a door on it, or my backyard as anything but a poison-ivy infested wasteland (the visioning thing is actually much harder than you might expect), but I’m almost to the point where I can see a house with all of the walls properly painted.
It’s a start.