become a detective of your patterns

by rebecca on October 17, 2012

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What gets in the way of finishing what I start? This is the question I ask so I can notice with precision. When I become a detective of my patterns I can learn from myself and create a supportive scaffolding: one upon which I can stand and reach for my sky.

I recently identified the thing that would help me soulfully cleanse my home is to finish what I begin. Today I’m noticing what interrupts me. What stops me from finishing.

I begin other things when I am trying to write, clean my room or pay bills.

  • I start a load of laundry
  • I clean the kitchen
  • I make a phone call or check email

Sometimes it is difficult for me to settle down. My spirit has the wiggles.

My settle-down techniques:

  • A timer to focus me and give myself a deadline
  • I tempt myself with rewards like
  •  A walk with a friend
  •  A phone call to break up the loneliness
  •  Beads and a podcast

I notice the times I am most effective

  • I’m done writing by 10am. My creative juice flows until mid-morning.
  • But I can insert photos to blogs and attach links later in a day.
  • Mondays are good for office details so long as I’ve taken Sunday off.
  • Friday is good for physical labor (don’t ask me to do accounting on a Friday).
  • Autumn is highly creative and productive.
  • February is deeply contemplative, but don’t ask me to produce in the dead of winter.

Noticing these patterns I’ve been able to design a work rhythm that front-loads the details of running a business, a life and a home on Mondays and Tuesdays. I can still be productive on Fridays, but I need to choose the activities carefully, because my brain is pretty shot by that point in the week.

When I look at creating content for classes or imagining creative solutions for my family, I know I’ll be incubating ideas in February but they won’t be fully cooked until spring or maybe even Autumn. Understanding these things about myself allows me to think about finishing in a more reasonable, rhythmic way.

When I work in tandem with my natural patterns my body flows and work is play. When I try to force myself to do things it’s all an effort and I become Sisyphus, forever putting forth effort, never achieving.

What do you struggle to finish? What helps you focus? Have you ever set a timer for yourself?

I am taking time to notice my patterns. It’s part of my 4-step philosophy in Soulful Cleansing. Identify – Notice – Address – Tend.  I’d love to have you join the class.

I am participating in 31-days of Soulful Cleansing. This project is the collaborative brainchild of The Nester. Join her here and see all the other 31-day projects.

Here’s a great tip to help you focus from my friend, Sarah Yost: when you start to do a small project, write what you’re doing on an index card. Only do your project. When you get distracted by other ideas of what to do, write them on the back of the index card. Then do those things later. This way you “empty” the brain noise, but remain focused.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Josh October 19, 2012 at 1:26 am

It is smart to pay attention to patterns. I have noticed that some of my best work is done after midnight.

It is not ideal, but sometimes I save certain projects for that time because it works. I get more done and do a better job.

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rebecca October 23, 2012 at 9:34 pm

After midnight! Wow Josh, I am so glad you pay attention to your patterns because I that would never be a productive time for me. I am a 5am gal.

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