Are you a moderator or an abstainer?

I’ve been thinking about the whole Moderator vs. Abstainer thing. Is it just another label, or is knowing which side you fall on useful? Could recognizing it help you become more productive? Happier?

I always thought I was a moderator because I can do things like eat 2 squares of a chocolate bar and save the rest (Crazy, I know).

However, if I’m honest with myself I approach most of my life with an all or nothing mindset. I’m in or out. Full steam ahead or… no steam. But I act like I’m great at moderation, and that’s what gets me into trouble.

I should be able to watch a couple YouTube videos while eating dinner then get back to studying. I should be able to text back Sarah without checking Instagram. 

Guess what? Doesn’t happen. Like, ever. If I open YouTube I will still be there two hours later, probably watching a grooming tutorial for the dog I don’t own. And I can’t even tell you how often I find myself 48 weeks deep in some meme account on Instagram… Sigh.

I keep doing the exact same thing, genuinely expecting a different outcome. Because, “You should be able to do this Kate!”

What if I stopped trying to fight it? Instead of putting all this energy towards finding a balance I’m not wired for, what if I set up my life to take advantage of my all or nothingness?

I mean, it seems kind of obvious now that I’m thinking about it…

Consider how this might apply to different areas of your life—diet, work, fitness habits, or even the way you spend money. For example, maybe you think you should be able to go to the mall without buying anything because Jane can do that so Hey! You can too right? You keep going to the mall every Friday after work, because “this time will be different!”, and every Friday you buy stuff you don’t need.

Hmmm… Maybe instead of trying so hard to change your reaction to the environment, you should just change your environment altogether. You’re not Jane, accept and move on AKA stop going to the mall every Friday.

Do you see where I’m going with this? Instead of trying to fix our weaknesses, what if we put that energy towards leveraging our strengths? 


P.S. In lieu of a somewhat-passably-relevant stock photo… Please enjoy this snap I took of cream puffs my Mum made last Christmas. I know, I’m sorry.

You only have to do one thing today

You know what sucks? Ending the day and feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing. Especially when you were busy all day (Hi, emails).

You know what’s worse? Ending the week, month, or even the year *gulp* feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing.

I’m all about the to-do list. ALL about it. And I’ll have days when I’m ripping through that list at an admiral speed, but I’m not actually working towards things that really matter to me. The things I’ll look back on in 5 years and go, “2016 was the year I ran a marathon. I’m so glad I did that!”

By babying my to-do list I’m hiding behind a false sense of productivity. I know that because I’ll look back on yesterday, or last week, and struggle to think of what I accomplished. Like what the heck did I actually do on Wednesday?! Have you ever had that? Totally sucks.

It’s a real kick in the confidence to feel like you’re constantly moving, but not moving forward.

So what I’ve started doing (on the advice of some podcast, and surprise, I can’t remember which one) is nominating one thing I want to accomplish each day. One main task. Maybe it’s a step towards a bigger goal, or maybe it’s finally finishing those socks I started knitting months ago… whatever. The rest of my to-do list will have to fit around it.

There’s something about saying to yourself, “This. Today if nothing else I’m going to do this,” that makes you much more likely to do the work. Especially if you’re having a crazy day or feeling down, it gives you direction and a place to focus your energy. And then when you do it, when you get it done, you go to bed with this cool sense of check-me-out-getting-ish-done-all-functional-like.

It gives you permission to feel like you’ve done enough, that you’re enough. It’s trackable proof that you’re working towards the life you want. So the next time you’re feeling low and that voice pops up saying you’re useless and going nowhere you can be like, “UM, NO. Let me direct you to all the things I did last week it was great and I’m great!”

….

But seriously, it’s good stuff people.

Try it.


P.S. In lieu of a somewhat-passably-relevant stock photo… Please enjoy this snap I took of a boat in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. It’s all kinds of beautiful out there.

Is procrastinating a procrastination hack?

Now I haven’t been experimenting with this for very long, BUT, I think procrastinating might actually be a procrastination hack.

Hear me out.

I’m in the kitchen making my 11th tea of the day (I have a legit problem) and my brain hits me with remember-the-thing-you-promised-yourself-you’d-finish-every-morning-for-the-past-week-and-you-haven’t-yet-because-you-suck-geeze-what-a-loser-you-can’t-get-anything-done-you’re-hopeless.

And I’m faced with two options.

A: Do the work.

B: Grab some cookies to dunk in said tea and proceed to YouTube to figure out once and for all how to build a capsule wardrobe.

(I’ll give you one guess as to which I that’s-right-Option-B)

But what about an Option C? What about, “OK fine. You don’t have to do the work. You don’t have to write that article. Instead, you can choose from any of the following pre-approved procrastination activities: read a book, go for a run, paint something, cut out that dress pattern you’ve been meaning to sew” etc.

You’ll notice ‘watch YouTube haul videos’ is not on that list. The key here is differentiating between what I’ll call ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ procrastination. The former is legitimately good for you and works on a skill. It’s probably a hobby you wish you did more often anyways, like running. The latter is whatever your personal brand of procrastination looks like. For me that’s YouTube, Instagram, Netflix, and obsessively cleaning and organizing. (I know that last one seems like a good thing but trust me, me with a duster is flat out procrastination.)

This will, of course, look different for everyone. I like to think of healthy procrastination as things you’d find on your list of New Years resolutions—read more books, run a 10K, learn how to code, start meditating because the NY Times says it’s what successful people do… and so on. Organize my desk isn’t resolution worthy for me because Lord knows I don’t need a reminder to do that more often.

Somehow by doing this, but letting myself procrastinate and work on something that might not feel directly related to the article I have to write or whatever it is I’m putting off, I actually start to gain confidence. I feel good about myself and after a while, I’ve built enough momentum that my brain is like OKAY might as well get crackin’ on the real reason we’re all here…

I can’t properly explain this Jedi mind trick just yet, and I’m sure it’s riddled with caveats, but the results so far are pretty freaking cool.


P.S. In lieu of a somewhat-passably-relevant stock photo… Please enjoy this graffiti snap I took of some alley in Kensington Market, Toronto. Man, I love that place.