"People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed."
It is another day. You know you have work to do, but you have frittered away time doing almost anything and everything to keep you from doing your real work. The good news is that you used that nervous energy to clean out the refrigerator, empty the trash, wipe down the counters, and make the bed. You haven’t completely wasted your time, though you’ve wasted some of it, but you haven’t used made the most effective use of it either. There was an almost-frenetic quality to your cleaning, because, as helpful as that was, you knew that it wasn’t what you were supposed to be doing.
The good news is your place is clean or your files are put away or you have returned your phone calls or checked your e-mail and so those things are out of the way. It could have been worse. You could have watched TV or played online games or just done nothing at all. At least your place looks nicer. But when you started looking around for something else to do, you knew what was really happening. You weren’t really interested in cleaning or organizing or anything else. You were avoiding your real work.
So the trick, no, the strategy, the answer to this is simple: do your work. Move forward to your objective. Get it done. Write. Paint. Balance your budget. Study. Do that thing you know you’re supposed to be doing. Do that thing you’ve been avoiding. This is why you’re here on this planet. Don’t waste time worrying about the time you’ve wasted. That’s just more wasted time and one more way to self-sabotage. Just do the thing you’re supposed to be doing.
Also, don’t berate yourself for needing to learn this lesson every day. All of us do. Be glad for another reminder. There is almost never a day when self-sabotage doesn’t strike in some way. Usually it comes before we start working. It comes in the form of doubt, self-loathing, embarrassment, apathy, fear, or fatigue. All of these vanish within ten minutes of doing your work because they weren’t real. They felt real, but they weren’t.
Sometimes self-sabotage comes while we’re working. It comes in the form of distractions (or allowing distractions). Suddenly the kitchen desperately needs cleaning (though you haven’t washed the dishes for three days). We suddenly think of all the little tasks we must do now. At this very moment.
The solution is the same: keep working. Don’t worry about how you feel or what else “needs” to be done. Just do your work. As much as possible. As often as possible. Get Started. Keep Going. Don’t Stop.