Making things happen.

I’ve been feeling a bit glum recently. Nothing major, but just a bit unsettled. Partly it’s because I’ve realised it’s October and so 2012, a year I had high hopes for, is almost at an end. I’m not exactly sure how we’re in October already. With that comes the realisation that I’ve not managed to do many of the things I had planned for this year. In some cases, that’s because I’ve done different things instead, which is fine, and in some cases there are reasons beyond my control. But in some cases it’s because of nothing more complicated than my own behaviour.

I’ve talked on here before about my top time wasters – the things I do instead of the things I should be doing. I’m still battling with them, although I’m relieved to report that my Moshi Monsters obsession has abated. To be replaced with a Blythe obsession, naturally. Honestly, sometimes I don’t quite understand myself, so I really don’t expect anyone else to…

The other night I had a bit of a revelation though. Mildly inebriated (which is when I’m the most honest with myself) I wrote a list of things I wanted to do before I reach forty. Now, I’m a bit scared of forty. With apologies to those of you who are there already, but it feels incredibly grown up to me, and if there is one thing I don’t feel, it’s grown up. I have dolls! I also have a mortgage and two children, but I sometimes still wonder how I got to be thirty six in the blink of an eye. What I began to realise as I looked at my list and thought about the reasons why I’ve still got to make some of these things happen,  is that often the things I consider to be helping me achieve my goals are in fact, hindering them.

Take, for example, my magazine habit. I buy a lot of magazines. I love them. Many of those are travel magazines. I have a list of places I want to visit as long as my arm. Yet many of these places have been nothing more than a pipe dream for years and years. Imagine if, instead of buying a forest’s worth of travel magazines, I saved up the equivalent amount of money. Where might that have taken me?

Another thing I do is look at design magazines, books and blogs. I spend hours and hours of time reading, and  thinking about decorating our house. At the moment, I’m focussed on the bathroom. I’ve even had the stuff I need to do it (sander, paint, willing accomplice) ready and waiting to go for weeks. And yet, the bathroom remains undecorated, because of all the time I’ve spent being inspired to do it, by reading about other people and their perfect bathrooms. If, instead of reading about all those perfect houses, I picked up a damn paintbrush and started work, it would have been finished by now.

My tiny front garden is another thing. I’ve got a plan to re-design the whole thing with bee-friendly plants. I’ve had that plan for ages. But instead of picking up my trowel and getting on with making it happen, I spend ages looking at beautifully designed huge gardens in old copies of Gardens Illustrated.

I’m not saying for a moment that seeking inspiration is a bad thing. I’m not saving that I’ll stop buying the odd travel magazine. But the proportions are all wrong. I need less time spent researching, or reading about other people having adventures (or perfect bathrooms!) and more time doing, whether that is saving up harder (by wasting less money on dolls or on food that gets thrown away – more on that subject in another post) or picking up that trowel or that paintbrush.

So, that’s my goal. I’ve got dates booked in with my willing accomplice to get the bathroom finished, and I’ve got myself a savings account (and home designed money pot for loose change!) to make some of those travel plans less of a pipe dream. I’m going to change the proportions of my behaviour and make the things I want to do before I reach the grand old age of forty a reality, instead of something I read about someone else doing.

Oh, and one last thing. Never, never, introduce me to Pinterest. Because  that seems like the ultimate way in which I could lose hours, days even, just thinking, planning, dreaming and researching. I need to act

14 Responses to “Making things happen.”

  1. Sounds like a good plan to me, I came to a similar revelation with running recently, I need to spend less time researching the perfect pair of shoes and more time actually running!

  2. Hehe! Have you been sneaking a peek at my blog? 😉 That’s basically what I’ve realised too…!

    Oh, and I agree about Pinterest. On the few occasions that a link has taken me there, I’ve come up for breath several hours later, wondering who stole my day, only to realise it was me 😉

  3. Definitely don’t get into Pinterest if you’re looking to escape a time vortex. I think if you’re attempting to do anything, a complete internet ban needs to be put in place. I try and give myself a window for “inspiration” and then a window for “work” (or doing whatever it is I need to do). Otherwise 2 hours will pass and I’ll still be there, aimlessly clicking, becoming increasingly frustrated with my drab living room / garden / bathroom / outfits and realise nothing has changed. The same is true of work. I can spend AGES researching a magazine or radio feature and realise I’ve not given myself enough time to write or record the damn thing. Good luck with your projects – go away, do them and then blog them. Then you’ll be sucking up someone else’s time (or, rather, inspiring them) and can sit back smugly in your lovely garden!

    • I fear Pinterest for that very reason! I think your idea of ‘windows of time’ is a great one. I have come to realise that I need deadlines, discipline and a bit of an internet/magazine ban for a while…

  4. I hear you! Exactly the same thing going on in this house hold. Nothing like a deadline to help move things along 🙂 good luck.

  5. You may find this book helpful: its written by British cycling psychologist and i found it really powerful

  6. i feel your and you are so alike! esp with the dreaming about it and not actually getting round to doing it! oh and the magazine habit…ive got vogues and Conde Nasts stretching back to June sat unread looking at me on the pouffe…. but maybe our atrength of planning should be put to better use….?

    • Haha, yes – imagine what we could get done if we only could get started!! I’m really going to give it a go. Too many things are sitting waiting patiently for me to do them. Things I’ve wanted for too long! But first I need to tackle my magazine mountain 😉


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