The 4th Day: An Epiphany about Negative Mindsets

Yesterday’s theory that I had to tackle the least pleasant tasks first (the so-called “eat that frog” approach) was put into action this morning, albeit with less immediate enthusiasm. I found it difficult to wake up this morning, which I suspect was due to a lack of enthusiasm by my subconscious lizard brain. “Sleep, sleep!” my body insisted. I didn’t sleep well the night before, tossing and turning to find the optimum combination of pillows to feel comfortable. I finally moved to the futon couch, and this was oddly more comfortable.

I let the alarm buzz through for two hours, only sitting up when I realized it had stopped buzzing. I also realized that I hate buzzer mode, and like to wake up to radio mode in the morning these days, as it gets the brain primed with enough thoughts to kickstart the body into action. Though I suppose it might also plant DISTRACTIONS too. Oh well.

Out of bed by 900AM, I went downstairs and did a very abbreviated 15M startup. It only took about 5 minutes to review yesterday’s notes and decide on what to do, so the rest of the tie I took the most unpleasant of tasks and started to plod through it. Once started, the task was no longer unpleasant as I flowed into problem solving mode. Again, it’s amazing at how much resistance builds up.

I think the resistance breaks because when I’m thinking of doing a task, I am thinking of how I would rather be doing something else, like work on new notebooks or designs. My resistances are born of impatience and a desire to have immediate results, but the work I must do is not compatible with those impulses. Basically, I’m thinking like a manager instead of a problem solver or a creative.

So, I fight the negative reactions by either attacking the early in the day when I am at my energy peak, or I try to enter a zen-like NO EMOTION state so I can mechanically just get going. Once past the initial barriers, my mind is engaged with the problem and the resistance is gone. Perhaps there’s a way to skip the resistance and move directly into problem solving mode. One way to do that is to drop the expectations of results that I have, and shift to learning. Allow myself the time to wander through a problem and try some stuff, rather than feel under the gun to spend as little time doing research so I can jump right into production. It’s going to take the same amount of time if I do fun research first, indulging my desire to structure information and set things up for efficient production, compared to just jumping into it and discovering that I have to redo the work over again anyway. My expectations, though, are really set by the manager mindset, which is a form of gaslighting.

I’m starting to wander here, so I’ll try to pull it together:

  • The resistance I feel to starting unpleasant tasks are due to negative emotions and the desire to do something else. Or resentment at having to do the task at all for little perceived gain in the near term. I just want the thing done. However, resentment fades once I get into the actual problem solving. Then, it’s interesting because I’m no longer thinking I have to meet some kind of arbitrary expectation on speed of delivery.

  • In other words, I tend to have a manager’s mindset when it comes to looking at tasks in the FUTURE, judging them on several criteria: estimated time, cost in resources, and the emphasis on ASAP. This is a dumb attitude to have for my own projects, especially if there are many unknown factors.

  • Instead of having a manager mindset, perhaps I could reduce the resistance by adopting the creator or explorer mindset in approaching all tasks. Spend time exploring the problem in search of a solution. It usually doesn’t take more than an hour to get to a good ballpark estimate. And it’s OK if the first approach doesn’t work in my book. If you’re doing something new for the first time, estimates are basically guesses. It’s only after the process is formalized can you make GOOD estimates based on prior work logs. But I digress…the main point is that dropping the ASAP mindset would be good for reducing the initial resistance. Everything can be a fun puzzle instead of a drag on my time. It’s entirely a question of having the right mindset, and not letting people gaslight you into thinking you’re not doing it right.

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p>With that in mind, tomorrow is going to be more of the same:

  • Coding!
  • Content Review!
  • Learning New Coding Concepts!

I’ll try to keep the mindset of exploration at the forefront, and trust that the problems will get solved along the way.

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