Victory laps: complete it or delete it
Daniel and I have a regular call, once a week, for about an hour.
Sometimes there’s some catching up—but most of that happens in the chat channels we’re in.
The weekly calls are usually about more substantial stuff. What’s happening in our respective lives that needs reflection. What we’re doing—or not doing.
Sometimes I come with a problem, and he’s a good listener and an insightful coach. Sometimes it’s the reverse.
Yesterday was my turn
to whineto articulate a problem.
It was my usual issue: I’m not getting done the things that I want to get done, writing in particular.
Daniel asked some excellent questions, a few I’m still chewing on. Then he and offered a great suggestion: when I finish a piece of writing, take a victory lap.
So I did, and then I did.
I wrote Circus, circus.
And then I took a victory lap.
Quietly, because Bobbi was sleeping.
And man, did it feel great.
For the record, the problem was this:
I love writing. As I have written so often I’m not going to link.
The process of finishing a piece of writing—checking the grammar, the formatting, and so on, has become bearable, thanks to my work on coming up with a better process. See Authoring, improved.
But the end of the process is still a slog. And when I finally push the publish button—if get to that point without quitting—my energy is at its lowest ebb.
Later, when I’ve recovered, my Future Self will be glad that his Past Self pushed through and published.
But on the evidence, most Future Selves have not been glad enough to endure the slog.
Finishing a piece of writing is a joyless task, and that joylessness seems to have back-propagated.
(Question for Future Me: does it have to be joyless? Probably not.)
So my selves have been quitting earlier and then not even starting.
“Next time, take a victory lap,” Daniel suggested. “Really celebrate.”
I recognized immediately it was the advice I needed.
Thank you, Daniel!
Later, I realized that Past Me had given me advice a lot like that.
And I’d forgotten it.
Probably because I didn’t make a practice of it.
And probably because, as Past Me wrote, all productivity systems stop working
I made a commitment to Daniel (and for and on behalf of Future Me) to get rid of a piece of inventory every day.
Ideally, finish something that had been started and not completed.
Acceptably, delete something that wasn’t worth completing.
Complete it or delete it!
My new mantra.
So I did it.
And then, that victory lap.
Man, that felt good.
And I know it’s going to feel good when I do my lap after I publish this one.