Deflated

Super Bowl game balls waiting to be laced and inflated
Via NFL on Instagram

I’ve been finding it really hard to get my productivity mojo going this month, and it’s affecting me more than usual. Maybe it’s just all the gossip about underinflated footballs in the news right now, but the current buzzword certainly sums up my mood this week: I feel deflated.

I know that I had things down, I was moving along pretty well right before the holiday break, and I had even planned out where I would pick things up again in the new year. But I had lost more than I realized when I came back to work, forgotten a lot of the nuances of projects I was working on, and what was important and what could wait. And I forgot about how easy it is to get interrupted or distracted by the needs of others.

It’s as if somewhere during those ten days off, all the projects I had been working on left my head, and all my work day routines went with them–woosh! Great for my vacation time, but not so great when I’m back at work and trying to get stuff done.

Maybe I could blame it on the frigid temperatures we’ve been having. That may explain what happened to all the energy and confidence I had, because when I actually sat down to get to work I didn’t know where to start anymore. While I may have remembered what I was working on, I no longer had a sense of what the priorities were.

Starting back into a new year, you kind of want to have a feeling of optimism, a sense of hopeful possibility. But by losing sense of priorities, all the projects I had seemed equally important. I needed to get back into a routine.

I’m not just re-acquiring a routine, but re-building it to match shifts in priorities that pop up, thereby changing the context of all my priorities across all the projects I’m working on. Too many times this month I’ve been ready to get to a long-simmering project only to be derailed because of something even more dormant that suddenly pops into my inbox looking for attention.

But I have faith in myself. And I know others have faith in me. I know that despite new assignments that are suddenly on my plate that weren’t there before, and even a rather large project I’ve brought upon myself, I will only need two things to get back up to speed: good habits, and discipline.

I will only need two things to get back up to speed: good habits, and discipline.

Habits allow me to use my time, tools, and attention most effectively. Discipline is me negotiating with my lizard brain’s need for more dopamine hits of distraction from email and Twitter and YouTube.

I’m finally getting my best habits back into a routine, but I think the discipline will be the hardest part. At least I know what to focus on.

I’d love to make some kind of final comparison here about good habits and discipline being like a well-exectuted football play as the nation prepares to rally around another Super Bowl Sunday. I like a good football metaphor as much as the next guy, but honestly? I really don’t care about football. It’s a silly game.

Baseballs, on the other hand, never deflate. And spring training season is perfect for making comparisons to productivity habits. Hmmm… looks like I have less than a month to work on that blog post. Go Yankees!

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