January: The Wild Ride

So, January was crazy.

I started the year off feeling super confident and ready to make 2024 amazing, but one week in and all that determination melted away like a snowman in a sauna.

My brother ended up in the hospital again, I stopped sleeping well, a bunch of stuff arrived from the Netherlands (filling our house up with boxes to sort through), there were so many projects that I was behind on, and of course, there was Lawless’s release day to prepare for.

I tried so hard to keep up with everything, and be productive, but with the way I was feeling, just getting out of bed every day was a major accomplishment.

Winter tends to be a difficult time of year for me in general as far as motivation goes, so all these external factors only made things worse.

Doing The Work & Fighting The War

In the end, I only did the bare minimum of work for the majority of January. 

The things I couldn’t afford not to do, like my professional projects, and preparations for Lawless’s book release.

Writing is my full-time job, so even though the last few weeks weren’t completely unproductive, I still felt pretty disappointed looking at my list of unfinished tasks and missed deadlines.

This past month was really hard emotionally, but I didn’t want that to stop me from doing my job.

I’m fairly certain that a lot of the issues I dealt with this past month were the result of spiritual warfare. So I started setting aside time to pray and ask God what my next steps should be in this area.

I’m not a robot, so just ignoring the anger, hurt, fear I felt doesn’t work, but completely giving up on my professional projects isn’t an option either.

Finding a balance between giving myself time to work through my emotions, and keeping up with my professional projects, has been pretty tough, and I’m not sure I did it right.

Regaining The Routine

But now that I’m recovering, and my brain feels like it’s back in my head, I’ve been trying to get back into a normal routine.

Which is much easier said than done…

With all the unfinished work and new projects that have sprung up since the start of January, it’s been a huge challenge figuring out what projects to prioritize.

At first I tried to just pick up where I left off, going down the list of tasks and completing them one-by-one. 

Unfortunately, trying to follow my original list led to a lot of confusion, and I ended up forgetting to do some important tasks in the process.

Obviously, I had to try something else. But what?

The Laundry Phenomenon 

If you’re like me, you probably have a pile of clothes in your room—maybe on a chair, dresser, or the floor—that is somehow made up of both clean and dirty clothes.

The pile usually sits there for a while, growing bigger and bigger, cluttering up my room until I start running out of clothes to wear.

When that happens, I could sort through the pile and put away the clean clothes, but I’m usually busy (or I just don’t want to).

So when I finally can’t ignore the clothing pile any longer, instead of sorting through it, I grab the entire pile and throw it in the laundry basket, putting it all in the wash. 

Now I don’t have to sort through the clothes. I know for sure that all of them are clean and ready to be put away.

And that’s the approach I decided to take for my professional work.

A Professional Restart

Instead of sorting through the tasks on my list, trying to figure out which ones to prioritize, or feeling bad about the projects that I wanted to finish weeks ago but didn’t, I threw my list out entirely so I can start fresh.

Now, I can recreate the list and make sure I prioritize the right projects, while getting rid of or postponing some of the projects that aren’t as important.

The method of throwing your pile of clothes into the wash only works if you put them away right after they’re clean and dry (otherwise they end up right back in a pile, and the cycle starts all over again). 

Similarly, throwing out my previous list of tasks and creating a new one will only work if I actually do the tasks on the new list, instead of letting the due-dates pass me by again.

So, that’s my next step!

Before You Go…

How was your January? Do you feel like you started 2024 off strong, or are you also ready for a restart?

Let me know down in the comments!

Read last week’s blog here.

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