has a new relationship just blossoming, as well as working full time and has a business she’s growing on the side too. She mentioned that what’s keeping her going is the thought that once she’s moved house, she can properly rest. It got us talking about the deals we make with ourselves. Those inner bargaining chips, or carrots, that we use to keep going, to accomplish something, sometimes something that we maybe don’t want to do.
I recognise that at times, when I’ve over committed, there’s a part of me that starts getting desperate for alone time, for down time. So I’ll often look at my calendar and schedule in my next break. The inner dialogue goes a bit like “This isn’t ideal, this is a bit too much but do this, dig deep, show up, and then you get to rest and watch movies all day on Sunday.” It’s enough for me to keep going, maybe I pout a little inside but there’s light at the end of the tunnel and it helps me to accomplish what I need to do.
Equally important is making note of why I feel this way, how the situation came about that’s made it all feel too much and what I can do to minimise it happening again. This is all valuable information about ourselves that helps us with forward planning and better time and energy management.
These inner bargaining conversations are also a chance to exercise the 4 Ds. Especially Delay. A client made me very proud at the start of the last school holidays. He told me that he’d decided to clear his calendar for the two weeks of everything that could wait, till his kids were back to classes. He told me that exercising this time management skill had come quite easily to him once he recognised that looking at his calendar was causing him anxiety.
“Why am I feeling stretched and stressed? They are my priority. Let’s delay all non-essential calendar entries and pick up again after the break.”
We talked about the mindset shift that he’s undertaken to get to this point. It’s been huge for him to feel that he hasn’t failed. That by doing this, he’s not ‘caving’. And that these things aren’t ‘over’, they are just put off temporarily. By doing this he was able to give himself relief and his kids the attention they deserve.
Bargaining with ourselves and using our calendar to play with our perception of time, are a set of mind games that our brains respond to. How we motivate, convince, and entice ourselves to accomplish things changes throughout the course of our life and often hinges on the relationship of meeting inner and outer expectations. The next time you feel under pressure or unsure about completing a task, take a moment and observe what it is that you need to get over the hump. What’s your carrot?