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Time and Self Sabotage
Self sabotage takes many forms. Most of them half hidden, lurking in the shadows, glimpsed only out of the corner of our eyes.
Last month I finally caught COVID. I was well boosted and it was pretty much fine - four days or so in bed and then the drag of tiredness and low mood that seems to trail after it. But fine.
It left me however feeling a bit ‘behind’. There were a few things that I should have done for people in those days that I spent resting, there were a number of things that I should have got started for the launch of the Studio Club next month. Not masses of things, but enough to make me feel time poor. The rush got into my head.
I began to notice a couple of weeks ago that small things started to go wrong - I accidentally deleted a number of pages on the website, I ordered the wrong kind of embroidery transfer paper to include in A Seasonal Way. I put it down to a post COVID brain fog, shrugged and speeded up.
But instead of getting better, it got worse. I kept making stupid small mistakes. Small mistakes that took ages to sort out - I used the wrong type of survey to gather information about a Studio Club pen pal project and couldn’t access the information, except by going through every single answer, cutting and pasting. I thought that I had broken my camera, but had simply omitted to empty my computer bin and had clogged up the card - it took me two hours of googling panic to remember that was ‘a thing’.
Worst of all - my escapologist puppy Teasel slipped past me as I carelessly opened the front door. He ran into the road, in front of a car, only surviving because our neighbours are careful drivers, had their car window open, heard me scream and slammed on the brakes.
It was when I accidentally refunded the wrong person their Supper Club payment that I looked back and saw the pattern. All these mistakes were things that cost me time. Not money or health or peace of mind (Teasel excepted), but time.
By reverting to my habit of rushing, by not pausing or being present, I had begun to self sabotage. My brain believing that there must be a need for all this speed only gave over part of the attention, skimming, multi-tasking - doing all the things that it used to do back when I was very inefficient and accident prone. All the self sabotaging things that waste time, having to redo, rewrite, reorder. Having to email people to apologise, having to sort information line by line with a marker pen in hand, having to hysterically chase after small dogs and then lie down to recover.
In the past I have had similar things where worrying about lack of money seemed to lead to a myriad of waste and small financial losses, where a period of general health anxiety as I waited a week for test results ‘co-incided’ with me standing on a rusty nail, burning my hand on the oven and walking into a wasps nest. It is as though my mind gets on board with whatever I am worrying about and says ‘bring it on . . . let’s find some more bothersome things on this theme”
So now I know to pay attention - even if it takes me a few weeks to notice the pattern - and pause. I started with a proper analysis of how much I actually need to do in the next three weeks (before I head off on holiday) and was firm about the things that aren’t actually essential, scoring them out with a flourish. Then I began to build gaps and firebreaks back into my days.
I have written about Gaps and Firebreaks before - slivers of time, a stopping and breathing - deliberately put in between activities . This very simple action demonstrates to my brain in a very physical way that there isn’t a rush, that we can stop the speeding skim.
That it is safe to slow down and pay attention.
Thinking a lot about time this week has however been very useful. To have such a practical demonstration of how fickle and false my perception of time can be has been incredibly useful. For I am currently in the middle writing a free, four week course called A Wilder Way which is all about making sure that you have time to do the things you really want to do.
So, if you feel that life is rushing by too fast, and that you are ready to start reclaiming your time, then I would love it if you join me to start rewilding the edges of your life next month. You can sign up to get the weekly emails here.
The course will begin on 2nd September and runs until 23rd September - the Autumn equinox - a time of year that is perfectly aligned for renewal and transformation. It also just happens to be when there is that wonderful ‘back to school’ energy flying around and the lure of the newly sharpened pencil.