Do you want to get stuff done in your life? Step 1. Overcome Avoidance

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Google defines avoidance as

  1. The action of keeping away from or not doing something.
  2. The action of repudiating, nullifying, or rendering void a decree or contract.

We know what avoidance is. We really don’t need someone to tell us, or do we?

I am too busy, I have a tight schedule, the kids are in everything, we just don’t have time, have you seen my schedule, I have so much to do. That’s avoidance and those are excuses.

You never hear successful people say things like that. Successful people understand that busyness is idleness in disguise. It’s an unanalyzed life that is afraid to be truthful. It’s afraid to say I don’t want to so it runs around making smoke screens so that others think they are accomplishing something.

Socrates warned us to “beware of the barrenness of a busy life”. Stephen Covey tells us that “when people are crystal clear about the most important priorities and prioritize their work around those top priorities, they are more productive, and discover they have the time they need to have a whole life”. Peter Drucker tells us “that if we don’t manage time, we can manage nothing else”. Henry David Thoreau says “it is not enough to be busy….The question is: what are we busy about?”

Avoidance is a part of our everyday life and extinguishes hope of having the time to work on things that are very important to us. When we are busy running around we have no time to discover why we avoid certain things and what to do about it. The most important parts of success are the everyday moments. It’s all those small things we decide to do day in and day out that add up to accomplishing something great.

I am a MBA student that works two jobs, enjoying a midlife crisis and my husbands’, fielding his consistent messages threatening to quit his job, trying to build three blogs, figure out how to start a side business, finish a house remodel so that we can down size, juggle four adultish children, one graduating high school next month, one moving across the country, one moving back home, and one who just has it all going on where she is. As usual money is a factor in everything. Our main goal of downsizing has been side swiped a few times the past five months by $2,600 in car repairs, a couple trips to the vet, some dentists appointments, a car trade in and new car repairs, and the consistent life sucking needs that life offers you. We keep brushing ourselves off, heading to Lowes, buying carts of crap, and hitting it all over again.

3 Things. These 3 things have stressed the crap out of me. Of course I didn’t admit that. I avoided.

  1. Dealing with getting my car plates done in a timely manner. I just let it go and go until the last minute. Why? More money. I was afraid of how much it would be and all I could think of was, what about the freaking house!
  2. Oil change. Stupid I know. More money. I have been at a car dealer every other week since December. Not a pleasant place. Everyone is so nice when they smile and say that will be $2,600. It also takes time. Yes they lie. They won’t have you out in a jiff. My schedule is tight. I finally got the oil change after I went to the license branch. I found a dealer that was faster and charged a fair amount. So all that silliness just because I “didn’t want to deal with it”.
  3. The dryer. Husband is stressed and working lots of overtime. I had dried loads of clothes for two hours at a time trying to get the loads dry.  I avoided dealing with the problem for weeks because I was “too busy” to deal with this. Calling an expensive repair person was out of the question. My husband was like Google it. I did and two screws later I had the front open and all the lint that fell down in it cleaned out. Guess what? Clothes dry fast when everything is clean. My avoidance stemmed from a fear that I couldn’t fix it and we would have to call a repair person. More money. We will never sell this house and we will be stuck here FOREVER!

Now guess what happens when we accomplish the things we avoid? We feel re-energized, have a smile on our face, feel like tackling bigger problems, and can concentrate on things that are meaningful to us. With those things out of the way I felt more comfortable about sitting down and writing a blog post, updating a website, and reading. I felt more at ease as I completed homework and felt more sure that we will eventually reach our goal of selling the house and changing our lives.

Overcoming Avoidance?

  1. Research. Look at the thing you are avoiding. Is there more you can learn about it? Even if it’s as simple as getting an oil change. The more information you have the better. Information can alleviate fear. I went to the license branch two times before purchasing my plates. The first time to get an estimate of how much things would cost and to be sure I had the right paper work. This made it easier to plan and pay.
  2. Schedule it. Set a time when you will get a task done. I told my husband I was going to go to the license branch and get an oil change on Friday. That’s what I did. I set a time to deal with it. If we don’t we will avoid things for a very long time.
  3. Monitor progress. Due to some understandable and not so understandable circumstances my husband started a bathroom remodel that is needed to sell the house. As the holiday’s got closer last year and our funds went elsewhere he stopped working on the project. The other day I asked about it and if he would rather admit that it wasn’t a good time for him to complete the project and that we should just hire out. He said NO! I looked at him and reminded him that he had started the project a year ago. He said no it’s been a few months. No, it was a year ago. We must monitor progress. Write down what you do, when you start doing it, when you work on it again, and when you have completed it. This is why we have all those project managers at work. We need to monitor progress to ensure things get done in a timely manner and on budget.
  4. Be honest. I simply don’t want to do that. Say that a couple times and it might motivate you to tackle some things. I think if we were honest we could deal with that easier than the excuse of we are too busy.

We are all searching for how to make our lives better when much of that relies upon us. We are looking for the motivation to make big life changes. I know I am. I want to downsize, move, change jobs, and simplify my lifestyle. How in the world am I ever going to do that if I can’t even get to the license branch in a timely manner, get the oil changed, and fix the dryer? What about you?

Marcy Pedersen


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