Skip to main content

Take A Small Piece

For most of this year, I've been working on a political campaign. The good news is that my candidate won; the bad news is that I've neglected a lot of people and projects along the way.

For example, my house is a hot mess. I can't remember the last time I cleaned baseboards. But for my husband, the film crew from "Hoarders" would be on my front door step. And that's just the tip of the iceberg of things that I neglected or ignored during the campaign, including my husband.

Anyone who has ever worked on a campaign can tell you that it is a job unto itself. Add to that my day job, and, but for the furloughs, I'd have been hospitalized for exhaustion.

When I think of all the things I neglected and all that lies ahead, like getting ready for the holidays, I just want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head until, say, January 2011.

To make matters worse, I'm reading Condoleezza Rice's memoir of her family, "Extraordinary, Ordinary People," in which she admits that not only has she been a procrastinator, she remains so to this day.

Great. One of the most accomplished women in the world procrastinates, just like I do. I really wish she hadn't shared that. Not the encouragement I need right about now.

I do have to give myself credit, though. Instead of being totally overwhelmed into procrastination, my usual M.O., my mantra for trying to get my life back on track has been this: Take a small piece.

It's so easy to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the tasks before you, especially if you've neglected them for, say, six and a half months. Now I don't even allow myself to think about how much I have to do or how much time I have in which to do it. I just say to myself, "Take a small piece."

For example, I desperately needed to organize my office at work, especially my desk. My inability to find files for my cases and projects was starting to hamper my work performance. But when I looked at my office and the two foot high piles on my desk, I just wanted to crawl under my desk.

Instead, I said, "Just start with a corner of your desk. Take a small piece and work on that." I'm ashamed to admit to the undeserved degree of accomplishment I felt just by getting the files off of one corner of my desk and organized into my file cabinet. It was childlike, for sure, to the point that I even rewarded myself with Starbucks because I felt like I had "done something." But I did: I started. And if just saying to myself, "Take a small piece," was what I needed to do to get me started, it worked.

I'm glad to report that 90% of the piles on my desk are gone, replaced with photos of my husband, pets, and siblings. My file cabinet is organized, and I'm still taking a small piece, so to speak -- working on discrete sections of my office and the one remaining pile, a little at a time. I've got other things I have to work on, too, but now I can work on them because I can actually work at my desk. I'm even back to editing my book, a small piece at a time.

So if you're like me and you've been feeling overwhelmed by large tasks that grew bigger while you ignored them or while you procrastinated, stop beating yourself up about it. Take a small piece. Just get started. And reward yourself when you finish with that small piece. Trust me, it will get and keep you motivated.


Popular posts from this blog

When You Leave The Ghetto, Don't Bring It With You

NBA player Gilbert Arenas brings a gun to an NBA locker room. NBA player Ron Artest lets his pit bulls run wild and free in Loomis, California while playing for the Sacramento Kings. NFL player Michael Vick did time for fighting dogs. And NFL player Plaxico Burress is doing time for shooting his damn self.

What do all these men have in common? BMNB would say an inability to make a profound paradigm shift. I’m less eloquent than BMNB is, so I’ll say it differently: The inability to leave the ghetto behind.

Yes, call me saditty, bourgie, elitist, stuck-up, whatever. I don’t care. Until you’ve had a tweaker ruin your Thanksgiving turkey, you don’t even know (more on that later), and I’m not trying to hear you.

Living in Western Placer County, my husband and I continue to hear stories from folks like us who had to flee “those who can’t leave the ghetto behind.” You know these people, and they come in all races. In our case, we had returned to Sacramento in 2004 and 2005, respective…

Black Woman Blogging's Gun Control Proposal

Thanks to a relative who sent me death threats, I became a gun owner. Reluctantly.  What can I say.  You don't choose your family.

That said, I'm for gun control.

As far as I'm concerned, America lost its moral compass when we didn't do squat after Sandy Hook.  If you can allow a madman to murder children and not be moved to do nothing, you have no moral compass.  Period.

Now that we've broken an unfortunate record for the number of people killed in a mass shooting, perhaps we as a country are ready to get our minds right about gun control.  Perhaps.  So in that spirit, I offer my gun control proposal.

First, we need to agree on some real (not alternative) facts and principles:

1.  There is no such thing as an unlimited right.  Yes, people, there are no unlimited rights protected under the Constitution.  Your right to free speech?  Well, not all speech is protected under the First Amendment and even protected speech can be limited by time, place and manner.  Your…

Retired Man Walking: Too Young to Retire, Too Old to Take Shit

A while back I ran into a friend and fellow professional employed by the State of California, and he offered me his perspective on State employment as a tail-end Baby Boomer like myself -- someone who can't retire because he lacks the requisite age or years of service, but, unlike myself, is tired of taking shit from superiors who don't know what to do with you.

Although my friend gave his permission for me to use his name in this blog entry, I decline to do so because what he does is so specialized that it would not be hard for anyone to identify him as one of the few African American men, if not the only African-American man, in California state civil service who does what he does. For purposes of this blog entry, I will refer to him as he now refers to himself:  Retired Man Walking.

Retired Man Walking, or RMW, has an interesting philosophy he applies to working for the State as a professional who isn't old enough to retire but has been around long enough to know the s…