consistency

First and foremost, Happy New Year! I have finally returned to this corner of the internet. I hope you like the new layout and theme. πŸ™‚

Despite all of 2020’s uncertainties, one of the larger ‘life lessons’ I learned throughout most of last year was about consistency. In a world that is now rapidly changing and moving (and even more so due to the pandemic where new regulations are introduced every day) having some sort of stability or consistency became an important factor in daily living. Staying consistent has always been an uphill battle for me – look at the frequency of my social media posts, my study hours which fluctuate from week to week, my attempts at working out, reading, and even all of the games and TV shows that I have left unfinished. Perhaps the only consistency in my life is being inconsistent.

And late.

I’m consistently late (I’m so sorry to all friends).

For the second half of 2020 I had the privilege of working with a small team of very talented people. The course I am studying towards requires submitting a major work towards the end of it. This work is a collaborative group effort. We opted to do a simple animation about a girl taking a walk through her neighbourhood (ahh, one can only imagine – I write from isolation).

It was not the first time I had worked in a group – and of course will not be the last – however this group experience was new to me. Firstly, everyone on this team was hardworking and produced high quality material in comparison to myself. Secondly, majority of the work had to be done remotely. Something about this combination of factors felt a little pressuring to me.

As part of this unit, it was compulsory for us to keep an individual time log for hours we had spent working on the project. The procrastinator in me suddenly got very nervous. I didn’t want to let the team down, nor did I want to expose my unhealthy habit for doing tasks last minute. And so I forced myself to learn how to be a more consistent worker.

It was difficult at first – as someone who routinely procrastinated assignments until a few days before their due date – to make myself work when I didn’t feel like it (also please note, I am not talking about paid work here. A job is entirely different). But I knew a project of this caliber would require a consistent work ethic and effort to be completed in a timely manner, and I really did not want to disappoint.

I was initially terrible at it. I think one of the biggest factors that helped me in learning how to be consistent was seeing the time and effort that my team members put into their tasks. Looking at the hours they spent each day on the project gave me an expectation of how much time I should be working and motivated me on days I felt lazy. Make no assumption here, I still suck at it. But I have definitely improved.

I also discovered the joy of being consistent. It was new for me not to feel overwhelmed with work that I was supposed to complete previously. I felt relieved and accomplished. I thanked my past self for coming through when I felt repulsed at the thought of completing my tasks. And I’d like to think that this showed in the quality of my work, too. I had more time to polish and perfect everything because I had actually done it, instead of spending all that time procrastinating and suddenly making up for it.

Although we submitted our project two days late (I am told this is typical as some projects are submitted over a month late!), I am very proud of what we have accomplished, and also proud of myself for learning to overcome one of the less desirable aspects of my character. The film is not yet available for public viewing, but I will be sure to share it when it is.

As this is my first post of 2021, I would also like to address how this learning period affects my goals for this year. I believe my lack of consistency has been something that has greatly hindered my progress and growth. I do not expect to be a master of it through this one experience, however I am grateful for the start of it and now desire to apply what I have learned to other aspects of my life. The challenge here will be that I will be doing this alone, with no one to disappoint (except myself) should I fail. To help me with my goal, I’ve employed the use of several strategies that I have explored over the past few years.

The first, quite simply, are calendars (not a new invention in the slightest) – one for my social events, and one for my social media (I use Jorte Calendar and Google for this as separate widgets on my phone). I also use feed planning applications (Preview and Feed Preview) for posts. Thirdly, I use a physical planner to write out all of my daily and weekly tasks. This includes a habit tracker, for developing healthy habits. I also keep a time log of certain tasks using Toggl Track. It’s been the most useful, so far.

That’s pretty much everything from a technical standpoint.

Is it overkill? Probably.

Do I still do it all anyway? Yes.

Something about filling out my planner, time logs and calendars makes me feel as though I’ve spent my day productively, and helps me to evaluate how I spend my time. It’s often really surprising because I tend to overestimate how quickly I can get something done, which in turn makes me question whether or not an activity is worth it.

It is perhaps important to mention that I have started with very small habits and goals that I believe will be easy to commit to. I’ve tried to set realistic tasks that I can see myself doing on a consistent basis. I know that I will most likely fail throughout the year, however as long as I am trying and improving, I think this pursuit is valuable.

I am making a conscious decision to set time apart each day to fulfill these small goals and habits which I believe I can grow in the future. I’ve also chosen certain applications with a “streak” feature to assist me (I find this appeals to me) such as the Bible app and Duolingo.

I have no inclination whether or not 2021 will be a better year than 2020, however I know that life and time is often what you make of it, and I am determined to make this year a time of learning and growth. πŸ˜€

What do you use to stay on track? What are your goals for this year?

See you soon,

Deborah

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