Dealing with setbacks

I’ve had one of those weeks.

Although the work that ensures my livelihood is meaningful and exciting, I’ve committed a lot this week to my day job and to my freelance work. This has meant that my snack writing regime is not in action and I’ve barely thought about my own creative projects. It’s a frustrating week and I barely have time to write this post. I chose to do this, because at least it is writing for my own goals.

We all have setbacks when it comes to our own goals, and I’ve been going pretty hard for the first few weeks of 2018, so it’s no surprise I’ve had an early fall.

Falling at the first hurdle isn’t the problem, it’s not getting back up. So here are three tips for how you get up and keep going.

1. Think about what you have achieved, despite your setbacks

Despite having a busy week, I had a really good conversation with a former lecturer from my undergrad about my major goal of becoming a PhD candidate. They asked for me to write something up and I wrote it and sent it through. This is actually writing for myself – so that is a huge positive step towards this goal.

I had some awesome wins at work, and in my freelance/teaching gig, too! I also exercised for more than an hour three days this week, which is huge! If I was having a normal week, all of this would have been a massive achievement, but I’m having a crazy week and still managed to tick off some big-ticket items.

It’s always important to take stock and bask in your achievement. Sometimes we forget to think about that stuff.

2. Look for the light!

Work, life and everything gets busy. But this is a temporary state. My second tip is simple, look for the light. Look for that gap where the work is easing and you’ll have time again.

For me, that’s this Sunday. That’s when I’ll finish marking for the two subjects that had assignments due at the same time. This can happen when you are a sessional tutor, you are working to a predefined schedule that isn’t planned around you.

3. Plan ahead for when things calm down

Take ten minutes. I know you’re busy. BUT! Take ten minutes and put time in your diary or calendar to devote to the thing you couldn’t work on while you were busy.

The temptation is to say, ‘I just need a break.’ You might, so put that break in your diary, too! Schedule the s### out of your life, even the downtime.

On my first day out of this mayhem, I have one hour of Netflix in my diary, and then it’s back to writing. I took some time this morning to schedule in snack writing time in the first week so I can work my way to some binge writing sessions on the weekend.

I’m so guilty of letting these busy times be the excuse for why I didn’t meet my goal again. But the fact is that this is temporary. I’m holding myself to account and making sure I don’t let this first hurdle be the precursor to failure.

Keep writing!

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