3 lessons I’ve learnt about how to move from thinking to doing

How many times have you made the decision to start something new: write an abstract, start a new project, join a group or committee, start a blog, apply for a job, and then, nothing happens? It’s easy to convince yourself that the timing wasn’t right, or that it was too hard or you aren’t ready (hot tip: you’ll never be ready), we’ve all done that. When I’m stuck in that “I want to start but am caught in the headlights” position, I remind myself of these three points to force myself into action.

You will make mistakes

I’ve made a lot of mistakes, so have you. Lots and lots of mistakes. Each mistake has been an opportunity for reflection and to figure out how to fix it next time. Obviously I’ve ignored the opportunity to reflect sometimes, wallowed in my mistake and never tried again. Hasn’t everyone?

When you can recognise the learning opportunity that comes with mistakes, then you’re on to something. Find how to fix the mistake, document the process, tell someone you stuffed up and explain how you’ll do it better next time. If I had given up the first time I stuffed something up, well there would be no Turbitt in Turbitt & Duck. And probably no library degree hanging on my wall or…well you get the picture. We all make mistakes. Dare to be bad. And then keep going.

There is no gatekeeper, there is no gate.

You will never be ready

This has been written so many times before by many other people. You will never be ready. So you may as well take the first step, get started and make some mistakes. Apply for that job, ask someone to help you rewrite your resume, start that research, return to study, ask for a secondment, learn how to paint, start that zine, write the abstract.

There will never be the right time for any of these things so you may as well start now.

The starting is the hard bit for lots of people, particularly if you’re partial to procrastination and perfectionism. To you I say, the first version is going to be a bit shit, so you may as well get it out of your system.

You Aren’t Lazy – You’re Just Terrified: On Paralysis and Perfectionism.

Everything you need is within your reach

If you are starting a new project, wanting to know more about yourself, looking at a new field of study or research, wanting to find a buddy to start a podcast with, thinking about writing a conference abstract, everything you need is out there waiting for you.

And if you have a library qualification, you are more than capable of finding what you need to get started.

Reach out, ask for help, connect with people. Don’t be an island. Isolation is the dream killer so be loud and proud about what you’re doing. Turbitt & Duck came about because Amy and I shared our dreams and ideas with each other. I’ve wanted to start a podcast for a long time, but it took opening up to Amy who understood what I was rambling about to make it happen.

Sharing your plans, dreams or project may also give you the accountability that you need to keep going. If you’re worried about getting it “right”, refer to points 1 and 2. Take small steps if you need to, but just start.

Isolation is the dream killer.

What’s one thing you can do right now, one small step, that will start you moving towards your goal?

Stressed? I haven’t got time!

Time management and stress management was the theme of the first #auslibchat for 2018 and if you’re looking for a Twitter chat full of suggestions, puns, GIFs and support, jump over there immediately and bookmark/Pocket/Pinterest/print all the things. Seriously, if you need one reason to join Twitter, do it for this monthly chat. Instead of typing several long tweets with links to resources, it seemed like a nice idea to capture them here.

Here are some of my go-to stress and time management tools, in no particular order:

Learning how to live, work and get through the hard stuff

  1. Listening to stories and ideas about life (personal and professional) is my main stress management tool (particularly combined with point 3 on this list). Individual experiences, what went wrong and right, embracing change, developing new skills or becoming more resilient . . . it might not sound like stress management to you, but it definitely works for me. Listening and learning makes me feel more ok about myself and who I am. Try Discover Your Talent Do What You Love, How To Be Awesome At Your Job, Made of Human, Get Your Sh*t Together, Happier In Hollywood and By The Book.
  2. Cognitive behaviour therapy helped me change thought patterns and identify stressors before they take over. Sarah Edelman’s Change Your Thinking is an excellent introduction to CBT. My other favourite book to understand the mind and how to break free of negative self-talk is F*ck Feelings: Less Obsessing, More Living by Dr Michael Bennett and Sarah Bennett.
  3. Going outside on a break or at lunch is hugely beneficial to your mental health. Look at the sky, find some grass and take your shoes off, or just sit. Whatever works, just go outside!

Time is of the essence but also hard to wrangle

  1. Pomodoro keeps me focused for short bursts and then gives me time to wander away for a few minutes to make tea, talk to the dogs, look out the window without feeling guilty.
  2. Putting everything in my calendar, blocking out time for each task on my to do list.
  3. Headphones with music that match what I’m doing is great for keeping focused. (Now I’m working from home, I can dance and work to my hearts content – win!) I’m a big fan of wearing headphones in the office, don’t worry about offending people, just do it if you think you will get more done or need to tune out office chat!

One final thought

Having a friend (work colleague, non-work colleague, partner, parent, neighbour etc) to debrief with when work becomes too much is so important. Find that safe person, they could be online or right in front of you. It’s good to just say all the things and hear “OMG that’s terrible/stressful/have you thought about…”. And if you see someone online who seems to be struggling, reach out and send them a friendly GIF or message, whatever works. It could make all the difference.

P.S. The cards in the image are Affirmators! (50 Affirmation Cards to Help You Help Yourself – without the Self-Helpy-Ness!) and the weekly planner is from Kmart ($3!!!)

Hello 2018.

Edna Mode’s words are guiding me in 2018.

 

(I wrote a post for Letters to a Young Librarian you might like to read. Tell me what you think. I’ll be over here working on my superhero costume. No capes!)

 

 

 

There’s no denying it

… I love podcasts.  There are so many podcast episodes on my phone that I either need an extra two hours in the day, or to get up earlier for more listening time. Here’s hoping someone can arrange those extra two hours…

Pocketcast (podcast app of choice) is full of personal development, comedy and people chatting about things. Of course, I’m also listening to gain more knowledge about hosting and editing podcasts for Turbitt & Duck, and it’s great there are so many formats and styles out there for me to learn from. These are a few episodes that ticked the “enjoyed” and “learnt something” boxes recently.

Librarians with Lives

Librarians with Lives is a new UK library podcast by Jo Wood and her first episode with Helen Berry is a cracker. Helen’s library career has been Diverse with a capital D. If you’ve ever wondered about moving between libraries and specialisations, this is a great episode. Helen is also very honest about career choices that were wrong for her and why. Have a listen! LwL Podcast Episode 1: Helen Berry

The Guilty Feminist

If you’re a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fan, you’ll enjoy the glimpse into what it takes to get their brilliant songs on TV: Episode 55. Pioneers with Rachel Bloom

How to Be Awesome at Your Job

No matter hard you try to avoid it, office politics is a thing…: Episode 213: Surviving and Winning Office Politics with Dorie Clark

Really enjoyed the quick rundowns of different personality frameworks and what they aren’t good for: Episode 215: Expanding Self-awareness Using the Top Personality Frameworks with Anne Bogel

Nerdette

Felicia Day’s book is excellent and I read it at a time when life was tricky and hard and it made me feel better about being myself. So I’m happy to listen to her talk anytime!: Felicia Day on Being Weird, Hard Work and Women in Hollywood

I stopped watching Doctor Who after David Tennant left, but have always felt a tiny bit of regret that I missed the River Song storyline. This episode has got me curious and who knows…maybe I’ll dip my toe back in: ‘Doctor Who’ Star Alex Kingston On The Women Who Drive The Tardis

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

I’ve always struggled with to do lists, but a Ta-Da! list? Yes please! Also has some excellent thoughts on ambition: Episode 134: Write a Ta-Da! list

That’s it for now! Listened to any good podcasts lately? I’d love to hear about what you’ve been enjoying.

 

Dear You

Dear You (and me),

Never ever apologise for who you are.

OWN IT.

Love,

Sally

P.S. Read this. Listen to this. Dance to this or this.