Blog, Self Discovery

Thinking or doing?

Thinking or doing? 

I think a lot. About so many different things – the obvious ones, like my research, and the less obvious ones, like whether I replied to that message 6 years ago with the right tone of voice, or just exactly how uncomfortable I will feel wearing whatever I’ve decided to wear in public, or specifically how much better than me each person is that I’ll meet that day. My brain is a champion at overthinking. There is nothing it does better.

I’ll sit and think about all the things I’ll do once I have some energy, or how the room will look when I manage to move furniture around, or the things I could do with my blog. Planning ideas, thinking about humanity, society, the universe, the nature of truth… I can spend hours diving into this in depth in my brain. But for all this thinking, I’m getting nowhere. I’ll plan, weigh up all outcomes, look at one side, the other side, the upside, the downside… but I find it really hard to actually do anything.

Yes, a good think is very useful sometimes. But there comes a time when it’s time to just get on with it and stop overthinking. I’m quite situation-specific – in my previous jobs, I could make decisions and get on with tasks straight away, whilst at home I dithered and couldn’t decide. This is still the same, to an extent. As a student, I no longer ‘work’ in a job, as such, even though research still takes up a significant amount of time per week. However, because I don’t see it as work (yet), I’m finding that indecision creeping into that part of my life, too.

I’ve filled notebooks with plans, ideas and steps, but there they stay, never becoming reality. This is a great idea, I’ll think to myself, fully intending to proceed with the ‘action’ part of it. That action part hardly ever materialises. I’m just finding it hard to get my head down and do – well, anything.

How do I push myself to take action? I’m not too sure. I’ve found that slowing down and getting through some health issues the last few years has meant I spent way more time in an unstructured environment with plenty of time for daydreaming. I’ve become less used to having to make decisions under pressure (gladly) but along with this, the impetus to make any decisions at all seems to have faded away as well.

Finding a way in is important to me. I feel more stable and that it’s time to begin the long process of getting my life back on track after a general tumult of the last few years. Usually, I’d jump straight in, changing everything at once and hoping it stuck (spoiler alert: usually it did not). Instead, I’ve decided to make it as easy as possible for me to start. Facing up to the enormity of something like getting to a point where I feel healthy once more is hard. It’s a brick wall, standing in front of the momentum I need. I need to find a crack in that wall.

Now, in deciding this, I’ve found a slight problem. I’ve spent hours planning out all of the things I could do to start the ball rolling. But not started anything! Can I just ‘begin’? The fact I’m writing this entire post instead of doing anything on that list points to the answer. It’s not that I want to ‘find motivation’ or whatever it is that we’re told we should be doing. I just want to be able to begin, motivated or not.

I’ve not got the answer yet. Maybe it’s to stop being so impatient and know that it’ll come when I’m ready. Maybe one day I’ll wake up and begin. It’s time to find a way to take that step forward, easy or not.

3 thoughts on “Thinking or doing?

  1. You’ve described it exactly! I find change in circumstances or when stress/anxiety is up, I do this. These things have worked really well for me… I routinise a LOT, so there’s 1 obvious choice. I do something I need to (though don’t enjoy) and follow it with something I do enjoy or find easy. I keep to 3 step plans, then make fresh ones as I work through bigger jobs. Progress may be slow but I can still see it, that way. I have 1 list of things to do. Each time I add 2 items or do 2 of them, I cross 1 out (without doing it). Anything vital gets done. Things that are repeatedly overlooked, are either unnecessary or I need help from someone else. In that instance, it’s scheduled on the calendar.

    There’s a lot happening in the world and you’re doing a lot of heavy research. Your brain is clearly enjoying all the “new” it has to play with. Maybe build in an hour each day you can crash / sleep, then have a few tiny things you do afterwards to encourage your body and mind back into that natural swing between activity and rest? 🙂

    1. I’ve tried this over the last week or so Lou, thank you! It seems to be helping. I’ve written things to do each day of the week, and categorised them according to how hard they are to do. Then made sure hard tasks are interspersed with nice, enjoyable things! Then stuck it all on my fridge. It’s made a difference – like you said, I can see progress happening, however small and slow it might be. I took 2 weeks off uni work to try and clear my head so hopefully will get back into that this week! xx

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