I’ve talked recently about using visualization as a tool to find the motivation to finish something, and that technique really saved me this week! This was one of those “crunch time” weeks with both work and school. Concerts to direct, grades to fill out, papers to write, etc… Now, unfortunately, this is also December- my absolute favorite time of year- and I wasn’t going to give up some of my favorite holiday traditions to sit and write a paper all day. Last Sunday, I had a marathon Christmas cookie baking session with a few friends. We had so much fun and ended up baking about 12-dozen cookies. What a blast! But, I had a 15-page paper due the next week and as soon as they left, I knew I had to get to work. The problem was, after a whole afternoon of baking, I wanted to curl up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate, not my laptop.
It was very tempting to tell myself that I could just finish the paper later. I started to think through my week and figured that if I worked through all of my lunches and skipped out on my husband’s work party I could still get the paper done and not have to work on it right then. When we don’t want to do something, we do a pretty job convincing ourselves that we’ll somehow feel more inspired to do our work later. I knew there was no way I was going to feel any more like writing the paper on my lunch breaks than I did right now. I visualized how great it would feel to climb into bed that night knowing my paper was done- to be able to go to work in the morning and not worry about finding any spare moment I could to keep writing. Armed with that delightful vision of a completed paper, I sat down and got to work.
After about 5 pages though, the urge to flop down on the couch and watch TV was creeping up again. I could hear my inner voice say, “Good for you! You got 5 pages done! You’ll do the rest later.” No. I didn’t want a partially done paper. I wanted a finished paper. How often have you started something, decided you’d do the rest later, and then wished so badly you had just finished it while you were on a roll? Every time I wanted to stop, I visualized starting my workweek completely free from the pressures of this paper, and kept going.
I got it done. All of it. It took about 5 hours, but crawling into bed that night knowing it was done and that I wouldn’t have to worry about it was even better than I’d imagined.