When I say you, I mean me. And I’m going to tell you what *I* do when I “don’t know what to do.” And the when is today, right now.
You see I’m in transition. Again. For the last 17 years since the birth of my oldest child I have changed my career, my schedule, my routine, my purpose and just about every form of organizing purpose and structure, repeatedly, to accommodate my ever-vacillating roles as a parent, a home-educator, a domestic goddess and a solopreneur … not to mention my ancillary roles as a partner, family member, community member … I could go on ad nauseum.
Since the graduation of my two boys a month ago, I have been floundering. Typically a type-A, driven personality, I have ordered myself, my home, my boys and my clients with a creative and effective series of schedules, spreadsheets, programs and plans. But you wouldn’t know it if you looked in on me right now. It’s 11:00 am and I haven’t brushed my teeth yet, nor looked at my calendar, nor composed today’s to-do list.
It occurs to me to use one of my own flagship programs for getting out of a funk, but I’m too demotivated to give it a go. My head is full of confusion and a vague sense of apathy and defeat. Big questions about my life purpose and future direction wrap themselves around me like an anchor-chain, rendering me unproductive, inert, paralyzed …
Except that that last part is bullshit, and I know it. I may feel like that, but I can move! I can brush my teeth and get dressed. I can a run a few errands. I can whip out this article. I can click off dozens of things that I know need to be done without a working master-plan. And that’s exactly what I need to do.
Don’t get me wrong, a master-plan is a wonderful thing and magnifies focus and effort toward a goal, like a kick-ass engine on a happy little speedboat. But it’s also a hammer. And a hammer is not the right tool for every job. It’s not the right tool for this job.
When I’m muddled and drowning in apathy, this is not a good time to figure complicated things out. If instead, I give myself permission to simply do stuff; a lot of stuff; any stuff that goes in the right direction, soon enough I will be feeling optimistic and clear-headed. And then, I can figure out a master plan.
So off I go. If you happen to read this article and find yourself in a similar place, join me by responding with the first five actions you take, after you take them. Here are mine:
- Write a Medium story
- Take a Walk
- Tidy Downstairs
I won’t resume “figuring” now that I’ve done these. I’ll keep taking action on my ordinary duties, hour after hour, day after day, until I’m ready to retackle my big questions, or until the answers just materialize – which in my experience, is more likely to happen when I’m not wearing the death shroud of analyzing without action.