Do you suffer from Squirrel Complex?

24 May Do you suffer from Squirrel Complex?

I just spent the weekend with two of my girlfriends. We had a lot of fun and we talked—a lot. The more we talked, the more evident it became: My friends have Squirrel Complex.

 

It goes something like this:

Go to the pile of papers on the desk.

Start looking at it.

Look around and see a different pile.

Think about it.

Decide that the other pile is more important.

Move to the second pile.

Start looking at it.

Look around and see a different pile.

Think about it.

Decide that the other pile is more important.

More to the third pile.

 

As you can imagine, it’s exhausting. It’s an inability to focus on one thing—they start a task and then crawl into their heads, stop what they are doing, and move to something else, without ever finishing the first task. The cycle keeps going.

My friend said it like this: “It’s like being a squirrel, look up and something distracts and then I am off to the next thing!” She shouted “Squirrel!” and laughed. Yet I heard the undercurrent.

She’s not unlike many other women. We beat ourselves up because feel like we never get anything done. And we’re not getting anything done because we are paralyzed by overwhelm. The sheer volume of what has to be done is crippling.

My friend compares herself with others: “My house is always a mess; my desk is always a mess; I never get anything done”. She falls down the rabbit hole and then starts the path of shame. The ol’ “I’m not good enough.” Voice shows up. And to think, it all started with a pile of papers.

 

Here’s how to combat Squirrel Complex (and cut yourself a break):

  1. Stop the self-talk. You are good enough. You just need some tools to help get things done. When the voice starts, tell it to shut up.
  1. Work in bit size chunks. Maybe looking at everything that needs to be done is too much. Break it down into pieces— a sum of the parts.
  1. Get a timer. Set it for 15 minutes, then tackle a pile or task for that period of time. When the timer goes off, you can choose to continue to keep going for another 15 or do something else.
  1. Make a list. Then, when you have 15 minutes, grab the list and pick one of the things on it. Set your timer and go. Once you’re done, cross it off and be super proud of yourself.
  1. Accept that some thing’s are not important to you. Stop worrying about what others think. You may not care if the island in your kitchen is clean or not. If you don’t care then move on.
  1. At the end of the day, break out your journal and write 3 successes from the day. Start recognizing what you did get done today.

 

Squirrels are for the garden not for you. Do something different today, just one small thing. The small things add up and before you know it you will be finishing what you start.

 

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