So in a slight continuation of my last post on self-reflection and trying to stretch the comfort zone, I thought I’d share my reflections on my inner critic or imposter syndrome. To date–I haven’t named my inner critic, though I may name it at some point.

So in addition to doing the work of filling in my comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram, I was also wanting to see if I could notice any little habits that I had when I didn’t feel like doing something I know I should be doing. I figured if I could notice these habits, I was at least a step or two closer to dealing with inner critic dragging me back into the comfort zone.

So far that list is at five different things (that I’ve currently noticed over the past few weeks):

Constantly brushing my hair and looking for split ends to trim.

Scrolling through social media (namely Facebook) and amazon, plus checking my email constantly when I feel like I hit a mental ‘brick’ wall.

Turning to the kindle and either reading (or re-reading) a book, or deciding to do ‘just one more color by number picture’

With the weather warming up, I will go outside (usually after lunch) and sit at the patio table. I may or may not take anything outside with me, and if I do take something outside it is usually my camera.

Starting to outline (or write rough drafts) on different topics, and then ‘talk’ myself out of continuing through to a final publishable article.

So how am I working around these derailing habits?

In terms of ‘playing’ with my hair–I’m starting to braid it in the morning. While it doesn’t stop me from looking for split ends before braiding or later in the evening after washing my hair, it does keep me from doing it during the day. My thoughts were if I go through the trouble of braiding my hair, I won’t unbraid just to look for split ends. So far this has been working for me.

I will also possibly ‘stop’ the habit, whenever it is safe for me to go and get a haircut. Also by safe I mean that I’ve gotten the SARS-CoV2 vaccine, but will still wear a mask out in public. Since my last haircut was before the pandemic hit, my hair is the longest it has been in several years (just about to the bottom of my shoulder blades). So while I have this ‘habit’ under control, that is when I started noticing the other habits.

So in terms of trying to control the ‘mindless scrolling’ on the computer–I have downloaded an ‘time management’ app that is suppose to help with this issue. I haven’t used it yet, and the excuse for not using it is extremely flimsy: ‘since I randomly click back to Facebook or amazon or ‘whatever site’, how can I set a time period? I don’t know when I’ll be randomly wandering the web.’

I scroll though the web when I’m bored or feeling ‘stuck’ and wanting to ‘look’ productive. Also, most of the ‘groups’ that I’m in post on Facebook, but I can’t use that as an excuse for not being better at time management.

So what I’m going to do is 1) make a list of all the different groups I’m in on Facebook, and then make a schedule of when I ‘check-in’ on those groups (scrolling through, liking, commenting, and posting); 2) then based on that schedule-activate the time management app around it for Facebook. I should probably just have it set up to keep me off of amazon for majority of the day (or possibly only allow myself on it on the weekends); this will also help in limited spending challenge.

In terms of turning to the kindle constantly, the best way to deal with that habit will be to turn off the kindle and have it slightly out of sight (but still charging) for the day. The only times it may not be ‘out of sight’ will be the days when I decide to read (and possibly write out book reviews) outside during the nice weather.

That brings me to the biggest hurdle–nice weather. I like being outdoors when the weather is nice and warm (but not too terribly warm). My problem is actually not making proper use of the time outdoors. Sitting and daydreaming, or just sitting in general isn’t really the problem–the problem is doing those two things for several hours at a time.

So until it really becomes the gardening weather (where I can transplant some ground cover between different aresa of the yard, do basic yard work, or plant flowers and bushes), I will be trying to improve the time I spend outdoors.

I will either 1) have my laptop outside, sitting to where the sun doesn’t really hit the screen, to work on things for an hour or so (before having to take the laptop back in to charge); 2) have a notebook (or two) and just journal/write/doodle/sketch; 3) have my kindle and a journal with me and try to get at least one rough draft of a book review written; and finally 4) think of possibly investing in an iPad and have that outside for me to work on.

I will probably have my camera outside with me most day to work on my nature photography skills and possibly architecture photography skills as well.

In terms of the ‘writer’s block’–I’m acknowledging the fact that people may or may not read what I write and post. I realized this with the science recaps I did back in January–one had been viewed and the other one hadn’t been viewed. I’m still brainstorming what I think would be the best way to continue doing science new recaps, and having people actually read the article. Since I’m thinking of going in the direction of freelance writer and blogger–I have acknowledged the fact that it will take time to find my ‘tribe’ of people.

The best way for me to improve as a writer is to write and share my thoughts and views. Currently that has been mainly on the blog–some posts have people stop and read, others are just scrolled past. I also realize that I need to work through various courses that I’ve bought on different forms of writing (such as copy writing) and then figure out what ‘types’ of writing I want to focus on (say blog writing, copy writing, and possibly scientific/educational) and go from there.

So those are currently the five different ways that my inner critic/imposter syndrome use to keep me out of the stretch/risk/die zones and ‘safely’ within my comfort zone. My goal is to both continue edging into the stretch zone (and by definition stretch the comfort zone) and do it in such ‘small’ increments that I can trick my inner critic/imposter syndrome into believing that I’m sticking in the comfort zone.

Meeting this goal will require me to better at both time and project management, in addition to recognizing the current habits of my inner critic and keeping my senses tuned to any additional derailing habit that may pop up in the future.

Filling in the comfort/stretch/risk/die diagram and paying attention (and acknowledging) the distracting tactics of my inner critic means I’m holding true to one of the words that I picked for 2021: growth. Growth is also the internal acknowledgment of ‘blocks’ and working to either dismantle the ‘blocks’ or at least work around them.