How did you feel about homework when you were growing up?

Jan 19, 2022

When I was a kid, before I got my very first homework assignment, I would watch my older sister and brother doing their homework, and feel jealous.

I wanted to do homework so bad! I still remember the yearning in my heart to check off those lists of math problems and fill in those blanks with words.

I love a good puzzle, and I'm guessing that’s what I thought homework would be, a fun puzzle.

When I finally got my first math homework in the third grade, I was so excited. I sat at my kitchen table, opened my book bag, took out my worksheet, and picked up my pencil.

This was it, the moment I'd been waiting for.

But before my pencil could even touch the page I was immediately so bored I wanted to cry. This was awful! Homework sucked! I didn't want to do this! Maybe there was something else fun I could do?

And that’s pretty much how homework was for me moving forward. It was something really boring I had to do, and I would do anything and everything I could to avoid it.

I would read and play and watch TV until I finally just had to do my homework because the assignment was due the next day (or in 5 minutes).

Even though I usually got my assignments completed on time, I was never able to sit down and quietly focus on them until it was urgent.

I always waited until the last minute, and I was told by every authority figure in my life that this was totally irresponsible!

What I should've been doing is studying a little everyday, so that the night before I didn't have to scramble to complete an assignment. 

But that never happened.

What I would do instead was make beautiful plans for all the ways I would get a paper done over the course of a couple weeks, and then I would feel lots of shame because I never followed through on my beautiful plans.

I can't count how many times I woke up early the day a paper was due to write as fast as I could.

This pattern stuck with me through being a college student, through working as a project manager in an IT office (lol), and even into being a business owner.

When I started my business I wanted to write a regular blog, and I thought the best way to write a blog post would be to work on it a little each day over the course of a week or so.

Instead I would procrastinate writing my posts until the day before I wanted to send them, and then I would feel lots of shame because I thought I was still being irresponsible and flaky in my work.

I wanted to do better at working, so I read books on how to focus more, I listened to podcasts on how to work correctly, and I tried my damndest to just do this thing right already.

None of these things helped. I always found myself painfully avoiding my tasks until the last minute.

So, at this point in the story you might be thinking I'm about to tell you how I turned everything around and found the key to stop procrastinating, but the truth is I never found it.

In fact, I'm writing these very words the night before I'll be publishing this letter.

The shift I experienced around my working style wasn't to change how I work, but to accept that deadlines are highly motivating for me.

I've come to realize that doing a project too far ahead of a deadline makes me feel bored and uninspired.

However, once the deadline approaches I become genuinely excited, motivated, and ready to get down to business.

For me, waiting to the last minute isn't irresponsible. It's how I authentically get energized to work.

After finally accepting this about myself I started managing my work differently.

Instead of making beautiful plans based on the "right way" to work that I was taught, I started designing my schedule to intentionally leverage my love of deadlines.

  • When I need to do something for my podcast, I create a deadline by scheduling a call with my co-host where I show her what I've worked on.
  • Since I know I won't work on my blog until the day before, I block off Mondays as a joyful writing day so I can send my newsletter out on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
  • When I have a bigger project to do, like creating a self-paced online course, I'll run it live first, knowing people are waiting for the next module each week.

The truth is I'm working how I've always worked since my very first homework assignment, but now I carry way less shame about it.

We each have our own way of being authentically motivated. For you it might be deadlines, but it might also be something else. The important thing to notice is if you carry any shame about how you naturally work.

As writers, this is especially important to pay attention to, because shame around your process can definitely decrease inspiration. 

My questions for you this week are this: What shame do you carry about how you work? What if you accepted this about yourself and started to plan your work based on how you naturally do things instead of trying to get yourself to work the "right way"? How can you create inspiration this week by allowing yourself to be YOU?

xo,

Emma

P.S. If you want to learn more about your unique motivation style I highly recommend taking Gretchen Rubin's The Four Tendencies Quiz.

P.P.S. In the Courageous Bloggers Society my mission is to help you find the confidence to share your authentic voice online, in a way that honors who you really are. Come and join us for all the support you need to start hitting publish on your meaningful words in the most authentic way for YOU.

P.P.P.S. If you've been wondering how things work in the Courageous Bloggers Society I made this video for you! If you have any questions just hit reply to this email to ask me anything.


Disclaimer: This blog is a resource guide for educational and informational purposes only and should not take the place of hiring a life coach, a therapist, or of seeking medical attention. No information on this blog creates a coach-client relationship between us. You are fully responsible for the decisions and actions you take in regard to your life and affairs.

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