Hanging Out in the Gray Zone



Surfing the Internet. Playing Spider Solitaire. Watching You Tube videos. Time sucking activities, all of them. While I can sometimes say that what I find from surfing or viewing is educational, for the most part, it’s just time wasted.

More than that, it’s living in the gray zone.

What’s the gray zone? It’s that time when you are not working, doing nothing really productive. And you’re not doing something you enjoy, either. Whatever you are doing serves little to no purpose.

Doing the laundry, for example, is a productive activity, even though it’s not my favorite thing to do. Cleaning the house is also in this category.

But spending time on these tasks doesn’t put me in the gray zone, because I’m getting something done that has to be done.

I became aware of this concept as I was contemplating just why I don’t get more done. Sometimes it’s because of circumstances that I never anticipated. Other times it’s to accommodate the people in my life who need me.

More often than not, I’m sad to say, it’s because I’m hanging out in the gray zone. I can’t even call it living, because I’m neither producing nor really enjoying.

But it’s a tempting place to be, alluring and enticing. I tell myself I’ll just play one game or skim one article. But like eating potato chips, I can’t stop at just one.

Half an hour later, I’m still in the gray zone. Why?

I’ll tell you the truth. Procrastination, that’s why.

And why am I procrastinating?

Laziness and fear.

Sometimes I just don’t feel like working. It’s much easier to play another round of Ken Ken or read another article on How to Make Jillions from Your Writing. Dreams come a lot easier than making them happen.

Since I work for myself, I don’t have a boss looking over my shoulder to see if I’m working. It’s up to me to keep on task. If I don’t feel like it, no one’s going to call me into their office to find out why.

Other times I’m afraid I’ll never be able to get my novel or whatever I’m working on in the shape that I want it to, to the point that someone will actually want to read it. Not just want, but love what I’ve written, will think about it, will tell others about it.

So if I don’t actually finish, I’ll never know if I failed.

Hence, the squandered hours in the gray zone.

This year, I’m not going there.

The first step is making the decision to flee the gray zone.

The second is to substitute something for the mindless surfing or games. OK, so sometimes I need an easier activity or a transition. So I’ve decided to read motivational books instead. All I need to do is read one chapter, and I’m ready to get back to work.

The third is to keep checking my progress against my goals and celebrate each and every achievement. Nothing keep motivation up like achievement.

The lazy life is good for cats, but not for humans. We were made for more than that. This year I’m going to do all I can to produce what I was made to create, and enjoy life to the fullest.

Good-bye, gray zone.



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