I Think I Get It Now

It’s been a long time coming.

For all the time that I’ve been retired on disability and trying to work in the gardens, I have struggled unhappily with the large gap between what a perfect garden would need and what I can do.

My approach has been one that I inherited: expecting 100% perfection and subtracting from that for any deficiencies. I learned this approach early on. I can remember my parents asking me why I got an A- instead of an A. So it’s no surprise that this is my default approach in managing myself. Because of my disabilities I always work slowly and on some days I cannot work at all. This means that the garden has deficiencies, lots of deficiencies, lots and lots of deficiencies.I have duly noted each deficiency and critiqued the person responsible. Guess who that is.

But now today, I have realized that there is an alternative to this unproductive painful process. I can begin at 0% and note every achievement. That would allow me to congratulate the person responsible rather than critique them. And I can use a lot of congratulations.I am sure that my friends and family have been trying to tell me about this alternative for a very long time. But I know myself well enough to know that I learn at my own pace. I absorb what I can when I can. I do not hold myself accountable for perfect learning. At this moment it’s a mystery to me why this approach did not generalize to my gardening.

Going forward it’s a whole new ballgame. I will use a fact-based approach to understand how severe my limitations really are and what the requirements of the gardens really are.

Doing this will allow me to make fact-based decisions which have been missing up till now.

First I will take data. I will stop making judgments, and just take data. For at least 30 days I will record how much I worked, how much it hurt, and how much I accomplished.
Second I will create a work breakdown structure for the gardens being specific about what needs to be done and when.
Third I will compare the two. Being as analytical and unemotional as possible, I will note work items that likely will or likely will not get done.

There are, after all, only three possible outcomes for each work item: I can do it, I can get someone else to do it, or it can go undone. It occurs to me that there is an important part of the work breakdown structure that I just remembered: naming the consequences of not doing the work. The consequences play a very important part in decisions about what to do and what to ignore.

There’ll be a lot more to say about this as the situation develops. Stay tuned.