When Time Isn’t On Your Side

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Before you even ask, yes I’ve fallen down on my job. We returned from our extended vacation late last Monday night at which point I should have begun religiously using the timed to do lists I have printed out. But I didn’t. And I have no solid reason for why I didn’t. I can offer up excuses, but what it boils down to is this – I drastically overestimate how much I can do in one day. I start almost every day assuming I’m going to get way more done than I do and I know the list will help me overcome this. However I’m afraid of instituting the list because:

  • I fear the discrepancies in my estimates of how long tasks should take versus how long they actually do.  What if I can only cross off 3 things every night? And even more worrisome – WHY do I care?
  • I don’t want to feel confined by a list. I realize the whole point of my 12 months of giving things up is to institute some self discipline, so this is an internal conflict. I feel like I’m playing both the role of child and parent.

I could go on, but all other concerns stem from these two. I’m fed up with my own excuses though, and have instituted the list (thus this blog post was born).  I’m also planning on trying out a couple of these tactics, as much as I am not looking forward to it, in order to help me prioritize the lists. I quickly realized that this was going to take longer than one month to properly give up, so I will continue to report on my progress until I feel I’ve sincerely put forth a genuine effort to give it up. Hopefully by then I will have made some long lasting adjustments to the way I structure my days.

And yes, in case anyone was wondering, I do see the irony in the fact that giving up procrastination is taking longer than I expected. On the bright side by choosing such a juggernaut goal in January, I have learned my lesson and stand a pretty fair chance of succeeding in next month’s goal. TBA soon…

 

 

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Get ‘Er Done Week One

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Day nine of procrastination free living and I’m here to say things are going pretty well! I’m not batting 100, but I’m happy with what I’ve achieved so far.

So I’m sure you might be wondering how exactly I’m going about this challenge. Basically this is my method – if I’m doing something and I think “I really need to stop and do _____”, then in theory I should go do whatever I’m thinking I should be doing. Super simple, right? Yeah maybe if you actually HAVE true self discipline to begin with, which I doubt many procrastinators do.

My biggest problem so far is that I find myself rationalizing my actions and rewriting priorities in my head based on some sketchy logic sometimes. For example, we are headed to L.A. next week for an extended weekend visit with a friend. So I’ve been spending quite a bit of time building a Google map of places to visit while we’re there. And each time I get fully absorbed in this task, I begin to have my “I need to do _____” thoughts. Quickly though I developed the rationale that this vacation is coming up fast, thus while ____ task doesn’t really need to be done today, planning our vacation does. Should I be spending two hours every day building a ridiculously bloated map of options, 75% of which we won’t get to? Uh yeah, no. But my idea of spontaneity on a vacation is basically just having a hundred researched options, so somehow this irrational logic keeps winning.

And one thing that I have completely failed at is exercising. As silly as it may sound, I sincerely attribute it to the fact that I did not actually bring myself to work out on January 1. Once I failed straight out of the gate to apply my above method to a task, it became sadly much easier to continue failing. I feel this is the heart of procrastination though – if you can successfully put something off for an hour, a day, a week – then you’re just going to perpetuate that behavior infinitely if possible.

My solution to both of these problems is that I need to begin making daily lists with estimated times for tasks. All items on said list must be finished before I allow myself to say, hang out on FB or Pinterest or watch TV. Again super simple in theory, but actualizing this for the next three weeks is another story. Stay tuned.

All this said I have sustained some new modified behaviors:

  • Weight Watchers – I started counting my points for real and I lost 2.5 lbs this week! Not as much as I would’ve liked, but hey I’m not complaining.
  • Housecleaning – I have never really been one to tidy as I go. Basically my housecleaning regime goes something like this: clusters of clutter accumulate until I have company and then I crazy clean. Since Jan 1, though, I’ve been spending some time every day tidying up the place, which has been incredibly gratifying. More specifically I’ve been dedicating an additional chunk of time every day to cleaning my craft room, which I’m ashamed to admit I couldn’t really even walk around in much before Jan 1, that’s how messy it was. But I’ve made some serious progress, so I will post pics when I’m done!

There are several other things I’ve been sticking to as well, like reading and doing my back stretches, that aren’t all terribly interesting, but are examples of where my method is working. Ultimately the goal is to alter my behavior so much that making shit happen becomes my norm. I’m as anxious as you to see if this chapter of my story will end on a positive note or not.

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Once More, with Feeling!

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So six years ago I attempted an exercise in self discipline whereby I decided to give up one thing every month to see it how it would impact my life and then blog about the experience. The first half of this experiment worked pretty well. Certain months had more of an impact on my life and altered behaviors and attitudes more than others, but in general I was satisfied with the experience. However my attempt to blog the whole 12 months, well, you can see for yourself how well that went.

I have decided to revisit this experiment again in 2014. I had been toying with the idea for a while, but after my dad passed away in July my perspective on a lot of things changed. There is nothing like the loss of a loved one to wake you up to the reality of time and the fact that everyone only has a finite amount of it. I want to make sure I’m making healthy choices in how I spend the time I have left, so I felt I needed to reexamine my daily routines to make sure I’m doing just that.

As for blogging about it, well I’m going to set more realistic goals. In my ideal world I would have fodder for daily updates and a determination to make that happen. In reality though, I’m simply committing to actually blogging all twelve months this time and that’s that. Fortunately I’ve chosen to give up procrastination in January so this probably will result in a solid jump start to the second round of this blog… I hope.

In any event this should turn out to be an interesting year!

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Projects #2 and #3 – Mini collage duo

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I’m so excited to finally use these little tiny canvases I bought at Dick Blick months ago. Now that I have tons of wall space to dress and one too many prints in my growing collection of art, I have come to appreciate small pieces of original art. From a buyer’s perspective they are obviously great because they are normally more affordable than standard sized pieces. And from the perspective of someone who has taken on this miniature challenge I can tell you they are just as time consuming as any larger piece would be.

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These two pieces were created using old books, dress patterns and ribbon. Unfortunately I wanted to photograph them together and by the time they were both finished, it was dark. Once again the more challenging aspect of this endeavor is not completing a project a day, but actually reporting about the process in a timely fashion.

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Project #1 – Cafe Curtains

So my first project in November were cafe curtains for our kitchen. My boyfriend and I moved in together in June. Slowly but surely we are still working on reaching a point of completion, when all boxes are unpacked (yes we still have some boxes lingering) and we are no longer shopping for furniture. You will be seeing a lot of home DIY projects this month, but hopefully they will inspire you to do some of the same things it has taken me 5+ months to do!

Back to the curtains. After much deliberation (have I mentioned I’m a horrible decision maker?) I rather impulsively chose these Anthropologie dish towels on Friday for my cafe curtains. I have always wanted to use Anthropologie towels for curtains, but I just couldn’t commit to one single design. Fortunately in September I picked up two different Heather Bailey fabrics to recover my kitchen chairs with (stay tuned for that project), and that purchase helped me to narrow down my quest for the perfect curtains. I chose these towels because, unlike many of Anthropologie’s designs, the pattern is simple enough to repeat four times (my windows are wide) without becoming too overwhelming.

More on how to make these yourself after the jump below. Also pardon me as I continue to improve my photography/photo editing skills…

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November – One project a day

image courtesy of bitsandbobbins

Once again I am attempting to actually use this blog for what it was intended. While I have been giving stuff up all year, I have been less good at blogging about it. This month is kind of different. I chose to forgo giving something up this month in exchange for creating something new every day instead. So while my boyfriend is attempting to write 50,000 words in one month, I have decided that I will make something new every day. This may be project for my home, as I have quite few of those, or it may be a creation that I will then post in my Etsy store. I’m offering 20% off to anyone who shops with me this month while I am crafting away!

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August 2008 – Time for the blog

So, as you might have noticed, I kind of fell of the blogging wagon. This was mostly due to my recent move, but really I have no solid excuse for it. I have still remained dedicated to giving things up despite the lack of blog posts, though. However I’ve resumed my bad habit of spending too much time doing frivolous things on the internet. And so this month instead of giving up television, like I had originally planned, I am going to give up access to the internet at home once again with one twist: I am allowing myself to post to the blog. This way I can go back and write posts about the past several months, while still trying to kill a bad habit.

Since I moved at the end of May, I have maybe watched one actual television program here at home. Clearly my addiction to television has subsided and now I don’t feel that it is all that important that I dedicate an entire month to giving it up. But I have fallen back into spending endless hours online when I could be doing any number of other, more productive things. So one month of giving it up was not enough to alter my behaviors. Hopefully at the end of this month I will be able to reach a happy medium when it comes to my home internet usage, as I don’t think I would be able to sacrifice it for the rest of the year completely.

Throughout the month of August I hope to do some serious retroactive posting about what the past couple months have been like. Overall I really do feel that this little project has helped to alter my perspectives and caused me to make different lifestyle decisions. I am looking forward to the future months of giving up and how the impact that they will have on how I live my life.

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