Monthly Archives: January 2014

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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