Tag Archives: procrastination

Procrastination v mania

Gosh its hard work not being a procrastinator!! Perhaps it just shows I am lazy but use procrastination as my tool to not do anything…..

I dont think I’m lazy but I am working very hard doing my one bite at a time project in my garden. I am trying to do at least one hour every day and I have been quite obsessive about doing it. Some days I do more than an hour to make up for the days I don’t get to it. I calculated I have done at least ten hours per week for the last five weeks – so that is fifty hours at least…. and that isn’t counting the time I spend at the shops and at the nursery buying stuff for the garden!

I have been tackling it one garden bed at a time – but I live on a 2000 metre block so there are a lot of garden beds and my garden has been very neglected the last couple of years. And of course once I have done a garden bed I cant just move onto the next one and forget about the completed ones… I have to water them, kill pesky snails, weed them, talk to them…. all takes time….. its like doing one of those races that each day you get a little bit further on – but each day you have to start right at the beginning and check all your previous work and maintain it before you start on a new project! So each day takes a little it more time maintaining and so less time for making more progress.

I did a list the other day of the tasks that still need to be done. It went over two A4 pages – which was a bit discouraging. It seems the more I do the more I find to do. I keep thinking of more grand plans, more things that I can plant, more money I can spend….

Procrastination is defined as  the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.   Mmmmm Not completely true – I have been known to clean the house or do the ironing instead of doing paperwork…. so you dont just do pleasurable things to avoid doing stuff – you just find something else to do instead of doing the thing you should be doing. They say procrastination isn’t a sign of laziness but perfectionism – not wanting to start a task in case it isn’t done perfectly…..

I certainly procrastinated for a long time before I started this garden – this task I will never finish…. so perhaps that is why I procrastinate. I recognise in myself that manic gene that once I start something I cant stop… and I know that I cant just work at something in an organised measured manner – but that I go flat out at it – impatient for it to be finished so I can do something else, but not being able to just keep plodding away and keep doing other things at the same time – I become very single minded about it all. And then of course I burn myself out and fall in a heap and then have to really work hard to keep the project(garden) maintained and to keep it from being neglected again…

I have nearly finished the garden and I can feel that this little episode of mania is about to dissolve – but I want to continue to make progress – even if it isn’t as much as before. So in an effort to do other stuff apart from the garden and to be a bit less obsessive about it, I am going to try and do something else for an hour a day and do the garden a couple of times a week… Otherwise I will fall in a heap and not finish it which would be a shame…and I do need to do other things as well – not to mention my body is not enjoying all the digging and carting of heavy stuff around the garden…

So I have proven that doing a little bit each day is a good way to get things done…I just need to find out how I stop this from becoming an obsession – becoming anxious if I dont do that bite every day….. It seems I am destined to alternate between a procrastinator and an obsessed mad woman if I dont find the answer…

 

Well Hello there Blog….

How I have missed you….. I have thought of you often as I was jaunting around Europe… and even more since I got home….. So many times I have found myself writing blogs in my head – but being the procrastinator that I am – I haven’t put anything down on paper.

So here I am – a blank page in front of me, so many things to write and not sure where I should start!

As is my want, whenever I am faced with a large task or many tasks I tend to become overwhelmed and not do anything. However I have found that in more recent times I do tend to adopt my ‘one bite at a time’ philosophy more frequently, and so do break the task down and at least start making some progress instead of avoiding the task altogether and finding other things to do….

busy

I have noticed my life tends to fluctuate from me being very unmotivated and not doing anything, to being almost manic and trying to do too many things at once…. I cant remember if that was always the way I operated or if it is something that has developed over time – it certainly seems to have happened over the last twenty years.

I can also get very obsessive about things once I start doing something – whether it is just paperwork, family history or playing games on my iPad – once I start I get very absorbed in things and very single minded about finishing something I have started. This can be a good thing but it can also be a bad thing. When absorbed in something I tend to neglect everything else and feel very unsettled if I am not working on my current passion.

At the moment I am quite manic and am trying to do several different things at the same time. This is good I hear you say? It isn’t really when you just rush from one project to another – doing a bit on something and then doing a bit on another…. so you end up with many different things on the go, you lay awake at night planning all the stuff you have to do the next day (or next week) and meanwhile you live in the clutter of several tasks that are half done that you are working on.

I blame my holiday of course for this manic behaviour…. Five weeks away from home seeing the world and removed from the daily hum drum of life you gain a new perspective on many things…

I think the biggest change is that I am stepping back from a hobby I have been very active in for over twenty years. I decided that there was so many other things that I wanted to do or achieve and so I needed to spend less time with this hobby to create time to do other things… It was a tough decision but I am really excited about the many other things I want to do.

Trouble is – I did spend a lot of time doing this hobby but I doubt giving it up will really give me the amount of time I will need to do all the new adventures I am planning to do! So some juggling of time will still be required – but meantime I am very motivated to do many of the things on my to do list! So that is a good thing – so long as I don’t burn myself out in two months and go back to being the unmotivated Me that I can easily become….

So, Dear Blog, I am sorry I have neglected you for so long… but I promise I will come back here again very soon…..

Anyone find my Mojo?

Been a while since I updated my Blog. Sorry I have gone MIA!! I lost my Mojo and couldnt find it… I looked under the pile of “to do” lists, I looked under my “as yet unused” walking poles, I looked under all the paperwork I have been doing…. I even looked in my “not yet started” January room!!

But I finally found it. It had been sitting with me the whole time just waiting for me to take it up again.
I have been doing a lot of night duty for work and I think I just got too tired…. and when you are tired I think you just get discouraged.
But when I really think about it I have achieved important things in the last month. They may not have been in my January room but they are things that needed to be done and I feel a lot better now they are done.
1. I finally planted my vege garden in the garden bed I bought and prepared several months ago. So I now can enjoy watching it grow. It must be the farmers daughter in me that I love ‘checking the crops’ every day. It is a shame I took so long to plant it as it is very hot and so they may not do as well as they might have done.
2. I have almost completed all the paperwork that just paralysed me last month. I still struggle with delegating time to the paperwork and time to myself but that will have to remain a work in progress.
3. I spent several days researching and booking all our tours for when we are in Paris in July. Booking lots of ‘skip the line’ tickets and tours to Monet’s garden and Palace of Versaille. So that was a lot of fun and got me really excited about our upcoming trip. And I kept worrying that I needed to do it so things werent booked out.
4. I have organised a Family gathering for next weekend. My siblings are scattered around the place and with busy lives it is very hard to get us all together a couple of times a year. So it might not sound a big deal but is when of those things that you always think – I must do that!!
So no completion of my January room but still I have achieved things – and I have worked lots of hours which will help pay for my holiday. I probably shouldnt be so hard on myself or get so discouraged. Because it is when you get discouraged that you stop setting yourself goals and then you achieve nothing at all. It can get too easy to say to yourself ‘well I havent achieved anything this month so I may as well give up now’… like giving up on a diet because you have splurged and eaten a piece of cake.
So I need to reset my goals, assess what went wrong last month and try and work out how to do better this month.
Setting my goals is pretty easy. I just need to do the goals I had set for January!!
What went wrong last month?? Probably long work hours and crippling heat took its toll. And my old enemy – procrastination!! And when you are tired and hot, procrastination finds fertile ground! It is just too easy to put off things you could be doing. I also did hours of work for Clubs I am involved with. And those hours of work have paid dividends with much of the urgent stuff completed.
How can I do better this month? I am not sure. How many times do you say I need to stick to my lists? that I need to not put things off? I guess we have to learn more about ourslves and how we tick. Discover what works for us and what doesnt work for us. Why we procrastinate. And I guess if I understood why I procrastinate and how to stop me procrastinating then there would be no need for this blog!
So I hope you have all been more successful than me this month. And even if you didnt achieve all your goals – or any of your goals – dont get discouraged. Just do as I am trying to do and set yourself up for success this month! Good Luck!
Oh and I have half written my Family history story for this month on Games I used to play… will be on here soon…

Re-assessing Goals

mmmm well I think I will have to extend my January room into February…. and put my month down as a mostly fail….
I did take down my Christmas tree – not quite on the twelfth day of Christmas but pretty close – so I guess that was a win. Especially since this year was the first time I had put UP a Christmas tree in eight years… And I DID put it away properly and I DID spend time wrapping decorations around rolled newspaper so they didn’t tangle up again.
But I havent really done much in my January room…. I have thought about it and planned it but not actually done anything!!
And my lists aren’t working really either… I have slipped back into old habits – and I am not sure how I can fix it.
I tend to get very fixated when I start something. No matter what it is I tend to start it and not be able to do much else until I have finished it. So I might put down on my list to do 5 hours of paperwork for various Clubs I am in, but once I start on that I find it very hard not to do it until it is all done – and of course it is never all done!! And so I end up spending 25 hours doing that and not doing my Family History – which is ME time…. so I can see the old bad cycle beginning again… never putting aside the Me time!
So stop after the alloted time I hear you say? Be firm with your list. Always give yourself me time. If it was that easy I would have done that years ago!
So how do I get back on track?
I guess I do have to go back to square one. Remind myself of why I started this journey. Remind myself why I wanted to get more order into my life. Remind myself of my goals. My goal of having a less cluttered house so that I didn’t have that huge mess staring at me every day. My goal of spending more time doing Family History and completing my Family story. My goal of getting fitter so I can enjoy my European holiday this year. My goal of making sure that I put aside time for me.
So are these goals still important to me? They certainly are!! So my motivation is the achievement of my goals. And all these goals can only be achieved if I do better at sticking to my plan.
And sticking to my weekly plans is where I fall down.
So I guess I go back to my basic starting point – take one bite at a time! (and I need to stop starting sentences with So!!) I am becoming overwhelmed with the bigger picture and not tackling it in smaller pieces.
I will write my list again this week. I will allocate myself time to do Family History and my walking. And I will do the ME things before I do the other things I have on my list.Maybe that will work. It is worth a try.
I have learnt several things writing this particular Blog. That sometimes we set goals and fail. But failing one goal should not make us stop the whole journey. That writing things down  makes you think about what you are writing and things may become clearer. And that when we are feeling discouraged we just need to go back to our motivations. Maybe your motivations have changed? Maybe you need a different approach? So change your goals, pick yourself up, brush yourself off and get back in the game…
And stop starting sentences with ‘so’….

Planning my life

So I have now got all these resolutions how on earth am I going to achieve them? It’s all very well to say take one bite at a time but now I have to organise myself so I can do all the bites I have undertaken to do!! And it’s a scary thought…

It’s very easy to say I am going to do this and this. But if I am going to be more successful this year with my resolutions I need to have a plan and I need to stick to it. So the plan has to be practical and it needs to not be overwhelming. Because I know the way that I am, and if it is too easy for me to make excuses I will.

So how do I make a plan that I will stick to? I clearly need to try and allocate some time each week or day to do different tasks. Even the thought of doing that scares me. I’m not sure why.. perhaps because if I make a plan I need to stick to it. And I am not good at sticking to plans.

I notice one of the reasons they say people procrastinate is the fear of failure. When I read that I thought that was an odd reason to procrastinate – surely achieving a goal would give you a sense of achievement? But just now when I am trying to create a plan to do all the things I want to do I understand that fear of failure.

If I make a plan or a list then to succeed I need to follow the plan or cross things off the list. I know the overwhelming feeling I get when I make a list and it weighs heavily on me all the time because I am not making the list any shorter. It is the same with my cluttered house. Just looking at the mess makes me feel a failure. And yet I procrastinate about doing something about it. Why is that? Perhaps it is easier to want to do it and plan to do it than it is to start something and fail, or plan to do something and not do it.

So instead I procrastinate about making a plan. I have spent the day researching personal organisers and online organisers. Should I just buy a paper diary or use my phone calendar? Should I create a spreadsheet and allocate time to certain tasks? Or download a digital organiser and see if that works? It is easier for me to think about how I will make a plan than it is to do the actual planning. Thinking about how I am going to plan my schedule isn’t a stressful thing and so I am happy to spend hours doing it. And when I do decide on what method I am going to use I will spend a lot of time setting it all up. But I will still eventually have to do a plan!

So I have actually learnt a lot about myself today – and even writing this article – has helped me see things that I hadn’t seen before. I see now how the fear of failure can stop you doing things, that it is so easy to set yourself up for failure (I will make a list but I know I’m not going to do it) and that for a procrastinator planning is a very scary thought!!

But it has achieved something practical as well. I can see that actually allocating times to do things for me would be fatal. So much better for me to make a list for each day, week and month. That gives me the flexibility to still achieve my goals over a period of time but not have the 2 hours on a Tuesday afternoon set down for cleaning, not achieve that, and then instantly abandon all other plans because I have failed to achieve one. A bit like someone trying to lose weight abandoning their diet entirely due to weakening and having a donut!

So this article has changed from what I originally planned it to be. I was going to write about my research for finding the best organisers…but I think I have learnt a much more valuable lesson about myself instead….. We have to try and understand why we procrastinate, what motivates us and what works best for us to help us become more organised. I think I will work better on lists that need to be completed than set time slots for activities…what do you think works best for you?

Procrastination…I will put up a definition later….

Procrastination is the practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, or doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, and thus putting off impending tasks to a later time, sometimes to the “last minute” before the deadline.

With the modern emphasis on YOLO (you only live once) it seems that we use that as a ready reason why we don’t do unpleasant or boring things….

I seem to have been a procrastinator all my life – probably starting when I was a student. Not being organised could be a reason – but I can be extremely organised when under pressure! I do lots of work for Clubs and manage to keep a lot of balls in the air…so lack of organisation cant be the only reason… I think it is because I am an overthinker. In an effort to decrease my anxiety levels I tend to think and plan about what I need to do – and then not leave myself enough time to actually follow thru on my plans. Afterall when you are planning something in your head (even if you have planned for every possible complication) it still seems to be quicker or easier to do in your head than in real life. Even when you think you have allowed plenty of time you never do!

Having searched the internet for definitions and research on procrastination I find there is plenty of info out there…

Academics tell us that procrastination can be caused by a fear of success or failure….. not sure how that works. These same academics also say that it is more prevalent in students than the general population… they clearly have not surveyed many of my families and friends….

There is lots of interesting research about the reason why procrastinate, how we procrastinate and how to stop you procrastinating. I guess I will read it all later….

I guess the most important thing to realise is that most of us do procrastinate about something in our lives. And that we are not lazy.

So that makes me feel better… better get back to tidying up the desk… but I will just catch up on Facebook first….