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Procrastinator Support Group

TeamHi, my name is Kim and I’m a procrastinator. Not only am I a procrastinator but I am a wizard level procrastinator.

The basic definition of procrastination is the practice of delaying or postponing the completion of a task. Advanced procrastinators don’t simply delay a task they often replace it with a less important activity. This less important activity is usually something that really doesn’t need to be done, and certainly not in the time frame of this very important task that clearly has a deadline.

When I was in college I am pretty sure that I had the cleanest closet during finals week at my university.  Every semester like clockwork classes would wind down and I’d find myself organizing my closet.  Of course, I always had a good reason. At the end of the fall semester, I told myself that with the holidays coming I needed to get it taken care of.  Where would I hide gifts? At the end of the spring semester, I justified it by reasoning that I needed to be able to find my sandals or other summer gear.

It’s a problem with perfection, and it’s not that we, as procrastinators, think we are perfect or that we do things perfectly. It’s that we have illusions of grandeur. We can imagine perfection, and it looks really good. The only problem with perfection is that it’s well, perfect.  Even if we ignore the idea that different people are going to have varying ideas of what is perfect, we are setting the bar exceptionally high.

As my father, all around smart guy and my junior year Honors English teacher, would tell me, “It’s hard to be perfect and on time.” At the time I just thought he was talking about me, but since then I have found that this is a universal truth for procrastinators. You start with a task that needs to be done and then you come up with this great idea and you are really psyched about it.  It’s going to be amazing, and groovy and maybe even blue and…wait.  What now? There’s a deadline. Perfection and punctuality, fantastic, two of my favorite things, really.  Awesome. Ok.

At some point, it turns into perfect or punctual, one or the other but not both. How do we choose? Perfection is fairly subjective, you ask a random sample of people a single question and you are going to get different answers.  I think Chris Hemsworth is pretty close to perfect but I know a few people who are not impressed at all. Punctuality, however is definite, Thursday at noon means the same thing to everyone.  (Yes, I know there are different time zones that could cause confusion but we all knew what I meant.) Clearly, the deadline is going to win over a fleeting chance at perfection.

The deadline is the deal breaker but as a procrastinator we are then obligated to justify the lack of perfection. How can we be perfect when we have had such a busy day?  And, yeah, sometimes we invent things that have to be done right now. It’s avoidance at its best, perfection takes time so we allow ourselves to be distracted by various shiny alternatives. When we triumphantly meet our deadline we can point to all of the distractions and pat ourselves on the back for doing so well in such a short amount of time.

Here’s my shiny example, while writing this post I got an email letting me know that I had earned a $15 rewards certificate to a national shoe store chain. I stopped writing to go look at shoes.  Do I need shoes right now? Nope. It is summer and I have a plethora of sandal options to choose from.  All I thought was, “Wow, $15!” and I sprinted off to see if there was anything that I absolutely needed.  Did I find anything that I needed right now? Nope…although I did find a darling pair of slouchy pull on boots that are on clearance, the avoidance thing, it’s not always bad.

Is there a cure for procrastination? If you climb a mountain in Borneo and talk to the wise man…yeah. No, there is no cure. You can only treat the symptoms.  Like perfection, treatment options vary among the procrastinator population. When it comes to writing, schedules work for some people, block out the same time every day to write.  Setting a timer is another favorite, set it for an hour and keep writing until you hear the ding. The best treatment, in my humble opinion is to drop the idea of perfect in favor of ideas like fun, inspired, heartwarming or relatable.

 

This post originally appeared at the RWA Chapter of Contemporary Romance Writers Blog.

 

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Mix…

Today was the perfect mix of relaxing and getting things done.  Sully was working from home and Boo and I had an easy school day.  After the chaos of Monday, the productivity of Tuesday and the lackluster of yesterday I was ready for a more balanced day.

Sometimes I watch TV, either shows or commercials and I find myself wondering about other people’s lives.  Do other people really have a clean house everyday?  I mean clean, people stopping by kind of clean, my house is straightened, well, most days if I am in the middle of a project probably not.  So, straightened but not really in condition for guests.  It makes me crazy, I will get everything cleaned up and then the next day it’s a mess again.  The monotony of housework is probably the main problem, I mean, talk about never ending.  Every week I wash the same clothes, sweep the same floors, wipe down the same counters and about a gazillion other things.  I do all of that knowing that I will have to do it again tomorrow or next week.  It’s a bit daunting and a little depressing some days.  Mom hours

I was in Home Depot the other day and this guy looks over at me and says, “You must have taken the day off so you could paint.”  He kind of said it like I was some clueless woman that had no business being in Home Depot.  I don’t know if he meant it like that but it’s sure how it sounded, the woman behind me even groaned.  I replied, “Nope, I am a stay at home mom, I don’t get any days off.”  The paint guy at Home Depot smiled and said, “It’s pretty tough, huh?”  I shrugged, “It’s like any other job, it’s got it’s up and downs.  For the most part it’s good, just no days off.”  He laughed, which I appreciated.  The other guy shut up immediately and stayed out of my way after that.

My hope is that one of these days I will get on a schedule where the house will stay clean with minimum effort.  I am sure I am reaching but I can still hope, right?

 

Phase 1:  Day 12
 
I had another good walk, I walked 0.7 miles in just under 13 minutes.  I am looking forward to adding to my distance.  
 
I am starting to really feel my upper body workout, moving all of those boxes this week are probably adding to my workout.
 
Water = 32 ounces
 
 
 
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Productive…

I got so much done today.  Yay!  It’s crazy that I am celebrating this like it’s some huge thing.  After yesterday, I was skeptical about getting anything done.  So glad, that I was wrong.

I got the final Christmas boxes packed up and moved out to the garage.  The kitchen table is still covered in things that need to be packed in our indoor box, candles, pictures, snowglobes and the like.  I can’t tell you how glad and relieved I am to see the boxes out of the Great room.  I love decorating for Christmas, the house looks so cute and cheery. 

This year was tough, not only were we dealing with our first holiday season without Papa, then we also had my brother in law’s medical issues.  I was spending a lot of time making sure Sully was doing ok, this may have helped me more than him.  When I wasn’t worrying about him then I was worrying about my sister and how she was dealing with everything.  Then in the middle of all of that I got the new washer and dryer.  I love the new washer and dryer and I am so thankful to have them.  Preparing for their delivery and dealing with the new machines, added a bit to an already crazy month.  My old washer and dryer set is still sitting in my garage, along with the rolling cart and the shelves that I had on top of mine.  Luckily my nephew should be picking them up next week.

fliptop crate (2)

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So, the garage was cluttered with Christmas boxes, the old washer and dryer and then I added sawhorses and a work table to make the drawing table for Boo.  Weeks later and the garage is still a mess but getting better as I get the Christmas boxes put away.

Here is a picture of boxes waiting to be moved into the garage.  I have quite a few of these flip top crates.  They hold quite a bit and stack well.  

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Phase 1: Day 10…
 
I walked more than 12 minutes today.  Of course, that makes it sound like I am incapable of walking more at one time.  This is more about me allowing myself the time to take a walk.  I have always thought that I didn’t have time to exercise.  I am proving myself wrong everyday.
 
My upper body workout is continuing to be strong.  I added upright row and I can really feel it in my shoulders, particularly in the front of my deltoids.  I think I will definitely see some improvement in the shape of my shoulders sooner rather than later.
 
Water = 32 ounces
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Cutting it close…

I love my Cricut.  I’ve done a lot of cool and nifty things with my Cricut, Christmas cards, scrapbooking, decorated picture frames to name a few.  Right now though I am so sick of cutting out snowflakes.  Over the weekend, I think I have cut out 120, 2 inch snowflakes and I am pretty sure I am not done with those.  Today I have cut out about 40, 4 inch snowflakes.  Don’t get me wrong they are very pretty and they will look great on my Christmas crafts but honestly I am over it at this point.  

snowflake 1

Two of the 4 inch snowflakes.

My basic plan for today is to get all of the Cricut stuff done so that I can put it and all of it’s accessories away.  I still have sewing to do and I don’t want it all to be at the last minute.  I also need to get everything pulled out of the laundry room so that the delivery of my new washer and dryer.  I will talk more about that tomorrow.

What I really wanted was a day where I got stuff done but that I didn’t feel rushed and stressed.  I would love for the week before Christmas to be happy hustle and bustle not Calgon take me away stressful.  Last Christmas I barely got three hours of sleep after several nights of only getting 4 to 5 hours of sleep.  Boo was very excited and kept getting out of bed.  I was trying to wrap presents and get ‘other’ stuff set up for Christmas morning.  I’d been in bed about twenty minutes when she came in asking if Santa had come yet.  I think I said something like, “Are you kidding me?  Go back to bed.”  Honestly, I don’t usually talk like that and I try to be really patient and understanding of the Christmas excitement but I was exhausted.   I had hope she would sleep late, the last few years she had gotten up around 8:00, give or take thirty minutes or so.   Boo woke up at 5:30, I was able to ignore her and Sully until 6:00 but I was not happy.  I was so tired that I hurt all over.  I don’t remember most of the day because I was so exhausted.  Of course, now that makes me sad because that was our last Christmas with Papa.  I’ll have to sit down on a quiet day to meditate and see if I can recall some memories.

snowflake 2

Different style with some flake glitter.

 

The point is this week I am not going to run around like a fool and I am going to be well rested for Christmas.  So there!

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Am I blue…

The plan today is to try to make it through as normal as possible.  It would be easier if my first job of the day wasn’t feeding the dogs.  Foley was happy to see me and I gave him a good scratch and a quick hug.   It was a quick hug because he was doing the bathroom dance by the back door.  He had that face that said, “thanks for the hug Mom but I gotta go!”

I am keeping busy continuing to decorate the Kitchen and Great room.  I have boxes that need to go back out to the garage.  Sully is working from home today which I am thankful.  He is doing his best to keep my mind off of things.  It’s funny though, he knows I am distracting myself by keeping busy and just pops in every now and then to check on me.  As plans go, it worked pretty well he chatted with me while I cooked and helped me take the boxes into the garage.

In the evening I sat down and started making plans for my Christmas crafts.  I’ve decided to make some Christmas banners similar to the Thankful banner I made for Thanksgiving.  I’ve picked several sayings after thinking about the different people I will be making them for.

Boo is going to make some stuffed patchwork type of owls for people.  We researched patterns online and found a few that will work nicely.  I have plenty of scrap fabric for us to make a few practice owls.  Boo loves owls so a few extra will note b an issue.  In fact, maybe I will try to find some fabric to make seasonal owls for her.  It will be fun to make some stuff with her.

snowflakes

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Home again…

We arrived home from vacation last night.  It’s nice to be home but I could do without the heat.

All of our luggage needs to be unpacked and laundry needs to be done, but I have no motivation to do any of it.  Of course, I drove all of the way home from Anaheim last night so I shouldn’t be surprised that I am so tired today.  So far I have spent the day resting with scattered moments sorting and putting things away.

I’ve already had to deal with a minor issue in the garage.  It’s pretty disheartening given all of the work I just did in there.  I have a set of plastic drawers that stack.  One set has two large file drawers, the other two sets have smaller drawers.  Anyhow, the bottom section buckled at the bottom and made the whole stack lean and fall over.  Luckily other boxes kept the stack from completely falling.  At some point in time I need to go out and figure a solution.  I might have to build a shelf for each section.  There’s just too much to do right now and it’s really too hot to deal with it at this point.  Maybe I will check it out over the weekend.

I am trying to stay positive and not let the heat of the never ending summer depress me.  My plan for the rest of the week is to deal with things in little doses so that I don’t wear myself out.  Here’s hoping that works. 

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Learning as I go…

Ok, so this was my last day of my 21 day challenge.  Overall, I think I did pretty well.  I stayed with everything pretty solidly the first two weeks, faltering after that due to some other issues.  All in all, I think I did pretty well and I lost 4.5 pounds.  Yay me!  My reward is to get another ear piercing.  I have three piercings in my left ear and only one in the right.  I want one more on the right side.  In the top piercing in my left ear I wear a special earring that Sully got me, he actually got me a set of earrings but one disappeared.  The other piercings will even up so I can wear two sets of earrings.  Ok, whatever, it makes sense to me.  

Here’s one of things that I learned, and apologize in advance to any menfolk that are reading, keeping to any sort of plan of exercise is really difficult for me at that time of the month.  I am spacey a day or so before and have tummy and back cramps for three or four days after that.  It’s only taken me twenty plus years to figure this out… refer to the spacey comment above.  From here on out I will plan my 21 day challenges around that week.  I will design a lighter plan for that week that will help me stay on track without setting me up to fail.

It’s almost midnight and I still have a million things to do before we leave in the morning.  I’ve made my list and I really hope I can get everything done soon so I can get some sleep.

Day 21

1.  Water –  2 – 24 oz. tumblers

2.  Shimmy –  **

3.  Writing  –  

4.  Exercises –  Stretching**

5.  Project –  Packing for trip (many, many hours)

**Extremely busy today getting ready for trip.