Melina Gunnett

August 14, 2012

Procrastination – It’s Making Me Wait.

Filed under: Odd Thoughts — Tags: , , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 9:03 PM

Sometimes my ability to procrastinate even amazes me. I can understand wanting to to put off things I don’t really want to do. Even if I know the task won’t go a way, there is always the chance something might happen that will make it irrelevant. Maybe a stray asteroid will hit the planet or something. It happens all the time in the movies.

What really amazes me is my ability to put off doing things I enjoy. These would be things like watching a movie, hanging out with friends, or reading a book. You know, the types of things I want to do before that hypothetical asteroid hits.

Instead I have been filling my days with things that are neither important nor all that fun. It really is possible to kill an entire afternoon playing Facebook games, I don’t recommend it, but it does make time pass. With the amount of time I have wasted over the last week I could have easily finished 3 or 4 of the books in my to be read pile.

I’ve been blaming other things of course; first my back and then the heat (this week has been a scorcher and we don’t have air-conditioning). It is easy to find excuses. Some of them are even legitimate, but not the real truth.

I’ve been trying to get down to the real truth, the real reason why I have been procrastinating on so many things. I suspect it will take many years of therapy before I figure it all out, but there are a few clues I’ve put together.

Penny jarI know that I have trouble finishing things. It doesn’t matter what the thing is, let’s say today’s task is counting pennies in a jar. Some of the tasks I have been putting off really aren’t much more difficult to do and probably wouldn’t take much more time. Sow why do I have so much trouble getting those pennies counted?

It feels good to finish something. To be able to look at that jar of pennies and say “I know there are 274 pennies in there because I counted them!” There is always a moment of elation at finishing a task, but with the elations comes a bit of guilt. Why, who knows? I’m not even sure it matters, because the elation doesn’t stay around all that long before fear starts to sink in.

Why does fear set in after a task? It doesn’t always. Sometimes I can just check it off and call it good, but not always. Sometimes the questions start up first: Did I do it right? Is there really 274 pennies or did I miscount? What if one of the was Canadian? I am sure that fear of failure has something to do with my procrastination.

The other side of that coin is fear of Success. That small feeling of elation, do I really deserve it? I mean, anyone could have done it and probably even done it more efficiently. Now that I have counted the pennies, are people going to expect me to keep track of them forever? If I did do it well are they now going to expect me to keep track of the nickels, dimes and quarters too? How do I manage expectations, including my own?

All of this means I have probably spent too much time contemplating why I procrastinate so much. As I said, I could keep a therapist busy for years sorting out the reasons behind my idiosyncrasies. The main reason I have been trying to figure out why I procrastinate is so that I can get over it and just get things done so I can enjoy life. So far that hasn’t helped much.

The only thing that I have found that works for me is to make a list of the things I need to do and not let myself go to bed until I cross at least one thing off that list. Sometimes this cuts into my sleep a bit, but slowly things have been getting done. The next step is to convince myself to cross one of those items off my list as the FIRST thing I do every day. That way I can start doing the things I enjoy without feeling guilty.

It really doesn’t take more effort to do things in the morning than it does at night, just more will power.


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