Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Anti-Procrastination Plan

 

Itchy, twitchy, and utterly scattered

This week has been especially challenging for me, despite the relative calm in my life as the New Year begins. While running errands on Tuesday, I felt especially cranky, yet there was no good reason for it. My stomach was full, I had water with me, people in the stores were friendly…I was just out of sorts for no particular reason.

I did miss three dancing nights this week and my only excuses were exhaustion and a badly swollen and painfull knee. Yet I really didn’t do that much. Monday I actually got a few hours of work in, Tuesday I did my 3 hour errand marathon, and Wednesday I made another vat of turkey stewp. But none of that should have worn me out to the point of missing dance nights! And yet I did.

By Thursday, I was edgy, twitchy, and unsettled. I even took a few moments to go stand in the rain, barefooted on the newly green front lawn (ok, it’s weeds, but they’re green!) until my feet were too frozen to maintain my position. Yet the twitchy-ness continued.

Lunar Lunacy

My only explanation for this malady of sorts is the full moon mostly hidden by the cloud cover which has become an integral part of the sunny Southern California landscape of late. (seems the El Nino our inimitable weather services predicted for the last two years finally arrived after they stopped predicting its imminent arrival!)

Yet, as the week wore on and I got a few things done I’d been avoiding, I found myself feeling more settled. Was procrastination the ultimate culprit?

Procrastination: Same story, different day

Procrastination occurs for a plethora of reasons. I won’t profess to understand everyone else’s but here are a few of mine:

  1. Boredom
  2. Fear
  3. Anxiety
  4. Unpleasant tasks (or those I’ve convinced myself are unpleasant)
  5. Laziness

Sometimes, the hard part is catching yourself avoiding what you know needs to be done, and getting out of your own way. I should know by now that if I’d rather be cleaning, I’ve really talked myself around a task.

To wit: I’ve needed to transfer the preliminary outline I finished this week to a Word document. Yet Thursday came and I’d yet to begin. In fact, I hadn’t even taken the notebook out of my laptop case until Wednesday night! Yet I still found reasons to put it off. I really need to read some of the blog posts I’ve been saving. Or how about: I need to do laundry right now. As if I hadn’t perfected the art of late night chores decades ago!

Using crankiness to devise my anti-procrastination plan

Now that I’ve actually put a couple of chapters worth of outline into that Word document, I feel less tense and irritable. The feeling has been replaced by anticipation and expectation, but it beats being cranky for no reason! At some point, I am going to learn to sit myself down and do that which challenges me instead of finding all sorts of ways to avoid it until I don’t even want to be in the same room with myself. It seems I’m much better at keeping commitments I make to other people than I am about keeping them with myself.

As I let this idea germinate for a couple of days, I finally came to the conclusion that I am a starter but not a finisher. I get bored or frustrated with a project, and put it aside, sometimes forever. I need to give myself small milestones so I’ll feel like I’m accomplishing something. Getting the outline on paper was one of those milestones. Putting it into Word so I can play with it, move things around, and,  more importantly, expand on it is another. Using it to improve my story is yet another step in the long road to publication. One I’ve made much longer through my procrastination.

Being my most treasured client

Someone gave me a piece of advice when I was struggling with marketing myself. They said to think of myself as one of my very best clients and put that same effort into the marketing. I think that same piece of advice applies to commitments I make to myself. Whether it’s getting that outline done, working on one of my books, writing in general, drafting regular blog posts, or doing work for a client, there should be no difference in quality or commitment. Am I truly alone in failing to see the disconnect? The shoddy workmanship on tasks for myself?

I read a story last night about a carpenter who decided to retire. His boss asked him to build one last house. Part way through the project, he started getting lazy and sloppy. He did sub-standard work and used cheaper materials. At the end of the project, his boss handed him the keys. He said he’d have done a better job if he’d known he was doing it for himself.

I seem to do the opposite. My clients get my best work, and I get what’s left over. The spoils. Instead, everyone should be getting my best work. Don’t we all deserve the very best I can give? Myself included?

Manageable pieces for a successful anti-procrastination plan

One thing I have learned lately is that I don’t need to write an entire blog post in one sitting. Sometimes, I start an idea and as the day goes on, other things occur to me. I need to allow this to happen. I can write a few thoughts which occur to me, then go on to other things and let the thoughts germinate. If I’m lucky, the germination makes for a better post.

I took my time finishing this post, though a good part of that time was spent farting around instead of really accomplishing anything. Sometimes I need to do that to see where I’m shooting myself in the foot. For now, knowing I need an anti-procrastination plan is the first step. Like an alcoholic, I need to admit I have a problem before I can format a plan and create manageable steps to fix it.

What we need is a 12-step program for procrastinators

I invite all who suffer from procrastination and self-sabotage to join me in taking the first step: admitting we have a problem. Maybe even start a support group; some might call it accountability partners, to help each other form anti-procrastination plans with those small milestones we need to keep us interested. Even give each other honest advice about those plans. I know I tend to form some that are just not manageable, and drop by the wayside. If someone were to look at my plan and tell me when I need to break the pieces into smaller chunks, I know it would help. And if they checked in to see if I was truly accomplishing those smaller chunks, the guilt alone would kill me if I hadn’t. Here’s my first step. Will you share yours?

My name is Sheri and I’m a procrastinator. I start projects but never take them to completion.

It all starts with gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the honesty with which I view myself.
  2. I am grateful for lessons I’ve learned, and those yet to come.
  3. I am grateful for support groups.
  4. I am grateful for honesty, however painful it might be at first. In the end, it’s what makes us great.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, hope, dreams, plans, successes, failures, challenges, lessons, support, giving, receiving, love, philanthropy, peace, harmony, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Are you interested in helping me form an anti-procrastination support group? Fill in the form below and share your thoughts!

Photo courtesy of Gavin Firkser via Flickr

I look forward to your comments.

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