On procrastination

Seven weeks remain in the year 2011. Seven weeks!

Are you satisfied with your year so far? If not, you have seven weeks to turn it around. Me, I’ll face off with procrastination.

Take my blog. I post infrequently despite a swarm of viable topics buzzing in my head. I take ages to transform them from half-baked ideas to publishable posts. Why? Procrastination. I’m not lazy by nature, and I’m Type A about my work, my practice, and my teaching. But I grapple with non-deadline tasks.

The trouble with procrastinating is the snowball effect: the longer I wait, the larger the task looms. If I posted to my blog twice a week, each post would seem ordinary and routine. When I wait for two or more weeks, each post seems momentous. The longer the passage of time, the more I feel compelled to write a stupendous post.

I sometimes experience the same syndrome with other non-deadline tasks, such as answering personal email. If a close friend emails me, I want to respond with a substantial note, not a flip “thanks for writing!” But with work and other pressing matters, personal email might linger in my in-box far too long. The irony is that I immediately answer trivial messages with quick and dirty conciseness. Prompt and efficient. I should apply this approach universally.

In seven weeks, maybe I can complete those non-deadline tasks on my to-do list. None are sisyphean except in my imagination. I can probably complete one per week. Just. Do. It.

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6 thoughts on “On procrastination

  1. Ah, Yoga Spy, thanks for the timely reminder. Seven weeks? Really, that’s all?

    Doing battle with procrastination seems to be the work of a lifetime.

    I just recently bought some software called Priority Matrix, which lets you make lists in four quadrants. Somehow having it all spread out in lists of tasks in four categories –  important and urgent, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and not important and not urgent – catapulted me this morning into making two appointments I’ve been off forever.

    Now I’m back looking at the list again. SuDoku and Plants Vs. Zombies, my two time-wasting vices, look even less appealing listed under “not urgent and not important.”

  2. Thank you for this post. Your description of what you put off doing and why could be about me. Seven weeks is enough time to create some better habits. Today is day one!

  3. 7 weeks left of 2011?!? i don’t even remember my new year’s resolution.

    would love to see more posts from you on a regular basis. hope that you are able to just. do. it!

  4. OMG, how perfect is this post! Just for fun I’ve been working with a friend who needs volunteers as she completes her wellness coaching certification. Anyway, your blog was a gift! Thanks! 🙂

  5. Procrastination is my bugaboo too. Oddly enough, it has its basis in perfectionism. A therapist once explained to me what he called the 3-P cycle: We face a task. We want to do it perfectly. That intimidates us into procrastinating. Then, as time goes by, it becomes even more important to do it perfectly to justify our procrastination. Finally, the task become so huge (in our minds) that we are paralyzed.
    Perfectionism = procrastination = paralysis.
    I regularly have to remind myself not to 3-P a task or it will never get done.

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