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Procrastinating

March 30th, 2005 · 3 Comments

Who me?

Beth Grigg and Jeff Youngstrom have each posted on procrastination recently.

Why do we procrastinate? I know I procrastinate when the task ahead seems too enormous or intense. I procrastinate when what I should be doing seems unpleasant. When I want to be creative and frivolous. Or when I feel too tired and would rather treat myself with a little indulgence that I feel I’ve deserved after a difficult day.

Especially at this time of year, with the spring chores adding to the stack of weekend work I can feel like Fred First, needing to remind myself to eat the elephant one bite at a time. Discipline and wisdom are what I need. Yes, sometimes I even procrastinate at the computer.

We each have our secret sins with time: Beth has been indulging in Manolo’s Shoe Blog while I’ve been shopping for clothes on-line, clicking through catalog pages. She also has shared some excellent ideas on using voicemail accounts to capture and organize those thoughts that can come anywhere. I know I’ve missed a few moments of inspiration that have happened while I was driving or unable to write down the impression for future recollection. For those in the city, Beth’s list of tips on getting something done in Seattle is a valuable resource including places that keep kids happy.

Jeffy’s suggestions are also helpful. I know that if I plan time for an activity then I won’t have to borrow time from something else in order to make my goals happen. Jeffy discovered he has 41 things to do in the morning! Last night, coincidentally, ( I didn’t mention Jeffy’s post) Ted and I were talking about helping our children – and ourselves – by writing a list of what needs to happen in certain situations, such as getting up in the morning, getting ready for bed, tidying the room etc. Tonight Abigail proudly showed her dad the list she and I had made together this afternoon including calculated times to help her prepare for dance class: nine tasks requiring 46 minutes.

Peeking at Jeffy’s 43 Things, I learned that one of his goals is to sleep less. I wish I could say the same. I am struggling to sleep more. I am realizing that I can’t post as often or as much as I would like. Making priorities is difficult but necessary for me.

Many nights I read blogs or write posts but don’t publish. I know I’m becoming sporadic and intense, all or nothing. Some times I run out of time. I apologize. Reading Kevin Briody’s post helped me find a name for my habit: burst blogging. There. Not so alone or guilty. ;-)

I often feel I don’t accomplish much. What did I do this past weekend? Saturday I slept instead of staying up and working at my desk. Sunday I read a book. I rested. So go the days. Yet I feel guilty as the papers pile on the desk, the emails multiply in the inbox and the aggregator bulges with blogposts.

This week we are happy Ted is home. Everyone’s schedule has slowed and we have more time and energy for each other. Happy days indeed.

Tonight we had fun as a family in a way we hadn’t in a while. We were silly and creative. We sang and danced. It is this time spent laughing and sharing in our living room together that makes life, more than the lists I can cross, as this post by Ann Althouse reminded me [via Susan Kitchens].

If you ever wish you could have more time to get something done, just remember: if you did have more time, you wouldn’t get more done. The extra time would melt away, and you’d be back feeling pressure to get it done in too little time. You might as well enjoy the free time and not moan about the things you didn’t achieve. Idle moments at the dining table, talking about this and that, are much more your real life than all those grand accomplishments, achieved and unachieved.

Tags: journal

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Josh Petersen // Mar 30, 2005 at 8:30 pm

    You’re not alone – did you notice that “Stop procrastinating” is the #1 goal on 43 things? http://www.43things.com/zeitgeist/popular_goals

    That list of actions and the time required seems really helpful. Might solve the mystery in our family of why it take so long to get out of the house.

  • 2 jeffy // Apr 7, 2005 at 6:39 pm

    Thanks for the links, Julie.

    I tried using my checklist this morning for the first time and my progress from bed out the door was much less random than usual. It’s good for me not to have to use my brain too much first thing in the morning.

    As for the sleep thing, for me it’s a combination of low-grade depression which keeps me in bed longer than I’d like, and just enough ambition to make me begrudge the time spent away from the world. I’d forgotten that I was trying to measure my time spent sleeping (as mentioned on 43things) until I saw it on my morning checklist this morning. A small victory there.

  • 3 jeffy // Apr 7, 2005 at 6:43 pm

    Thanks for the links, Julie.

    I tried using my checklist this morning for the first time and my progress from bed out the door was much less random than usual. It’s good for me not to have to use my brain too much first thing in the morning.

    As for the sleep thing, for me it’s a combination of low-grade depression which keeps me in bed longer than I’d like, and just enough ambition to make me begrudge the time spent away from the world. I’d forgotten that I was trying to measure my time spent sleeping (as mentioned on 43things) until I saw it on my morning checklist this morning. A small victory there.

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