May Intentions: Tackling Procrastination

imagePhoto credit: Darren Hester

When I first started writing this post in my mind, I filled it with the wide range of intentions I have for this month.

And then I realized something.

Every single one of my intentions has to do with tackling procrastination.

I am, I confess, a Master Procrastinator.

My main dilemma? I don’t just procrastinate when it comes to things I have to do. I also procrastinate when it comes to things I want to do.

It’s that last part I don’t like. It’s that last part that can make me feel like I’m getting nowhere when it comes to my hopes and dreams.  And it’s that last part I’m going to deal with this month.

The Things I HAVE To Do

You see, when it comes to the things I have to do, despite my procrastination habits, I actually still manage to get these things done. On time.

It’s because I’ve honed the procrastination of my to-do list to perfection.

Here’s an example: I’ve been very successfully self-employed for over 15 years. And I owe my success to one main thing. I am a pro when it comes to meeting clients’ deadlines.

So you’re probably wondering, how is it I’m so good at meeting deadlines when I’m also a Master Procrastinator?

There’s only one reason. I am very deadline oriented (I blame my legal training. In the legal world, a deadline is not something you take lightly. You miss a date to file something, your client suffers. End of story.)

My Procrastinating Mind deals with my deadline orientation like this: it automagically looks at the days leading up to the deadline, factors out time I won’t have available due to other commitments, tallies up the hours that are available, and then sets a start time for me that has me finishing the project right on time. When that start time comes, I get to work. And I don’t stop until the project is done.

Invariably, I’m able to email in the completed project right at the stroke of the due date. As you can probably see, this leads to a very imbalanced life for me. But it does work.

The Things I WANT To Do

Unfortunately, self-imposed, personal deadlines don’t work for me. Which is why I am woefully unsuccessful when it comes to all the things I actually want to do.

As in, all the things that are the building blocks to realizing my dreams.

Of course, the way I handle client deadlines and other things I have to do isn’t ideal and does need to be changed (despite it being so successful for me) but since I’m in my not-so-busy work period right now, the better thing for me to do is deal with my habit of procrastinating all the things I want to do.

Also, I figure if I can get into the habit of not procrastinating when it comes to what I want to do, this habit will spill over into my work life, too.

I have a lot of interests. There are a lot of things I want to do. Writing is one of them. It’s not the only thing, but it’s the biggest thing. But there are a lot of other things I want to do, too.

So if I can just get out of the habit of procrastinating, I’ll be much happier. Because I’ll actually be doing all the things I want to do with my life.

What Works For Me: Getting to the Doing

All those smaller intentions I mentioned at the beginning of my post? They were all ways I’ve been thinking about to entice me to start Doing. Doing, with a capital D.

I’ve noticed that it’s only the initial Doing that stops me. Once I start Doing, the need to procrastinate melts away.

What else works for me:

1. Getting organized.

2. Feeling the fun.

3. Feeling playful about something.

4. Feeling the ease.

5. Visual props.

And one very powerful tool for getting to the Doing: creating new habits, using the 30-day rule.

At the End of This Month

At the end of the month, I will write up a post that will tally up all the ways I’ve discovered to tackle my habit of procrastinating and start Doing.

I hope! As always, there’s nothing like setting out my intentions in writing like this, on my blog.

What are your intentions for the month of May?

7 thoughts on “May Intentions: Tackling Procrastination

  1. Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

    Oh my…. were you reading my mail??

    I’m going to come and read your posting again when I have more time to ponder your thoughts.

    Wishing you the BEST for a great month of moving forward, not only in the have-to stuff, but in your want-to projects!

    Reply
  2. Meghan

    I need to join you on this! I will never understand why I procrastinate with things I actively want to do – like sit and waste time on the internet while I should be reading / diminishing my DVD to-be-watched pile / reviewing / cooking and so on. I look forward to seeing what you come up with that helps!

    Reply
  3. Barbara

    Like you, I always honor my commitments to others on time or early. My commitments to myself however, not so much. I have a To Do List a mile long but it’s so nice to sit and read instead. I have bad habits to break, and a great stumbling block that I have no control over (my husband’s care), but I should follow your example and do something about things I can change. Good luck to both of us.

    Reply
  4. NoPotCoooking

    This is interesting for me because I am the exact opposite and one thing I am working on is learning to let go a little and not do everything so early. Deadlines make me crazy. I can’t stand the thought of having to rush to finish something – I don’t like feeling time pressed at all. So I tend to get things done far ahead of time. Which can create its own stress in a way. So I’m trying to learn to ease up just a bit on myself.

    Reply
  5. Beth F

    I figure that I’m so deadlined in my work life that it’s easy to let things slide in my personal life. I’d like to know the solution.

    Reply
  6. Ella

    I have issues; I am finding if I do the thing I dread the most first the rest of the day is more of a breeze. I think you need to pretend you are a client, make up a name you love like and what would you suggest to this person. I look forward to hearing how you conquer this!
    May is, I mean was about art challenges. I am tired of not putting it out there. So I attempt to be more brave~
    I admire your honesty; thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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