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With Summer Closing I Turn My Focus to This One Habit.

Summer coming to an end is never a joyous occasion. Although I am a creature of habit – I like routine and the predictable – the spontaneity and relaxed flow of the summer is utterly refreshing. The big goal I’ve made for myself over these summer months is to work on my perfectionistic, albeit very human tendency, to procrastinate. I’m learning bit by bit that approaching rather than avoiding an item on my to-do list makes me feel much better about myself and my life.

Lately I have had to set aside time during these last precious days of vacation to search for childcare for my son, as I return to teaching in just a couple of weeks. Embarrassingly, there were moms visiting the same daycares looking for a space a year from now! ‘Tis my procrastinating nature. Thankfully, I’ve had some luck. However, I did come up against some stumbling blocks along the way. One day after an hour of staring at Kijiji ads I felt completely lost. I couldn’t find any daycares offering care during my part-time work hours. I was getting extremely discouraged, stressed, and emotional. I acknowledged to myself that I was feeling quite tired and would probably benefit from taking a break. After flopping myself down on my bed for just a few minutes an idea came to me of how I could re-work my schedule to accommodate the part-time hours the daycares were offering. All of a sudden the options opened up and I was in contact with a handful of possibilities in a matter of minutes.

I often procrastinate because it requires problem-solving that I feel incompetent to work through. I am learning that just by setting aside time to approach these problems I accomplish a great deal of the task. Then, when obstacles arise, I benefit from changing my strategy. Staring at the computer screen was not helping me solve anything. When I switched my focus and altered my surroundings, my brain was able to see a new solution.

What causes you to procrastinate? What types of problem-solving strategies do you use to help you work through obstacles?

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One thought on “With Summer Closing I Turn My Focus to This One Habit.

  1. I am someone who likes to be ahead of schedule, someone who likes to finish early and who enjoys careful preparation. However, I still somehow manage to put the “pro” in procrastinating for certain things. For example, school work (I ALWAYS left studying until the night before and put off essay-writing for as long as I could), washing dishes, and re-hanging posters that fall from my wall from my fan’s frequent summertime use. I have always been a list-maker and I enjoy getting things done and crossed off and I DISLIKE having big projects looming over me…but sometimes, the bigger the project and the more time I need to complete it, the more I put it off! Aside from being lazy (which I don’t deny) and my often out-of-whack priorities (watching recipe videos on YouTube is WAY more important than cleaning up after supper), I think my procrastination is very often a byproduct of fear. Fear of not being able to complete the task (well), fear of not measuring up to my own or others’ standards, fear of the unknown (where do I start??). I often say, “I work well under pressure,” to rationalize my procrastination, but the truth is…I know that’s not true. Sure, I’ve aced tests after studying for just one night; sure, I’ve written A-grade papers hopped up on Ketchup chips and Mountain Dew at 3am but, in general, I know that I am the person that likes to have time to think things through, have time to practice, have time to observe. I guess what it all boils down to is: if I don’t think I’m going to be immediately good at it, I’ll put it off. I don’t have an awesome idea for an essay? I put it off. I go to a rock climbing party? I stand at the back of the line to go last so I can see how others do it and maybe learn something from them. If someone asked me to join their soccer team? I’d probably say no. Not because I’m against soccer, but because I wouldn’t be very good at it right away. When you think about it, procrastinating is very limiting 😦 Maybe if I gave myself the proper time to work on things I’d enjoy myself more and be less stressed doing them with insufficient time. Personally, I hate being rushed and yet I often find myself being the cause of my own time crunch. I should probably work on that. Sorry, this was a very ramble-y and disorganized response to your thought-provoking post; I probably should have started writing it earlier 😉

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