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?