“I just don’t feel like it.” – Thoughts on Procrastination

It’s dawned on my recently the toll that procrastination is taking on my life, at work and at home.  Last fall, after weeks of worries over work, I made the New Year’s Resolution to battle against procrastination in my work activities.  I was sure that much of my stress was related to tasks I had waited on, which I then felt guilty about (causing more stress), and then finally had to deal with in a mad rush.  I haven’t been perfect in my effort to slay the procrastination monster in my work life, but I have come along way.  This year, I became more dedicated to working through a daily to-do list, and started tackling the item I dreaded most 1st.  I still have plenty of room for improvement, but I am happy with my progress, and I know that it has greatly aided me as my workload reached its highest capacity this fall.  I’ve been able to keep myself on track with much less stress.

2014-11-30 17.26.55Unfortunately, my recent heavy work load and focus to keep things done in that area, left my house to suffer.  I lost track of my routines, and despite many efforts to get back on track, I was floundering.  My husband and kids began to help more, but the house still looked like a storm had hit.  As Thanksgiving approached, things slowed down a bit at work, and I was able to turn more of my focus towards my home.  I repeatedly worked to reclaim my kitchen from chaos, but because I wasn’t faithful to my morning and evening routines, I didn’t maintain much progress.  I kept wondering what the problem was.  Last week, knowing that I couldn’t keep going in circles, I diligently started working on my Morning and Before Bed Routines, and slowly but surely, I started seeing progress again on my home!  These small tasks that I had been ignoring due to time pressures and needing to tackle other “important” things, were the very things I needed to be doing to make my life easier.  As I looked at the “disaster” areas of my home, I realized that many of these problem areas were directly related to repeated procrastination of small tasks.

mess2Time to Change

Um…yes, that is a Ziggle bike sitting in the front seat of my car (on top of a pile of junk that I have stored there, instead of taking stuff with me each time I got out of the car).  Since taking this photo, I managed to clean out the car, but the Ziggle managed to live in the car for about of week because I didn’t “feel” like taking 5 seconds to bring it into our garage.  And every time I got in the car I felt like such a slob driving to work because of this pile of items I hadn’t felt like dealing with.  Daily decisions to not bring in these items which had entered the car just a few at a time, had resulted in a huge pile that actually took quite a bit of time to sort through and deal with.  If I had taken just a minute or two to bring these things daily and dealt with them immediately, my car would have stayed clean, I would have felt better, and I would have saved all the time and energy I eventually had to put out to get my car back in order.

mess3And I was doing this everywhere!  My bedside was a wreck because a few weeks ago I dug out a box of clothes I had been saving in my closet that finally fit, but then I didn’t “feel” like putting back.  That box, that sat by my bed, attracted the daily items I had left on my bed to deal with later, but that I didn’t “feel” like putting away before getting into bed.  Dirty laundry then ended up on that stack, along with shoes, and books and garbage.  The clean clothes that needed to be put away ended up in the stack too because I couldn’t get into the closet until I “made time” to deal with the now HUGE project.   I finally dealt with that pile and as well as the other piles I had created around the room, and luckily, it only took 2 hours to deal with instead of days.  But I could have saved myself the 2 hours by simply putting the box back in the beginning, and taking a few minutes to put away stuff before bed, or maybe I could simply have applied the “Do It Now” principle and actually dealt with the items I had been laying on the bed right when I had them in my hand to begin with.  Imagine that!  Why was I making things so difficult for myself?

Progress

As you know, I’m a big believer in Flylady’s Shine Your Sink technique.  Whenever my house returns to chaos, I know that the 1st area to reclaim is my kitchen sink.  And sometimes, because I know how it easy it is, and that it usually doesn’t take as long as I dread it will, I actually give myself permission to procrastinate on it.  I think to myself, “It will only take a few minutes tomorrow to deal with it, and even if it gets worse, I know what to do”.  But if I don’t tackle those dishes, I don’t do my Before Bed Routine.  And when I don’t do that, I throw off my morning, and we are late to school….and I still don’t have my dishes done.  And then I just have a bigger pile to deal with later.  It has to STOP!!  Procrastination never makes things easier.  I lie to myself when I think that I can just do it later and not have more work to do.  Later is never as easy as now.  No matter how dreadful the current task seems, it’s always easier NOW.  I just have to make the decision to do those things right away, and make that decision daily.  That’s what Happy Habits are all about.  I can keep the chaos away by making simple daily decisions to do the necessary tasks now.  Why be harder on myself by giving myself more work later??

clean bedsideSince Thanksgiving, I have consistently made the simple decision each night to tackle the dishes before bed.  And that decision is working wonders in my home.  It has led me to finish off my Bedtime routine, which has led to a smoother morning and completed Morning routine.  I have reclaimed my kitchen.  I started getting on top of my  laundry, and I reclaimed my bedroom.  All that in just a few days.  Success in one small item bred success in others.  All of these little moments add up.  I think this year for 2015, I will make the New Year’s Resolution to slay the procrastination monster in my home.  No more waiting until later.  I know I won’t “feel” like dealing with big messes later, so I’ll make the decision now to do what I can at the moment, whether I “feel” like it or not.