Did the title catch your eye?
I was thinking about this the other day. Sometimes, when we procrastinate for long enough – things get so bad, you are MOTIVATED to finally do it.
Identify the problem & action required -> procrastination -> things get really bad -> do the work -> Done. Aaah. 🙂
Why can’t we just get from identify to doing the work to done?
My guess is, we get overwhelmed before we even begin. Excuses roll in “I can’t now, right now, I already have this, this and this to do”. It’s a matter of priorities. Right now, this is task/errand/job is low on my priority list. The situation can change though and that’s when this task/errand/job moves right up to the top. That’s what happend a couple Sundays ago.
I opened the fridge and I knew something had spilled. Ah, spring roll sauce!! I spent my sunday morning scrubbing out the fridge. The only reason why I ended up cleaning it was because the food spill drew my attention to the fridge (the situation had changed and up it went to the top of my priorities). I thought to myself I might as well scrub everything down instead of just the spill.
As I cleaned it, many thoughts went through my head, “When was the last time I thoroughly scrubbed the fridge?”, “How did we let things get to this point?” and “Why does spring roll sauce smell good on your spring roll and terrible in the fridge?”, “And why do we have so many bottles of sauce?” LOL!
I took everything out and it was a full on scrub down. It was a good time to clear out expired items and swap the baking soda box for a fresh one. We use our fridge daily. I open it many times a day, but I don’t like cleaning it. Especially when it’s packed with food (which means there’s more to take out). I used three different mixtures: baking soda with water, Dr. Bonners (citrus)with water and fresh lemon juice with water. I left the remainder of that last mixture in a bowl and kept it in the fridge while I washed everything else in the tub.
This wasn’t part of my original sunday plan. And I wasn’t happy that I was doing this, I was pretty frustrated as I did it actually. Especially when I was looking at everything I had to toss out. I started off strong. I was focused on the task at hand and knew my end result would be all the satisfaction I needed. Half way through, I just wanted to give up but I thought about how good it would feel when I was done and that there really was no point in giving up since I already started.
In total, I spent about two and a half hours cleaning the fridge. This included the time it took to take out the foodwaste and recycling to and put the rest of the food back in the fridge. This was all before I did a grocery run and laundry which was already part of my sunday plan. By the end of it all, I was tired and sore and sort of annoyed at myself that I didn’t do this sooner.
How could I have avoided all this?
If I just cleaned out the fridge more often then it wouldn’t have gotten so bad (so full that something could spill) and would’ve required so much of my time and elbow grease.
Here’s what I think I could’ve done to bypass the procrastination for foreseeable tasks/chores.
1. Identify actions that need to be taken
2. Schedule them into your day/week/month
3. Take action.
I’m pretty good at the first two. It’s the last step that I usually get stuck on because I think to myself that I’m really tired and don’t have the energy to do it today… but that’s everyday. I feel tired most days. So, it’s just a matter of do I want to do it right now? And really, who actually wants to DO CHORES? And usually I should because you never know what might come up tomorrow – an illness or someone else’s illness or an unexpected delay might set you back in your day.
If you require motivation to get something done (and often I do), imagine the worst state something can get in (worse case scenario) and then think of how much work that would be and how upset you’ll feel. The sooner you do it, the less work it’ll be. Also, I like to sometimes pretend, I’m being an example for someone else… that doesn’t always work well for me. Imagining the worst state might work better.
What do you do to keep yourself from procrastinating? What are you procrastinating on? Have you had any lessons on procrastination that gave you a different perspective on why you procrastinate?