What am I going to do today? Hmmmmmmm!
I have three new items to complete on my ‘to do’ list, and there are three older items that follow me each day for the past three weeks saying “what about us, we want ‘you’ to get us done too ‘cause we are easy to do?” Ouch! Maybe, if I don’t keep adding them to my today list and leave them on a page way back there in my diary, I will not feel so bad about not doing them. That is playing games with myself. Get a grip woman! By keeping them in my schedule I keep thinking that I will get them done? And there is no time like the present to get them done today. Finally!
PROCRASTINATION; Mr. P to me, and Mrs. P to you boys out there or not! What kind of love affair are you having with your Mr. or Mrs.‘P’? In their version of kindness they gave you a very special coat to wear called, the ‘P’ coat’ so that they would always have your attention. When you wear this coat there is not a puff of ‘to do’s’ anywhere to be seen. You can wallow and wander at your hearts content. Getting this coat off your back can be a battle worse than trying to get your ‘to do’ list done. We find all the excuses in the world to not stay focused on what we set out ‘to do’ and ‘don’t do’ for no valid reason at all. And when you stay in that cycle of behavior and have that attitude you get very disillusioned with yourself and the self-sabotaging and self-loathing begins.
I introduced myself to Mr. P in my late forties. Up to then I got everything done when it needed to get done. No long lists. I got great satisfaction using a red pen marking tasks off my ‘to do’ list everyday. Production waits for no man or woman. Once the red light is on and the cameras are rolling you are responsible to bring the story home. No time for procrastination. When you are rearing a family and running a busy business you can take on more tasks. Ask the busiest person to do a task and it will get done as promised and on schedule. Ask a not so busy person and they fall about the place in their Mr. or Mrs. P’s coat with the weight of the world on their shoulders and your task gets lost, mislaid, forgotten, torn up, flies away, never arrived in the first place! Just think about the people in your life who say they are going to do this or that for you and assess what got done? Now do the same the other way round where you said you would do something for them and did you do it? Interesting results? Like athletes in training the busy person is on purpose all the time. When you are not busy or in training you get sloppy, maybe lazy, maybe not as focused as you would like to be. What is happens to you?
If you are seriously going down the ‘rabbit hole’ of procrastination, and you know that your day or day’s are slipping away from you and you are busy doing everything else except what you plan to do, you are not practicing self-love. If what you are planning ‘to do’ is what is keeping your life on track; money in your account for food and drink, mortgage or rent, investments, for dinner parties, sailing, diving, promises you made, singing, dancing, writing, painting, sculpting, composing, skydiving, fishing, boating, traveling, insurance, assurances, car, truck, motorbike, clothes, holidays, books, films, music, education, hairdresser, opera, manicures, barber, facials, nights out etc. -then you have responsibilities to you and/or yours to hang up Mr. or Mrs. P’s coat and ‘get doing’ before you lose the life you have. At least you would like to know you can muster up the energy to do so. We are not always on form, ready to take on our day. If procrastination is with you every other day, then it’s time to talk to a therapist or psychologists. If it’s sporadic then you can be inventive. What other coats do you have in your imaginary closet? If you don’t have a ‘doing’ coat then it’s time to design one that will motivate, inspire and give you the courage to be actively achieving your goals, small and big. Actually maybe you should buy one from a second-hand theater or costume shop…watch out for one. It will at least make you smile every time you wear it, and you know why you are wearing it.
We trade currencies all the time. Currencies are energies in various forms; e.g. your time and grey matter for cash to live/maintain the life you are living. In our western culture work can be experienced as servile, mercenary and there is this hard, cruel, dog eat dog attitude to work also. When you spend any energy/currency there is an expectation in return even when people say there is not. When you work you get paid in cash. You fall in love and there is an expectation of love in return. You do something for another, at the time you do it without any alter motive, but in the end you are adding to your debit side of your being, and hope when it’s time to ask another to do something for you, not necessarily the same person, that they will be willing and able. When two people meet they begin to build credit with each other unconsciously, as time progresses there is an expectation of conscious emotional trading; I will do this for you if you do that for me, I will give you this to show you I love you, and I do expect love in return. It may not be said out loud, but it is obvious in the behavior for attention, support and love. When one person stops trading it affects the friendship/relationship. Everyone expects to trade various forms of emotional energies. Are we aware of of this behavior?
We have expectations of ourselves too. We trade with ourselves all the time; if I do this then I can to that etc. When you are not performing and not doing what you set out to do, you end up bankrupt; you lose credit with yourself. When you mend the door in the bathroom because it is not closing properly after two years you get the feeling of real achievement. When you build credit with yourself because of your achievements; big and small, you want to keep on doing the same over and over again. It builds self-worth, self-esteem and confidence. It can be as simple as doing mindful meditation for five minutes everyday and you experience the benefits, then you want to go from five minutes to twenty minutes over the next few weeks. You begin to feel better and better about yourself all the time.
Listen to the chatter in your mind and consider what you learn about yourself!
The first relationship to work on if you are a procrastinator is the one you have with yourself. So practically how do you hang up Mr. or Mrs. P’s coat. First you decide that you don’t like wearing it. You replace it with your new ‘doing’ coat. Then you think of all the supports you can have to get you out of the ‘P’ place. I suggest you make a list of all the music that gets you into an upbeat doing mood. I have a very kind and thoughtful friend who gave me an archive of music that makes me smile, cry, laugh, jump about, dance etc. From this archive I have compiled tracks for my moods. If it’s rock and roll that floats your boat put it on, get up, be physical, get enthused and get the most active item done from your list. Use headphones if you are at work. If you are at home turn up the volume and get the task done as you sing along. Ensure complete focus without any distractions; talking to another, no checking mail, or going on skype, no browsing the net and no calls. Then go make yourself a vegetable juice, a cup of tea or whatever and sit back and relish ticking off each task as you do them. When you are doing a task be mindful of how you are doing it. Wear your smile and see how it affects the energy you spend in doing the task. Plan the next tasks and so forth and so on. If you build up this kind of ‘personal/emotional achievement credit’ with yourself, the feeling will be what motivates you to keeping on doing the same.
It’s a day today resolve to hang up Mr. or Mrs P’s coat.
“Procrastination is the thief of time: Year after year it steals, till all are fled, And to the mercies of a moment leaves The vast concerns of an eternal scene.” Edward Young
A kind reader of thepossibleself.com website mailed me these thoughts;
“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”
©Copyright The Possible Self 2012