I have an Oscar Wilde magnet on my fridge: I never put off until tomorrow what I can do the day after. Which explains why I have a sock sitting on one side of me, a sleeping cat on the other, and a pile of research books for an unstarted story with a deadline in early July on the coffee table, just out of easy reach.
Procrastination? Yeah, I've got it down.
I used to be the get up and go girl - always early (except for term papers). Since I am no longer that person, I have to blame the knitting. Relax you say? Give me my knitting! Get going, you say? One more row, I say!
So-relax. It shall get done in its own time.
I'm procrastinating right now reading your blog instead of doing the 1M things I should be doing.
Thank you. You are quite the enabler.
I'll get back to you about that procrastination thing.
I'll chime in on this later...
I'm a terrible procrastinator, but I get a lot of things done, too, so I'm pretty gentle with myself about it. I figure that if my brain wants me to be otherwise occupied so badly, it might know something I don't. On the other hand, there might just not be room for anything else once you consider knitting, reading, wine, and children, but I'm taking the generous view.
So if you post twice about procrastination creating the pressure to get the job done - does this mean that you'll get twice as much done? Or does it void itself, thereby creating a lack of pressure and then nothing gets done?
Uh, yes. By opening a new tab, reading AND responding to your blog instead of paying bills and filing a 2 foot stack of paper on my desk. (there because I have spent the last 12 months procrastinating)
I have been retired for 3 years now and I still have a half dozen things on my to-do list that were there when I first retired. Plus now I have another half dozen things knitted and needing buttons or blocking or both, and they aren't on the list. And I'm doing this instead of a couple of fairly urgent projects. Say, where does procrastination end and laziness begin? Or is it the other way around? This post is starting to sound like Procrastinator's Anonymous. :-)
I'm a master procrastinator, and work better with a deadline. As in, the final product (whether it's a paper due, a clean house, etc) is invariably better when done during crunch time.
Of course, this method has left me sobbing uncontrollably, running half an hour late for setup at a trade show, still packaging product.3 straight all-nighters don't leave your emotional reserves terribly intact. Heh.
Take everything in small bites. Don't think about laundry, packing, training,etc. Just throw a load of laundry in. Go for a quick bike ride. You have to trick your Inner Procrastinator into thinking that you're still on it's side. Does that make sense? Just sneakily do one thing at a time until everything is done.
(You asked for it.)
Procrastination is an art form few people appreciate. I would put things off as a way of dealing with and making excuses for my fear of failure....oh, the house doesn't look good because I haven't finished cleaning....this sweater will be OK once I get to that second sleeve I try to prioritize. The most important things do get done and the fretting we do over the things that don't get done is time wasted anyway. I rejoice in every completed task.
I sympathize, Steph, and this post helps me understand my husband a little better, too. He's a bigger procrastinator than I, especially since I shut down physically after about 11, and he's the son of musicians who gets a second wind around midnight. I definitely procrastinate when I have an enormous task ahead, so I just try and do SOMETHING, ANYTHING that will get me towards my goal, even if that's just putting out all the stuff I need, and then pouring another cup of coffee. Best of luck with everything!
I am good at procrastinating, and even if everything still gets done it is a miserable experience. So, please, get a load in the wash and then jump on your bike and do the peddling. Once you are back, you can toss the wash in the dryer and do your meeting.
The way I trick my internal procrastinator is to tell myself I need to do the thing I want to put off for just 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, I can stop. Usually, once I get going, I keep going. It doesn't always work. My IP can be pretty stubborn.
Go for half a bike ride :)
I am procrastinating by reading your post on procrastinating which you were using to procrastinate.
That's pretty meta, right there.
I procrastinator too, but in a really odd way. When I have things that I WANT to do, I find myself doing things that I HAVE to do instead. These "have to" things are usually things that could wait another hour or day or until infinity, but I always end up doing them. For example: Today I want to be sewing in my studio. What have I done so far? 4 loads of laundry, dishes, vacuuming, mowed the lawn, took out the trash, scrubbed the kitchen, loaded/unloaded the dishwasher and flipped our mattress. And it's just gone noon! I think I feel guilty if I take time for something I consider to be fun. How screwed up is that?
I use laundry to justify goofing off. I can knit or spin between cycles, and still pretend like I'm accomplishing some housework. The part I hate is the folding and putting away, lol. I'm doing it now, and spinning instead of sweeping up the kitchen.
What Presbytera said.
And Seanna Lea had a good idea - put the laundry in the wash, get on the bike, come back and throw it in the dryer and then go to meeting.
Come on, get up and go kick some arse. Your reward will be knitting later, because this will somehow free up some time. I promise.
I procrastinate because I was taught to believe that anything short of perfection is utter crap. This only applies to me, of course, other people get to be human. So here I sit, reading and responding to your blog, when I have to organize all the displays and paperwork and baked goods for a fundraising display next Saturday; wash, iron and starch most of the stuff going in the displays; make a mobile out of doilies fercryinoutloud!; write the programme for the event; finish writing the cookbook that I should have had finished by Mothers' Day; etc., etc.,etc..
I'm going to make a cup of tea now.
Oh yeah, and then I multitask to try and get it all done (forgetting that washing a load of whites on hot will inevitably prevent me from being able to wash the dishes by hand.... since i don't have a dishwasher.... because I will inevitably wind up not having ANY hot water because it all went to washing the load of whites!).
Why do I? It's my nature. Like you, i prefer to work under stress and deadlines... and when one is a stay at home mom with kids who are teenagers (and have chores themselves) and has health issues which limit mobility.... well, it's much easier to give into that procrastination with the "i'll do it later, I just need to finish up this one project" (today it's a baby pullover tunic.... have the collar and seaming to finish up and then it's done, and I move on to one of my many other knitting projects!)
You know why I read your blog? Because it is very reassuring to me to know that there are people out there who are just as crazy as I am, and in more or less the same ways.
Also, what liz said.
Well let's see...I've got not 1, but 2 friends having babies in the next 6 - 9 weeks & while I have 1 completed blanket, I also have one in pieces, a sweater with no sleeves and yarn for another. But I'm only 15 rounds away from completely my first adult sweater which is for my husband. So of course I'm working on the sweater because it's June & he's not going to need it until the fall and won't out grow whatever I have planned for him. Logical, right?
Procrastination, yup! (Let's not even talk about the dust bunnies that are starting to stalk the dog or the towels I have to fold or...)
oh, and I need to go for a run, but it's raining out. :)
If you are anything like me, (...a particularly intelligent knitter who likes to do many things...so many things, but also a performer, meaning you don't mind getting up in front of many people) you get a (ahem) THRILL out of that moment of last minute project completion (and also, perhaps unfortunately, the first few minutes of a new project; those first rows of a grand lace pattern, or cables or really yummy yarn), right... back to the thrill...So the thrill comes with, speaking metaphorically here, that gymnast's last bounce on the tail end of a "10" performance. I hope that made some sense, but regardless, I totally get it. We are two peas from different pods.
The best way I've found to end procrastination is to think of it as giving gifts to your future self. Yeah, I don't want to empty the dishwahser now, but tomorrow-me will be so happy when she gets up to have breakfast and doesn't have to pull a clean plate out of the dishwasher, and leave the dirty plate in the sink. I don't want to make this horrible phone call, but future-me will be so relieved to have it done, rather than spending all her time worrying about it. It sounds kind of dopey, but it works for me.
Procrastination is the millstone around my neck. It's usually triggered by a looming deadline, with a little voice saying you can't possibly get it all done in time, so why bother? Wouldn't you rather knit and watch the latest eisode of NCIS? And then I end up scrambling at the last minute to get it all done, and you're right, it's no fun and it's harder than it needed to be, but there it is.
Well, it sounds elementary (and you actually mentioned it in your post). Do it now when the need pops up.
Put it off, and it won't get done.
i procrastinate to an obscene amount and it's really been bad for my health in all respects (over eating, excessive coffee intake, smoking, general stress etc.) and yet, i somehow seem to stay on top of it all and do pretty well.
but you know what might be fun,
starting a new project!
and taking a photo of it in the bushes.
and blogging about it.
it could be a double blog day which, to me, sounds very efficient.
Totally in the midst of it today, and now I'm reading a post about procrastination instead of doing what NEEDS to be done. It's hard, and my solution today may be to opt for a nap.
I procrastinate because it is one of the few things that I am really good at. I am the Queen of Procrastination!
My procrastination also comes from fear of failure. I also use the "just do part of it for 15 minutes" method. I learned that part of why I procrastinated is that if I put off a task long enough, that when there is not enough time to finish and I haven't started, I am able to rationalize poor quality work as "not my fault".
Don't hate yourself, procrastination is some kind of sport for most of us. I have not found a cure yet, but I read this article recently, and it helped me a lot:
I only procrastinate with things that really worry me. Like...If I open that bank statement I MIGHT have an overdraft, so I won't open it until later. If I call my mother she MIGHT have had bad news from the doctor, so I won't call her until later. Which makes absolutely no sense at all because I sit and worry about the MIGHTs right up until I do them, and then? Then the MIGHTs turn out to be nothing at all. 99 percent of the things I procrastinate never turn out bad anyway, so why not face them? (I often give myself very good advice, but I very seldom take it.)
So funny. I'm reading your blog because I have a million things to do. So many things that I can't start doing any of them. I don't know which one to start, so instead I'm reading your blog. About procrastinating. While I'm procrastinating.
There's this thing I call 'Task Avoidance.' Not sure if it's the same thing. It does make the avoided thing seem like one small unit rather than postponing wads of stuff.
Telling The Blog is perfect, because now you've set up public accountability. Of course, your readers won't actually think any differently of you whether you ride or not ... but YOU may well now think "I've GOT to get on the bike now or I'll have to post next saying I didn't get on the bike and that will feel even worse than procrastinating."
I totally procrastinate - but rarely about bike rides. I mean, imagine your legs turning in smooth circles, your muscles working in unison, the wind in your hair and on your face, your thoughts roaming freely.... ahhh.
The Procrastination Sisterhood - oh yeah. Especially tough on Mondays because I've spent the whole weekend compiling my list! My best cure is to put my head down and pile through it. Normally not a pretty picture.
Try the Pomodoro technique (pomodorotechnique.com). It's about doing things in 25 min. increments and then taking a break.
You can use a kitchen timer, and people have written programs you can put on your computer or phone.
It's helped me, especially with procrastinating when I have to do something I really don't want to.
I am knitting AND commenting on your blog while the bed is unmade,there are dishes to be done,my 17 yr old is allergic to washing dishes,and I have yet to comb my hair.Procrastinate?Nah,I don't know what you are talking about!
Oh my gosh, I know. And I am so there today! It's changes in schedule that do it for me, and today is the first day of the two months I have to collect data and start writing my thesis. I'm hoping taking a half day off will get me to some productive work, but it's almost one.
And I just started a shawl last night, which calls to me every moment it can.
But I will prevail!
Sorry Steph but if you didn't get to the stage of cleaning out the cleaning products under the sink and scrubbing under the rim of the toilets then it's amateur hour. You can't possibly do those tricky jobs until the bleach and cream cleaner are all lined up in height order and visiting royalty could use the loo without shame.
I know that I'm doing it but that doesn't stop me doing it. After decades I've realised that the trick is to start small, today I might find the papers for my tax return, tomorrow I might read it and then I'll start the day after. It's hard to weasel out of something small and once you've started you are halfway there.
When I catch myself procrastinating or getting overwhelmed by 'things that MUST be done', I make a list. Usually on a white board I keep handy for such times. Once they are all written down, I have a compulsion to cross them off... but I can't do that until I finish the task on the list.
(My husband HATES the whiteboard, but loves the outcome) :-D
I love to procrastinate, it's my biggest luxury!
Years and years and years ago my mother bought me a refrigerator magnet that says, "World's Greatest Procrastinator". I remember when I was in college I would wait until the night before the 10-page paper was due to actually sit down and write. It just took that kind of pressure for me to finally do it.
My very favorite Calvin and Hobbes is the one where Calvin was supposed to have been working on his leaf collection, but he's put it off because he tells Hobbes that he works "better under pressure." When Hobbes tells him he works *only* under pressure, Calvin replies, "That way, the work time is more miserable, but there's less of it." I was going to ride my bike this morning too...
You hinted at the root cause for me, which is the relationship between perfectionism and procrastination. Procrastination prevents failure by not starting in the first place. I often procrastinate (like with your bike ride) when I'm afraid the end result won't measure up to the standards in my head. No great wisdom on getting past it. Sorry. Best wishes for the next ride, whenever it happens!
Another recommendation for the kitchen timer - I have several at home, and one in my office. I tell myself that I can stand anything - ANYTHING - for 15 minutes. Time after time, I set the thing, and then resent it for interrupting me because I'm actually getting something done. I also tell myself that I'll start soon but ONLY have to do x minutes per day until it's done - that helps, too.
I am the Queen of Procrastinationland.
I'm supposed to be packing my house for a move across the country. Right now, I'm looking at blogs. I'm waiting for a phone call. The microwave just got installed and I need to use it. I'm putting CDs into iTunes. I don't feel well *cough, cough* (really, I have been coughing my lungs out for a week now). I'm hungry. Oh, I need to go buy more moving boxes. Crap, I need to get gas first.
Next thing you know, it'll be Friday and I haven't done a thing.
A friend shared this on Facebook and I want to share it with you. To me, this says, go ahead and knit, tomorrow will take care of itself!
"Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ouh, I'm a MASTER procrastinator.
I'm a vendor and teacher on a Woolfest next weekend and still have to paint the last 80 4oz-tops, to card another 30 exotic fiber batts, and to make new labels and packaging for all of that stuff....
And yes, there is no fun in nightshifts, but I know I will have everything ready and done in time but there will be one or two panic attacks on that way, and lots of coffee too.
And I'm 52, and I just had to learn to live with it over the years.
I'm not able to change my personality into a character without that trait - it seems to be something physical in my brain which can't be changed without damage the rest.
So I'm drinking a lot of coffee at nights, and kind of happily and grumpy at the same time doing my work.
I think it gives me just a special kind of adrenalin kick, which I can't get in another way.
Maybe I'm weird but I love my life the way it is....
I like to tell myself that I work better under pressure...
My father used to quote the following at my sisters an I. No idea where he got it:
I hate procrastination;
It causes so much sorrow.
I think I'll do away with it.
In fact, I'll start tomorrow.
Hi, my name is Ashley, and I'm a procrastinator (insert a chorus of "hi Ashley" here). I was always awful in school, oh I have a month to work on this, I want to watch tv. Fast forward to omg it's due tomorrow! Currently I'm avoiding laundry and dishes by telling myself my elderly kitty needs a good cuddle. She's being helpful by agreeing.
I don't know but if you ever find out the answer, let me know because that's a black cloud that's been dogging me my entire life (literally, as long as I can remember).
I, too, am a "pro"-crastinator ... I left amateur status long ago. I'm triggered by the exact same things you describe: looming deadlines, fear of not getting it all done, etc. In fact, I have a large stack of papers to grade - and they've been staring at me for a while now with a "how long are you going to put us off?" look - and since this is the last week of the term, I suppose it's time to buckle down to work. But maybe I'll take a wee knitting break first ...
You need a trainer for your bike! Then you can ride even when it's raining, and it's harder to fall off a trainer.
Be gentle with yourself. All things will get done. Or if they don't, then they really didn't need doing anyway.
My rule is: things always take the amount of time you allot for them. So, if you procrastinate (which I'm doing right friggin now, hee hee) then you will be more efficient when you do get things done. My brother has another rule: if you ignore a problem, eventually it will cease to be a problem. Think on that one!
I am a Master Procrastinator. So much so, that nearly everything I do is under pressure. I have no idea why I'm like that, but I accept it and think that I will just continue to live like an idiot for the rest of my life until I retire. Here, here for Freedom 85.
I have to move an entire house for the second time in less than 12 months and I have three weeks to do it. And I am reading your blog and typing an answer and so far today, I have accomplished absolutely zilch. I am the uber-procrastinator. and I am totally stressing myself out.
Definitely think I work better under pressure (pretty sure your entire post came right out of my head, except for the bike-riding part since I'm not a fan of skinned knees, but if I fall down while walking - it's happened - then at least it's not as far to go, although I'm 5'7, so it's still a decent drop....)But I digress.
Also, I think I'd like to marry Ronda in Wisconsin at June 4, 2012 1:15 PM , I'll let my hubby know he's being replaced.
I do procrastinate, and, like you, it seems to be a way to give me a deadline looming so that I am forced to work under pressure. I did it constantly when I was working on my degree (the best papers seemed to take a surprisingly short time to write), and I do it now when I have some severe cleaning needs (I'll ask company over). I am at the point in my life where I just go with it. You seem to be functioning well - why change?
Yesterday I was feeling really overwhelmed by the huge number of things that weren't getting done that I didn't want to do. Today I can't remember what all they were (maybe I don't want to, the crazy pants cycle will probably just start up all over again). But I do remember the knitting I did last night while in a definite spirit of rebellion. We may be in the middle of fixing up & selling our house, building a new house, moving, and having family visit from out of town, but I'm also currently knitting three shawls at the same time & loving every one. Curiously, I've gotten a lot done today on all fronts. Thinking about starting a sweater next.
I hear you sister.
I'm right now completely dressed for my run today but it's drizzling outside and I keep telling myself I'll do it later when it stops, but I know that rain is on its way. Instead I'm trying to find other productive things to do... like the laundry and dusting...
Any chance you can ride the bike to the meeting and back to get your mileage in?
I keep telling myself I can have coffee if I go to the store to get the milk, but I normally stop by the store on my way back home on the run since it's 2 blocks from the house.
Are you actually getting stuff done or are you procrastinating further by reading these comments?
Here's an option: convince yourself that procrastination is actually a highly developed productivity technique. See structuredprocrastination.com.
I am a recovering perfectionist and procrastinator. I do better when I have a list and if I have a big project I spend one hour a day on it. Makes me feel not as overwhelmed because I really hate to wake up worrying.
From 30 years of observation in the Deep South: "Do not do today what you can put off until next year." Signed: a displaced Yankee who is now back in the land she loves
This could have come straight from my head, except I'm habitual at it, and I also have the self-loathing. But it all always gets done with no consequences except my own stress and anxiety.
I am avoiding the second draft of my book by writing emails (that's a kind of writing, isn't it?) and reading blog posts about procrastination. Also, it appears, by commenting on posts about procrastination.
Hmmm, my inner brat loves to procrastinate! I understood how much she is shooting me in the foot when I realized how good it feels to actually get something done! Usually I can trick her into setting a timer (for anywhere from 5 - 15 minutes depending on what it is and how obnoxious she's being. FWIW, my laundry only gets done because the washer and dryer are in the kitchen, and for 30+ years I have put a load in the washer before breakfast, and moved it into the dryer after breakfast. When it's right under my nose it's harder to ignore. You know, I'm gonna go rip that hat out right now -- I don't like the garter row in that Feather & Fan! See what you made me do?
I'm procrastinating instead of studying for my exam by reading your blog. Exam's in 9 hours, and it's 3am here. Probably should get back to study. Nah, what else is on the internet?
My inner procrastinator must have gone to visit you today. I did my 3 hrs. for one job, picked all the wool & alpaca that was ready, swept up the mill, cleaned the cat box and gathered up the trash. I'm done (very early), so now get to relax!
Don't worry, that little voice will be back very soon, I'm sure!
If Procrastination were an Olympic sport I would have the gold. If it were a Super Power I would be Procrastination Woman. nothing to small that it can't be done tomorrow. Actually there have been times when my procrastination has worked out to my benefit. I cling to these examples like a sinking sailer clings to a plank. Who knows this might be the time when it works in my favor. It could happen!
I would try to do something about it but, well, there are blogs to comment on!!
Procrastination? Moi?! Look. I've got almost 2wks to get the rest of the house packed up and that one last wall scraped of wallpaper glue and it and another wall painted before we move. The dust bunnies are no longer going to eat the cats (who *made* them, I deign to point out) because the cats have already been moved to the new house with hubby (so there!). I should bake some bread, though. Before I knit. I can do that. The rest can wait til tomorrow.
"(Also, I work well under pressure, and procrastination effectively creates that pressure.)"
I have so successfully procrastinated for most of my life, that when I don't procrastinate and something gets done early, it's a shock and I can't handle it, and when the procrastination doesn't work and I'm not done in time, it's also a shock and bad things happen but it's not a strong enough deterrent on a regular enough basis to keep me from doing it next time.
I struggle with procrastination. I have recently discovered a mantra that is working for me, so maybe it will work for you. I tell myself, "There is nothing else you need to be doing now." It helps me to focus on the most important thing at hand and also helps me work on that important thing until it is done, because my worst habit is starting the important thing and then getting side-tracked, all the while being left with a feeling that the important thing has been handled, which is only partly true usually.
As for what triggers it? For me it is the same as for you: if I can't see the entire vision for how a thing will get done and that it will turn out well, I put off starting it.
From a fellow procrastinator, I feel your pain. In the midst of writing my master's thesis, I started a knitting blog and designed my first pattern. Then I stayed up writing for twenty-four hours straight to meet a deadline. Pressure-inducing procrastination wins far too often.
Sometimes I beat it by doing something tangentially related to what I'm supposed to be doing, and then I kind of trick myself into doing what it is I'm avoiding. I make a lot of lists, too. Good luck!
And don't hate yourself, we love you. :)
Would you rather wrestle one 100-pound mountain lion or, one by one, 33 three-pound kittens?
Try breaking down each Big Task into several smaller tasks, and then just do the next tiny task ("get out suitcase" or "gather laundry") You will be less stressed and less tired and your brain will stop trying to get you to rest by telling you to veg out.
And prioritize: start with the tasks that come under the heading "Bad Things Will Happen If I Don't Do This" and leave the rest for now.
I think for you today is about self preservation & procrastination. Why you haven't found someone willing to trade doing your laundry in exchange for hand knit socks or maybe a shawl I don't know?! But if you are going to ride from Toronto to Montreal training is a must or you will not get the feeling back in your backside until Christmas. Can't face 40k do less but still ride. The falling down part really sucks I feel your pain! But you'll have to put your big girl panties on and get on with it. We are all cheering for you,
I am so going to get dissed for this aren't I!! Good luck
I could have written the first five sentences of this blog! Procrastination is my middle name (or least it should be). My procrastination is at its worst when I have things to do that are 1) housework related, 2) things that are unfamiliar (see #1), 3) tasks that I fear I will fail at, or 4) things that are tedious (also see #1). I can live with a not-so-clean house. It is the things that fall into category three that come back to bit me in the arse (as my favorite blogger would say).
I have found a somewhat magic system to deal with too many things to do: I just start doing one thing; when I get bored with it I start to do something else, and then drop it and start something else. I may not get it all done at once, but doing things by bits and pieces somehow makes me feel more empowered and productive than trying to do all of one thing at a time. This drives some of the people in my life nuts - but I don't care. This is a new thing for me - but the bits and pieces method seems to be working for now!!!
My friend calls how I procrastinate "Shaving the yak" I don't "not do something" so much as that the path to the objective is not as clear as it could/should be. The other day I started out to fix the shower curtain, which regularly falls down. The path to that objective including searching for a drill bit to put the trim in the living room back up because I needed the saw horses to cut something to fix the shower curtain. While searching for a drill bit, I found both the part for the oven AND the tool to replace the part on the oven... something I NEVER do when looking to fix the oven, so the path to fixing the shower curtain also involved fixing the oven because I had both tool AND part at the same time and if I didn't fix the oven immediately, I would lose either the part or the tool. Then I had to go to the store and buy a drill bit to put the trim up because I didn't have one. Which meant also buying groceries because if I'm out and about, gas is so expensive, I don't want to make two trips...
So thus far the "fix the shower curtain project" has included putting the trim up in the living room, fixing the oven, and grocery shopping...
No, the shower curtain still isn't fixed.
Oh, why shaving the yak? There's a joke about a guy who runs across a hermit, out in the desert, shaving a yak. The guy asks the hermit why he is shaving the yak and the hermit says he wants to paint a picture... then there is a long, convoluted story about all the steps involved in painting a picture that ends "and so I'm out here in the desert, shaving a yak to paint a picture." So... no matter what I start to do, I always end up out here, in the desert, shaving this stupid yak.
What helps me is to play a little bribery reward game with myself. If I have to do household chores but want to knit instead, for instance, I get to do two rows for every task I complete. That way I don't have to do all of everything at once and can switch off what I don't want to do with what I do want to do in equal portions. Breaking these things down into smaller portions really does help, because your journey to completion suddenly looks like it will take a few steps at a time rather than require you to go over a giant mountain.
can we discuss this later? =)
Yep.such a procrastinator...but find I usually trick my IP by putting off todays must do list and end up in my dance of avoidance doing what has been rolling over from to do lists of yore. Ha! got something done. So bike to your afternoon meeting and count it against your 40 k...Ooooooo or do your meeting on a stationery bike and you could knit too! Take THAT IP! Creativity wins out every time!
I used to call it procrastination, but these days I have a more accurate description for those days when I just keep putting off what I know I need to do -- I describe it as having a case of the Don't Wannas. Like today I don't wanna work, even though I know I need to; and I don't wanna do laundry, even though the underpants drawer is getting very low. I just want to knit. And maybe read, since as soon as I finish turning the heel on this sock it's smooth sailing to the toe. And it's even the second sock. Now, isn't it more important to finish a pair of socks than to do anything else?
See how easy it is to work with a good case of the Don't Wannas? I just reverse everything until I come up with a virtuous reason to do what I want to do. Works every time. :)
Oh, yes, procrastination is an old friend of mine. I'm sitting here commenting on your procrastination while I should be reading an essay on linguistic theory that I need to make notes on for my thesis, and thinking about how much I need to fold laundry and do dishes (and we're out of detergent, so I'd need to go to the store and get more so I can run the dishwasher), and I need to work on a sock, and a myriad of other things. Procrastination is insidious and pairs very well with my "ignore problems and they'll go away" strategy. Speaking of, I should go check the mail. Maybe that'll resolve a couple problems I've been ignoring.
I've got a million and one things I should be doing right now, but I'm procrastinating by reading your blog on procrastination. This after I just finished surfing the web, looking at sites like "how to potty train your puppy in 6 days" when I don't even own a dog. Yep; I've got procrastination down to an art form!
Nothing really new to add to what you and others have already said. You already hit it on its head: "the voice of procrastination is an all or nothing beast, and if it can't have perfection and completion, it doesn't want anything." Nothing shuts me down faster than my perfectionism unless it is having to do something I detest doing. The 15 minute thing really works for me, if I can just START to do the detested thing. And maybe a little reward of something I really like or want hanging over it like a carrot for completion.
Procrastination, I haz it. And I can't seem to get rid of it. Too many things to do that I feel are a priority and not enough time to do them in.
Should I take a much needed and deserved break or should I set myself up for success later on so that I can remain on schedule to finish out my busy day? That always seems to be the question I'm up against.
Sometimes I can kick the procrastination thing by using a monumental amount of will power, created by the shear amount of things I have to get done, which if I don't will cause my ridiculously packed schedule to unravel in to a hairy, yarn vomit-like mess. Some days, I'm not so good at averting procrastination.
All I know is that somehow I have to stay on track or else I'm going to be in big trouble.
Stephanie, thank you for today's post, as it was so close to my own life of packed schedules & obligations, I can really relate to it. Even if it did come about because you were procrastinating, it helped put some much needed and much anticipated humor back into my day which started with a crazy over-suds-ing dishwasher when the wrong dish liquid was inadvertantly put in. (Things came out ok in the end-major catastrophe averted-and the minor one turned out ok, too!)
That being said, from a long time reader, but first time poster, thank you for all of your posts. I look forward to reading each and every new blog post you make, especially when I can commiserate with your trials and tribulations which seem so similar to my own. Your brand of humor is right up my alley! :D
I NEVER procrastinate. My problem is telling lies....
I have a demanding, paperwork intensive job, and boy, do I ever procrastinate. Isn't it amazing how you dive headfirst into what you love, but drrrraaaaaaaaag out the smallest job over hours (or days) because it doesn't excite you. I'm like you, I require some pressure and then the day comes when BAM! I buckle down, finish the uninteresting work. Then pat myself on the back like a returning hero. Ahh, the games we play.
Yup, me too. The really ironic part is when I finally kick my own butt enough to get the stupid project done, there's such a profound sense of relief and accomplishment, I wonder why I put it off for so long. Every. Stinking. Time.
Do the work, get good results - why is that so hard to learn?? :-)
I actually don't procrastinate, because I HATE the feeling of pressure that it results in. My mind is not settled if there's something big and ugly hanging over me, so I can't relax and enjoy whatever it is I might be procrastinating with.
I have been a victim of procrastination for as many of my 69 years that I can remember and I'm about to give up and accept it. Maybe tomorrow.
I started a new shawl last night instead of working on a presentation for work. I had to create the presentation today instead, which only took a few hours, but it took up time when I could have been working on other things... it became a bad snowball of procrastination fallout.
I convinced myself I needed to cast on my shawl so that I would have all my travel knitting ready to go for my business trip starting tomorrow. Which would have been fine had I stopped with casting on!
Oh, I am such a procrastinator. It took me a long time to figure out that part of it was my untreated ADD- when you think of one thing and it's out your head the next, remembering necessary chores becomes an exercise in futility. Now I just hate obstacles. For example, I need new Meds this week, but I can't just call up the pharmacy, I have to call the doc, pick up the Meds, haul them down to the pharmacy and pay a ton of money, oh, and I work nights, so this has to be done in what is considered the very first thing in my morning. However, the reasons why the laundry, chores and my shawl aren't done don't have nearly the better excuse!
Procrastinate? Oui, Si, Da, Yes in any language. I also subscribe to that old adage "never put off until tomorrow what you can get out of doing altogether." Can you say "delegate"??? While my hubby is tackling the grunge in the shower stall I am tackling the lacey shawl chart. I'll reward us both later with a steaming cup of Earl Grey.
Every so often, you need a real mental break. It's allowed. Don't beat yourself up about it because you end up feeling guilty and you don't give yourself that break. Do what really can't wait until later, and leave the rest.
Yes, I'm a procrastinator, but I also know that if I put stuff off, it's still going to be there later, and not only will it be waiting for me, but the pile will have gotten bigger and uglier in the meantime. I'm good at meeting work-related deadlines, but only because of the pressure. It's a good thing I'm not self-employed or I'd be in big trouble. Now I have a sock to go work on. And dinner to make. Well, maybe I'll just read a few more blogs before I go upstairs...
I procrastinate, too!! In fact when I worry about something and get it done early, I find about 20 more things that would make this project "perfect". Then everything else gets backed up because I don't have time for "that" while I am making the original project perfecter. Procrastination is just self protection.
It's the lunar eclipse. The *partial* lunar eclipse, because the sun was too lazy to go all the way over and use the earth to shade out the moon. You'll feel better later tonight.
Procrastination is both fathered and mothered by perfectionism.
I used to procrastinate about preparing for presentations. I have since solved that problem by not accepting requests for presentations. Retiring also helped solve that as there are fewer requests.
I actually used a warped logic to deal with feeling bad about procrastination. I reasoned that if the world would end before whatever deadline was looming, then it would have been a shame to spend my last minutes on earth, preparing for a presentation. So I would wait until the last feasible minute to screw up my courage to attack the job. However, I did find that I'd be thinking of it, turning it over, pulling together bits and pieces, planning a structure for it, etc. There were some times I congratulated myself for procrastinating, as I
discovered a fresh and more interesting approach to the topic, etc. So I guess I've learned to live with and enjoy procrastination.
Same with packing for a trip--I make my list, but I don't actually pack until the last minutes.
Good luck. Marlyce in Windsor.
Those of us who procrastinate are merely Over Achievers. I mean, ANYONE can do 10 hours of work in 10 hours ... but how many of us can do 10 hours of work in 7 hours?!! Only the best of the best, that's who... and we like the challenge!! [Clearly not only am I an Expert Procrastinator, but an Expert Rationalizer too! ;)]
Oh yeah. Procrastination. My craft/workroom, which is three times as large as what I had in our last house, is still a mess. But as long as I can get to my yarn, it's okay, right? Of course getting to my yarn means climbing over the bags of acrylic which are slowing becoming afghans for next Christmas,(they were for last Christmas...) and not knocking over the spinning wheel which needs someone to figure out how to balance it, and not falling into the big basket of sweaters waiting to be fulled so they can become other things. There's more, but we won't get into it. It is totally husband's fault, though, because he hasn't yet put up the two tiny shelves I need before I can proceed. Yeah, it isn't that I'd rather knit or read, it has to be his fault. Maybe tomorrow I'll tackle that room!
And sometimes procrastination totally works: I procrastinated cleaning my kitchen yesterday and totally cleaned out the front closet. (The kitchen of course is an utter disaster.)
And thank you! I'm a beginning knitter and thanks to your delightful blog, I just finished my first pair of socks.
I finally figured out that my procrastination was related to my perfectionism. If I put something off until the last minute, then I have a time crunch. And if I have a time crunch, then I have an excuse for something not being perfect.
Interestingly, my procrastination problems eased up once I was out of grad school.
Oh, I know what you mean about working under pressure. I almost think better and more clearly under pressure. It's weird.
To help myself with completing household chores, I started timing them. It takes me just about exactly 10 minutes to unload and reload the dishwasher. It also takes just about exactly 15 minutes to fold and put away a load of laundry. Usually picking up the living room takes less than 5 minutes. Knowing this information allows me to tell my procrastination voice, "What are you, a freaking whiny baby lunatic?! It's just 10 minutes! Get your butt in gear and get it done!"
Incidentally, this is also golden information to have if you have an unexpected person showing up at your house in 15 minutes. You know exactly what you can get done in that time and it helps to prioritize. ^_^
...lack of personal discipline. That is me. I lack that feeling of being respoinsible for my own decisons. I get mad when I don't do what I should and say "next time stupid...just DO IT". And the next time I don't...as usual.
Human beings avoid the distateful. Discipline enables us to face and do the distasteful. That is why people hate discipline.
I just got tired over the years of being mad when I did not do what needed to be done when it needed to be done. I feel in love with the feeling I got, when I did what had to be done and got it out of the way.
I like me more now.
Be a good girl Steph and DO THE DISTASTEFUL THING!! You will feel better...really!
Since you mentioned it, about that gansey?
I did much the same same (self-defeating activity) on a vacation a couple of years ago. The point of the vacation was to get away from tight schedules, or, for that matter, schedules. What did I do? I scheduled my vacation activities....the museum opens at nine, then I can have lunch at 12:30, allow an hour for that, then be at massage by 1:00, etc. I snapped to that in a couple days and that saved my vacay!
I envy your capacity to persevere at something I dread. If it were me, I'd be doing the packing and the bike ride to put off the writing.
I hate to write, but sometimes there are reasons I have do it, and on a deadline. So I do the research and pretend I'm working on it, but can't actually bring myself to write anything until my deadline has actually passed.
Until about 48 hours before the actual publication, I've learned, I can do no more than a scattered outline and a paragraph that will be the point. Then I somehow manage a first draft, then cut then elaborate then cut again and finally deliver 500 words 24 hours after it was promised.
I think I procrastinate about this not because the writing part is so hard, but because the thinking is. In fact, understanding what I really think and getting that down clearly is the MOST difficult task I've ever had to do. (This makes washing dishes and laundry and reorganizing closets so much more alluring.) So I am totally in awe of you writing even 700 words, let alone 1500, with so many valid reasons not to persevere.
Procrastination is where your body says "No" while your brain is saying "Yes!" It is self-preservation. You probably don't even realize the stress you've been under. Your body knows. So allow yourself this time to take a breather and just relax.
Stephanie- Listen to yourself-you keep falling down. Maybe it is not in the cards for you to be going on this bike ride. How are you going to function if you fracture your arm? Break a finger? I hate to rain on the parade, but you are having problems with this ride. Please reconsider.
I have spent the last 2 hours reading blog posts instead of going down and clearing the craft room for its new carpet next week; voice of reason is saying "it's cold enough down here in the lounge, it'll be freezing down there" (it's winter here); while I know that if I get to it I'll warm up cos I'll be moving!
Occasional procrastination is only a signal to take a break & regroup, a little like the warning sign of a runny nose, not a reason to swath yourself in guilt which serves no good purpose. Something is out of balance.
The procrastinator in me finds a great need to REARRANGE the furniture, etc., in my room(s) when I should be doing other things, and then when everything that is old is new again, and my mind is freed for the task I really need to do, I have less time to do the task, so I do it faster! This behavior began in college when I found it impossible to study for a test unless I cleaned up my room first! I'm still working on this!!!
I should be baking; I should be doing laundry; I should be doing dishes. I should also be stripping all the bedlinens and replacing them with fresh ones; and I should be planting my garden that I didn't plant all last week because we had pouring rain. However, I sprained a finger catching the dog as she made a break for it off the deck - she's part Siberian, so a runner, so she can't be let out of the yard. Sprained, painful, swollen finger = none of the above is getting done; but sadly, no knitting or spinning either. Had I not been such a GREAT procrastinator all this sh.....er, stuff, would have been done LAST week!
That was the PERFECT post. I was procrastinating by reading your blog about procrastination. :)
How very fitting that I should be reading this very post while I myself am procrastinating about doing the laundry, housework, and study. The laundromat is across the road, however, it is now raining. What to do but surf Ravelry a bit longer? Surely not housework or study. Pish!
If you know you will lose the battle with yourself and end up procrastinating and paying for it tomorrow, why not just relax and let it happen and enjoy it? It makes sense to fight if you have a chance of winning, but if ou know it is a losing battle, you might as well enjoy today, since tomorrow won't be much fun.
Oh my gosh, your blog post sounds like the inside of my head. But this makes me wonder... is procrastination a modern problem, or is it something that people have been doing for centuries?
If I catch myself procrastinating, it means I have seriously over-committed and need to head for calm waters before the stress starts to spring leaks in my hull. I look ahead and try to disengage from things where I can. Where I can't, I try to use procrastination against itself. Put off one thing to do another thing that has been sitting on the shelf for a while. Stupid stuff like organizing the spices is sometimes enough to get me chugging along again. Oh, and less caffeine. No, really.
I used to feel like that, but it's just another way we beat ourselves up and ignore the fact that every moment we are alive, we are....alive. So, today you needed the coffee and not the training ride. It's fine.
My philosophy is it's pointless to indulge ourselves and then beat ourselves up over that indulgence. We do it because deep down most of us feel we aren't worthy of whatever it is we're enjoying (coffee, more knitting time, etc) but we are and if you've decided to do it then enjoy it.
I got a few things on my to do list done today-I also had a nap and read an entire collection of short stories and ate an oatmeal raisin cookie. I enjoyed those last three very much!
I have found that the best way around Procrastination is to put it on the schedule. It hates that.
Hahaha, it sounds just like my brain talks to me. I read the post to my daughter who hates procrastination (the one who just brought me an embroidery project to finish because it's a good time to get it done, and I explained why it wasn't a good time) and she said at least you make procrastination sound fun. Apparently my procrastination is far less funny than yours. Best of luck to you. I have to go embroider some orange initials!!
I know I am really procrastinating when I suddenly feel like cleaning my house is a really great, fun-filled idea.
Have fun at Squam!
Perhaps its the underlying perfectionism that triggers procrastination. So I need to put this all off until I wrestle the perfection problem.
Having said that, I got this shawl pattern that's just screaming for attention!
It's a disease I got from my husband it's all his fault.
go ride your bike, knit whatever you want, life is too short to beat yourself up about what you think you should be doing.
I have ADHD-primarily-inattentive. I procrastinate like it's my job.
I've realized that a lot of my procrastination starts as boredom, then progresses into anxiety as I realize that I should have started earlier and start beating myself up about not starting earlier. This puts me into a state where I'm pretty useless for anything except for holding my knitting, staring at the internet, and not drinking my tea.
Getting out of it? Well, once I realize I'm getting into that anxiety cycle, I get up and do a teeny bit of it. Say, if I was procrastinating about dishes, I'd go wash just the plates. Then, even if I'm done after that tiny bite, I'm way further ahead on it than I would have been if I hadn't gotten up and done five minutes of work.
The discipline in getting up is of course the hard part. Speaking of which, there is definitely a load of laundry in the washing machine that needs to get put in the dryer, and I was going to pack a box of books tonight. Time to go change the laundry and grab some boxes!
I mostly procrasinate about schoolwork. But the thing about procrastinating is that I get a lot of housework done, or organizing, but not laundry. I hate laundry.
I came home late from work today (not because I procrastinated on leaving work, that's for sure)told the Hubs, who was going to do his normal Monday night thingy, that I decided not to mow the grass tonight and will help him tomorrow night. To the couch with the baby shawl in progress I go!! Race you there!
I too procrastinate when I have a lot to do. I think sometimes it's because I am overwhelmed and don't know where to start, so I don't do anything! And I tell myself that I work best under pressure - that's because I create the pressure I have to work under.
That's me. I procrastinate. Maybe we should have a procrastinators anonymous - well, let's think about it!
Sisters in procrastinating- what a big family!
You know life isn't about laundry. It isn't about what you think you should do. I know procrastination. Stop shoulding on yourself. Do what you want as long as nobody is hurt.
Your blog is so enjoyable for me to read. My husband and I rode the STP 200 miles last year and we just bought a tandem and we are determined to ride that this year. We rode 100 miles this weekend and almost fell! I thought of you! Keep at it, and thanks for making me laugh between my rides, laundry and working on our old house. It surprises me how much are lives are similar!
I find that I procrastinate so much more when I'm just exhausted. I think its your body's way of forcing you to slow down, take it easy, and restore. I didn't used to procrastinate so much. Now that I've got 2 kids under the age of 3 I procrastinate a lot more. I think it's a way of making myself rest when I'm just pooped (which is a lot of the time).
I'd have commented sooner...but didn't get around to it....does that answer your question? :)
I also procrastinate when I have too much going on and was always good at talking myself out of running when I had a training goal. The thing about the running is that no matter how hard it is, I am RARELY sorry I went for a run (when it's over! :) The work stuff is way more complicated. That, in fact, is why I am taking the time to respond when I hardly ever do! Good luck!
My husband procrastinates all the time, but he is a perfectionist. It's touch for a first born (he) to be married to a fourth born (me.) I don't really care if anything gets done.
Had exactly the same day today (seems like it hits mostly on Mondays). And the more I have to do, the more procrasting I do...
Procrastination, or in my case it's a"he" and I call him Mr. Resistance, is usually fear, worry, of successful outcomes. That's my take.
PLEASE don't anyone ever start your laundry (or your dishwasher) and then leave the house for a bike ride or anything else. I once left my house for five minutes to run across the street, and came home to a house full of smoke. The dryer malfunctioned, and if I'd been gone longer the thing would have been in flames.
I have found... Sometimes when you put things off long enough only the really important stuff shakes out.... All those things you just had to get done that you ultimately avoided just disappear.... Or.... Someone else got tired of waiting on your lazy butt and did it themselves... Maybe the laundry can work itself out for you!
Want to procrastinate: get a good book from Audible and two needles with stitches already cast on . . . that is why I didn't get an important letter written or the second assignment uploaded for the students in my online course. Yep, I got it down to an art-form!!
To get ou t of the procrastination spot, I
usually think of something to treat myself
with, and the complete the task.
There, there. You have lots of company. You also have a creative mind that maybe needs a rest, some downtime? Modern life buzzes faster than I like to go, so I sometimes just revel in wearing my jammies all day and dodging all promised or expected activities. Fortunately my DH needs a bit of slowness too. Procrastination is a way your system is saying, "Slow down. I need to think." Take a deep breath. Go to bed early. Tomorrow, get it done.
Every Science Fair project I ever did got completed late the night before -- and I got the highest possible rating on every freakin' one. Procrastination & I go WAY back!
Oh, that's easy - it's perfectionism. If I can't get the whole thing done now and done perfectly, why bother even starting?
What are you doing beating yourself up about this. Face it. One needs to let down a bit once in a while. You accomplish more than the average ten people. You make some of us feel like slugs out here in the ethernet. Have another cup of coffee and knit a few rows. Knitting allows reflection too; you may be a better teacher this week after some slow thought.
Frankly, sometimes you set that goal awfully high for the rest of us mortals.
May I suggest The War of Art by Steven Pressfield? REALLY good read for those of us (all of us) who struggle with procrastination....
Well, since reading blogs is an excellent way to put things off, your readers are all pros at procrastination.
Garden shops sell foam rubber knee protectors that gardeners strap on to weed. What if you wore them on the bike? Just admit that you're going to fall and protect your knees. If they look too funny you could knit cute covers for them. That way knitting is race prep.
Julie in San Diego
Well... All this reminds me of my ex - he used to say 'do something even of it is wrong'. I say this several times a day when I just don't have a plan. Still love him after all these years, even if we could never live in the same state!
So I also procrastinate - which is especially bad since I'm a teacher. At any given moment, 150 fourteen-year-olds are waiting for graded papers back from me to tell them whether they're going to pass, going to be in trouble, going to get to go out Friday night. The only way I've learned to deal with this (because I loathe grading papers like nothing else) is to set a timer for 30 or 45 minutes and get as much done in that time as I can. Usually I'm in such a groove when the timer goes off, I just keep working.
Not sure how that might help you but it's something anyways. Good luck!
I almost never procrastinate. My rule is: if there's something I don't want to do, I do it first thing. If, on the other hand, I'm burning to do "X," I know I can safely put it off because, for sure, I will get to it.
I read this like I'd just finished a vat of coffee!
My daughter (age 27) has always been a big procrastinator. I commonly refer to her as The Queen of Procrastination. Not me - generally I'm a planner.
As I tell her, "As long as you work well under pressure and don't care about clean laundry what does it matter?"
Procrastination only hurts your future self, and you know that jerk would do the same thing to you if time ran in the opposite direction!
Seriously, though. I've struggled with procrastination my whole life. About six years ago I decided I wanted to change some things in my life, and procrastination was something that had to go.
Holy mackinaw, was it difficult! I was experimenting with "mind over matter" at the time and had some success. Channeling my grandmother saying, "oh, force yourself!" helped too.
I haven't managed to kick it totally, but I do okay, and I think the most important part is to not beat myself up if I fall down. Just try again. And again. And again. Practice makes perfect (or a reasonable facsimile...)
Thank you for being our instructor on this issue. I actually enjoyed the article greatly and most of all enjoyed how you really handled the aspect I thought to be controversial. You happen to be always incredibly kind towards readers much like me and let me in my life. Thank you.
"but the voice of procrastination is an all or nothing beast, and if it can't have perfection and completion, it doesn't want anything."
It's a little eerie when someone you don't really know can perfectly explain why you can't seem to get anything done in a day. The only way I can check my nemesis is to make scheduled lists for the day. I feel good when I cross them off. Whatever in me that feels good about crossing off to do lists deeply rivals with the procrastinator. It can be exhausting thus entering the lazy part of me that will win when the other two can't work it out.
I was going to suggest a need for clean underwear for Squam as a cure for some of your procrastination. Then I remembered I've been known to go buy new undies when I didn't want to do the laundry. . .!
In college, I often had an overwhelming need to clean my apartment, RIGHT NOW. Ususally hit when I had a paper due the following morning. Sounds like the same sickness. Only time will heal. After a good nap.
I call it natural selection in the project world, and I wouldn't want to interfere with course of nature, would I?
Yes, I procrastinate. What bites me badly is when it's paired with perfectionism. Eventually, I end up "multitasking", which my hubby says is my superpower. And, although most often multitasking is unproductive & inefficient, if done with enough clock timers to avoid missing a beat, sometimes it works. Which reminds me. . . I need to finish knitting a shawl by 6/20, I've got a fleece in the wash, and I need to practice viola. I'd better go.
Procrastination is the best way to get things done:
One of our favorite sayings here in New Mexico (USA) is Carpe Mañana. Procrastination is an art form.
Well, I think I can go one further. I purchased "The Procrastinator's Handbook: Mastering the Art of Doing It Now" by Rita Emmet a couple years ago in hopes of getting a grip on my procrastination, which has totally gotten out of hand. I think it will really help, when I get around to reading it. . . one day. . . .
Wow, judging by the number of posts, there must be a lot more procrastinators out there than I ever realized. It makes me feel a little better. I'm terrible for procrastinating. Like you said, I also work bet under pressure and to a deadline, so I often find myself waiting until I HAVE to do something before I will do it. I guess it's because I over think things and get myself all tied in knots, but if I'm under the pressure of a looming deadline, I don't have time to over think. Just do. But it's not a quality I really like about myself, I must say.
No need to hate yourself, it will only make the procrastination worse. Be happy for what you do accomplish.
I'm a master at it. I finally realize that I work best under pressure, so I create my own. I'm always late for the same reason. Is there a solution? Probably not, since no one cares. Right now I've been putting off housework for a couple of weeks. :-) Today I managed to vacuum one floor, though. Victory!
I always know I'm in trouble when I start thinking about cleaning my closets. Um, I'm pretty sure that the only time I feel compelled to clean them out is when I absolutely, positively should be doing something else. LOL!
"I must first find some chickens" and "No, I mean goats"
A. A. Milne, the Old Sailor
I think "Procrastination" must be my middle name. I'm constantly fighting it. Any excuse not to do what should be done. As it is dinner is usually late, washing overflows the washing baskets, dishes pile up etc etc. I don't know how to fight it, most days I don't think I have the will power, I'd rather lie down and sleep, but having a new baby will do that to you. Maybe it's a case of mind over matter and prioritising and sticking to those priorities (seriously, that pair of mittens staring at me waiting to be finished off can wait another hour, it's not like they can get up and walk off, or even jump off the computer desk and throttle me :p).
Oh yeah, I remember procrastinating very badly on a uni essay when I was studying. It got to the point where I was reading peer reviewed articles online about procrastination, instead of researching material actually relevant to my assignment. Apparently it's a really dysfunctional behaviour, so I stopped reading and got into action... and what a beautiful baby jumper it was.
Hell yes, I procrastinate. because there are things I don't want to do right at this very moment, because I know I may feel like doing them later, and because it only rarely bites me in the ass.
What sets me off is either a lack of sleep, a pile of things I don't want to do, or a pile of things I would rather do instead. Usually what gets procrastinated is writing for school or work, dishes (I have been known to procrastinate doing the dishes by cleaning the baseboards), and making activities for my classes.
The only thing for procrastination is wait and see. I make sure I know exactly what I am ignoring before I ignore it, so that when I finally feel like doing it, it isn't overwhelming. Sometimes that means writing in the middle of the night, because that's when the urge to write hits (also, the paper's due at 8AM).
Did it ever occur to you that maybe you aren't procrastinating but just have too much to do? Maybe, just maybe, your to do list is not really do-able and maybe just maybe you are tired and your body is simply not getting up to do the undoable because its smarter then your brain is.
Did you say you hate yourself? Well, I love you, Sreph. I love all the people who procrastinate and hate to do so.
Well, there is nothing better than a philosophical quest to prevent you from doing the things on the list, is there?
I don't know about you, but I can't determine all of the items on the list, and there are always some I don't like as much as others. Usually the ones more bearable get done sooner and the ones I don't like that much take really, really long (why haven't I finished this darn report last week, I could do something more fun if I had...), but that is the tricky part. I have do do things that I don't enjoy as much as others and I have tons of thing I would enjoy, but unfortunately they are not on my list.
I try to break things down and do things in parts and then reward myself with doing something I like. Not perfect, but at least my brain doesn't feel totally screwed and I get things done with reasonable delays. Most of the time at least. But yes, deadlines really help to get me going on the more difficult issues too. It might be hard sometimes, but at least I try to work towards the goal and when a deadline approaches I might have to reschedule to finish something, but at least a deadline persuades me to finish something I might not be motivated to finish otherwise. And then there is this nice feeling, when you met the deadline (no matter how ugly it got before...) that I accomplished it and can move on to something else ;)
And at least I will not be totally unprepared to face the deadline when it gets bloody, breaking things down and preparing at least parts of what has to be accomplished and dealing with the issue at least means that I am preparing myself to finish something in a final spurt to meet yet another deadline...
Don't know if someone else has mentioned this but "work finally begins when the fear of not doing anything exceeds the fear of doing it badly" (Alain de botton apparently). Unfortunately I come from an entire family of procrastinators - my brother was saying just today that he probably should get that quote embroidered on a cushion or something. In the meantime I need to try an find my (other) brothers half finished socks, seeing as its his birthday in 10 days and I only started them (for his birthday) 3 years ago.... Maybe this year he'll get them ;)
LOL, not sure I can help you. It is first thing in the morning. I should be making lunches, having a shower....but I am reading knitting blogs and thinking about knitting a round on my sock....
I sit here and comment as the plums sit in the kitchen and do not turn to jam on their own. If I don't quit procrastinating my sweet daughter will have to eat store bought jam this winter. In her mind this is truly a crisis. Sadly, I feel guilty enough about not making the jam that I haven't felt like knitting for a couple days. Happily, fruit doesn't last forever and no one here will starve if it does spoil!
I feel your pain. I used to be such a accomplished procrastinator that I would procrastinate before I could start procrastinating! Fortunately as I get older I'm much better at escaping the siren's call of procrastination. Well... the vast majority of the time. Every once in a while it sneaks up on me and I'm singing the same song you are now. It's so alluring, seductive, and downright sneaky! I was always taught that as you get older, avoiding procrastination got easier. That adults could easily avoid being procrastinators because they were older and wiser, and that adults just got on with it. My parents lied! I've found that avoiding procrastination is definitely not easier as an adult, it's just that most of the the consequences of procrastination are much worse for adults than they are for those who are younger. Procrastinate on your taxes and you will probably have to pay more and possibly have some jail time thrown in for good measure. Procrastinate on paying your bills, then you could be living with no electricity, hot water, heat, etc. Adults have a little bit more motivation to prod us into motion and there's a bigger stick to beat ourselves with to try and get ourselves moving. Nowadays I find that when the procrastination bug bites that I have been doing too much of what I should do and I've been forgetting to take some time and do the things that I want to do. You know, fiber arts, cooking, spending fun down time with family and friends, that sort of thing. It's usually my brain's way of letting me know that I need to have a little more fun in my life. Eventually I get the message, take care of what I need to, and try to not let my schedule fill up with too many Have To's and have a bit more Want To's. Good luck on your mission. I feel your pain and boy do I understand. Have fun at Squam and definitely don't hate yourself. You are so not the only procrastinator around!!!
I feel your pain. One thing which shed some light on this for me was the book, "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg. Habits, good and bad, why we have them, how they work, and tools for creating or breaking them.
Also, I find that inertia leads to a lot of procrastination. If I can trick myself into doing the first small step 'I'll just take my cup into the kitchen', I often will keep moving- 'and while I'm here, I'll just wash a few dishes'. Conversely, if I want to get things done, I simply tell myself, 'stay on your feet, keep moving'. Refusing to sit down tends to make it easier for me to whack through a list of chores.
Doesn't everybody procrastinate? Some people are just exceptionally good at it. I knit a sweater one spring, instead of packing to move. I knew I should be packing and I just knit and knit. I started to think of it as "procrastiknitting." I still call that sweater my "procrastiknitter sweater."
I kinda thought about not posting a comment since there are so many and I didn't want to contribute to the procrastination. I have many times said if I could get this procrastination under control, life would just be perfect.
I used to say that I only work well under pressure, until a very not nice friend said to me, "that is the only way you work."
Have you listened to the "Procrastination Rag" by Nancy White? It may not be a cure, but it's good for a laugh. It's on her "Stickers on Fruit" album, but it's probably also an individual download from iTunes. She's not even a knitter, but she still has the same problem we all do.
There is a land called Procrastination and I am her queen. Welcome to my land - schedules not allowed unless the deadlines are less than 8 hours away. Motto: I'll think of that tomorrow - tomorrow is another day....
I have such incredible faith in my future self,but alas my future self hates the present me. Oh damn procrastination, you evil temptress.
Is it procrastination or do you just need some down time?
For me, the problem of procrastination comes from the fear of failing to do something up to the standard I set for myself. If you don't do it at all, you can't do it badly. If you do it in a rush and under pressure, how can you feel bad if it is not done well? Whereas, if you start on time and work as you should, the results must stand on their own. It is clearly a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sigh. Why do we do these things to ourselves?
And now instead of getting my shower and getting dressed to go on that truck run, here I sit, reading the Yarn Harlot's blog. That's procrastination for ya'.
It sounds like people procrastinate doing different things because we each have things we dislike doing. But, we also each have things we like doing. If only we could all help each other out. If someone will sign up to do bookkeeping, and someone to do weeding, and someone else to do dusting, I will volunteer for laundry detail or baking. Sorry Steph, I think you have to ride your bike yourself.
Ok if everyone here agrees that they procrastinate, how on earth does anything get done in the world?!?!?!?!?! LOL. I am quite the procastinator myself. Such as there are things I would like to do and things I have to do. Those that I have to do come before those that I would like to do. I am a master list maker. If I make a list, I usually get everything on it done. However right now, I'm procastinating about making a list...
Man, do I hear you. My dear friend/former roommate often teases me about majoring in mix tapes, because that's what I'd make every time I had to study for an exam. Not flash cards. Not outlines. Mix tapes. I still have them.
But now I knit.
The adrenalin rush from doing things at the last minute is addictive. So is self-criticism. A good question to consider is "What benefit am I getting from procrastinating, then berating myself?"
I've found that the jobs you put off tend to reappear, larger and meaner and full of gnashing teeth. Then you yell at them "All right then!" and do them, and they turn out to be this slobbery little puppy.
"but the voice of procrastination is an all or nothing beast, and if it can't have perfection and completion, it doesn't want anything."
This is a totally legit thing - my therapist and i used to talk about this a lot - I admire you for the amount you DON'T procrastinate - ie - all your books are FINISHED! mine aren't even half finished! and while i realise someone pays you to write yours, if i actually finished one, then someone MIGHT pay me to write mine too - but they're certainly not when they're not even halfway finished!
See also - half finished scripts.
I bought a self-help book about procrastination once. I never got around to reading it.
What? Procrastinate? Me? Never.
However, I do believe that I will think about it a while.
I've always been a procrastinator. As I've gotten older, I've become pretty good at managing my time by factoring in the procrastination issue. I also work really well under pressure. The best way for me to finish knitting projects is to have a deadline in the form of a contest, KAL or gift-giving date like a birthday, christmas, etc. (self-imposed deadlines don't work...I push them as need) :/
I have come to accept this about myself. I consider it part of my unique personality, although, judging from the comments here, it's not so unique.
I've always been a procrastinator. As I've gotten older, I've become pretty good at managing my time by factoring in the procrastination issue. I also work really well under pressure. The best way for me to finish knitting projects is to have a deadline in the form of a contest, KAL or gift-giving date like a birthday, christmas, etc. (self-imposed deadlines don't work...I push them as need) :/
I have come to accept this about myself. I consider it part of my unique personality, although, judging from the comments here, it's not so unique.
I tend to procrastinate more when the weather is grey. In the spring when it's clearing up I find my procrastination gets worse. I'm pretty sure it's because I want sunshine NOW and when I wake up and it's grey again I just can't face the day. So why not stay in and knit with a lovely pot of tea?
A good knitting project almost done is the easiest thing *not* to procrastinate.
Not riding a bike that you fall off of is not procrastination, it's just plain good sense. You could break your arm, worse - your hand, then where would you be? Give it up or get a three wheeler.
Procrastination. Yes. Not an unknown state in my basement dwelling. Which is why the bed needs changing, the floors need washing & junque needs throwing/giving/recycling most of the time. Sometimes, just talking about it gets your ass off the chair. And sometimes not. Sometimes procrastination is the way we force ourselves to take a breather before the storm hits.
I TOTALLY understand and totally do the same thing...the energy spent on figuring out how to get out of something til later is boggling... sigh. good to know I am not alone.
I think you should look at the extra 800 words not as "procrastination" but as 800 words in the bank for another day..maybe a day that words don't come as easily to you....you're ahead on that deadline....
Procrastination always gives you something to look forward to...
Be gentle with yourself, you're the only "you" you have.
i swear sometimes reading your blog is like reading my own diary..... except you write it better ;)
I read The Procrastination Equation of U of C professor Piers Steel. He says we procrastinate for 3 reasons - Time, Value and (something else I forget?) Anyway, I procrastinate for all 3 reasons. Time: because optimism trumps logic and if you give me all the time in the world I will spend it ALL, Value: because you don't value the outcome. And the third one, which I forget, but it was important too.
It's a great read & available on audiobook for more knitting time.
I procrastinate because I am a perfectionist. If I don't do it, I won't make a mistake. :-p. But I also discovered that while I procrastinate, my mind plans how it will do a thing. When I finally do it, things flow smoothly.
I tend to run into the 'crunch' time the last week of school before Winter Break. All the parties, school functions, church/choir/community functions seem to fall on that week and if I can live through that the rest of the season is pretty much a relaxing down hill slide. But here I sit doing this when I should be planning my move around to the other side of the world this summer. I have 11 days before I leave this house and school. Sigh
Judging by the number of comments here, you've clearly hit a nerve! I'm glad to be in good company :)
You can't ride your bike to the meeting? That's at least two birds killed.
You should check out this most marvelous post about structured procrastination. It's brilliant! And it is NOT my blog and I don't know who this guy is, so I am not selfishly marketing anything.
I am still trying to figure out how to implement this theory in my own life. I struggle with the self-deception bit.
Current procrastination? Writing procedures for work tasks. Deadline? Oh, about 12 months ago.
I procrastinate all the time. I am sorry, real sorry that I did procrastinate most of the time. I usually have fun while I am procrastinating although guilt does creep in to my conscience!
Many people call it displacement behavior, doing something else with great intrest while the more significant activity languishes and is avoided. The reasons may be many; dislike, timing (someone elses not our own), tiredness, desire, etc. I just have to say NOW, and get it done and overwith. Of course If I aways did that my knitting would never get done. ;-)
You could bring along a recording device and think about what you are going to write next and dictate, ahem! except if you fall!
I think efficencey is what we have to dream up! Being able to do two important activities at once is the solution to end the procrastination because then we are working smarter! Sometimes you just have to let it ride. (pun indended, 40K is long!)
I procrastinate constantly, partly because I don't want things not to be done perfectly, partly because I'd rather be doing something else (which I'm very good at indulging), partly because I convince myself there's plenty of time left, partly because I'm so overwhelmed, partly because I am depressed that I know it can't ever be all done, partly because as a single mom I am frequently interrupted, partly because I do work better under pressure, and last but not least, partly because I am really not good at finishing things-- I get to about 90-95% and simply stop-- have no idea what that one is about. And it's not like important things alway do get done... I was five years behind on filing my taxes at one point (I'm only one year behind now).
I'm not procrastinating right now, though, my son informs me, because I'm on vacation (near Port Ludlow, no less) and there's nothing I really have to be doing right now... it doesn't count as procrastination unless I am supposed to be doing something else.
I have two solutions when I get really desperate: one has been mentioned above, You Can Do Anything For 15 Minutes. The other, when I am unable to prioritize, is I call my boyfriend and ask him to tell me what to do... when he starts to say "And..." I tell him no ands-- when I finish what he's given me I call him back and he gives me the next task. That works pretty well.
You'd never imagine that I am phenomenally efficient at work, would you. It's only real life that I don't cope with very well.
Procastination . . . . Pretty much the whole entire reason I STILL DON'T HAVE MY STORIES DONE.
We go *waaaaaaay* back, Procastination and I.
I'm a pro at procrastination. So many tools to work with, too - Ravelry, blogs, knitting, counted cross stitch.
My favorite self-deception is how I HAVE to clean the house when there are other deadlines looming. Because god forbid I should meet those deadlines and yet the bathroom isn't clean.
And it's completely justifiable - it's not like I'm shirking or doing something "fun" - 'cause I'm working hard and cleaning! Procrastination - it's the reason my house isn't filthy.
How apropros. I'm reading your blog posts instead of working on a project that is extremely difficult, i don't want to complete and dread having to eventually (at some point) buckle down and finish. Soon.
It's almost 9pm, I'm still in my jammies, and by readig this blog, am procrastinating the nearly finished project that I've been sitting here to do.
Meanwhile, I'd give anything to be able to get up and go on a 40K bike ride. But I can't leave the kids alone, still sunburned from my last ride, and it's SO FRICKIN' HOT!!!!
Hahaha, spot on! Guess what?? I was putting off the stuff I was supposed to do by sitting down to read your blog! And wham..in the face I get your story that sound like my life these days.
What happens to me is that I feel really guilty, and I know very well that it is all my fault. But still I put things off. I am my own worst enemy!
Although, I think women often have too high expectations to what they're supposed to squeeze into one day.
I decided to stop feeling guilty about my dusty and untidy home. (My husband never complaints anyway..) After accepting my home the way it is, I've started enjoying housework (to a certain degree) again! Funny, huh?
My tip is: do less, but better. :)
For me I think procrastination and amount of stamina go hand in hand. I want want want to do stuff, but then all of the sudden I am exhausted and can't get up and do it. On the worst days I take a nap and think about all of those things and picture doing them. On the best days I get up and do it anyway (still exhausted) but happy. On the best best days, I get up, get it done and feel good. Oh to have more of those....
I figure I needed time for my subconscious to ruminate, digest, process the information. That's how I was better at churning out brilliant term papers the night before the due date. So it's not procrastinating, it's allowing our brain to do its job. Think about it. . .
This post and these comments are making me antsy to do laundry. That's a scary pile in there - and not getting any smaller - all right, all right, I'm getting up...
Thank you for giving voice to a universal experience--putting off things that scare us. I am trying to learn that if I really don't want to do something, I should consider the possibility that it doesn't need doing (or at least not by me). It's not always wrong to do what feels easy.
Procrastinators of the world unite! Tomorrow...!
I've come to the conclusion that there is a procrastination gene and my family is full of them! Therefore, I come by it innocently and just knowing that is enough! Thanks for enabling me to put off my bike ride and workout this morning!
Love, love love this blog! You, harlot, you!
You're an enabler. You are enabling my procrastination by blogging today. It doesn't help that the topic is procrastination. I should be knitting on a shawl that I've been complaining about for weeks, but it only takes a minute or two to read your post .... and a minute or two to comment and ..... would you look at that? The dog needs to go out.
"I've knit about six rows on a shawl while I try to talk myself into not knitting on a shawl,"
Yarn H is inside of my brain repeating things I tell myself when I should get off my a$$ and do other things. I say, give yourself a break every now and then!!! Enjoy life- what needs to get done will eventually get done even if you have to swear that you'll never get behind again (when you know darn well, that procrastination will at times win out). But hey, you have a shawl!
Procrastination: To put off finishing a project about two rounds from the finish line in order to order more yarn to add to the pile that you're working on reducing because seriously what would be the point of that.
Some time ago, I really needed to buy a good car for my firm but I did not earn enough money and could not purchase anything. Thank goodness my dude adviced to get the personal loans from creditors. So, I acted that and used to be satisfied with my short term loan.
You are absolutely right about procrastination. Especially when it is caused by fear. Unfortunately that leaves us stuck on the steps (at least in my experience). As I told my daughter (who thinks that some video is going to be her weight loss bullet) sitting and staring at the informercial isn't going to make it happen. Things start happening when you get off the chair.
A little random at this point, but your great amazing strengths extraordinarily (threatening) organizing the Madrone 2012 Talent show (I live in WA and have never gotten into one of your workshops, but have been stricken dumb when seeing you i person at the Murano - sorry if we seemed like shy stalkers) were WONDERFUL - moved to tears of laughter with my daughter!!! and truly world changing. You are someone who can go to bed every night knowing you make the world a better place. YGG (You Go Girl!!!) p.s. if you ever need a place to stay in the Pacific NW with 30+ chickens, way too much yarn and LOTS of beer, just sayin'....
oh i just want to kiss and hug that baby! then, i will hand her back... just need the occasional fix. sigh... :)
ok, please ignore my previous post... i ended up posting on the wrong page!
procrastination, um, well, let's see....I for one read the Yarn Harlot. Since I do plan to go into the yarn business professionally at some point in the dim future that counts as research (yeah right, I'm nowhere near in the yarn business now, so who am I kidding). What triggers my procrastination (heck, what doesn't)? How do I deal with it? I embrace it. Let the pressure build on the necessary stuff and do the fun stuff in the meantime. The necessary stuff gets done way faster with sufficient pressure. Look at it as a steam engine :-) works a treat. Even my boss has learned by now not to get nervous on my behalf, he knows the work always gets done (just) in time :-)
I am a freelance sports writer and do primarily feature stories. I am an expert procrastinator, I'm catching up on your blog after a 12-day work trip, and it sounds like you live in my head.
Procrastination should be an Olympic sport. You and I would certainly make the podium.
Ok, I know I'm days late on this one, but a little voice inside me says that you read all the comments every time.....if it isn't true, please don't tell me. :o)
I am DISTRESSED that you said you hate yourself.I KNOW you were being funny mostly, but it still distresses me because YOU said on your blog a few months ago (and it made you my HERO forever) and I loved it so much that I wrote it out on a pretty piece of paper in my best handwriting and put on my wall in the middle of my DIY loopy wire wreath where I hang most of my beloved collection of earrings, right where I would see it everyday....
I have no time for self-loathing today.
Again, I KNOW you were being funny mostly...but that sentence has changed my life. Thank you.