I was going to tackle my procrastination problem last weekend but I never got around to it.
By Sunday at 5:48 pm I realized I had blown it again. Throughout the week I feel like I barely have enough time to cook, eat, tidy up, write an article and do the odd errand. I lean towards the weekend, when I have two whole days to finally get some work done. To improve my blog, to catch up on my correspondence, to get some monkeys off my back like fixing things that need fixing, organizing things that need organizing, tackling things that need tackling.
But the weekends go by and I never catch up. I don’t use the time well. Time is not what I’m short on, even though that’s what I tell myself all week.
Sometimes I do sit down early in the day and pound something out, but then I give myself a well-deserved break and that’s usually the end of any productivity. I end up clicking around on the internet, then clean up, then cook something, then watch a bit of a documentary online, then try to work again, then get distracted. Then I decide to wait until after supper to do some work, then I start reading something after supper, then if I’m still home, it’s already after 9:00 so I decide I’ll get an early start the next day.
I avoid taking on the real important stuff. I create work of secondary importance so that I never really have to confront the really worthwhile things. When I get on a roll, I back off and stay backed off. I take breaks that turn into written-off days. I am addicted to hanging it up for the night, to letting myself off the hook.
The important stuff doesn’t get done, at least not before my procrastinatory tendencies have created an obvious, impending consequence of not doing it, like incurring a fine, really letting someone down, or getting fired.
So much of what I want to do isn’t terribly difficult and wouldn’t take a lot of time to get done. Looking at my projects list now I have items like: book an appointment for X, send in that change of address form, phone so-and-so about Y, write a short piece for Z. And many of them have been sitting there for weeks or months. I have the most bizarre aversion to tackling things.
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Particularly prone to serious procrastination problems are children who grew up with unusually high expectations placed on them. Their older siblings may have been high achievers, leaving big shoes to fill, or their parents may have had neurotic and inhuman expectations of their own, or else they exhibited exceptional talents early on, and thereafter “average” performances were met with concern and suspicion from parents and teachers.
This was the part that made my heart sink when I read it. Not that anybody was trying to make things difficult for me, but I grew up feeling high expectations from the adults in my life and myself. For most of my schooling, I was always in advanced programs, always aced everything, and when I got anything less than an A, people asked me what was wrong.
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