Monday, October 3, 2016

THE PROCRASTINATION CONUNDRUM

Several months ago I made a decision that I needed to write more consistently on this blog. If you’ve been following the blog, you know the reasons for that, and I sincerely believed it would be good for me to be able to write here and share my challenges. It’s an added bonus when I feel like candidly sharing my own struggles might help those who take the time to read what I write. I can look back over the months and know that it HAS been helpful—at least to me. And I’ve received some wonderful comments and emails from some of you that have lifted my spirits. So, what is this thing about human nature that makes it so difficult to do the very thing that we know will help us feel better? For WEEKS I have thought every day that I need to write something for the blog and get my daughter to post it (due to my enormous lack of computer knowledge) and every day I have felt a little more uncomfortable over the fact that another day has passed without that goal being accomplished. It’s not really that difficult for me to sit down at the computer and write something the length of a reasonable blog post. And it’s not like I can’t think of something to write about. I’ve found some great quotes since I last wrote here that would be worth sharing. I’ve seen some wonderful inspirational things on Youtube and I’ve thought about putting a link or two here and talking about what I learned. I could do that, and I probably will in time. But today I’m more caught up in examining the reason why we as human beings tend to procrastinate. Perhaps I’m being presumptuous to say that it’s so common among the majority of us humans; maybe I’m in a minority. It just seems so difficult to get myself to do simple tasks that I know will make me feel better if I do them.


Eat a salad. Get that bill mailed. Email that person that you love sharing letters with. Remove some dust from your living area. Throw out the food in your fridge that stopped being edible long ago. Do that load of laundry so you have clean pajamas. Doing a load of underwear before you actually run out would be good. Etc. Etc. Etc. 


Already as I’m writing I’m wondering why I’ve put this off so long. It’s not that big of a deal. Is it? Well, I don’t know what YOUR reasons might be for procrastinating (assuming that at least one person reading this is a procrastinator) but I’ve been giving a great deal of thought as to my own. And most of it comes back to that depression thing which was confessed here many months ago, and I have since written about multiple times. Sometimes depression is present without any obvious reasons, and I believe that’s when medical intervention is perhaps necessary. For me, I struggle with physical pain and illness every day. And even though I’ve been known to do some amazing writing in spite of it, motivating myself to do anything before it’s urgent is more often than not just plain hard. I can also say there’s been more than a fair amount of crisis with some loved ones lately. And when someone you love is struggling, or even suffering, it’s difficult to look past the draining effects of such challenges and feel capable of doing anything at all. STILL would I not be better off to sit down here with you and share my feelings as opposed to avoiding them? Perhaps I could have felt my own burdens lifted by writing about them here. Perhaps I could have offered some validation or perspective for someone else. As trivial as it sounds, I think of comparing it to taking the time to cut up some vegetables in order to eat a salad instead of something less healthy. It’s not THAT big of a deal, and the results are obviously good. So, why is it so difficult to get past this vague sensation of stagnancy that feels like an enormous ball and chain that slows me down and holds me back?


I don’t have any obvious answers or insights beyond that. Maybe you do. I just keep making to-do lists so my foggy brain can keep track of what’s important, and I force myself to do what needs to be done. But I would like to cross more things off that list before they become urgent, as opposed to having it feel like such a burden. That’s my hope for today: to be more motivated and productive this week, and to form some better habits about doing so as a way of life. There, I’ve written a blog post. Task completed. Now, that wasn’t so hard! I would love to know if ANYONE out there relates to it in any way. Or is it just me? 


Given my recent stagnancy in this area, I also had the thought that perhaps it’s a good time to do some simple Q&A right here. I often get emails with questions, and back in the day when I was able to do more public speaking, I was bombarded with questions. So, if you have any questions you would like to have answered here, email me at contact@anitastansfield.com


With your question include how you would like yourself identified when I post the answers. Such as: Buffy from Sunnydale. Or: Mary Margaret from Storybrooke. Or you can use an online handle like: stormtrooper47. Or: wanttogotohogwarts89. Okay, just getting silly now.


I hope you’re all having a good week. Here in Utah Valley, I am enjoying the autumn weather. This is my favorite time of year, and in spite of my daily struggles, I take some moments every day to soak in the cooling temperatures and the color of the leaves changing. May God bless you all, and with any luck I’ll be back here posting again very soon. It’s a worthy goal. 

4 comments:

Strawberry Girl said...

I think there are levels of procrastination. There is childhood procrastination where you put off doing your homework in order to play video games or do some other enjoyable thing. Adult procrastination can be similar but all too often I find that what looks like procrastination is really business and I personally add so much to my plate at times that I find it hard to keep up with all of the things that I want to do. The one thing that I have been procrastinating is writing, I've wanted to write ever since I was young but I put other things in ahead of working on that ambition. For instance going to school in order to be able to provide for myself and my kids since I knew that my husband wasn't reliable and I foresaw that I might need that ability (and I did). My dilemma is in trying to find the time to write and trying to figure out how to craft a story. I have this vague general idea about how it needs to go but when I sit down to do it the actual reality of the blank screen overwhelms my desire to write down the silly thoughts that have been zipping around in my head. What I do then is look for resources about writing, then I find that all of the time that I had to write has been taken up in the search to find the instructions for going about what I want to go about. It's intimidation I suppose that prevents me from procrastination, I'm not sure about others.

Bonnie Gwyn said...

Anita, your blog post was truly inspired. I haven't written a word on my blog in five months and I decided today that I should check on it. Your post popped up on my dashboard and caught my eye immediately. I, too, am a procrastinator, and I appreciate your wonderful reminder to get back to blogging and doing what my heart loves to do. Thank you. You are wonderful! Good luck in all of your endeavors.

Amanda Wilhelm said...

My dear friend,

I admit, hear in front of God and everyone, that I only procrastinate the things I don't like. I do immediately the things I like. I have never procrastinated eating breakfast, at least in memory. If there is good coffee brewing anywhere, I cannot put off having some. But if it's getting on the stationary bike, I will come up with a hundred other things that need doing. Even a nap will suddenly be more important for my health than raising my metabolism.

I love your blog so much, dear friend. Thank you for overcoming the hill of procrastination today. It's like you reached the summit, looked out over the valley and thought, "Yes. I feel like doing this," and we are the beneficiaries.

I love you my friend.

Amanda

Anonymous said...

Anita, I am really bad at procrastinating so I really appreciate you writing about this. I really relate to your part about depression and that it is really hard to do. I liked your ball and chain description because that is what it feels like to me. It is very timely for me as I have something I have been procrastinating a lot and it has bad consequences if I don't do it within the next 6 days. If you ever wanted to include in your book about some lady who has Endometriosis I would love that as I have it.