Procrastination

August 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

I’ve got a confession to make

I’m a procrastinator
 
Not in the way most people procrastinate.
 
Like putting off doing something until the end of the day instead of the beginning.
 
 I’m talking about serious, long term procrastinating.
 
Putting it off for the endless tomorrow that never comes.
 
The ironic thing about this is that it also gives me anxiety.
 
 I worry about it.    Stress about it.  Get depressed about it.
 
“Oh I really need to exercise.  It’s important.  I need to do it”
 
And then I don’t.
 
The next day I stress out about it again.
 
And again.
 
I think about it.
 
Get discouraged that I haven’t done it
 
Wish I’d do it
 
Lose any joy over my day because I still haven’t done it
 
What’s wrong with  me??
 
Are my feet nailed to the floor?
 
Am I handcuffed to the couch?
 
Is there someone standing at the door with a gun pointed at my head threatening my life if I go for a walk??
 
Maybe it’s the way my brain is hardwired.
 
I have a tendency to get overwhelmed and discouraged easily.
 
I look at a task and something inside my brain starts to think “this is too hard”….”this is going to take too long”
 
“I don’t know how to do this effectively”…
 
“I’m not sure I have what it takes to make this happen….
 
And the next thing I know I’m depressed.
 
So I just check out.
 
Completely.
 
Try to forget about it until the next day when I remember all over again that it has to get done.
 
There are others things that people struggle with.  Things that overwhelm them.
 
Laundry.  Need I say more?
 
That can get very overwhelming.
 
Multiply it by 4 kids and myself.
 
Laundry has always been my nemesis.
 
If you don’t have a routine for laundry, it will take over your house . Soon you will look like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind with a mountain in your living room.
 
 
 
My mother used to always say to me “Life is a habit.
 
I cant tell you how many times I heard that over the course of my life.
 
“Holly,  life is a habit”.
 
 As a matter of fact, “life is a habit” is #2 on the list I keep to remind myself of all the things my mother used to say.
 
You see, our lives are a series of minutes strung together into days strung together into months strung together….well you get it.
 
We’re stringing our days together.
 
You feel overwhelmed though .
 
Where do I start?
 
That’s how I always feel when facing a pile of laundry or sink of dishes.
 
Or exercise.
 
You don’t tell a 400 pound person who can barely get off the couch to start working out for 30 minutes a day.
 
If I can barely get out of the chair without assistance, how long do you think I’m going to last with a 30 minute workout?
 
So you get out your timer.
 
                                                            

This is my Flylady Timer

 It says you can do anything for 15 minutes!!

Who would ever have known that a timer could be such an important weight loss tool?
 
For me, it has become essential.
 
I should have known this already considering my many years as a follower of the Flylady.
 
 It just took me awhile to connect what works for me in housecleaning/organizing to what works for me with weight loss.
 
It’s a simple concept.
 
Take something you procrastinate endlessly on.
 
Something you know you need to do but haven’t yet been able to accomplish.
 
Then set a timer and do it.
 
For 30 seconds.
1 minute
5 minutes
15 minutes
 
Whatever works for you.
 
And you do whatever you’ve been procrastinating on until the timer goes off.
 
And then you walk away
 
Even if you only did 1 minute.
 
It doesn’t matter.
 
You set a goal.
 
You accomplished it.
 
This decreases your  anxiety that you’re falling behind and it puts you in  a good mood because you know that you are getting something done.
 
Even if it’s 1 minute at a time.
 
The next day you’ll set the timer again for 1 minute, 5 minute, 15 minutes.
 
And chip away.
 
At exercise, the laundry, that pile of mail
 
Whatever it is you’re procrastinating on
 
 When the timer stops do a victory dance!!
 
My timers are my friends.  They keep me moving in the right direction.
 
Because doing something is always better than doing nothing
 
You’ll be surprised at how effective your timer will be!
 
Recently I fell into a bad rut regarding my house
 
I let mail pile up
 
I let laundry pile up
 
I let dishes pile up
 
And I couldn’t find a thing
 
That depressed me and made things worse
 
And when I get depressed
 
I WANT TO EAT
 
I’ve realized that part of keeping myself on track with food
 
Also involves controlling the chaos in my house
 
When my house is messy or disorganized
 
I just want to crawl into a hole with a box of Twinkies
 
But when I start taking control over the mail
 
Over the dishes
 
Over the laundry
 
Suddenly I feel like maybe I can take control over other areas too
 
Like FOOD
 
It’s all connected
 
But the only way I’ve ever found any victory in controlling the chaos
 
Is to set the timer and chip away
 
Little by little
 
We’ll get there!
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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheila August 27, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Wow Hollly, I just posted something similar and how I had to basically put my foot down with the family about everyone pitching in together. Right down to how the way my house needs maintenance is the same way my diet needs maintenance. Totally on the same page with ya! (BTW Love the Flylady…love her!)
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Heather C. August 27, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Oh my goodness, Holly….you jumped into my brain and wrote this post! I am the greatest ‘long term’ procrastinator I know. And, YES…it does contribute to both anxiety and depression- it’s very “cyclical.” I procrastinate so I get anxiety and depression. I have anxiety and depression and I’m already behind, so I might as well procrastinate, right? Same thing with eating and gaining weight. It’s a vicious cycle. For me, it’s all about the ‘pay off.’ When I exercise, I feel fantastic, it reduces my anxiety and I sleep better. I just wish God would give us the pay off FIRST to get us started (ha ha!) I always want the easy way out ;o)

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Flaming June August 27, 2013 at 3:48 pm

This is 100% me! I live by the kitchen stove timer – it is the only way I ever get anything accomplished. I always thought this is because I am a perfectionist… When I look at cleaning the kitchen, it’s not just loading/unloading the dishwasher. No! I must also reorganize my cabinets, clean out the refrigerator, scrub the floor and clean the oven etc. This makes me feel overwhelmed, so I do nothing. A timer gives me permission to do an “incomplete” job.
Yesterday I faced that same mountain of laundry – but I had somehow gotten it in my mind that doing the laundry involved reorganizing my kids dressers AND doing all the mending and ironing. When I limited myself to three 15 minute sessions during the day, I actually got most everything washed, dried, and put away!
Great Post!
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Robin August 27, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Yesterday I stayed home from work because of a panic attack. That attack was brought on by the simple fact that my house is a wreck, out of control, and needs my attention. Did I clean it while I was home? NO! However, I did hang aome clothes up and make the bed which will get me through till the weekend so I can deal with it better…

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Anna August 27, 2013 at 8:53 pm

I can totally relate to this. When feeling overwhelmed I want to eat too…and I can procrastinate with the best of them. I’m going to try that timer idea…
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Caron August 27, 2013 at 9:28 pm

I hate to admit that I’m also a procrastinator and my youngest daughter seems to have the same problem. I’m the worst about procrastinating with my exercise. I can find a hundred excuses why I need to wait to do it until I have no time to do it or certainly no “want to”. I have to work on this all the time. Sigh.

Thanks for a great post.
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Elaine August 27, 2013 at 9:49 pm

I’m a FLYbaby too 🙂

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Shay August 27, 2013 at 10:47 pm

I used to be a procrastinator, too, but I realized the same thing that you did: All that procrastination just led to anxiety, when I could spend an hour (sometimes more, sometimes less) doing it and just be done with it, not only saving myself so many hours of stress, but also replacing them with hours of joy b/c I’d accomplished something. With exercise, I’m great at this. I get it done first thing in the morning so that I don’t have to think about it all day. I figure one hour (or sometimes 1/2 hour, sometimes 40 minutes, sometimes 45, sometimes 25 minutes) of intense work is worth feeling great for the other 23 hours of the day. And it is! And if there is a day when I don’t get to it in the morning and I think about it all day–I will make sure I do it that evening so that those hours of stressing that I hadn’t yet gotten it done weren’t for naught! Good luck with figuring it all out; it’s a process that we all go through with everything in life–daily! I love your mom’s saying, by the way.
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Leah August 27, 2013 at 10:53 pm

I love your ability to write down all the thoughts in my head sometimes.

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Kerstin August 28, 2013 at 5:07 am

Boy, does this hit home. You describe the vicious cycle of procrastination perfectly. I have heard about the timer idea but never actually tried it. You have inspired me to try it out myself now. You know, tomorrow maybe. Or the day after. Or … ugh … Nope, I shall find a task today and set the timer! Thank you, Holly 🙂
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Linda Kuil August 28, 2013 at 10:35 am

SHARING!!!!

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Paula August 28, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you… this applies to me in so many ways.

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jay August 28, 2013 at 3:12 pm

perfect timing!

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Sheryl C. August 28, 2013 at 5:53 pm

It is perfect timing! I just wrote a post yesterday about starting to deal with my disorganization by working 30 consecutive minutes each day. It is helping!
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Merrily Brown August 28, 2013 at 9:43 pm

We are so much alike!!! Great post! I wrote a similar post a while back….but yours is so REAL!! Love reading your blog!
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