I’m hung up on this issue of procrastination.
When I count the minutes I truly waste in a day, I drown in self-recrimination. All those minutes would add up to months and years of lost time. (And I don’t use the term “waste” lightly. I don’t count gazing at my garden and listening to the fountain. Or sitting with my friends talking about nothing and everything. Or reading a lightweight book while taking a hot bath. I don’t even count play “Words for Friends” with all my kith and kin.)
On a good day I wake with purpose and move into action with resolve. I follow the path from A to B without many detours.
On a bad day I immerse myself in one more game of solitaire, one more taped Oprah Show, and another quick check of email and Facebook interspersed with trips to the refrigerator and pantry.
On all days, I spend time thinking about what causes me to have a good day or a bad day. I’ve learned one thing for sure; I don’t procrastinate on things that I want to do. It’s resistance to the myriad details that grinds my life to a halt.
I loved the quote in The Great Debaters, “Do what you have to do so you can do what you want to do.” It resonates with me, not because I can accomplish it, but because I know that it is the key to dealing with everyday life without struggling through a maze of mental and emotional obstacles.
It is so simple.
“Do what you have to do so you can do what you want to do.”
And there’s a certain satisfaction in finishing some stinking task that I can purge from my “to do” list. I gain a sense of accomplishment when I sort through everything on my desk; recycling each piece of worthless scrap paper, paying each bill as I come to it, filing the stacks of receipts and calling each person whose number is scribbled next to a responsibility. But for me, this can be another form of delayed tactics.
In my working years, motivational speakers told me repeatedly to decide what is important instead of doing what was in front of me. It didn’t, and still doesn’t, work for me. I love visible, tangible progress. And sometimes it’s only visible when I do the tiny bits along with the important ones.
I can feel as if I have accomplished. And I’m still procrastinating. I’m keeping myself busy, but not necessarily productive.
And so, once more, I have come up with a plan. I’ll devote 15 minute to each of three things I’ve been avoiding. That’s just 45 minutes a day!
I can make the dreaded call instead of eating a bowl of popcorn. I can finish my taxes quickly so that the relatively simple task of delivering papers to the accountant doesn’t clutter up my office floor, the dining room table, and my mind for three-fourths of the year. I can write a thank you note.
I have a long list of choices.
I don’t think I’ll completely change with one resolution. (Been there…tried that!) And I can’t reclaim those wasted hours of my past. But I can keep plugging away.
In a minute…