I came to the realization this week that I’m not going to be able to solve the world’s problems, and that most problems are very complex.
I’ve worked in politics and grassroots advocacy for fairer housing, health, and education policies in New York City; but it’s nothing like doing so in developing countries. Silly me for even trying. So now I have a literature review due this week, and all the ideas in my head are roaming, but I lack the energy to put them into coherent sentences on paper.
In other words, I’m procrastinating.
I love and hate deadlines: they keep things on track, but I don’t necessarily get a rush having to do things under pressure at the eleventh hour, although I have to admit some bright ideas do come out at the eleventh hour.
So knowing me I set some early deadlines to get started this weekend, and I swear I’ll get started once I finish this post. I know I’m not the only one who seems to wait until the last minute for things, so I wanted to find out from other folks what their experiences are and how they cope.
If I can wake up every morning with this attitude, it would help me move forward items/projects. I mean hey, no one expected Rome to be built in a day — so it’s very feasible to take things one step at a time each day. But it has to be everyday, otherwise the night before the deadline will feel like running a marathon. So, I’m going to go back to list-making. I love writing things down and having a to-do list where I can cross-off items, helps me feel organize.
When I’m in my mindset — I can cross through an entire list within a couple hours– “Oh hey! Its lunchtime already”? This usually means that all the problems, worries, things to-do were not that big or time-consuming to deal with. I already started by adding key to-do things on my calendar this week. I live and die by my online calendar as it sends reminders to my phone/laptop/email. So once you adopt this new attitude, figure out a system that helps you to take baby steps everyday!
*Tip* Be specific. There’s a different between “I’ll start my report tomorrow” vs ” I’ll outline my three main points over lunch”.
Stuff Keeps Coming Up
The story of our lives. Even the most mundane life that is centered around Star Wars and and Comic Con will have something interrupt and demand for our precious time. Well procrastinators — let’s be honest, how much of these “really important things” are you looking rather than issues that come out of the blue? Don’t tell me you were about to sit down in front of the computer– when all of sudden– you noticed how dirty the top of your cupboards were and needed to take a half-hour to address that immediately.
The truth is, we all have things that come up: family, work, emergencies, friends, enemies, mini-crises, drama, terrors, and tragedies. Especially the later, sometimes when life hits you– it makes you feel like you just don’t want to “deal”. This weekend’s tragedy in Florida is a perfect example of this.
Unfortunately, everyone will have at least one problem/event everyday whether it is a single mother living in rural South Sudan or a wealthy banker living in London. All of our daily struggles are different but real; however we must persevere on! Deal, grieve, solve, or mediate with your family, tragedy, emergency, in-laws…then return to the drawing board.
I’m Not Good Enough
At the risk of sounding like a psychotherapist– this can be the crux of the matter for many procrastinators. We think, dwell, ponder, formulate, redraw, overthink, cry, breakdown, and manage to put something together at the final hour that everyone loves and applauds.
This is an emotionally taxing cycle to have to endure in any work/school lifestyle. We worry about the results not being perfect, and spend days or weeks stressing and feeling guilty for putting things off (I have even done this for months). Unfortunately, I don’t have any straight-forward advice about this except to say that we are all our own worst critics. So let’s be kinder to ourselves; the next time you start something or cross off an item on your list, congratulate yourself! Congratulate yourself everyday whether its with a little social media time, a drink at the pub, or even some ice cream (well, maybe not ice cream everyday…). The point is, you have adopted a new attitude and renewed your motivation to finish a project– today you laid the foundation and tomorrow you’ll be putting up the frame.
Hi, my name is S.C Rhyne and I am a procrastinator. About 1 in 5 people are chronic procrastinators, so I know I’m not alone. So how do you cope with the many things in life that you need to get done?