The Last Minute...

I know why I procrastinate, and the reality is pretty harsh. I want that feeling of “flow” that you get when your mind is occupied by something without having to work for it, and the longer I fall out of practice of being disciplined, the harder it is to be disciplined. There are very easy ways to get that feeling in life. The easiest is watching TV or surfing the Internet. It’s passive and requires no effort. Turn on the tele, and suddenly my mind is flowing away and totally occupied. Nothing could be simpler. Then I turn off the tele, and oh my god I’ve wasted a day! This causes me some anxiety. I think of all the things I need to do. These things require effort and mindfulness and focus. I’m stressed about them. But if just turn the tele on again, then suddenly my mind is occupied and I’m calm.

Now I personally don’t even have a tele. I’m just using it as an example. I procrastinate by sleeping, walking the dog for long walks, doing exercise, reading novels, talking on the phone, cooking new recipes, sewing. I used to watch tele and drink too much to procrastinate, but I noticed that I was doing these things and that I couldn’t control them and that I was not getting anything done, so I removed them from my life. I stopped drinking and I got rid of the tele. Since then, my life has gotten better in that now, when I procrastinate, I at least do things that are useful. I always have fresh meals in my fridge. I’m in good shape. My dog is well-exercised. I’ve sewn pillows and bags and shirts and curtains.

Except that these things are all easy. I don’t want to get rid of them. I want all these things in my life. But I want to balance them out with things that are hard. I’m having trouble at work because I’m not getting my work done. My work is hard. I like it, but it’s hard. I’m not disciplined enough to focus on it. I’ve fallen so far behind now that I’m in trouble. But I’m out of the habit of focusing.

Lately I feel like what I should really do is just quit my current job and take one that is less stressful. I could be a waitress. I was a waitress when I was in college. But I know that is just giving into the procrastination and the desire to not focus my mind so much. Underneath it is my fear of failure. Easier just to quit than to fail. Also is the fear of letting my mind slip. The less you use it, the harder it gets to use it. I’m 35 now. What would I do when I’m 45? 55? 65? I have 30 years of working life in front of me.

Then there are other big projects that I actually want to work on but I don’t do them because I know work comes first. My garden. Painting my house. Taking out the canoe. I’ve had plenty of time to do these things the past two weeks but I didn’t because I had set the days aside to work on my big work project which also I didn’t do. Instead I procrastinated. I slept a lot, read a novel, sewed a bag, did 5 minute ab workouts, etc. I have to figure out a way to discipline my mind so that I can produce the focus necessary to engage actively in flow rather than receive it passively from easy things. But I just keep avoiding it. I’m disappointed in myself.

And when I write it all down, I see that I’m like a lazy teenager. I want all fun and no work. Who has a life like that? Why do I keep sabotaging myself?

I’m at the point now where this week will make all the difference. I have a presentation today at 4. I can get through it with limited embarrassment. Well at least I think I can. Every time I squeak by, by the skin of my teeth, I think to myself that this will be the time that I’m found out. And it’s possible. It’s possible that at 4 o’clock today, I’ll be wholly unprepared for my presentation and everything will collapse. But probably I’ll get by. It’ll be embarrassing, and it’ll briefly lit a fire under my a$$ and I’ll spend the next three days furiously working to catch up on all I should’ve done calmly over the last two weeks. In the end, I’ll pull through, but the past few weeks will look like a blur. Whereas if I had just done what I was supposed to do when I was supposed to do it, I could’ve been more productive, done better quality work, felt less stressed, felt no guilt AND I could’ve still read the novel, made the bags, done the ab workouts in addition to going on the canoe trip and working in the garden. Two weeks is a really long time, especially since my work should realistically only occupy some 30 hours a week. I basically should be busy on Mon, Tues and Wed with work and have the other four days a week off. It’s an easy blessed life. Why do I screw it up? Why am I acting like a lazy child?

And if it all falls apart this evening, who do I have to blame? Am I wallowing and procrastinating right now? If a friend were telling me these things, I’d tell them to stop feeling sorry for themselves and get off their butt and do their job! But how many times have I told myself the same thing? Vicious cycle.
An Ep User An EP User
Jan 22, 2013