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How to Anticrastinate

By the way, forgot to mention, you won't be seeing nearly as much of me on the internets between now and my trip to London. That's because it's Lent, and I've decided to reduce my leisure surfing to one hour a day.

But, hey, that gives me more time to refine the practice of anticrastination.

So here's what I've been doing. When I come across something and think "Hm, I really need to do something about that sometime." I immediately ask myself the question "What's stopping me from doing it right now?"

Sometimes the answer is "well, nothing" and so I go and do it. (Putting away that thing that's been sitting on the floor for ages, for example.) Or the answer sounds kind of stupid when I really think about it ("I don't want to get my hands wet") and I kick myself into doing it.

Sometimes the answer is something like "because I'll be late for work if I spend time on it now." Then I ask myself the next question "Okay, is there any small thing I can do on it now?" So I may not be able to scrub the entire sink, but I can at least wipe that mucky bit up and still make it to work on time. Or if I can't do a small thing, I ask myself "Okay, when WILL you be able to do something about it?" And I set a time, or a date, or just decide that if I can't do anything about it now, then I won't spend any excess mental energy thinking about it.

Sometimes the answer will be something like "because I've been doing stuff all day and I'm cranky and tired." Which is perfectly valid, especially after a long day of Stuff Doing. So I give myself a break, let myself de-crank a bit, whether it's by writing or taking a short nap or even hitting the internets for a bit. Then I check back in when I'm feeling better and resume what needs to be done. Or sometimes I'll just sneak it past my cranky self by asking "Well, can you do one small thing on it and then take a break?" And then one small thing becomes another small thing and then I get sucked into it and it winds up finished.

Like, for example, this blog entry. ;)

Today I took pleasure in seeing my blue chair without all the stuff that had been piled up on it for, well, longer than I care to contemplate.

Today I learned how much our usual file folder labels cost. Yikes.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
scyllacat
Feb. 8th, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC)
I like this very much. I have been learning quite a bit from "do it now." (If you haven't heard me mention http://www.flylady.net, well, there you are, a plug.) It has been pointed out, accurately in my case, that frequently our perfectionism makes us procrastinate. This will take too long to do right, we think, so we do nothing, and it gets worse. Usually, it takes less than a minute to, for example, move the thing out of my way to where it goes, rather than clean the WHOLE room; or wipe up the icky bit that's bugging me, rather than scrub the whole sink. So yeah, that's mostly what you said. I just wanted to underline it.

What I've found is that, knowing I can make it BETTER in a minute or three, I'm likely to take a bit to do it, rather than feeling overwhelmed at something that will take HOURS (in my head, it's usually even less than that!)

Oh, btw, I like your "took pleasure in" and "learned." I may use? Although "I took pleasure in" may be a lot of "watching birds," which is my favorite thing... they don't stay around very long, but for a minute or two, it's very refreshing!
wonderbink
Feb. 9th, 2008 12:11 am (UTC)
Yeah, perfectionism is (was, I hope) my undoing for a long, long time. I stopped myself from a lot of things because I didn't want to do a half-assed job of it.

Then I came to realize that sometimes, half an ass is better than no ass at all.

Anybody is free to swipe my little pleasure and learning 'tags' for their own blogs. I'd be downright flattered, to be honest.
britpoptarts
Feb. 10th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)
I think part of it is perfectionism, part of it is knowing that, yes, I'll get sucked into a never-ending vortex of chore-doing, and part of it is the stuck-ness and lethargy of depression, where even brushing your teeth seems like a huge victory.

I also seem to do better when I "own" my space. Currently I can't do much to the house I'm in, though it needs help desperately. I can't paint it or move furniture around or buy new curtains or rugs. I could, but am choosing not to, buy more storage containers.

I may have to go ahead and do that, though. My mom is determined to sell the house, so I may be homeless any day now. Yay?

I wish she'd wait until I was finished with school, because adding moving out and finding a place and moving in while in the middle of preparing my portfolio, doing my 45 hour review and starting on my thesis just sucks. I also dread the extra expense, because although she swears she'll "help me," we all know how much I can rely on any promises she makes. That is, not at all.

Getting a new place without being employed or having a stellar credit score will also be fun times! I love landlords! I can only think of one roommate who wasn't an utter pain in the butt more often than not...I can't wait to do this moving thing twice in one year! Yay!! W00t!

Also, paying a lot of rent means I'll have less money to pay back student loans, and less money to put a down payment on a possible house with. Also cheery thoughts.

Oh, and I just realized: my mother will probably expect me to help HER move in and out as well. Personally, I'm so pissed off at her timing that I would rather not ever set foot in this new condo she's salivating to buy. Ugh.

Note also that this is a WANT, not a NEED, as she currently lives in a three bedroom two and a half bath place BY HERSELF with nice neighbors and is only planning to move 400 yards up the road. I think she's having a menopausal mental crisis of some sort, really.

But I'll rant about this later. I have actual work to do now. Since I have been interrupted over the past four days with workmen and mom calling Family Meetings and other fun crap, I am behind schedule and my Midterm presentations are both due Monday. Wish me luck.

I only hope I don't get bothered and interrupted AGAIN today, as I'll be working with software i am not super-proficient in, but which is required. *soft weeping*
wonderbink
Feb. 10th, 2008 09:00 pm (UTC)
Is she planning on kicking you out before she puts the house on the market, or do you at least have until she puts the thing up for sale?

Is the house up for sale yet, or is she still working on getting it ready?

Because that house will not sell in the state it's in for the price you told me she's asking. So unless she's asking you to start packing right away, I wouldn't burn away your mental energy fretting about it. Remember--the amount of energy you put into worrying about something does not count as energy expended towards solving the problem.

Focus on the tasks at hand for your presentations and let the rest of it go. You can't do everything simultaneously, so just focus on what needs to be done NOW.

*hugs* You'll get through this. I have faith in you.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )