15 February 2020

Taking the Pro out of Procrastination

Okay, I'll admit it...I'm a natural procrastinator. I don't procrastinate on everything, mind you--only those things most guaranteed to screw myself over. When it comes to getting stuff done for everyone else, I do...and usually in a timely enough fashion. Meanwhile, stuff for myself inevitably falls by the wayside, but then that's Mom's Law, isn't it? You'll happily kill yourself to get things done for your friends and loved ones, even if it means sacrificing yourself every. single. time. For example:

Got people coming over? The downstairs will be spotless for your guests while your master bathroom with the discreetly-closed door remains one mold spore away from become a pandemic outbreak requiring Hazmat suits and flamethrowers to clean.

Did you volunteer to help do computer work in hobby communities? Because if you did, reorganizing the bookmarks on your computer is never going to happen now. Nor is dusting. Face it, the dust is now your asthmatic roommate.

Have you been contracted to alter bridesmaids dresses and/or a wedding dress before someone's wedding? Then I guarantee you will be the one walking down the aisle with the raggedy, non-hemmed dress because no one is going to be looking at you, Cinderella.

Is someone hosting a spontaneous bake sale and requesting dozens of your ubiquitous, go-to cookies? Well, you didn't need to make yourself a birthday cake anyway, did you? Stick a candle in the one burnt cookie you culled from the herd and have yourself a par-tay.

Such is the life of the inveterate procrastinator, we who frequently rearrange our entire lives to help others or put off tedious tasks so long that neither they nor the things we could have been doing instead get done. Perhaps Jim Croce said it best: "There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do." That's why I still haven't finished curtains for three rooms of my house. Or why, ten months later, I still haven't gotten around to posting photos of my trip to Portugal...or updating my sewing portfolio. There's always something else that takes precedence, like meeting your 972 new relatives instead of getting your genealogy business going--as if that isn't the epitome of irony considering you wouldn't have found one without the other.

Porto, Portugal, on the River Douro (there...one down, a hundred to go).

How do we take the "pro" out of "procrastination?" Good question. I think for me that comes from creating more discipline and focus so I don't get as easily sidetracked by shinier objects on the side. My deluge of new family members seems to have stabilized and I've now met most of them. The girl child is married and settled. Nothing on the house has blown up in the last ten minutes (as Mary knocks on every available wooden surface within reach). I also think slaying the Procrastination Dragon will come from recognizing that--occasionally--it's perfectly okay to put ourselves and our needs first. How many times do any of us get on a plane and promptly ignore the dictate to put on our own oxygen mask first before attempting to help others? As women or moms we have been programmed for generations to put everyone else's needs before our own, but when we do that, we become so depleted we have nothing left with which to help others...even those most important to us.

So grab the oxygen mask, folks...sleep the extra hour if you can. Drag yourself to the next workout because you know you'll feel better afterwards if you do. Give yourself permission to say "no" from time to time. Practice self-care. When you take those moments for yourself, when you suck in that first drag of pure oxygen, it will give you the energy you need to complete tasks you don't really want to do and thus free up more time for all the things you DO want to accomplish...like finally starting up that genealogy business you've been trying to open for two years (dang prolific relatives everywhere!)

Don't think of this as a resolution, think of it as a revelation--"now listen to MY declaration!" (See what happens when you start working out to the Hamilton soundtrack?) This is going to be my year...I'm getting my business back on track and refocusing my energies to be more disciplined and successful. What will be your declaration this year? Where are you headed and how will you get there?

Now then...who wants to help me build a website and a professional blog? I'm not above trading cookies or alterations or finding dead relatives in exchange. Just saying. ;)