Let’s make a procrastination list

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Most of us procrastinate at one time or another with things we don’t like to do and some of us procrastinate habitually for all kinds of things. Some are not even aware of how many or what things they are “putting off until a better time. If I said, “Let’s make a procrastination list,” would you respond, with, “How about tomorrow?” LOL

Make a Procrastination List

Procrastination lists include items that you keep putting off such as

  • Clean out the closet
  • Pay the bills
  • Learn to do something on the computer
  • Call Aunt Mable or Uncle Joe
  • Make an appointment to have your teeth cleaned
  • Sign up with a networking group
  • Learn to meditate
  • Study for the exam
  • Finish the project
  • …and the list goes on

I don’t know about you but there are things on my list that stay in the bottom two or  three not just for days but for weeks because I simply don’t want to do them. “Life’s too short to clean out that closet when it’s so beautiful outside or when my best friend is coming over later” or …whatever. The fact of the matter is that I simply don’t like doing that task, even though it needs to be done. The consequences of NOT doing it don’t seem as onerous as doing it right now. I’d prefer to play another game of Candy Crush than clean out the  refrigerator even if I have several “science projects” growing in the there.

This week I made my first videos for Youtube and posted one on this blog and the others on Facebook. I would like to tell you that as soon as I was encouraged to make them for the purpose of marketing I smiled in assent and and got right to it. Actually, I did nothing. It only took me two months to “get around to it.” My excuse was pitiful, indeed—I though I’d look too old. Well, I look like I look and I finally made those videos, anyway. The feeling of accomplishment when I finished was exhilarating. Some deeper reflection on “I look too old” revealed a nice little pocket of fear of rejection. Yep, there it was and I was surprised to find it. I’m the one that says, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” Hmmm  I gained an important insight from the reflection. Lesson learned!

For years we’ve said that procrastination is due to laziness, fear of failure or fear of success, and a number of other deep seated emotions. Scientists have begun to look at the problem and find that there much more to it. If you are a procrastinator and your procrastination is interfering with your life in a significant way, I encourage you to learn more. A good starting place is this article that appeared in the Obwerver, the publication of The Association of Psychological Science. Take a look.

You say you’ll do it later?

I understand.

So why make a procrastination list?

It will at least bring to your attention  things you need to do that you’ve been putting off. You can see them all in one glance. Use the list not only as a “to do” list or, more likely a “to do later” list but use it to help develop more self awareness.

WHY haven’t I called Aunt Mable or Uncle Joe? What is going on within me that makes me put this off? (what do you feel when you talk with them? Does it bring up unpleasant memories? Do they make you feel small?  Do you find them painfully boring? You get the idea).

WHY won’t I clean out the refrigerator? (Sit with it until you have a glimmer of awareness. Does an empty looking refrigerater excite a fear of being hungry? What?).

What would it feel like if you finished the last item on the list? Nice, huh?

GREAT IDEA.

I think I’ll play another game of Candy Crush and THEN I’ll make my list. Maybe I’ll clean out the refrigerator!

Irene Conlan

Irene Conlan has a master's degree in nursing, She taught nursing at Arizona State University, served as Director of Nursing Administration at St. Luke's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix and served as Assistant Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services for the Division of Health Care Facilities and Emergency Medical Services. Now retired, she is an avid blogger and manages http://www.theselfimprovementblog.com,http://www.theselfesteemblog.com and hosts the Self Improvement Radio Show on VoiceAmerica. Irene lives in Fountain Hills, AZ and has two sons and four grandsons. 

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