Some people exercise. Some people eat. And some people take naps, but I clean my house. This is my form of procrastination. At least that was the case yesterday. Yesterday was my Give a Mouse a Cookie day. In Laura Numeroff’s popular children’s book, a little boy gives a mouse a cookie, which leads the mouse to wanting a glass of milk, which in turn leads to a whole host of other adventures until they are right back at where they started – needing a cookie. Here’s my scenario of yesterday: After taking a morning walk with my hubby and my chubby (my little dog), I sat down and updated my “To Do” list while eating breakfast. With so many projects to start and so many that required additional attention, I needed to prioritize my list. As I thought about the order of my list, I went outside to refill the bird feeders. While I was doing that, I spied some oak leaves and acorns in the swimming pool that had to be removed before they left stains. Since I had the pool net in my hand, I figured I might as well scoop up the leaves that had fallen into the fountain, which reminded me that I wanted to do research on bird-safe algaecides. By the end of the day, when my husband came home from work, I had segued into cleaning out my son’s room and converting it into a sewing room.
That scenario is an example of productive procrastination. A lot of projects were completed, but most weren’t on my “To Do” list. What was so horrible or dreadful on my list that I spent the whole day trying to avoid? Nothing really. Looking at my list and noting the tasks that had been left undone, I’m not surprised to see what remained. Big jobs were tackled, small ones were left undone. The tangible, time sensitive ones were completed, where the intangible, open-ended ones were not. Were any of the remaining tasks creatively boring or repetitive, the kinds that once you finish, you have to start all over again? No. Honestly, the remaining tasks were comprised of put-yourself-out-there ones, take-risks ones, or follow-through-because-you-can-do-it ones.
What I’ve learned about myself is that, although, I’m a creative idea person, it’s difficult to follow through and execute all of my ideas. Admittedly, some of my ideas are so grandiose, like creating and maintaining this blog or developing Desideri, my personalized affirmation jewelry line, that they are intimidating. But, nonetheless, I catch myself procrastinating (organizing and cleaning) instead of doing (taking my ideas to the next level). In trying to figure out causes for my procrastinating ways, I’ve not only managed to come up with a few theories, I’ve also managed to procrastinate more. Consider that, for me, the excitement is only in the conception of an idea and not the execution of it. Or perhaps after one idea is hatched, I become bored and must move on to the next one. Taking that a step further, maybe the sheer number of ideas that pop into my head overwhelm me and cause creator’s overload. The most sobering thought, though, is maybe I procrastinate because I’m afraid of failing? That’s a hard one to swallow. While I work through all of this in my head, I think I’ll go clean out the refrigerator!
Readers – I would love to hear your reasons for procrastinating or what prevents you from doing what you really should be doing! Leave me a comment or send me an email!