Confessions of a recovering procrastinator
by SimGHOSTS Board Member, Billie Paschal
Hello, my name is Billie, and I am a procrastinator. That is the most open, raw and humiliating thing to write, professionally. Something that those outside my workplace have dealt with, but I have been successful in keeping it hidden. Yes, I made this confession to my director this week. Those words just fell out and that is not something one can “take back.” It was both horrifying and liberating.
Now that my “dirty little” secret is out let me share some tips on how I in exist successfully (subjective term) with this. I want the take away to be that procrastination is not a hopeless cause and empower someone.
Every other month I write a blog for SimGHOSTS. I have done so for a couple of years now and I know when that it is coming. Every even-numbered month, it is on my calendar at work, at home, and on my phone. Still, there are times when I must be asked to turn in my blog. I always have them written in my head. It is a great way to pass the hour and fifteen-minute commute I have that is when other drivers don’t interfere. This month is different; I am ahead of my blog reminder dated April 15th! Go ME!
There are three reasons for this: 1) my prioritize passion motivation for the New Year (previous blog post), 2) sharing my dark secret with my director, and 3) the topic seemed to be everywhere this week. Maybe that is why this was so easy to write? Or is it because I know someone out there needs to read these words while they are procrastinating on their project?
The article that started this blog Why you procrastinate (It has nothing to do with self-control). I put off reading it; I know surprise. It kept eating at me, if not self-control then what? Intrigue got the better of me. Charlotte Lieberman does a wonderful job of helping me feel better. I NEVER believed I “put off today what I could do tomorrow” because I was lazy. I mean come on, I was a wife, mother of four, full-time Simulation Tech and college student for FOUR years. Lazy? No, then what? Here were the words that hit home with me. In summary, procrastination is an emotional problem compounded by projects that trigger certain emotions. There is a list given, but the ones that hit me in the brain were insecurity and self-doubt.
It made sense, my procrastination was at an all-time high in 2017. I was in-between jobs and was soul searching. Insecurity and self-doubt were with me when I woke up and closed my eyes at night. I underwent some personal changes and those feelings began to slip away. I achieved my CHSOS, less self-doubt. Small accomplishments here and there started to add up.
The time when my husband, bless his heart, shared a Ted Talk with me. Let’s be honest, very few people share Ted Talks with their spouses, I knew it was serious. Being an experienced procrastinator and college student, Ted Talks are my favorite. It's educational, so that is not a bad way to gain inspiration. I remember watching Tim Urban on the stage and on went the light bulb. It took him fourteen minutes to explain what I have battled for years. Yes, years! I remember pulling all-nighters my senior year in high school. My monkey has been as big as King Kong, but now it seems to be more spider monkey-sized. Yes, family and friends, my “working comfortably with tight deadlines” is due to a love-hate relationship with a monkey and the Panic Monster.
I respect the article provided by Charlotte Lieberman, but I do know I cannot function without time management tools. How else does one keep the Panic Monster alive and ready to react? Like any good procrastinator, I love Pinterest. What better way to make the promise, “I will not function on six hours of sleep in two days, again…ever!” than “researching” for ways to make it better. This blog post by https://www.neathousesweethome.com held my key to my current success. I do a weekly Brain Dump on Monday morning. I do one for work and one for home. Do not let the two worlds collide or you will find yourself doing work from home and home stuff at work. Do not prioritize at first, get all of the “gunk” out of your head. Then prioritize for the week. I use the to-do list for each day of the week (same blog). This list will contain a mix of both worlds. If you don’t you forget to stop and pick up art supplies for the Globe Theater project that your high schooler is working on AHEAD of schedule. (Yes, I am trying to break the cycle.)
Do not fall into the trap of working on the weekly dump list based on what you want to do versus what needs to be done. Be honest, doing preventive maintenance on just about anything is better than sitting at your desk looks at months’ worth of student evaluations for a grant requirement. I found a video while “researching” on Pinterest, https://collegeinfogeek.com/pomorodo-technique/. The Pomodoro Technique has been my saving grace. I use it even on the projects I love doing to keep the flow going in my head.
I must admit that I do feel that for me it is a daily battle to make the right choice. I am in a better place in life, which seems to make it easier, too. Keeping my monkey in check and my Panic Monster from overload have been easier. If you are lucky enough to not suffer from procrastination, share this with “that person” in your life. If letting them know via social media, use #usethisonyourmonkey. If it is you, use #ourmonkeysshouldmeet.