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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I'll Huff and I'll Puff

And I'll get it all done. But y'all, that ain't no way to live. Trust me.

Part of the why I procrastinate is that, put off, some things just poof, disappear. They go away, they no longer seem important, someone else does them. Reinforcement for the bad habit. Another reason is that I have, time and time again, put on a big burst of speed right before the deadline, huffed and puffed and gotten it all done. I'm afraid of heights and can't imagine bungee jumping or, heaven forbid, jumping from an airplane that's not about to crash, so I get my adrenaline rush from procrastinating. I obviously get something out of procrastinating or I wouldn't keep doing it (wait--is procrastinating something you can do or only something you put off doing?), but like I said y'all, ain't no way to live. (Listen to me, being all "Do as I say, not as I do," like you're going to take my advice. Y'all don't even know me!)

Anyway, the first of two graduate school applications is on its way, signed, sealed and delivered, through the miracle of technology that is the Internet. I have spent the last few days doing little else, even though I felt crappy. (Again. *#$^ cold.)

But it's done and I can stop saying that I'm going to apply to graduate school "someday," as I am now officially An Applicant. The next deadline isn't until June 12, but I promise, I'm not letting this next one go down to the wire. I am taking today off, though. I'll work on it tomorrow.


Anonymous Kristine said...

A couple of things and one true story about procrastination:

My mom is a clean freak. I am a clutter freak. When she visits every few months she gets a rush from sorting through my piles. On the floor on the passenger side of my tricked-out mommy mini-van (tricked out with clutter -- you could clothe a nation with what's in there, and feed its citizens) was a gorgeous pile of several weeks (months?) worth of stuff.

As she plows through it she finds an audio tape, one I had planned to listen to during my commutes. "How to Conquer Clutter." You should listen to this, she counseled, ripping off the cellophane wrapper and putting it in the actual tape box.

Next item? A tape on how to avoid procrastination.

No wonder I can't fix my clutter. I can't get around to it.

OK ... now about procrastination:

* Procrastination has phases: Putting things off, hiding from the people you told you'd do things, refusing to answer the phone for fear it's the PTA president wondering where that report is. Telling your kids to lie and say you're sleeping when they answer the phone. Big pantomines to them, tucking hands under ear and closing eyes and mouthing "I'M SLEEPING."

The final stage, though, is simply admitting -- to yourself -- that you're not going to do something. Then you admit to the others in your life that you're not going to do it and voila! the guilt is gone.

I did this with a big consulting project I was doing for a former boss/friend/mentor. I lied about the progress, kept promising it. Don't know why I didn't do it -- I needed the money, he needed the work done. After weeks of delay, I finally took the chicken way out and emailed him and said "Obviously you've figured out I am not getting this done. I apologize profusely and don't blame you if you are furious. I am so sorry to leave you in a lurch, but I just can't do this."

How could he answer? He couldn't force me to do the damn thing. He just wrote back: "OK. Hope everything is OK with you." Wow, what a guy. No wonder I admire him so much. By the way, he gave me another chance and I did much better on the second contract.

* Procrastination is a sign of a fear of failure -- at least for me. A deep-seated fear. I'm pretty sure I could mail off that package I lied and said I mailed last Thursday ... but for some reason I don't do it and I think it's because I don't think the gift I made will measure up ... or something. I wish it was better, so I don't want to send it.

* Procrastination is a manifestation of a perfectionist. I used to disagree with this: How could ANYONE describe me as a perfectionist. ROFLMAO. I am so far from perfect it's ridiculous. But anyway, apparently it's that fear of failure thing, or lack of belief in myself or something. I feel I have to be perfect or why bother.

So glad your application is on the way ... now send the other one, or spend the day cocooning. :)


Thu Mar 02, 11:27:00 AM EST  
Blogger Hannah B. said...


Thanks for your comments on procrastination. I've been meaning to reply, but...

I actually did cocoon all day Wednesday and it was great. I needed the rest, which allowed me to get through the rest of my crazy week. I am working on my second application and it's coming along well. Much less procrastination this time around, thank goodness.

I loved the story about the tapes on clutter and procrastination. I can relate! And the stages of procrastination sounded way too familiar to me. I also had a major project that I put off and put off, but I didn't handle the getting out of it very gracefully and there has been no second chance. Perhaps next time I will be able to accept, sooner, that I'm just not going to be able to do it (whatever "it" is in that context) and will extricate myself in a way that doesn't leave me feeling guilty and ashamed for letting someone else down. (It's always okay to let *myself* down, but not someone else. Does that sound familiar?)

And yes, I also ROFLMAO the first time I heard that procrastination was about perfectionism. Me? Perfect? Are you *crazy*? Why, I'm trying to keep people from realizing that I'm *not* perf--oh, now I get it.

Wed Mar 08, 10:43:00 AM EST  

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