Procrastination for the Nation

By Rick Green, Symptoms of ADHD, Adult ADHD

Although I have a University degree in Physics, which I put to good use whenever the Science & Nature category comes up on a game of Trivial Pursuit, the fact is I actually have a Master’s Degree and a lifetime of personal experience in the field of Procrastination.

You should see me in my graduation photo…  which I’ll get done someday.

Procrastination is a skill you develop.  Certainly as a child you don’t procrastinate.  You just do stuff.

Luckily, I have accumulated tons and tons of hands on experience… Or, since I was procrastinating, call it hands-off.  Maybe hands in pocket.  Or strategically placed over my ears, like the Hear-No-Evil, See-No-Evil monkey.

For several months I’ve been working with Dr. Ari Tuckman on Start Now, a program designed to interrupt procrastination and break each person’s particular version of delay, deny, defer and don’t do.

It’s been a bit confronting.

I could say it’s been embarrassing.  Well, it has been if I say so.

If I say it’s tragic, or shameful, or stupid, (And I still do now and then.) then that’s what it becomes.

But working with Ari, who is just about the coolest cat I know, has been liberating.

Not shameful or tragic.  Liberating.

I’m not embarrassed at my past struggles.  I’m kind of proud of my courage in taking it on.

Just looking at what’s so, figuring out which of the 21 ways we procrastinate is currently running my life, (and possibly ruining my life) has been almost a pleasure.  Sometimes I’m blushing and also chuckling over how well I procrastinate.

A POWERFUL PLACE TO START

When you’re taking on procrastination, or time management, or any area where you don’t have as much control as you would like, it’s crucial to not just do the work, or learn the information, but to notice your beliefs. What someone called, ‘The context.”

Are you trying to fix things so you don’t get caught?  Or learn a new habit that will give you power to do what you want to do. Big difference?

Is there something wrong with you?  Or is there something missing in what you’re doing?

Are you broken, damaged, a loser?  Or just unaware of a pattern or fixed way of thinking?

Do you have deep, dark, shameful faults?  Or some blind spots?  (Like everyone else does.)

Are you operating with personal weaknesses?  Or insufficient information?

Big difference, right?

The ability to step back, be clear about what’s going on, and even chuckle over it, has been so liberating. Then being able to pick a possible ‘cure’ from the list of strategies, allows me to get myself in gear without a lot of moaning, self-pity, and drama, which is just more of the same stuff.

Almost as if someone who is wanting to stop living a life of regret keeps saying, “Oh, if only I wasn’t so stuck in regret!. And the negative self-talk… how stupid I am!  What a bad person…”

Just more of the same.

 

 

One Reply to “Procrastination for the Nation”

  1. Oh, I procrastinated a LOT, when I was a kid!

    Mom used to have to whack me with a yardstick to make me practise the piano. I’d usually just try to cram it all in, the day before (or morning of) lesson day, which didn’t work. After 8 years of this, I’d learned nearly nothing, so it was mostly a waste of time & money. Even when I took singing lessons, I’d cram all of my practice into one last-minute session, but this DID work!

    My bedroom was always a mess, because there was always something better to do than clean it up. And I *never* managed to keep it tidy enough to meet the “2 weeks” requirement for my Golden Bar, when I was in the Brownies. Finally, Brown Owl just said, “Well, *cumulatively*, it’s been more than 2 weeks, so you’ve earned your Golden Bar.”

    As for school, I’d put off getting up in the morning, and *just* manage to race out the door in time to catch the school bus. I also got very good at pretending to be too sick for school. But you would too, if you knew you were going into a snake-pit of bullies and boredom, like my first elementary school was.

    That school was so dumbed-down that I never had to study or prepare anything in advance, so I could just bang out one draft, the night before. As soon as I switched to a decent school, I suddenly had to study and prepare projects well in advance, and I couldn’t bloody do it!

    But if something was fun and/or really interested me, I’d fling myself into it, and even work ahead. That’s how I got the Latin Award and the Drama Award, and a bunch of other awards in high school, while being in several school clubs, at the same time.

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