The Forums Forums Tools, Techniques & Treatments Procrastination? Removed My Lynchpin!

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    #88481 |

    On the weekend, after wasting days doing useless things to avoid doing what I needed to do……(.namely insurmountable housework..) …I discovered that the whole psychological block against starting was held there by a small lynchpin.

    I had to sew a couple of buttons on a couple of my shirts.

    no biggie, right?

    But I can’t really sew!!!! Where to start!!! What do I do? Where’s the sewing box? Do I have the right color thread? Needles? What time is it? I’m tired! I’d rather watch TV! Damn it! Scissors! These ones don’t cut thread! Where are the other ones? I need a tea. (familiar?)

    Took the whole evening to do it but got it done. (The next day a couple more buttons fell off, but..whatever…)

    As soon as I got that out of the way, then it all fell into place. That sewing, somewhere in my mind, had become the number one priority, and if I wasn’t going to do it, then I couldn’t start on anything else. Like a pyramid and that was at the top.

    Since then, I’ve noticed the same thing. As soon as I’m avoiding something, there is usually one thing that I hate to do that I’ve prioritized above all else and if I don’t do it, I am frozen. Can’t do anything else.

    If I can identify it and just do it to get it out of the way, it seems to stop the block. I’m able to do the other things I need to do, no problem.


    #94785 |

    Anybody notice any lynchpins in their lives and solved it?

    Patte Rosebank
    #94786 |

    My lynchpins are the dishes in the sink and the junk on the couch. And I’m having a hell of a time shifting them.

    One hint about the buttons: Use a strong, thick thread called “Button & Craft” or “Upholstery”. It’s so strong that your buttons will stay on through repeated wearings, washings, and trips to the cleaners. And it takes fewer stitches to accomplish this, than it would with regular thread.

    And, no matter what you’re sewing, NEVER use the cheap thread that comes in most sewing kits, or that you find at the dollar store. If you can just pull on it, and it breaks, there’s no way it’ll stand up to repeated wear & tear.

    #94787 |

    haha! Buttons! Way back in the days that I was in school, ‘girls’ had to take ‘sewing’ classes while the boys took drafting or industrial arts. After 3 years of sewing I can say I finally learned how to sew on a button. I won’t bore you with the gory details about how the apron, dress, lined skirt and vest looked but just put it this way…the ‘buttons’ on the outfits were probably the best part!

    So, I buy a lot of different coloured threads and sew buttons back on when they fall off. If a seam comes undone, I scream and then I do the procrastinate gig.

    Yes, we all have a lynch pin that holds us up. *sigh*

    Patte Rosebank
    #94788 |

    I went to school in slightly more “enlightened” times. In Grade 7, once a week, we were bussed to a neighbouring school that had a Home Ec and a Shop, and half of us went to Shop and half of us went to Home Ec for half the year, and then we switched for the other half of the year.

    I loved Cooking, and was good at it. Sewing, on the other hand, I was not so good at. In fact, I barely passed, because I couldn’t see the point of it. If you wanted clothes, you went to the store and bought them. Why would you need to know how to make them? Several years later, I realized that if I wanted interesting, well-made clothes and costumes, I’d have to make them myself, and I taught myself how to do it…though I still have trouble sewing a straight line, or making buttonholes.

    But I sew on buttons really well!

    #94789 |

    I somehow avoided Grade 9 Home Ec, which was sewing, but took Grade 10 Home Ec. which was cooking.

    Then for Grade 11 English, we had to put on a play. In addition to acting, we had to do the sets, costumes etc. I signed up for sets, since I knew I would be useless at costuming.

    Then it turned out that not enough people signed up for costuming, and the teacher ordered me to go help with costuming. I told her I really didn’t know how, but she insisted. I even played the “my Mom couldn’t teach me how to sew because she lost her thumb in a car accident when I was 8” card, but she wouldn’t listen. I was given a suit jacket and told to adjust a seam on it, and then iron it. I did what I could, but it came out a mess. Then I got yelled at for doing a bad job on it. Pointing out to the teacher that I told her I didn’t know what the hell I was doing when she gave it to me didn’t help any.

    This teacher was usually a much more reasonable person. Looking back on it I can only assume the stress of trying to get a herd of 16 year olds ready for a play was getting to her.

    Being told I have the graphomotor skills of a 12 1/2 year old during my Psychoeducational assessment 2 years ago was a great vindication for all the times I was told I was not being careful enough at a fine motor task.

    Buttons, I can do though.

    #94790 |

    Back to the topic:

    This is an interesting observation @MerryMac. Thank you for sharing this because you’ve helped me recognize a similar thought process that goes like this:

    1. There’s something I want or need to do but cannot take the first step to getting it done.

    — Maybe I don’t know the first step so decide to “look into it.”

    — Maybe I don’t have the materials or the money to accomplish the task.

    Either way, now the damn task is sitting in my head, taking up space (and usually cluttering my home as well).

    And it will sit right there, holding up the works for days, months or years depending on what it is. If the task is monumental, oh I can break it into steps – but the way I end up doing that makes it look like I’m avoiding the task! I’ll do something else and let my brain think about the other thing that I can’t currently figure out or think is too insurmountable to begin with.

    And I procrastiante. (why? why? why?!)

    Sometimes, all of the things I need to do become overwhelming and I get stuck. Then I avoid.

    At some point (hopefully), I take the one step I am most afraid of and I feel a huge sense of relief. Now I’ll move through whatever it is, get it done, reflect and wonder why I could not have just done that in the first place.

    #94791 |

    If I have Priority Task A, but have other Tasks B, C, and D, I feel like I really need to take care of B, C, and D before I can really focus on A. But I avoid B, C, and D, because I know I should really take care of Task A first. I can’t win. If I choose to focus on A, I feel like I wasted too much time trying to avoid it. If I take care of B, C, and D, and still have to do A, I feel like I failed myself for procrastinating, even if I accomplished something.

    This post helps me realize that I need to really focus on A first, even if it’s not a desirable task. Thanks!

    For me, the hardest part of a task is getting started, but it’s best to just start, and better to have it done that have it done perfectly (in hindsight, at least!)

    Task A is going to a coffeeshop to write my letter of intent for grad school. :) I’m off!

    #94792 |

    I admit I do procrastinate a lot. It had gotten me into a lot of trouble. At times I seem to be overly concentrated on a subject and developed what psychology referred to as tunnel vision. Sometimes I get so hyper focus on a goal I had a tendency of ignoring everything else. I would act and behave as if I was in an alternate reality. It would take a great deal of effort to snap me out of this state.

    #94793 |

    Well, I can’t afford the spindle seals and power steering hoses for my project car, so no use running the new fuel line or dropping the fuel tank to put in the baffle (which I already have)

    Can’t afford the new dashpad for the Javelin, so no use pulling the battery for winter or starting to take it apart.

    No use cleaning the shop up – I’m going to get it dirty again anyway. If I clean off the workbench in the garage, I’ll then have to find a place to keep all the stuff that is on the bench. I don’t enjoy that, it’s hard to make decisions so I won’t bother cleaning the bench (which I really don’t mind doing at all)

    there’s something preventing me from doing something else – not already fully related.

    It’s too cold to unbox and take the new table saw up to my wood shop, so no use going up and taking photos of the old so I can post it on craigslist is there?

    #94794 |

    thank you SkyGypsy. your thought process seems to match mine. unfortunately, my lynchpins seem to include all things housework, and anything that requires making a phone call. once i pick up the silly phone things start to roll better, but just picking it up is sometimes more stressful than the reason for the call. i tend to freeze up and avoid things too. have started meds but am still searching for the one that makes a big difference. also, trying to NOT teach my 10 year old ADHD son the same tricks i struggle with. vicious cycle really.

    #94795 |

    Personally, I cannot think, “I need to clean the house today,” or even “I need to do the dishes.” My mind will quite nimbly jump to an image of myself deep in the middle of it and hating it…dreadful…ongoing….the day turning into night…even when I’m finished there will be something I missed. I was advising a friend on how to get her homework done. I said, “Just start with getting out your drawing pad…don’t do anything but get it out.” She thought this a reasonable thing after, “Well…what’s that gonna do?” She had four vignettes to draw. I said, “Just do one.” I didn’t tell her that would lead to doing another one and another one. It worked.

    I need proof for everything. Evidence BEFORE I do it. That was it. So now I think, “I’m going to fill the sink with water.” Sometimes that works and sometimes the sink stays full of water until the next day and I have to refill it. I have moved on to thinking, “I’m going to wash the plates.” (They’re the easiest for me;) Once that happens…the silverware follow.

    Even if I don’t get to the silverware, the feeling that I got the plates and glasses washed usually leads to getting other things done even if I can’t stick with the dishes.

    The Point:

    One small thing.

    The entire task is OVERwhelming.

    Overwhelmed leads to inaction.

    One small thing.

    Our minds are all too capable and likely to think too far ahead. We tend to be “creative” in our thoughts of what getting things started will lead to – having to finish them. Any feedback is appreciated.

    #94796 |

    Damn, y’all, I so see myself in these posts. It’s so hard to find the place to start on so many tasks I need to do. Boy, do I really need to start breaking things down to steps. Any suggestions on how to get over being intimidated by my sewing machine? :-)

    #94797 |

    pickyparent – WOW, I thought the phone thing was just me! I’m ok once I get there, but it’s almost a fear………. so I don’t pick up the phone – thus don’t get those calls made that need to be made.

    and SnazzySpaz could well be writing my biography. Apparently these things must all connect, I thought they were more “me” personally, not ADD – but apparently some of these things can go along with it?

    #94798 |

    I truly thought my struggle with procrastination was due to other things. Laziness, hopelessness from being raising in an insane religion that never made sense to me, or simply because I didn’t like being told what to do.

    Maybe there’s some truth in all those “reasons” but after reading these posts I’m realizing that some of merely the way I’m/we’re wired. Since I’m in business for myself, struggling with beginning tasks also causes a lot of fear, guilt, and stress since my livelihood is based on outcomes I produce!

    The only successes I’ve had in overcoming these things task by task is again, by reverting to my 12-step program (recovering alcoholic here) instead of sitting there looking at my computer. However, despite having some success getting the tasks done the guilt, shame, and then self-berating for causing unnecessary stress, etc. for myself.

    Chaotic all around.

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