Never Put Off Till Tomorrow . . .

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Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

There are many things that I would change about myself. If I had to choose one thing to change about myself, right now, it would be my habit of procrastination.

I always seem to dread even simple tasks, and I do not know why. There are just some things that I do not like to do, and I try to avoid them, but eventually I know that I will have to do them or chaos reigns.

For example, while studying at the university, I was required to take math, science, and languages. These were not my best subjects – especially math – so I tried to avoid doing the work. Of course my grades suffered. So I finally decided to do the subjects I hated most FIRST. I got it out of the way and could then study the subjects I loved – literature, journalism, history, and geography. My grades improved in all my subjects, because I worked harder at my bad subjects and was relaxed and happy when studying my good subjects.

I found out later that Dale Carnegie endorses doing the hard tasks first, so at least I am in good company.

I still procrastinate over the dumbest things and I then constantly nag at myself to do them.

To try to stop this self-defeating behavior, I write master lists of all the things I need to do. I try to do the most onerous tasks first. Of course, my master list has grown to an unmanageable size do to my procrastinating. My master list includes everything that I need to do – from cleaning and shopping to writing blog posts.

I try to do things I dislike while doing things I enjoy – for example, I will give myself manicures (something I absolutely hate doing, but I can’t afford professional manicures on a weekly basis), I will polish silver, or I will exercise while watching TV shows that I like.

Sometimes I will set aside a whole day for doing things I hate – mostly cleaning. I especially hate dealing with and organizing paperwork. I just hate it. Paperwork seems to multiply like rabbits. I have had several legal and medical issues for the last few years and the paperwork engendered by these issues is enormous – filing cabinets stuffed with papers. I set the timer so I only have to do paperwork for about 30 minutes at a time, because if I do it much longer than that I literally start to have panic attacks. I actually start screaming.

Much of this paperwork is about negative things and makes me feel like an utter failure, so I don’t want to see it on a daily basis. I hate filing, so I have taken to organizing much of my paperwork in binders, especially old files that I keep for legal purposes but hate seeing in my filing cabinets. It’s actually much easier for me, and I don’t dread it so much.

The strangest thing is that I procrastinate doing the things I love to do! I am a professional writer, and yet I find myself constantly pushing off my writing projects. I don’t know why. I love to write. When I finally tackle the project I enjoy it. Is it because I am so self-critical?

The writing usually is well done when I am finished, so I do not know why I do this. I need to set enough time aside to do my writing projects properly, because I need to write rough drafts so that when I enter the editing stage I am ready. I am a relentless editor. I love editing my work. I tell myself to just write the damn thing and then I can get to the editing stage!

Written for Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop.

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  1. You're not alone! I'm the exact same way! I will put things off till the last minute and then when I'm done I always think "Ok no more putting it off for so long next time!" I hate cleaning and doing dishes, and even though I know it'll take me 15 minutes to load the dish washer and it'll make the kitchen look so much better, I put it off until we have no more clean plates! Same goes for things I do enjoy as well. It's a never ending battle for us procrastinators.


  2. I think we may be twins separated at birth. I, too, am a procrastinator. Filing is one of my worst things. And I set the timer to do only 30 mins. at a time, too.

  3. I do the same thing. Especially with laundry — it just grows and grows. If I had a washing machine in my apt. it would not be a problem but going down to the laundry room is a lot of work. OK, I'm lazy.

  4. This article is really worth reading, it has too much details in it and yet it is so simple to understand, Thanks for sharing the picture it has great detail in it and i really appreciate your true artistic work!

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