Transform Your World … Are You Ready? Forums The Transformation Community Forum Week 2: Getting to know your procrastinating-self

This topic contains 31 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Peggy 6 days, 10 hours ago.

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  • #4834

  • #5259

    Lori Belk

    It’s Lori here. I’m probably the Occasional type P-or, but this morning’s introspections so far (noted down from Peggy K’s question prompts) include these:

    The multiple accomplishments of the week that weren’t finished just because they were on the list (no well thought-out actual capital-T Tasks delineated for the course yet) got done because of 1)


    OR 2)


    EXAMPLES: 1) My new class starts Monday, one I know the material for very well, but which has just come out in a 4th, more streamlined edition, with added online component that’s never been available before (that of course I must explore).
    2) I realized I could change my route home after work to pass the plumber’s street and catch him in to look at the used toilet he’d offered to sell me and install for $150. (Decided to go with Home Depot.)

    Enough anecdote. I got several useful ideas from Wk 2, lesson 1:
    – For me, the INTROSPECTION plus ATTEMPT TO NOT BE SELF-CRITICAL will be key.

    – Specific advice at the beginning of the module re catching myself in a Decision Moment: 1) Am I telling myself a story about the Task? 2) Too much focus on my (feared) shortcomings? 3) It really is time to consciously CHOOSE WHO I AM and WHO I WILL BE, and therefore be stricter with myself and make the right choice. 4) Figure out how much depression plays in. I know there is some.

    – Very useful to consider: 1) Is there any inner conflict re the Task? 2) Do those things put on the list a hundred times have a commonality? Yes, I’m sure that one thing I don’t do is reach out to do interpersonal interactions. It’s especially important for me to do these things because I’m unmarried and without children— 2 things that make interpersonal interaction omnipresent in most people’s lives.

    – Is it work I don’t like? Yes, the considerable bureaucratic work (that involves the ever-changing computer work) required for my teaching job.
    – Is it work I don’t know how to do? Too often yes, that bureaucratic computer-work. Makes me nuts. I’m very grateful that my work made me keep up with the information age as much as it has, but still, I’m no computer-native. Of course friends with kids have a real advantage here. Thank goodness I have a 20-hour-a week salaried tutoring lab job and can ask colleagues for help, though they’re often struggling too.

  • #5260

    Lori Belk

    P.S. FYI, I tried the clumsy “ul” (underline), and in re-arranging text that it had jumbled a bit, I made it not work at all. The “b” bolding worked. I’m wondering if the word-processor is made that way or is just clumsy on my laptop. So I’ll try underlining another time.

    PPS Gonna tell my cousin’s wife (whom I just saw for the first time in a quarter-century at my nephew’s wedding) happy birthday <– this is one of the interpersonal long-time procrastinating things I’ve done is not stay in touch with her, another educator who is a natural ally.

  • #5261


    Lori, you’re right that kids and partners provide built-in interpersonal interactions, but I still struggle some to be social beyond that, even though I have both kids and husband. I tend toward the introversion side of the introvert-extrovert spectrum. I can overcome it, but it doesn’t come naturally. What I’d suggest to you is to make a practice of scheduling at least one get-together a week to connect with someone you normally wouldn’t otherwise, such your cousin’s wife. I imagine that practicing engagement over time would help you become more “social”. One thing that’s helped me a lot is to attend networking functions alone, requiring me to initiate conversations with strangers. It does get easier…

    I’m going to try out


    here to see if it’s your computer, not the program. 🙂 OK, I see what may be going on. In this text box, the forum automatically enters the HTML to make the things you want to do. When I post this, it should work.

    Verdict: It’s the program, not your computer. Sorry about that. Let me try italic and bold and strikethrough.

  • #5262


    I want to comment on what I learned from the Saboteur exercise. I first did it over a decade ago. At first, I was horrified and recoiled at the thought that I would do that to myself since sabotage is such a strongly negative word. But when I looked into it and myself, I saw how my saboteur does provide a useful function that sometimes is helpful, but mostly is not.

    What I saw was that when I was afraid of something, or afraid to do something, I’d piddle around, wasting time until it was too late, causing me to miss out on doing that scary thing. My saboteur was just doing its job, trying to keep me comfortable and happy! Once I realized that that’s what was going if so, it was easier to look at the thing I was afraid of doing, ask myself if it was, in fact, good for me to do, make a plan to do it, and most importantly, put it on my schedule.

  • #5266

    Lori Belk

    Re the instruction to think of someone who personifies “accomplishing”, I thought of Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now” and Glynn Washington who does “Snap Judgment” radio on Sunday mornings after “On the Media” (<–those hosts could also have been listed).
    Amy’s advice to me would be to do what is right. Glynn Washington might advise me to start attempting to create interesting monologues.

    I also journalled briefly regarding the course recommendation to create a vision of my future self, and answer the question of what version of myself do I want to be. My thought was that I COULD start putting some attention to the idea of, when retired within the next couple years, teaching at a place I know of in Korea—for the particular side benefits of being able to explore nearby places I’ve wanted to go to. Good idea, Lori!

    So I also briefly seriously Sabateur role-played, choosing to do it regarding the only capital-T Task I have (so far), but one that has a couple of specific actions involved that have been put on my lists too many times. And Sabateur pointed out to me the following:
    Some avoidance of specific things (invoving making social connections) that I have been intending to do perhaps/probably has to do with the TONS OF ACCUMULATED SUB-CONSCIOUS FEELINGS OF GUILT FOR NOT HAVING DONE IT, that in avoiding it, I’m actually avoiding my guiltiness.
    So: now when I actually have the time to tackle one, I can remind myself of Amy Goodman’s advice to do the right thing, and I’ll do it then if I can!

    (And regarding the idea from Glynn Washington, since I know I can write and I know that I have interesting thoughts, if I DO consider thinking about creating a monologue on a topic, I know that the excitement of being creative will be very good for me.)

    I hope you other participants are all well!

  • #5267


    I love Amy and Glynn, too. For your goal of writing interesting monologs, I would suggest that you start that goal VERY small. Start out just by writing something that you want to say. Doesn’t have to be interesting or perfect. You might start with writing for 10-15 minutes a day, or maybe even 5, if that works better for you to get started. You can write a LOT in 5 minutes if you don’t include editing, which you shouldn’t be doing at this writing stage. It should be an amount that you can develop into a daily practice that won’t seem like a big deal. (Think about when and where you can fit that into your life.) Once you get writing regularly, you can expand the time and expand on what you write about. Leave interesting out of it because, especially at the beginning, it draws out a need for perfection and can lead to frustration at not having something interesting enough to say. Later, you can go back to edit these pieces and decide what’s interesting or not. You may be inspired to take something you wrote in a more interesting direction. By starting small and with low expectations, you’ll wind up with many more interesting dialogues because you’ll do so much more writing.

    For your future-self vision, you are envisioning things you will DO, not how you will BE. How do you want to BE so that you will actually DO (and not just dream about) the things you describe?

    So many are plagued with mountains of guilt and, as you say, it’s that very guilt that’s holding them back. So, how can you banish that? You’ve already taken the first step, that is to acknowledge it. What are some self-forgiveness/wipe-the-slate-clean processes that have worked for you in the past? WE can develop this into an interesting discussion.

  • #5275

    Peggy Davis

    I am a chronic procrastinator; bèlieve it was a behàvior I learned as a kid growing up to deal with the circumstances and rules. It doesn’t serve me and hasn’t for most of my adult life. I know perfectionism also plays into my procrastination.

    I’m intentionally selecting very simple projects as one of the many saboteur is to choose very complex project, or make a project very complex. What I practice is what I know and do. Àlso need to reframe my image of what some projects feel likè to me to see them in a positive way . . . maybe even as fun! What a concept.

    Àlso, I’ve come to realize that negative selftalk isn’t productive and, in fact, has a negative impact on me.

  • #5276

    Peggy Davis

    This week I have been more intentional in following through with each task I started. Ìt doesn’t take that much moŕe time and feels much better. I get more accomplished when I have less time than when I have lots of time. My habit is to delay, saying I have plenty of time. My preference would be to ďo each task to completion, so that when other opportunities come up, I could do them, rather than not,because I have to complete something.

    For me I bèlieve reframing, breaking ďown tasks,and completing task is my goal.

  • #5277


    Intentionally selecting simple projects is the very best way to do this course. If you finish one, you can choose another.

    Getting less done when you have more time is a very common issue. One trick is to give yourself less time. If you have all week to get something done, you can fill your schedule with things you want to do, leaving you with just the right amount of time if you act efficiently. Another is to start early making little preparatory steps toward the task. If you do that, it helps to schedule the second little step shortly after. The key is in making those steps small. (You can always continue with your Task if you get in a flow with it, but you don’t have to.)

    I know that I sometimes like to leave household tasks half finished. When I start cleaning the kitchen, for example, I tell myself that I can leave cleaning the stove (my least favorite part) till later. But as I clean, I imagine my mother or a picky guest floating over my shoulder telling me that I can also clean up that little bit and this other one, and finally the stove. The kitchen ends up such that I wouldn’t be embarrassed if my mother popped in. And as you say, it didn’t take more than 5 extra minutes. The surprising part is that when I walk through the kitchen and see it all clean I get a burst of joy.

    On the other hand, if perfectionism gets in your way, (I have the opposite problem) then you just need a different character hanging over your shoulder (maybe me!) telling you that what you’ve done is good enough. Then your reward would be extra time to do something you enjoy. It’s a good idea to have a list of these enjoyable things at the ready. Mine is an engrossing novel.

  • #5299

    Peggy Davis

    The most challenging part of a large project is knowing how to start, meaning breaking it down into small tasks and knowing how to schedule appropriate time.

    I’m currently using the revised log to help me be aware of how I’m using my time; learning how to schedule that provides time for all aspects of life, exercise, social, meditation, fàmily, hobbies. Being retired from full-time to part time has been very challenging for me. I knew how to schedule when working full-time and only having weekends and holidays. I’m in the process of learning how to schedule with the new time freedom. I’m àble to schedule appointments during the week, shop for groceries, take classes, and it is a learning process. I’m currently wearing braces, so have had several dental and orthodontist appointments.The last 2 weeks of July I’ll have the opportunity to keep my granddaughter on the days I’m not working and I’m thrilled! I’ll be starting my art class July 20th, meeting weekly for 8 weeks. For the first time I’m feeling a little overwhelmed since retirement. I’m àlso very excited to have the freedom to be able to do so many activities that I want to do.

    Whèn feeling stressed, I’m attempting to know that this is life, that it is circumstantial, and tomorrow is another day.

    Peggy, I appreçicated your comments and will definitely think of you, when considering my decision òf how to use my time.

  • #5300


    Later on the course, you’ll be learning more ways to help yourself start. Something to look forward to!

    It’s very common to get a lot more done when we have less time. And now you are applying the most effective tactic, scheduling all aspects of your life. Isn’t it fascinating that putting yourself in the structure of a schedule gives you freedom! Consider that with all those things you have going on, that when it comes time to do them, they may not be overwhelming after all.

    Way to go!

  • #5357


    I have attention deficit disorder (“Squirrel!”- Disney movie “UP”) which absolutely fuels my instant gratification monkey. However, one thing I am most proud of accomplishing is graduating from Medical School. I wrote “you want to do this” on my mirror and had a daily reminder to get me through.

  • #5359


    My child’s doctor told her that often ADD comes along with high intelligence. Congrats on making it through med school. Having watched my daughter struggle through, I know that it’s not only a matter of being able to learn SO MUCH STUFF and keeping all that information in your mind but that also there’s a lot of emotional struggle in sometimes abusive situations.

    Whether you’re a chronic procrastinator or not, having ADD it’s a good idea to treat yourself as one. That means that you need to be rigorous in redirecting your procrastination EVERY time. And also be firm but kind with yourself. (The self-kindness is an important part.) If you got through med school, you can do this! We will help you tame that monkey.

  • #5368

    Mary Word

    A task that I did and makes me proud… well, I am in a long process of sorting through years of stuff. I am not too successful yet at actually getting rid of things. After all, I got them because I liked them. At the same time, I have become burdened by possessions. I went through a stack of stuff in my bedroom. My motivation was that somewhere in there were things I needed to pack for my trip. Deadline driven. So while I did not get rid of things, I did manage to sort and organize them and make them more accessible for use. I found things I had been looking for for a while. Did it make me proud? I don’t know. Deadline driven, is that something to make you proud? I got it done because I had to, and I was flogging myself to finish. Relief was more accurate than pride.

  • #5369


    I don’t know how it is for you, but I get in different moods about my stuff. Sometimes, I can hardly bear to part with things, (especially when I’m being pressured to do it) other times I get in a ruthless mood and can easily fill boxes with stuff to donate. I’ve found it wise to sort through that box in a more sober moment to make sure I’m not tossing something that I might need. The trick would be to figure out how to put myself in that ruthless mood… I haven’t figured that one out yet.

    Deadline-driven is a fact of life. It’s not good nor bad, and giving yourself deadlines can be a tool you can use to spur yourself on. Deadline-driven doesn’t make the thing any less done. Waiting to begin until close to the deadline can make the quality of our efforts suffer, that’s true, but the issue isn’t that it’s deadline driven, it’s not starting soon enough. So, yes, you can take pride in a job done and completed. And savor that relief!

  • #5386


    I am absolutely a chronic procrastinator. I can remember being in high school and getting things done at the last minute; same through college, medical school, residency and now. Especially related to home work or work I have to complete outside regular hours. I don’t plan/schedule tasks well so I seem to run out of time to get things done. I always start out meaning to use the calendars/day timers/to do lists/et cetera and I even jot a few items down that I need to get done, but I don’t stick to the tracker and end up not getting things done.

    What is one thing I didn’t procrastinate on yesterday? I did take my dads DD214 to the funeral home so my mom can be buried at Arlington Cemetery with dad. What kept me not from procrastinating….I had the information and I had time to take it where it needed to go…how can I use what I did? Be like the old Nike commercial and “Just Do It”. The more I think about an action, the more time I waste being inactive 8)

  • #5387


    Great to see you here, Mae. I’m impressed that you were able to get through med school as a chronic procrastinator. You deserve special kudos!

    This course looks like its a great example of the kind of things you’re prone to procrastinate on. What did you do to get through med school that you can apply to taking this course? If deadlines kept you on track then, you could give yourself a consequence for not keeping up with the weekly lessons deadline.

    That’s a great insight: The more I think about an action, the more time I waste being inactive. How can you remind yourself to stop thinking and start doing in any instance of overthinking?

  • #5397


    Mae – I enjoyed the inner saboteur exercise and plan on using it to bring tasks to completion. I recognized the difference between delay and procrastination in the exercises and I have not been clarifying my tasks accordingly. I need to recognize some of what I have been calling procrastination was appropriate delay.

    To me the most challenging aspect of a large project is knowing how to begin. I have written several “instructions” for Navy Medicine – generally a two year or more accomplishment. The process involves writing or rewriting a document and getting the involvement and approval of all stakeholders. Writing new guidance based on Congressional mandates was less arduous. Rewriting proved to be difficult for me due to the input of others and the amount of rewriting based on additional ideas.

  • #5398


    Hi, Mae, I’m glad the Inner Saboteur exercise worked well for you. Later in the course, you’ll be invited to use that same approach to deal with other parts of yourself as well. Even now, you can use it when you find yourself getting stuck. Just put that stuck part of you in the seat opposite you.

    You brought up an important point about delay. When I discuss the course with folks, they often tell me examples of what they perceive as procrastinating but which is really delay. Hopefully, this understanding can help you feel better about your strategic decisions and help you focus on your real procrastination, that is, delay that leaves you worse off.

    So, in knowing how to begin, do you mean figuring out where in your project to begin and how to approach it, or do you mean how to make yourself begin? They require two different approaches. Let me know.

  • #5460

    Based on your descriptions, I believe I am a chronic procrastinator.

    I have found that using rewards can improve my life. Yesterday I had to make a work schedule for our art teacher. I was tempted to procrastinate because it involved a number of influencing factors for which I did not have sufficient information. Also, I was really going into perfectionist mode because I wanted the schedule to be free of errors. I was able to focus on the task and complete it in less than 30 minutes by motivating myself with the reward of eating breakfast and drinking coffee at a local restaurant. Having a specific reward really helped me focus and finish the task and I successfully sent the art teacher her schedule.

    As you brought up in one of your videos, I believe the mindset that has prevented me from using rewards in the past is that I never think I have time for rewards because the tasks I am procrastinating are things I already want to do. However, I have noticed this week that using rewards does save time because it has a way of focusing my energy and getting my energy un-stuck. I will try to also have a deeper focus on non-food rewards but in this example eating breakfast made sense because it was early in the morning.

  • #5462


    You hit a nail on the head–using specific rewards as opposed to general ones, and also rewarding yourself with something you really want. Since you need to eat, had you not gotten your reward, you might have eaten at home, so the restaurant-reward was not breakfast itself, but where you eat breakfast. Right?

    For some people, there is no problem with occasional food rewards, but so many have food issues, or are at risk for developing food issues, that it’s best to steer clear of them. Same with alcohol.

    As I also said in the program, perfectionism has its place, and sometimes it gets in the way. Yes, we generally want everything we do to be of excellent quality, (it’s part of our identity!) but different activities benefit from greater and lesser amounts of quality. What you should be on the lookout for is to distinguish the situations that require perfectionism from those that need other varying levels of perfection. Sounds like you are on your way with that.

    I have issues with actually giving myself my rewards also. My thinking goes that Well the promise of a reward got me to do that task, so now I can forget the reward and move on to the next task. Yeah, it’s a bad idea. So, not only give yourself your deserved rewards, but savor them as you take them.

  • #5467

    My friend Kathleen is a woman I really admire for the way she gets things done. She followed her dream and opened her own vintage furniture store. The store is open and doing very well. She is a reliable friend and she follows through with her commitments to other people. Once she told me that she wanted to start a book club, and the book club was in motion that same week. She also managed to find time to actually read the book for the book club. When we worked together in the same office in Chicago, some weeks we would be so busy in the office and she would still bring homemade cookies and other treats.

    It’s fun thinking about what advice Kathleen would give me.
    First, she loves interior design so I think she would tell me to make my space as functional as possible to maximize time. Second, I think she would tell me to be true to myself and not be distracted by tasks other people present to me.

    Great question!

  • #5468


    And I’d love to meet your friend! What a great role model and inspiration. Some day you can be that for others.

    Your second bit can be a little more tricky. Second, I think she would tell me to be true to myself and not be distracted by tasks other people present to me.

    Yes, you do need to be true to yourself and not let yourself get distracted, but sometimes in our jobs, we must do what our boss says. However, often we have more control than we realize. Sometimes the issue is just setting the right boundaries that support our efficiency (and therefore our value to our company). A conversation with your boss can sometimes make a difference. There are a lot of other ways to go about that, too from just letting everyone know that you don’t want to be disturbed for the next hour, closing your door, or putting on headphones (without music). People may kick and scream for a bit until they get used to it, but they’ll often come to appreciate it when they know it’s for the overall best.

    In other cases, it’s not the boss interrupting us with stuff to do, but it has to do with ourselves setting priorities at the beginning of the day for what we need to get done for our own job role. If people in the office have a problem with you not being at their beck and call as has been the case, you can explain that constantly being interrupted keeps you behind and affects the big picture. (You can even pull out research that says that it takes us 20 minutes to recover from a distraction.) You can take the blame off yourself by saying that you’re taking a course on productivity and want to try out some of their ideas. Maybe they’d like to try this idea, too…. 🙂

  • #5579

    For me this lesson has been very true to the title, getting to know my procrastinating self. I don’t think I ever saw it this way before but I think for me, procrastination is, out of the three points mentioned, most closely related to Impulsiveness. I’m not sure that the root of my procrastination is fear or lack of will-power. When I think about it I think I am very impulsive though. As an example from today, luckily not one that caused a problem, I had been working on our class schedules, was almost finished with the task, and then suddenly got an impulse to go take pictures in Kindergarten for the website. This is the type of thing that normally derails me. The problem with the impulse to take photos in Kindergarten is that it that although useful, it definitely wasn’t among today’s priorities. In this case there is nothing about the schedules that makes me fearful, it’s just that I suddenly got a strong idea to do something else.

    For longer tasks like writing, I don’t know if I’m fearful about writing, it’s just that my concentration can be very low if I get an impulse to do something else.

  • #5580


    Wonderful to know that impulsiveness is your main derailer because it’s not so hard to work around.

    I experience the same thing only externally when I’m focused on one thing and then get a notice that I need take care of this different thing asap. They can both be handled in a similar way with an if/then statement.

    So, this morning, you might have said, IF I get an impulse to do something else before I finish this task, THEN I will evaluate whether it MUST be done right now or whether it can wait till I finish. IF it must be done now, THEN I will do [THIS] to help myself get back on track when I return. IF it can wait, THEN I will do [THAT] to remind myself to do it next.

    Impulsiveness isn’t always a bad thing and it can be fun and engaging in the right circumstances, such as when on vacation. It’s only a problem if it interferes with something we need or want to get done. What helps me the most is to put myself in different modes, for example, deep focus mode, efficient, work-fast mode, or relaxed mode.

    When I put myself in a particular mode, acting the way I need to becomes more automatic. One characteristic of ADD is that although most of the time those folks are distracted, they can also fall into a hyper-focused mode when they’re engrossed in something. This is similar, only it’s a mode you consciously activate rather than fall into.

  • #5639

    I have subtly been trying out some of the strategies you suggest on the children at the school where I work. This week I tried putting them in two different modes, study mode and relaxed group project mode. It was really great and they love it! Now I have to try the same thing for myself. I’m not sure why it was easier to try it on the kids than myself but it is a really great idea. I am going to try it with myself this weekend.

    I got a little bit stuck on the question for Lesson 7 and then I realized that working on big projects is not one of my strengths. I think I really struggle with the planning phase of big projects to define the steps of the task. I think I just need to practice this more and improvement will come with practice. I have to make a commitment to practice planning out big projects. It is not easy for me though.

  • #5640


    So glad to hear that the different modes are working for you and your kids. It’s especially important for me when it comes to going on vacation. I’m usually slammed while getting ready and then would find it hard to relax on vacation until I realized I could just flip into “vacation mode”.

    One thing that can help with the planning phase of a large project is to enlist someone to help you with it. Someone to act as a sounding board, to help brainstorm ideas, and help you organize them. It might be easier to say today I’m going to approach someone to spend an hour with me talking about my project plan, than it would be to say today I’m going to plan my project. You could even do this over Skype or Whatsapp.

    You talked about wanting to write a book in your intro. That’s so huge! You also talked about wanting to share stories. That’s a lot more manageable. What I’d suggest at this point is just to start writing. Make a commitment to spend 15-30 minutes a day writing. Not with any goal in mind, but just to start writing. After you do that awhile, you’ll have a collection of writings that at some point will call out to you to organize them. Or perhaps that organization will just flow as you share what’s in your heart to share.

    In your intro you also mentioned something that is so common, especially among women. And that is that we’ll do everything possible to help and support others while neglecting to do things for ourselves. It’s great to work on healing that, but meanwhile, it’s important to act in spite of that tendency. And the easiest way to do that is to set up systems. I knew that my own book would have fallen by the wayside if I hadn’t set up a system to make myself write. Same with exercise.

    So, what can cause you to write for 15 minutes every day without fail? Can it become a habit like brushing your teeth–in which case you’d plan to write every day in the morning, when you get off work or after dinner or during lunch. Would setting a weekly quota work, such as an hour and a half to 3 hours per week and you do/don’t get to do some particular thing until it’s done? In this case, you don’t need to come up with a book plan, but a how-to-work plan. Can you stop right now and come up with one? (And share it here? I’m sure others will be interested.)

    nd share it here.)

  • #5810

    greta gardner

    I am definitely a chronic procrastinator. I gave myself a reward in advance of a day to review my massage books and techniques. Then I accomplished the housecleaning, work, laundry and sleep time (I often procrastinate on sleep, too!) to actually take advantage of it. Life has been throwing me curve balls for the last 4 weeks, but I seem to be back on track. This is even to the extent that I have time to review more of Lesson 3 today. Hurrah! And it feels better!

  • #5811


    Congratulations, Greta! Glad to hear that you’re back on track.

    A reward in advance can work well IF you’re the type of person who feels compelled to “earn” that reward you already collected. Since this works for you, you now have another tool for your toolkit.

    Way to go!

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