Tag Archives: organization

I, Antagonist, part 1: The Procrastination

Yesterday I said we were going to talk more about this procrastination issue.

Here’s how I got here. I can’t get anything done. I feel like I’m busy, but nothing gets done. I’m constantly stressed. I must be disorganized. I need to learn how to buckle down and get things down.

I’ve read Eat That Frog! Twice. Makes sense, I guess. But I can’t prioritize. I go to make a list and I can’t discern what the important things are. No matter what I decide to call the “important” things, I feel tremendous guilt over what was labeled “less important” thereby.

And yes, I know I think like a crackheaded idgit.

So I read Brian Tracy, David Allen, Julie Morgenstern, and somewhere in the quest to organize my shit to get it done, I realized–wait, I don’t think I’m really trying to get this done.

Because I’m not actually mentally impaired. If I had been trying to get stuff done, stuff would be a hell of a lot doner than it is. I’m flat not doing the stuff. I mean, I’m stressed out all the time like I was when I had jobs and was busy, I feel busy, I’m doing something, but I’m not really doing anything. If you follow. I’m doing a lot of purposely avoiding that which I mean to be doing.

So I go to Amazon and I put in “overcoming laziness.” And out pops “procrastination,” because Amazon loves me and doesn’t want to agree with me about the laziness to my face.

Now I don’t know why I keep wanting to reassure you that I’m not actually stupid, but it’s what I keep feeling like saying here. I’m not stupid. I know I procrastinate. I know it’s a problem. A big one. I lack discipline, I lack motivation, I lack organization.

I am the biggest lacker this side of Mississppi.

And I read and read about discipline, motivation, organization, and it’s like…I keep missing something. I don’t understand how to do what they’re telling me to do. I try, but I don’t get it. And, I repeat, not stupid. Pretty sure. Have test scores. But I feel stupid because I don’t get it. It’s like the books are written for people who somehow, somewhere, have discipline, motivation, and organization, and just need this book to bring it out. But I look and I don’t have it. Does. Not. Compute.

So on this particular day I grabbed the sample for Procrastination: Why You Do It, What To Do About It Now, and then I bought the book.

Ho-lee Shit. How fucked over am I by this procrastination crap?

Very.

You know, it’s like you think you’ve got a cold and you go to the doctor and find out you have some kind cancer that’s been there for freaking ever and it’s grown into all your parts. This avoidance crap is everywhere! I do it all the time!

Aaah! Make it stop! Well, the book just goes on and on and on. Lots of psychology. Very interesting. And lots of new stuff since I was in school.

And the reason the productivity books don’t work for me is apparently that if I’m disorganized, it’s at least partly on purpose. Because what I really am is afraid of failure, afraid of judgment, afraid of putting forth quality effort and having it not be enough, afraid of doing well and having that lead to more pressure and responsibility and losing my choices…and a whole host of other things that are much harder to ignore when someone spells them out at you for a couple hundred pages.

So I procrastinate to avoid all these things that I’m afraid of. And I’m afraid of a lot. It’s been my way of life. I hardly realize when I’m doing it. I stress about the things that are scary, so I don’t do them, and then I stress about how they’re not done. And I can’t think for all the stress-headedness.

In the writing, I’ve done a lot waiting for the inspiration. Waiting until I’m “in the right place” when I can really think. But honestly, that “right place” is usually just the state at which I can’t stand the pressure and guilt of not having done what I ought to be doing anymore and I have to do something so that my head doesn’t explode. And then I feel marginally better, having righteously accomplished something, and then start to stress about having moved forward toward judgment, and then have to avoid it again.

Anyway, it sucks. I’m working on the problem. If what I’ve said sounds familiar, check out the book’s sample, see if you want to read more.

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GIT: Building a Control Journal

Here we are for another GIT (Goddess in Training) post, in which I try to figure out how to, you know, live.

I’m totally standing by what I said about how I was into the traditional publishing thing to learn stuff. And I was lured by the possibility of an advance. But something I didn’t talk about: it seemed easier.

Once I made the decision to go that way, I immediately felt less pressure. Sure, traditionally published writers absolutely have to work to market their books, but it seemed like I would at least have some help and guidance in that regard. More than that, it was the traditional publishing schedule that was appealing. In indie it’s definitely a good idea to put out as much work as fast as you can. So the idea of only being able to put out one book a year for a while, and being okay with doing only that if I wanted, was appealing. It was a relief to think that I might be able to write one manuscript a year and let other people deal with the details, and to feel like I wouldn’t be the sole person in charge of my own destiny with regard to marketing.

Now that I’ve gone back to indie, of course all that pressure’s back, along with more because I was such a slacker for months while I was finishing Heroes ‘Til Curfew. I spent the weekend redesigning my site here, revamping some of the static content. I’ve got a bunch of ideas for things I want to do and try, and mostly it’s just stuff I want to do better. Stuff I’m letting slide because I spend a lot of time worrying instead of just buckling down and taking care of things.

And the worst part of THAT? One of the things that doesn’t get done is writing the next book. Right now I am RIGHT where I was last year in terms of not writing consistently because I’m constantly doing this #HeadlessChicken act. My stats sickness is a little better this year. Which is good. Maybe I’m in recovery. On the other hand, I’m busier in my personal life. My daughter started a dance class this year, I’ve got four different social commitments which actually take me out of the house 6-12 times a month (this is a lot for me). Scariest of all, I’ve got a Girl Scout Brownie troop I’m going to be leading this year. We’re supposed to have our first meeting on Friday, stuff’s not in place for that yet, and I have about a million details to take care of.

I’m conscious of kind of freaking out here. So somewhere in the middle of being better about keeping house (which was destroyed by two seven-year-olds having a sleepover this weekend), being better about family meals, being better about fitness (my back is killing me and I think it’s because my muscles are too weak to hold me up properly because all I do is sit in front of this computer), being better about social media, figuring out the Girl Scout details, remembering dance class and the other stuff on my calendar, I have this vague recollection that I’m supposed to be writing a book–if I ever want to get anywhere in this career, and while I’m at it, there’s a short story and novella I need to write before that book comes out. Not to mention that idea I’m supposed to come up with for my agent for something different.

[At this point I’m reminding myself to breathe and thinking that it’s a shame I don’t have a moment to read more of that book about Zen so I can just be in this moment and not in all these other moments I really can’t affect from here or whatever.]

However, at some point in the past, I used to write more, I used to read more, and I had a baby who nursed hourly and then an insane toddler who had to be watched every moment and never napped. And somehow I also got housework done, served a lot more from-scratch food than I do lately (including homemade baby food), and somehow had time to maintain a personal blog and socialize on LJ all the time.

One thing that I had at that time was a control journal–a domestic’s day-planner. I had a page for every day of the week and all I had to do every morning was open it up. All my routines were written out so that I didn’t have to think, I just had to do and cross things off.

Control Journal a la Flylady

And of course, after some time of doing these routines, they actually became routines. But having it written down allowed me to be on autopilot before I actually learned the route. You can see on one side were some of the things I was supposed to daily. There as a place to write in stuff specific to that day–like sending my brother a birthday card–and a place for writing in tasks which weren’t daily or weekly. This page’s notes tell me to finish one of the slipcovers I was making and to declutter the entertainment center.  I’d write all those things in when I organized for the week on Sunday. On the other side of the notebook is my dinner menu for the day with recipes, in the order they had to be started. So the crockpot recipe was first, bread recipe for the bread machine next, and quick fix vegetable sides at the end.

I realize that I spend a lot of time spinning my wheels because I’m so stressed about not having stuff done that I can’t think what to do next. So I don’t actually DO anything, so I get more stressed. And I think I can really point to things falling apart when I moved from that last house to this one. My routines were upset because things were different and I stopped using the journal.

Flylady imageSo I’m going to be working on building a new control journal for myself. Or perhaps a few of them. I need to keep track of stuff for the house, stuff for the writing job, stuff for Girl Scouts. I’m not going to stop everything to try to make the perfect journal all at once. I’m just going to start writing things down, collecting data, putting it together a little a time.

If you’d like to read more about control journals, click here.

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GIT Tuesday

I decided to move Goddess in Training to Tuesday since I’m often running around on Thursday. Of course, it shouldn’t matter. One of my many GIT goals is to write blog posts at least one day in advance and schedule them. That’s a baby step as my original plan was to have things scheduled a week in advance. So I’m writing to you from Monday, I wrote today’s post yesterday, and Sunday’s post on Saturday. So far, so good, on that one, anyway.

Other than trying to keep up with the blog, Kait made me make massive lists this weekend. I’m having company in about six weeks. Very important company. I’m having multiple houseguests over multiple nights. I NEVER have anyone over at my house, so this is a Big Deal. I’m not freaking out because the people coming know who I am and it probably won’t a surprise to them if everything’s a shambles, and they’ll still love me. Still, I’d like to make an effort to not have my guests live in squalor. So I’ve got this massive list of housekeeping tasks that need to be done anyway and would get me solidly on track if I could maintain it.

Other lists are maintenance tasks, some health and fitness stuff (like going back to meal planning and doing yoga every day), and the steps I need to take to get back into the social media stuff like I’m supposed to.

I’m actually kind of excited about it. Maybe that’s a strong word. But I put a bunch of stuff in Cozi yesterday, and it’s looking doable.

Already I hit a snag where my husband called and got my out of bed, sending me on a series of errands that took up the whole morning. During the errands I ran into another mom and since we’re supposed to have a heat index of 110 today, we made tentative plans to meet up at the pool this afternoon. So I haven’t done anything on my list today, except laundry and this post I’m typing. But I think that’s okay.

Weight Loss Tip

Big heading! Rather than just babble at you about how I’m trying to get my shit together, I thought I’d try to come up with some of the things that helped me lose weight this year.

My tip of the week is a thought process. Recurring thoughts are habits. Habits don’t automatically start happening just because we decide we should do something differently. Once you start something, it takes time to catch on. But once you’ve repeated the behavior enough times, it becomes something you do rather naturally.

I mean, you all know that right? And that the concept works with things you say to yourself in the same way it works with making you bed when you get out of it or putting your keys in the same place when you walk in the door. (I marvel that there are people in the world with made beds who always know where they keys are. Baby steps.)

So here’s the concept: Extra crap you put into your body becomes extra crap that lives on your body. Yeah, it takes a lot of extra calories to make a whole pound, but a) a pound is nothing to sneeze at, and b) it’s not like it only happens if you eat that many calories in one sitting–it’s cumulative. So when you walk by the cookie jar and grab one–or three–cookies just because they look good, not because you’re even hungry…how much extra you does that add up to in a whole year? Everything that goes in counts.

What I learned to ask myself is: Do I really want to carry that around?

I mean, seriously. If I’m looking at dessert, knowing I’ve already hit the limit of what I need to eat, that stuff is going right to my butt. And forget what it looks like, I have to carry that. Maybe for years! Yeah, maybe it’s looks delicious, but delicious enough to carry for years? On my ass where it no longer looks quite so enticing?

No. Way. I am way too lazy for that.

Yeah, it’s not always easy, but this habit of stopping to think about whether or not I want to make a lifetime commitment with this brownie is sort of a cold shower for me.

I’m not on a diet. I don’t write down what I eat and I only sort of generally estimate calorie intake. It’s not a horrible, regimented thing. This habit is part of a change I went through that means I don’t HAVE to do the hardcore diet thing.

So that’s my tip. Hope it helps.

PS. Today’s my brother’s birthday. If you happen to read, Happy Birthday, Dave!

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