381 Days ’til 40: Motivating Myself

06 Feb

“Procrastination is a crime, it only leads to sorrow.  I can stop at any time, I think I will tomorrow.” ~ Author unknown.

My 8th grade history teacher forced us to memorize this quote.  It has been with me all these years…..  Yes, that would be well over 25 years!  Yet I must admit, just because I have never managed to rid my mind of these words does not mean that I have embraced them as guidelines for life management.

When I was in high school I studied at the last-minute for most exams and wrote my papers that way too.  I was perpetually motivated by the last-minute.  My GPA was not the top, but decent enough.  At the time my parents said, “You will NEVER get away with that in college.”

When I was in college I studied at the last-minute for most exams and wrote my papers that way too.  I was highly motivated by the last-minute.  My GPA was higher than in HS. At THAT time my parents said, “You will NEVER get away with that in grad school.”

When I was in grad school I studied at the last-minute for most exams and wrote my papers and projects that way too.  I was greatly motivated by the last-minute.  My GPA was higher than my undergrad.  In fact, I got only one B+ in my entire grad school career, and the program was tough!

I never learned my lesson – in fact, throughout my entire educational career I received reinforcement.  My behavioral conditioning showed me that I indeed COULD get away with procrastinating and it DID NOT lead to sorrow…. I had pretty good outcomes.

Only as I have gotten older and “wiser” have I started to work at a more even pace.  Most of my work does not have actual deadlines, so I am diligent about finishing assigned tasks as soon as possible, moving things out of my perpetually overflowing “in box.”  I am much more skilled with this when I am at work.  I get as much accomplished as possible, as the environment is fast paced and it is critical to keep up.

Home is another story….  laundry and dishes can pile up for  a few days before I reach my limit (often to the dismay of my partner).  I most certainly need to learn new skills for the home, but over-use the excuse that I am exhausted from work.  Note:  Just because it is over-used, does not mean it is not true!

When I bring work home I tend to falter….  how do I reconcile my fast paced work world with my slower-paced, procrastination-filled home world?  I wish I knew how to find that balance.  Work that comes home should be done on Friday night, giving me the entire weekend to relax and let go of all work-related thoughts.  So, why is it that week after week after week the work follows me and haunts me all weekend?  Only on Sunday, sometimes late Sundays after dinner and when I should be thinking about bed, do I finally get around to accomplishing all that I needed to before the new work week starts.  It does get done, it gets done well – but I have wasted SO MUCH TIME prior.

You see, when I have a project to do that I am not interested in, the procrastination is high – in fact, my partner gets lucky sometimes because my procrastinating from the work that followed me home can often benefit the house – I go to housework first!  Then computer games, then surfing the internet, a long nap, etc.

I do believe my weekends would feel better to me if I could get my work done on Fridays… then I could relax and enjoy my days off.  Even if I were to play the same games, surf the same websites, etc., I would do it with less stress because nothing would be hanging over me while I was engaging in those activities.

So the moral of the story is, do not procrastinate…..  now we all just need to figure out how we are really going to stop procrastinating…. let’s think about it tomorrow!



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