Finally, the Perfect Excuse!

My husband and I have known for a long time that we're procrastinators. Luckily, we accept each other just the way we are.

He's learned to work with his tendency to procrastinate in ways I haven't. I've just become used to setting my own priorities. First, it was my mother (one of the worst procrastinators I've ever met) who set them for me, then her voice in my head. I was in the process of replacing that with my own voice when I got married to my ex-husband and got entangled in a cult, so they set my priorities until a couple of years ago when I extricated myself from both and found myself clueless about how to prioritize the things I decided are important to me.

Much less important are clean dishes and a spotless floor. Much more important is running my own business without anyone snooping into my minute-by-minute activities. I revel in the freedom to waste my own time reading blogs or interacting with other artists in forums. I revel in the freedom to help start a marketing cooperative for Portland craftspeople who sell on Etsy. I can admit to - nay, relish! - the fact that two weeks ago the dishes in my sink had mold growing on them!

Still, I've never understood why I am the way I am. I have a huge list of things to do, that I want to do, that are important and that I know will make me happy once they're done, yet I don't do them. Why, oh why do I get so easily distracted from doing them and commit to yet more activities to prevent myself from getting around to that ever-growing list?

My husband sent me a link to an article the other day and it was one of those "oh, wow, that's me" type of articles. The article was on structured procrastination. It described what I do perfectly. Whatever is currently at the top of my list of things to do, I will do almost anything to avoid working on until the deadline is so pressing I have to drop everything else to get it done. I make piles of beads, so photographing them is a really high priority... but I have to get my garden in now, because I want fresh tomatoes this summer, so the beads sit. There are no clean dishes to eat off of... but I have orders to get ready to ship by 4 o'clock, so the dirty dishes sit. I need to start working on my project for TotusMel's tatting challenge... but I have beads I need to photograph, so the project gets put off. See how that works?

I have to trick myself so I get things done. I have to reprioritize everything so my real priorities aren't as high on my priority list, so I'll do them when I need to evade the things at the top of the list that in actuality can be put off because getting them done is less critical to either a) survival or b) the success of my business. Like the article says, it does require some self-deception.

So, now that I got this blog written, which I could only do after spending two days getting caught up on my blog reading and joining another professional group, I can go load the dishwasher because the bathroom really needs to be cleaned!

Could have been me...

I could have written that! Almost like you read my mind... and yes, I have been fooling myself for years to get what really needs to be done on my list actually done. I have also found the self-rewarding system to be effective also.

If you haven't tried what I call the "15 minute rule", it is worth a try. When you have a task that is undesirable, or one that has been put off so long that it appears to be insurmountable, work at it for 15 minutes a day. No longer, no less. Pretty soon that chore will become habit, and you won't need the whole 15 minutes.

I had over 200 beads that needed cleaned. This was how I got them clean, and now I rarely fall behind and rarely have more than 15 minutes worth of bead cleaning.

Hope I could help!