Procrastination

For me, National Poetry Writing Month makes it difficult to stay productive sometimes. The lure of reading poems, having lovely conversations with their writers, or creating something inspired by a prompt, is so… tempting! I rarely write poems about procrastination, but luckily other people do. Here’s one I enjoyed reading, and that taught me a new word (rictameter).

GibberJabber

NaPoWriMo #12
Poetry form: Rictameter

Today
I plan to be
properly productive –
not let time get away from me.
But it’s half past eight. I’ll begin at nine.
Now it’s nine-twelve. I’ll start at ten…
…And that’s how, somehow, I
got nothing done
today.


Image Credit: Procrastination by Cherry Boniu

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I probably shouldn’t admit it, but sometimes procrastinating can get really productive… Here’s what I’ve been doing instead of working on my administration: combining paintings and drawings I’ve made with poems I’ve made.

The digital work is a chore I don’t like, and I had no ambition to create these things. I tend to prefer making new things over doing something with existing stuff. But, well, hey, I wanted to postpone something else, and this (to my own surprise) was the enabling activity of my choice.

So, now I’ve made a lot of things I’m kind of satisfied with. And I’ve worked on my administration in small bits.DeathByPoetryYoudontevenknowmynamePleaseBeCareful

via New skill!

The world did not end*

* spoiler alert. It didn’t. It even got better…

I realised I made a mistake. This is what happened afterwards – the short version:

  • That’s stupid, You’re stupid! (inner critic, yelling and pointing a finger at me)
  • Get me out of here, I can’t bear it! (inner child, screaming, running in all directions trying to escape, wanting to put her fingers in her ears)
  • I realise there’s an inner drama going on (inner adult)

First response: fight that critic! (inner critic criticising inner critic).

Second response: do something nice to relax! (inner child asking for fun escape)

In the meanwhile, I was procrastinating on Facebook… Then I realised it might have something to do with the inner drama…

Me calling my inner adult.
First response: silence…
Second response: maybe…

Me calling out my inner adult from behind my frightened child: I know you are here, let’s do this together. I’ll ask you questions, you can answer.
First response: okay… (inner adult)
Second response: hey, I’m already here! (inner adult)

Me: What can you say to a stressed out parent type?
Inner adult: Thanks for the warning, I’ll take it from here. I know how to handle this.

Me: What can you say to a frightened child?
Inner adult: It know it looks unbearable, but I don’t thinks it’s that bad. Shall we go and have a look together?

Me to my inner adult: Thanks!

I’ve learned this weekend that the most natural response for human beings is to reach out and search for help. If that help doesn’t appear, then comes fight or flight mode. When that doesn’t work, then follows freeze (going numb). Over time, you adapt. If the option ‘help’ gets disappointed too often, you skip it and sooner choose for fight or fight. If that mode fails you too often in creating what you want, then freeze becomes the preferred mechanism of your brain.

If I apply that knowledge to what just happened, I learn some things:
1) Hanging around of Facebook for too long can be a sign of wanting help, or a sign of being in flight mode. It’s nice when I learn to recognise which one it it, so I can work with it. If I long for help, I can decide to ask for it.

I’ve done that one time when I was feeling really, really, really low. I asked my Facebook friends to say something nice about me because I felt crap, and I got the most heart warming responses. And I could tell they meant them, which helped me open up to the feeling that I might be more okay than what my brain was telling me.

2) If I’m in flight mode, I can give in to it – or try to find a way to make it safe to check what’s going on inside me.

In this post, looking at it through the structures of inner critic and inner child, helped me to find the safety to look from a distance and try to understand which thoughts were going on. So I could take it from there.

Now I get it, and no I want to go back to work! The mistake that triggered all this, was calling someone 15 minutes late. I’m glad that I noticed that the stress it caused me was out of proportion, and that I concluded that something was going on. Thanks to my learnings this weekend, I realised I could choose to look at both my inner critic and my inner child from the perspective of compassion. Then I could stop fighting them, and had space for my inner adult to enter the stage.

I used to thing that fighting my inner critic was the adult thing to do. I used to think that being self critical was helpful to force me to get things done. This post helped me realise that my inner adult does not fight, criticise or hide. When it’s there, it listens to the ruckus going on, and responds. And helps to make choices.

I know I should work on the lay-out of this post, but I REALLY want to get my work done. And then I REALLY want to go outside. Priorities! Many thanks if you managed to read the text anyway. The brilliant place/space where I’ve been learning the new things is: http://psentraining.com/

Today is the day

I’m going to finish my November project. Today. April 17 instead of the November 30 I hoped for (yes, that doesn’t say ‘I planned for, I know…). You’d think I’d be excited, happy, relieved. Instead I’m tired, full of resistance and desperately longing to not work on it today. Why? I don’t know.

So, again, this blog post is to make myself accountable. I WILL finish it today.

I’m not sure whether I want to look into my resistance and learn from it, or simply bypass it. I do know the resistance annoys the heck out of me.

I remember that I wrote about unmet needs as a productivity block. Maybe that post brings some insights.

I have gotten my poem for #NaPoWriMo done, so I can’t procrastinate by doing that. There are five sweet kittens in my house  that I could look at for hours. Maybe I can make those my reward for getting my first steps done: reading the blog post I mentioned, and creating a plan for today after that.

 

Paper pile monster

 

On track

Working so hard on my planned project (see previous posts) that I don’t have time to write a blog post, Yay me!

PS: celebrating accomplishments is very healthy against procrastination. Since lack of faith in getting a job done (well) can be a trigger for procrastination, you’re actively increasing your faith in yourself by spending some yay-time on yourself.

PPS: Self criticism often gets enough me-time already with people who know procrastination intimately.

mortar_board_trans_800

And for the #NaPoWriMo peeps: I got my poem done before I started working on my adminisration. Fun before frog. It turned out to be a good choice: all headspace is available for my boring task My mind is free now and I can focus on getting mynumbers right.

In the post I visited yesterday I wrote that I have low confidence in my ability to stick to a concrete plan. Confession time: I ran away from the post after I’d read it, and didn’t manage to get any planning done yesterday. Other stuff that needed doing? Yes. Planning? No. I even realised I’d sooner have worked on my horrible task itself, than the planning for it.

Yesterday I decided to let it happen. Today that won’t fly. I WILL plan.

Just now I realised my low confidence in my ability to stick to a concrete plan only matters if I believe it has consequences. I can’t play standing base. Do I care about that? No, since it has no consequences (apart from me not being in a psychobilly band, which I can live with).

So what about my perceived inability to stick to a concrete plan is such a drama? Obviously nothing, but some part of me is telling me differently. I’ll try to shed some light on the fictitious monsters under my bed. I’ll challenge them after I uncover them.

I believe I SHOULD be able to stick to a concrete plan

Now that I write that down I wonder: why? There are probably millions of people who don’t know how to stick to plan or who don’t care about planning or sticking to it in the first place. Why do I believe that I HAVE TO BE ABLE to?

If I can’t stick to a plan, I’m a worthless coach

Again, as soon as I wrote this down, I noticed this thought doesn’t make sense to me at all, even though it’s mine (hidden beneath layers of rationality, I’ve practised on those discoveries). In my thorough training for being a coach, sticking to a plan was never a requirement.

If I can’t stick to a plan, I’m a worthless procrastination coach

My brain is trying to convince me the thought makes sense, by altering it. I’m a worthless procrastination coach then? No, not true either. It’s probably the other way around: if I thought planning was easy, I’d keep believing it’s a solution or even a cure for procrastination.  If it only was that easy…

If I can’t stick to a plan, I’m stupid

I think we’re at the end of my reasoning here, because I feel the urge to stop writing this and simply make a planning. I don’t even care about refuting this thought.

To make sure I don’t lose my way: I’ll only share this post after my planning is done 🙂

Got my planning done. Got ‘rewarded’ with a deadline – it turns out my planning is absolutely necessary! Also, I have already done the first part of my planning.

The inner critic (the thoughts written in bold) is not winning today 😉

And my #NaPoWriMo post got done before anything else: Would you pray to me. Productivity wise, something could be said against that… Then again: I’ve had my fun, now I’ll get everything done 😉 That will be my motto today

Procrastination duality

This poem by a fellow #NaPoWriMo participant sums up the feeling of procrastination (and more) in three short lines. Brilliant! It also shows the solution… Now how to get there?

Duality

The mind is at war
Logic versus Emotion
Only one may rule

The mind is at peace
Planning balancing Impulse
Both ruling as one
Source and copyright: https://myauthoritis.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/duality/

May I add that the poem is probably about much more (or maybe even something different) than my interpretation ‘procrastination’? It’s just where my mind led me.

So how to get logic and emotion ruling as one this week? I’m grumpy and full of resistance, so emotion is running the show…

Accountability

I’m going to be accountable for administration stuff again this week. My brain is already trying to avoid planning, by telling me ‘no need to make this concrete, you’ll do as you promised, in some way’.

So, first thing I’ll do is go back to my post called ‘I hate planning‘. I vividly remember the title. I don’t have a clue what I wrote there. It’s probably something I need today.

Then I’ll do the planning I need. Then, and only then, do I return here and make myself accountable. And hopefully share something I’ve learned as well. By linking up the post I was looking for, I’ve already learnt there is no post called I hate planning. Memory is a fickle thing 🙂

Looks like planning is my frog today!