My worst habit is definitely putting things off for tomorrow that I really should be doing today.
Hi, my name is Tory and I am a serial procrastinator. I love to design elaborate to-do lists that get crumpled and thrown in the bin because I never actually tick anything off. My favorite saying is ‘that’s a problem for Future Tory.’
Well guess what Past Tory? Future Tory hates you. You make her life so much more difficult than it has to be. Past Tory does not know how to adult. Past Tory re-watches Black Books for the zillionth time instead of folding the laundry. Seriously though, how good is Black Books? So funny. Bernard Black is totally my spirit animal.
Oh my god I’m procrastinating my way through a blog post about procrastination. That’s some Inception stuff right there. I get that no-one actually likes to do the adult stuff like pay bills or fold laundry or stack the dishwasher. Given the choice most people would rather sit on the internet or watch obscure British comedies on Netflix. I also get the idea that I make my life more difficult by not doing these things at the appropriate time. I just can’t seem to stop myself from putting things off.
So How Do I Kick My Worst Habit?
I recently watched an amazing TED Talk by Tim Urban that goes inside the mind of a procrastinator and it put things in some amazingly clear terms. If you don’t have time to watch it, here’s a comic version. I’ve definitely been letting my Instant Gratification Monkey steer the ship a little too much. So how do a kick my lifelong bad habit? Slowly and carefully. I need to take some baby steps to get myself back on track and out of the Dark Playground. Here’s my 5 point plan for beating procrastination.
I figure I can stand most anything for 15 minutes, so when I have a bunch of things to do I set a timer and get each task done one after the other. No multitasking allowed. I race against the clock like the child I am. How much can I get done in 15 minutes? Can I beat yesterday’s record? This works for me for both housework and my day job. I’m always surprised at how much I can get done in such a short timeframe.
2) Eating The Frog
We’ve talked about this before on the blog, but to recap, Mark Twain said that if the first thing you do in the morning is eat a live frog, the day has to get better from there. If I get myself to do the job I hate first, all the rest seem easier. Instead of putting off the customer I hate calling or ignoring the test plans I need to create, I try to do it first. Once it’s out of the way, the other stuff is a breeze.
3) Being Realistic
Sadly I’m not Manny with his awesome rig up there but I’m similar in that every time I try to not procrastinate, I go too big too fast and get frustrated because I can’t instantly do all the things that an adult should be able to do. So I’m being realistic about my capabilities. Once I’ve built a habit up for a few weeks (like folding laundry WHILE Netflixing), I’ll add another into the routine. And so on and so forth til I’m adulting like a champ.
Using the example of the laundry again, after a full week of folding every night, I bought myself a present. When you’re trying to build a habit, it’s important to reward the little things to give your brain that little happy boost. It makes it feel like less of a grind and gives you something tangible to look forward to. Sadly my brain isn’t happy when it sees a clean house, it needs a trinket.
5) Not Quitting
This one’s pretty key for me. I tend to stick to a routine for about a week, then miss a day, decide it’s too hard and give up entirely. I have this idea that it’s perfection or nothing, if I miss a day it’s all pointless. I need to cut myself a little slack and learn to pick the habit back up the next day. Nobody’s perfect, and I don’t have to be either.
And just because I still love him, I’ll leave you with one more piece of questionable wisdom from Bernard Black.
Well, I’ve confessed my worst habit. What’s yours? Are you a serial procrastinator like me? Confess in the comments or join the link up over at My Home Truths!
Ah yes, the “Gunna do’s” as I call it. I used to live in Gunna Doo, but not anymore. I now live in the land of “Didit”. Especially when it comes to business and stuff like that. I guess because I love what I do. The things I don’t love … well … let’s look at exercise. I’m stilling living in Gunna Doo when it comes to sweating. I’m trying to fix that though!
I can never get myself motivated for exercise. Pokemon Go has really helped me get some motivation to walk around which has been great.
Good for you for having a plan…I’ve got a monkey steering most of the time…ha! love that term!
Isn’t it fantastic? Sometimes for me having a name for something helps me beat it.
Sounds like a great plan of attack. I think my worst habit is not knowing when to actually give up. Once I start something, I generally need to finish it at all costs.
Thanks 🙂 ooh that’s a tough one isn’t it. How do you know when you should give up and when to push harder? Good luck with it!
Interesting to know that procrastination is borne of perfectionism and that never ends well …so it does seem like you are making some changes for the win/win. I had forgotten till I got to your blog that Black Books is where I fist found Bill Bailey. Oh how I love his genius!
I’d never really thought of it that way before either but it does make sense. Bill Bailey is just fantastic. I saw him live a couple years ago and it’s still one of my favourite shows ever.
Yep. Chronic procrastinator. Recently I was getting a lot better with the housework and then I went on holidays and now I’ve regressed. My overall worst habits are my eating habits. Gah! It’s not fun realising how many bad habits you have! Those are some great tips. though. Thanks!
So with you on the eating habits. I love filling my fridge with healthy food only to realise how much effort it takes to cook and have it end up on my compost heap while I eat chicken nuggets 😉
Glad I’m not the only one. I am Queen of procrastination! Great tips! 🙂
Well I was going to leave a comment, but I figured I’d just do it later 🙂
Love black books!!
I procrastinate with the best of them! I put things off until I freak out that I don’t have enough time to do them. I always kick myself because if I just did the stupid things then I would be able to sit back and relax doing the things I want to!
Black Books is worth not folding the laundry for! I must say, even though I’m busy all the time, my time management is atrocious and I often focus on the things I shouldn’t be doing. Which is an even more elaborate form of procrastination. Love your 5 tips for getting on top of things, especially the timer – I will be employing that one around here too!
ooh yeah I totally do that. I have a list of things that need to be done and instead I go do my taxes or something that doesn’t actually need to get done. Glad the timing tip helped!
The hubster is the procrastinator in our household. Last night he told me not to pack up the dishwasher, he would do it. Well you guessed it, I got up this morning and it was all there still waiting for me. I even took a photo of it and was going to put it up on social media saying “this is what happens when hubby says I should sit down and relax, he will do the dishwasher” but I thought it was too mean! LOL
Your husband and I have that in common. I frequently tell my husband not to do something and then forget to do it myself! Bad Bad spouses we are.
Fellow procrastinator here!
My problem is that I don’t actually care very much about having a clean house! But you are so right about racing against the clock. My trick is to invite people over, and then clean furiously for half an hour before they turn up. Works a treat!
Twinsies! I do the exact same thing 😉
Oh hell yes!!! Especially at dinner time. I’ll have the meal plan all set up but sometimes I like to rebel against my well thought out plans and go off the cuff! Of course I fall down the internet rabbit hole, Farmer gets home and I’m just faffing around like I’m in complete control (but nothing cooked), pretending I can’t hear the kids whinge how hungry they are. Hehe! #whoops! Why do we do it!?!
oh yeah. I’m terrible with dinners and meal plans. I always abandon them for chicken nuggets!
I’m a terrible procrastinator and my priorities are out of whack. I will prioritise a bath over hanging washing out, blogging over study, baking cake over cooking dinner etc.mits all part of the procrastination process.
so true! the cake over dinner one I’ve definitely done before. Right now I’m blogging instead of making dinner 😉
Yep – one here too! My biggest struggle is probably getting to bed early enough. I’ve realised that this is really my lynchpin for the rest of my life – I find the flow on effect is getting up late, rushing in the morning, not fitting in exercise – too tired – not concentrating during the day and not getting through what I want, staying back late and not seeing the family – and so it goes. I’m trying to make a conscious effort on this one, possibly to the detriment of other things for a while until it become more habitual. I’ve tried committing to others (my husband and kids) – and it helps a bit, but not binding enough. I’m now going to start with an alarm going off to get to bed and see if that provides extra help! After 20+ years of adult life trying to get on top of this, I’m determined not to quit this time, no matter how long it takes 🙂
Good Luck! That is a hard one to crack all right!