Change, dreams and the art of procrastination

Thursday, July 6, 2017 Permalink

Those who’ve been regular visitors to my site over some time will not be surprised to know I tend to ponder over things. I’ll read something – like this piece from Tiny Buddha – and I’ll bookmark it on my phone or computer while it marinates in my mind a little. Or a lot.

The article in question is about change and procrastination and as the queen of the latter it really hit home. 

Then, coincidentally Facebook reminded me this week of a blog post I wrote in 2015 about change needing to be sustainable. I talk a lot in the post about my old life in international development but end that post referring to some weight loss goals. Hence the pondering…

Change: small, slow steps or fast and final

The Tiny Buddha piece references the Kaizen method, so akin to my thoughts on the need to make small sustainable changes. I’m also reminded of Leo Babauta’s work around habits and change on his Zen Habits blog as he’s a big proponent of the slow and steady method as well.

However… I can’t help but wonder if there’s ever a time to just rip that damned bandaid off. Quickly, getting the pain over and done with. It occurs to me that some of my more successful ‘changes’ (meaning life changes I guess) have been those big changes I’ve made (my job changes, my seachange and weightloss surgery) that haven’t needed a lot of over-analysis and ultimately have been based on good old ‘gut’ instinct.

procrastination

Changing the way we think about tasks and goals

Another thing the Tiny Buddha piece (by Alison Breen) focuses on is reframing those things we’ve procrastinated over. As a procrastinator from waaaay back, I talk again and again about stuff I’d like to do and yet I do nothing. Like Breen I can’t use the ‘I have no time’ excuse because I find time to do other things.

She talks about the fact we tend to think ‘big’ when considering our aspirations. “Write a novel” (in my case), certainly seems overwhelming. And pipe-dream-ish to me at the moment. She suggests we set ourselves smaller goals and ask ourselves smaller questions, to overcome fear and apathy and become more aware of what it is we’re avoiding.

Breen suggests we consider what it is we’re avoiding (or wish we were doing) and ask how we can make the task seem more enjoyable, for example.

So I’ve started using Breen’s approach of minimising the overwhelm of my goals as well as my eternal frustration that I’m not pursuing a more creative life. And here are my questions, in case you were wondering…. (forgive the awkward phrasing but they’re only for my benefit. And it really is all about me me me!)

1. What did I do today I’m glad I did?
2. What did I do today I wish I hadn’t done?
3. What didn’t I do today that I wish I had?
4. What could I do tomorrow to make me happier with these answers?

It’s a bit of a stocktake or audit approach for me to remind me that I do a lot of crap I don’t need to do and push aside stuff I wish I had done. Interestingly I’m also finding it kinda enlightening that some of the things I assumed to be time-wasting crap are the more enjoyable and fulfilling parts of my day.

How do you feel about change? Slow and steady or do you prefer to rip that bandaid off? And on the notion of change and achieving goals, are you a procrastinator? Any suggestions for me?

the-lovin-life-linky I’ve joined Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit and some other bloggers to help promote “ageing positively” and the Lovin’ Life mindset across the interwebz. You can link up via any one of us!

The Lovin’ Life Team includes:


36 Comments
  • Jo
    July 6, 2017

    I like that. Those questions…in fact, I might just steal it…

    • Debbish
      July 6, 2017

      Yes, I also liked the author’s question about making the thing you need to do more ‘fun’. She talks about visualising it and I was trying to imagine myself sitting somewhere other than my desk, ‘writing’…

  • Jess
    July 6, 2017

    Great post! Pre kids I was the master of ripping the band aid off and making huge changes. Now I am so the opposite. I make.decisions in my head and then do nothing to act on those decisions. I get way too caught up in the consequences!!! I like the daily question sheet. I always thing huge picture which overwhelms me.and I don’t get basic daily things done at times.

    • Debbish
      July 6, 2017

      Oh yes Jess, it’s hard when you’ve got others you need to consider (and prioritise). And I’m the same as you can probably tell… I sometimes let the most basic (simplest) tasks slide. And slide. Sometimes I think it’s okay, but when I struggle with the guilt because of it I know it’s something I should get onto!

  • Amy @ HandbagMafia
    July 6, 2017

    Ive really had to learn to not fear change. This is a great think piece.

    • Debbish
      July 6, 2017

      I tend to be okay with ‘change’ but less so with achieving goals – if that makes sense… or making the changes I need to achieve them!

  • Glen Donaldson
    July 6, 2017

    Hi Debb,

    For me there are two types of change in life –

    those forced upon us and those we choose to initiate ourselves.

    Back in childhood we are mostly insulated from the effects of change and would often only experience it noticeably when put up a grade in school.

    But as adults, the safety net is removed and we make our own way, navigating the ups and downs of life and sometimes feeling like a cork bobbing up and down in a swirling ocean.

    Funny how day to day things don’t seem to change but looking back over the last 30 years so many things in society seemed to have transformed.

    Like the old saying goes – ‘Change is inevitable.Growth is optional’.

    • Debbish
      July 6, 2017

      Oh very true Glen. Change is inevitable – even when we’re not noticing that it’s happening, but growth (and adapting to that change) is really important and more of a challenge for many of us.

  • Kathy Marris
    July 6, 2017

    I actually embrace change because I get very bored being in the same place for too long. This has included jobs, homes and travel. However I am the master of procrastination. I stuff around doing all the unimportant tasks and leave the important tasks (like paid work) undone. I’m a list person. I find if I make lists I normally adhere to them. 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      July 6, 2017

      Oh no see Kathy, I like lists cos they help me feel in control, but then I just ignore them. And then feel guilty because I’ve ignored them. (Although ‘sometimes’ I do get stuff done….)

  • Michelle W (@pinkypoinker)
    July 6, 2017

    I like those four questions and might start using them!

    • Debbish
      July 6, 2017

      I thought they were a good reminder / check-in of how I’m spending my time!

  • Sydney Shop Girl
    July 6, 2017

    I hear you about doing all the stuff you don’t actually need to do over tackling the more important things. Hoping the audit process will help me too.

    SSG xxx

    • Debbish
      July 6, 2017

      It’s interesting cos I’m often surprised by how ‘happy’ or contented I am by weird things… like getting my 8000 steps done, or some meeting going well. And OCCASIONALLY I actually struggle to come up with the ‘things I wish I’d done’. Which is interesting in itself.

  • Jan Wild
    July 6, 2017

    What a great post and I love your questions. In my experience fear often sits under procrastination so I find it helpful to look from that point of view. What if I fail? Yes but what if I succeed?

    • Debbish
      July 6, 2017

      Oh yes, although I tend to get bogged down in the ‘is my fear of failure greater than my assuredness of success’? (Or I struggle with the short term pain vs long term gain!)

  • Vanessa
    July 6, 2017

    Most of my BIG things in life, I just woke up one day and did. I think there’s something to be said for letting the need or desire come to you, rather than chasing it and analysing it. Of course, for all I know, the analyzing it may be what ended up with me waking up one day going “yep, do it”.

    • Debbish
      July 6, 2017

      Yes, I mention the old ‘going with my gut’ in the post or comments and I think I often end up doing that when it comes to change. I believe the wanky term is intuitive living or intuitive decision-making but for me it’s when we just kinda know it’s what we want to do.

  • Jodie
    July 6, 2017

    My husband and I are total opposites in this regard!! I have a hard time procrastinating—and he does it easily..ha ha! I will have to have him read this!!
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Debbish
      July 7, 2017

      It’s interesting isn’t it Jodie. I don’t think either of my parents were procrastinators, but in different ways. My dad would obsess about something and need to get it out of the way – which is what I’m like, though I obsess about it WAAAY longer. Whereas my mum just gets stuff done. For many many years I’ve been instructing her to visit and ‘make me do x’ as she is the sort of person who needs to be doing stuff. Unlike me.

  • VirtuallyAllSorts
    July 6, 2017

    I say rip that band aid off! But then I’m also a procrastinator… add being indecisive to the mix and you’ve got an interesting recipe! But you’re so right about the old escuse of time and yet finding time to do other stuff… I love a thought-provoking post and thanks for linking this up to #HighlightsofHappy

    • Debbish
      July 7, 2017

      I tend to be indecisive about little things but not big things – which is kinda weird, though perhaps it is because I make decisions based on gut instinct. The big ones seem obvious, but the little ones I guess aren’t as important and the fallout isn’t as bad.

  • writeofthemiddle
    July 6, 2017

    I do like change because I’m a Gemini and I get bored easy…..BUT…..I am a terrible procrastinator. For example I have an email sitting in my inbox (along with others) from someone who is interested in working with me on my blog. I know it will require great thought and consderation on my part and involves reading an attached document and so I have procrastinated…and procrastinated….and procrastinated on dealing with it and responding. I feel really bad. It’s not professional of me but I just keep putting it off. This morning I was determined … declaring to myself “I will do my LovinLife duties and I will respond to that email and the others sitting there in my inbox”. Well I’ve done my LovinLife duties but have avoided my inbox like the plague. Instead I’ve had an afternoon nanna nap (though really needed it). Why do I do this? I will now read through the comments on your posts and see if there is an answer there that might shed some light!! #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      July 7, 2017

      Ah yes, I wrote about ‘broken windows and unopened mail’ ages ago meaning they were signs that I was struggling to keep on top of things.

      I’m the same with my emails. In fact only yesterday I had to go through unopened emails needing ‘action’ – a response etc. Most were from publishers with lists of upcoming books… so nice mail, but (like you said) just requiring some focus and I needed the headspace to do that.

  • sizzlesue15
    July 6, 2017

    Hi Deb! I think we all procrastinate but some really have perfected the art! I love to try new things and I’m definitely a list girl (you may have picked that up). I tend to jump in and then think about it. Although if it is something I don’t want to do I can find a million and one reasons to avoid starting.
    Have a great week!
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

    • Debbish
      July 7, 2017

      I’m a big list-maker but have tried to stop doing it lately Sue as I realised I was using ‘making lists’ as a form of procrastination. It was like I was able to ‘tick’ that I’d started and felt a little in control and could then hold off. Also, making lists can make me dream too much and do too little.

  • seizetheday20
    July 6, 2017

    I love how we both tackled the topic of procrastination this week, but from totally different perspectives. When it comes to change, it really depends on what the change is … sometimes I rip the bandaid off and other times I pussyfoot around. We all procrastinate, even if it’s just a teensy bit! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      July 7, 2017

      I’ve been listening (A LOT) to a recording by Danielle LaPorte about ‘Finding Your Joy’. I actually use it to help me sleep a lot of the time and she talks in it about ‘active waiting’ (rather than ‘feeling like a loser waiting’). I think procrastination is akin to how she describes it as she talks about using the waiting time to get ready for what’s coming. I wonder if some of us are better at dealing with change if we’ve been able to process it more (via procrastination – thinking about it but not doing something about it) by holding off a little?

  • leannelc
    July 6, 2017

    Procrastination seems to be the theme this week – maybe the universe is trying to tell us something? I can be guilty of it a little bit (and I love the idea of re-framing things to make them more tackle-able) I try to just suck it up and get on with it so it’s over and done with – except things I really hate like dental visits and annual checks at the doctor – those I’m delaying more and more because I hate them so much!

    • Debbish
      July 7, 2017

      Oh yes and I think those things are most certainly understandably ripe for procrastination Leanne. I tend to worry less about procrastination where I have a firm deadline – like taking the rubbish out or getting a report done. I know I’ll due it before it’s required, so don’t worry too much if I keep putting it off until the last minute.

  • Johanna
    July 7, 2017

    Just testing. I’ve written a comment, but can’t see it. Wondering if it went through okay.

    • Debbish
      July 8, 2017

      Only this one has come through Johanna!

  • Janet Camilleri
    July 7, 2017

    Change is never easy. I tend to think of it as “just hold your breath and dive in” school of thought – so maybe that’s like the bandaid being ripped off?

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    July 8, 2017

    I don’t see the elements of my life as “change” but I do embrace lots of new experiences and when I decide to do it I just do it! Which gets frustrating when you’re no longer making decisions alone but have to take everyone else’s feelings about it into consideration. I’d probably embark on a lot more “change” if I was alone. Just because I love variety. I don’t think any decision in life is a final decision. It’s just a course of action for now. So that makes “change” less scary. Having said that some decisions I am making about the books is a little scary. But that makes it all somewhat exhilarating too! Have I just gone completely off topic?
    #teamlovinlife

    • Debbish
      July 9, 2017

      I like the notion that most decisions we make / changes we make are unlikely to be the final decision or permanent. There’s still time for more change…

I'd love to hear your thoughts