Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pace yourself

I am a card-carrying member of the "Bite-off-more-than-you-can-chew" Committee and the "I-want-it-done-yesterday" Board of Directors. I also frequent meetings of the "It's-fine-if-I-can't-do-it-today-I'll-just-add-it-to-tomorrow's-growing-list-of-things-I-also-don't-have-time-for" Club. Sometimes, after I get really behind, I drop in on my old pals at "Procrastinators Anonymous" and start back up on my 12-step program:
Step 1: Do something, anything, NOW!
Step 2: Apologize to those you have put off...for days...and weeks...and years; or, realize you don't really care about them, and stop beating yourself up for it.
Step 3: Learn to spell P-R-O-C-R-A-S-T-I-N-A-T-E.
Step 4: Get a planner and stick to the plan.
Step 5: Plan one task per day, until you can handle more.
Step 6: Learn not to plan more than you can accomplish in a day.
Step 7: Accept that you are not a superhero.
Step 8: Ask someone for help...even if it hurts your ego.
Step 9: Promise to take one day at a time.
Step 10: Pick one of your major goals and take one step toward achieving it - today!
Step 11: Push a fellow procrastinator to get started on an project or activity that they need to get done.
Step 12: Pray for another day...because there isn't "always" tomorrow.

Seriously, it's important to accept your faults and learn to live with them in a productive way. I've always been the type of person who goes from one fire to the next, putting off the less important things for the most important. Most of the time, this works out for me. There's no way I can get everything done today (even though I sometimes wish there was). But, it also doesn't help to put things off when they could be done today, more easily and with more satisfaction.

For example, I have a tendency to focus my energy on stuff I like to do (duh...that's human). This means, all the stuff I don't like to do gets pushed to the bottom until all that's left to do sucks. Not a good place to be - sitting in the middle of a list of crappy jobs and boring chores...piles of work I don't want anything to do with.

So, I'm learning to pace myself. Do a little of the crap today. Embed it in stuff I DO like to do...sort of hide it from myself or trick myself into not noticing it's crap. Or reward myself for doing the crap. Evaluate 10 client files...drink a glass of wine...evaluate 10 more...have a piece of chocolate.

I'm also learning to trim the fat. Of the crap, I decide what is absolutely necessary. The crap that isn't...gets tossed. It's that simple. If I can live without it...everyone else probably can, too.

And finally, I'm learning to just accept that it has to get done and stop putting the stuff I hate at the bottom of my list. Besides, it almost feels more satisfying to finish doing something I don't like than something I do. "Yes! That stupid task is done! Woo Hoo!" Unlike stuff I do like to do. "Ohhhh! Dammit. It's over already?"

Now, I'm going to go do some crap (while drinking hurts less that way).

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