I used to have a problem with procrastination. I don’t anymore. I still procrastinate though.
What? I still procrastinate, but I don’t have a problem with procrastination?
So how can I still be a procrastinator but not consider myself to have a problem with procrastination?
I did some long, hard thinking about why I procrastinate. I analyzed. I thought. I prayed. And I came to some conclusions. This is why I believe most of us procrastinate:
Expectations Too High
Do you have your expectations set too high? I know I did. I somehow came to believe that I should be able to do anything and everything, and I put a lot on my task list. Then I got very little of it done. I’d feel bad about the stuff that I didn’t get to, and would go into a death spiral of self-pity.
I came to realize that I was expecting too much from myself. I can do anything, but I can’t do everything. I started to become more picky about the tasks I committed myself to doing.
Mismatched Values (I Don’t Care…)
Christina has a lot of items on my task list that aren’t getting done. I won’t tell you what most of them are. I can’t think of most of them myself. We often have a difference in values over a completed task. Something might be important to her, but not to me. I’ve had some tasks on my list that I honestly didn’t care about whether they were accomplished or not. Others have task dependencies that take more time than the task itself.
As an example, I need to clean the dryer vent. But in order to get to it, we have a Saturday’s worth of labor getting everything out of the utility room so I can get to the vent. Then we have to put everything back.
I began to solve this by being honest. I try to communicate. “I didn’t do that because I don’t care if it ever happens or not.” “I didn’t do it because we’ll have to give up (fill in the blank) to do it”. It’s not perfect, but it helps.
If you don’t care, just be honest.
That doesn’t work every time though. Christina is very important to me, and sometimes I have to do things for her that aren’t important to me because she is.
Sometimes external rewards help too. In 2008, my computer was on its last legs. She bought me a new Dell and told me I could have it when I completed a list of chores that she’s wanted done for up to 2 years. I finished in a weekend.