Tag Archives: procrastination

The Inconclusive Dissection: Mind Half-Full or Half-Empty?

If we go on the premise that procrastinators think too much, then perhaps it’s reasonable to assume that my mind is really full. Well, better than empty, I guess? I guess! And, yes, I guess it could be a possible explanation as to why nothing tangible and concrete is coming out of my head. That’s because everything is so crammed inside, I guess!

Yes, my ideas are packed to the point of having no room to breathe or move, so they just stay within my mind and discuss among themselves. That is where all my stories are, I promise! And when they spend so long there, telling and retelling many variations over, they are already exhausted and left wanting in energy to escape. Furthermore, it feels as though the story has been told, we know the twists and turns, and feel as though the world should look inside to find out what we’ve done, instead of us always having to come out and show what we do. Understand? Understand!

I understand that I am probably deluding myself, but these thoughts are still true. If I think hard enough, I can save myself the step of publication. Save paper? But how do I convince people to take the plunge, to take that leap of faith, and just look inside my mind? To trust me? Trust me!

These were my thoughts during a dinner date in a restaurant with candles. Sitting across from me was an articulate, more good-looking that I deserve, attractive doctor, with experience. I sensed that that my luck may be changing and that it won’t be long before my mind starts opening up.

After a few sips of wine, and samplings of appetizer, I started getting a tingly sensation emanating from the inner portion of both stockingless legs underneath the table. I guess I just had a feeling when choosing what not to wear for the night. Just as he was proposing a toast to ‘I don’t know what’, I clanged his glass while debating within myself whether or not my partner is a surgeon or not. Admittedly, my relationship with him has not gotten deep enough yet for me to acquire this knowledge.

But, oh my, what if he were a surgeon? A surgeon! My imagination went wild in considering the possibilities. And I downed my glass of wine with sumptuous enthusiasm and determination. Would he have the tools and the requisite skills to dissect me? I couldn’t giggle outwardly at such a delicious thought so, instead, I crossed my legs so my skirt wouldn’t be as much of an intrusive censor, and I flexed and extended my ankle continuously, as if to communicate that my heart was jumping up and down with joy? Unequivocal joy!

If there was any way that he could do a professional dissection of me, but preferably with a particular emphasis on the artistic, then finally, at long last, he could really, literally, open up my mind and the world can see the unadulterated stories I have completed!  They’ll know I haven’t been lying all this time. They’ll trust me that I’ve been hard at work!

I suddenly felt incredibly sexy at that moment, more sexy that I’ve felt in my entire life. I didn’t know how much was left of my legs under the table at that point. With all the gyrations going on, I wouldn’t be surprised if I had exercised away all the skin and left them see-through. Oh, poor doctor, I could see it in his eyes, and his focus on his steak, that he had no clue what was going on under there!

I watched intently how he cut up the steak, savoring enough time to allow the juices to bubble over, so he could observe the satisfaction before making it disappear within his mouth, thereby intensifying the the senses at least twofold. That’s a good sign. Maybe he is a surgeon? A surgeon! The thought of him opening me up with such care and focus, like he did that steak, made me lose a button somewhere in my skirt.

I was so ready, I was so much in the mood for desire and intimacy. So, I quickly apologized to him for having to leave early and cut short our dinner together. I declined his offer for a ride, left him alone to finish the rest of his steak (as a surgeon should definitely not leave an operation half completed), and ran all the way home in such a mad rush that there was barely a trace of clothing on me when I arrived.

I have to work harder now. Think harder, deeper, even more intensely than ever before. Patience, my thoughts, patience, as I will bring more characters into an already tight space. But, patience, because now I know that you will soon all get to see the light of day. We must think together on this and get as much inside as possible before the surgeon arrives? Promise me that when that time comes for me to have an operation, you kids will not be hiding somewhere inside. All this work and to have him open me up to find nothing? Nothing!

-Dawn

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A Shorter Tale of the Tape (Nonfiction Version?)

Here is another variation on how procrastination can be manifested. Remember yesterday when I wrote about a practical joke played at work to provide some levity to lighten up the air a bit? Now, let me turn that on its head and be absolutely serious.

In my idealistic, almost romantic version, I obviously left a lot of important details out. Is that another danger of procrastination? We write and purposely put off describing the difficult aspects? We do everything, elaborate ad nauseum, within the comfort zone, and stop right before we get to truth?

I don’t mean to say that what I described yesterday wasn’t truthful. It just wasn’t the whole story. To refresh our memories of what happened yesterday, a quick summary of my ‘easy’ story goes like this: Someone asked to borrow the tape; I told them to look it up in the computer and search the online catalogue; those who played along searched for a book I referenced, and found the tape I placed beside the book; I then asked a staff member to please put the roll of tape in the catalogue, so people can search for it directly. All who played along got some laughs out of this.

I guess, in yesterday’s more vivid and fuller description of the story, I may have gone overboard with the potential health benefits for all. I also conveniently left out parts of the story that involved those people who didn’t play along too kindly. What about them?

While most customers played along with polite amusement, there was one patron who just shook his head. There were others who, even though silent, I can read from their faces and body language these messages: “I just want the tape! How hard could that be?” And “Stop wasting my time.”  Actually, you can kind of tell as a patron approaches who is in a rush, who is in a mood to play, and who just wants no nonsense.

The games we play in the process of procrastination, even though the delay was intended to instill a sense of mystery and curiosity rather than always providing the same old same old dry answers right away, these games can pop someone’ blood vessels if used inappropriately.

The tape is over there, beside the photocopier.

-Pat

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Procrastination’s Weak Rebuttal?

It may be time to toughen up the exterior a bit, so it reflects more ideally the fires burning within. I can’t say that many of the posts here have been very much of the aggressive nature, but is it now time? Rage, rage, rage.

It started with innocent chatting over warm drinks that must include honey, but then it somehow it came around to some heated debate about the merits of a blog with procrastination as its title theme. I was urged to changed the title because it automatically predisposes readers to have a certain expectation when they visit, and usually those impressions are not overly positive. And if the focus is on the writing, on a variety of creative and current event topics, then it all gets consumed under that overhanging shadow of procrastination. Writing that has nothing to do with procrastination would get unfairly interpreted under that rubric.

Furthermore, they say, we would waste too much time trying to pigeon hole or slot writing into some relation with procrastination when the topic had no business even being in the vicinity. In addition, we would have our hands tied and be forced to write about procrastination every odd post even though there is no reason to. (I guess they wouldn’t approve of this current post I’m crapping out right now) And this would take valuable time away from other more important writing. Then they went on a psychological bent: It’s as if even when there are no procrastination issues, we purposely seek them out and create procrastination problems for ourselves!

By this time, I was the only one finished my drink with honey because the others were too occupied expressing their views. If the drink wasn’t warm enough to begin with, I am sure I was easily able to reheat it to the boiling point within my intestines. However, by the time the steam was able to make its way back up my system towards my mouth, it all dissipated into the form of mild voice that asked weakly, ‘So what is wrong with this procrastination rubric?’

Oh, and then the chorus came! All together in tremendous chorus! The chorus came raining down in unison! They said people often don’t go too close to the actual writing because they are turned away by the monstrous label. They fear being bombarded by a big group of postings in high pitched voices lamenting and commiserating about how so and so didn’t do what, and how such and such didn’t get what done, and a whole bunch of it’s okay, it’s okay, you’re okay, I’m okay, it’s all okay, you’re human kind of discourse.

Finally, I stood up. I stood up to them, or maybe just stood up in front of them. And said confidentally, “I have to go to the washroom.” Must have been the drink mixed with honey. Instead, I went home and browsed through all the posts to try to spot themes of ‘I’m okay, you’re okay…’

Maybe I should tone down my aggressiveness?

-pat

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Short Cut to Deal with Sleep Shortage: Inflating the Count with Placebo

As the pace of society quickens, and we want to sardine as many tasks as we can into one day, short cuts and sacrifices are inevitable. Unfortunately, sleep always seems to be the unlucky candidate that gets the short end of the stick and told: “Sorry, maybe I’ll get to you tomorrow.”

Well, if these are just the facts and realities of the times, then we may have to be creative and find our own kind of placebo effect to convince ourselves otherwise, and maybe derive some unanticipated health benefits from our strapped circumstances.

Here is an example: We usually count sleep duration by erroring on the side that puts us in the category of being sleep deprived. We may be in bed 8 hours, but not all of it is quality sleep time. So, in our sleep journals, maybe we put total of 7 hours or even less to account for all the tossing and turning, aches, thinking, and, yes, procrastination. Accurate? Yes, but depressing. Realistic? Yes, but doesn’t do anything for the ‘feel good’ side of the ledger.

I want to argue that some days we should try to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. If we are in the midst of a hectic period where the allotted time and hours don’t add up, then let’s skew the statistics in our sleep journals, a little bit. On the odd chance, in the odd morning, that you find yourself sleeping all the way to your alarm, with the alarm actually waking you up, but it still totals only 6.5 hours of sleep, then let’s inflate the numbers a bit. For myself, I imagine myself, and tell myself, that I could have slept another half an hour at least, if the alarm didn’t go home, then I’ll just reward myself with the bonus. I could have slept a quality 7 hours, so just give me the credit.

Will this placebo effect carry me through the day? I know I could be just deluding myself and this could actually have adverse effects on my health over the long term, but it sure feels better than fretting and dwelling the entire day over how I’m short of sleep. We can deal with the truth in therapy later on when things die down, but can we be allowed this short cut for the time being? Instead of always shorting ourselves of it, how about we go long for once? Really, I’m refreshed.

-Patrick Law

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Silence Does Not Mean Assumed ‘Procrastination’

I am sorry. Since starting this “Procrastination Post” blog, in its current form, this has been the longest lag in between writings. I guess with the up front, obvious title of the blog, it already contains a ready made excuse for the gaps. Maybe it sets up the dismal expectation to expect many intervals of stunted growth, regression, stops and starts, and in inordinate number of apologies.

Sorry, I am not going to apologize, and I cannot accept our ‘Procrastination’ title as a motive to provide a convenient reason and acceptance of failure that is inevitable. I cannot. It’s as if we purposely put this label in bold font right out front, carrying placards to set the bar real low in order to minimize the impact from the fall when we trip.

No. I must insist that it is to the contrary of all these assumptions. It is to show, explore, consider what value can come out of digging ourselves out of the hideous hole we started with. And that we refuse to accept our predicament and struggle even more desperately to fight and climb. And that we will write to reflect light on another side of our world underneath. Our label is not something to trip over, step on, nor to foreshadow a message of upcoming weakness and disappointment.

And if I am, in fact, simply incriminating myself in this latest post and providing more evidence to fuel previous assumptions, then at least we can still be the prosecutors of our own guilt.

Thanks for your patience over past couple of weeks, knowing that even while we are silent, we are still writing and digging even more profusely than what can be sighted here.

-pat

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The Danger and Importance of Expectations

When stuck in my own vicious cycle of procrastination for a long time, sometimes I get so habituated into the comfort of delay and using rationalizations automatically that they do not seem unreasonable or give off any warning signals. I find that in these cases, watching others, and their various manifestations of procrastination can then help give reflection on what I do myself in other contexts.

When seeing another person put off doing something for the wrong reasons, and diluting life in the process, we obviously are aware how counterproductive these behaviours can be. Maybe this can stir within us the action to change these very same behaviours that we display ourselves but have chosen to ignore for so long.

I was talking with a diligent student about her portfolio assignment. Her first set of entries are due later this week and we were discussing ideas about how to present it creatively, emotionally, symbolically, and in a way that shows evidence of work and experience, as well as progression of improvement and reflection on what the student learned from her experiences.

Throughout our discussions, the student was very animated and showed emotion and depth when telling stories from her childhood that she thought worthwhile to include in the beginning part of her portfolio to show how they influenced her thinking of today. We then thought together about possibilities on how to present it on the pages. Various images, drawings, and photograph suggestions came up, and the student was enthused about the creative potential and how meaningful this project is.

However, her tone changed when talk started focusing on the specific deadline and answering some of the required questions given by the teacher. She decided to give up on themes of presentation and style, and creative story telling, and instead decided to give short answers to answer directly, or maybe just do a traditional essay format. I encouraged her to try combine some of her previous ideas of pictures and symbols along with the traditional writing method, but she was reluctant.

Her reasons knocked me back a bit, but also woke me up to some of the fears that people have. She admitted that the teacher encouraged creative thinking and use of other material to supplement answers for the portfolio project. The student, from our previous discussions, obviously enjoyed creative work and finding, and interpreting meaning from stories and using pictures as symbols and metaphors. Despite all this, she reasoned that “I can’t put in extra pictures and other materials for this first entry. If I do, then the teacher will expect that I will always put in extra, and what if I can’t in the future? I better just do it safe and directly, and just get it done.”

Suddenly I realized, if this student is saying something like this, then in classrooms all over the world, many students are thinking similar thoughts and a lot of potential is being stifled. The grip of fear and worry can be so strong that a student may avoid producing something that is meaningful by focusing on the future expectations of others. Attention is taken away from current content to hypothetical implications. Furthermore, maybe even more tragic, is that many of us see high expectations as negative and something to fear. If a teacher expects to see creative thought and critical thinking in unique forms, then that can push the student to keep pushing her thinking in future projects.

Unfortunately, for those who struggle with anxiety that may lead to procrastination and putting off tasks, we seek out safety to avoid expectations.  While there is a feeling of danger in others’ expecations, and our own, they are also places and new heights that we can reach within that are not possible without expectations.

-Pat

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How Procrastination is Communicated Through Illness

This is Pierce again. I’ve been away and acting more urgently lately. But instead of pride from accomplishment, I’m left feeling a bit remorseful and worried. It seems that it takes people to be in bad health in order to get me to act. While this shows that I am willing to drop things and immediately react and focus my priorities on those who are not feeling well, I sometimes wonder.

What message does this send to the others? That I only tend to them when something is wrong? That it takes an injury, illness, being under the weather, or other signs of distress, before I look their way? It is some kind of unfortunate. It doesn’t leave much room for a mood of sunshine to sneak through the cracks, does it?

And not unscathed are times when everyone is in good health. Even during these moments the atmosphere has a kind of absurd pall over it. These are the effects I create. People are scared to be happy, to be their normal selves, because nothing gets done, no attention is paid, during these scenarios. Yet when they start getting aches and pains, depression, start to not be able to make it up that hill, I come running.

Am I, in fact, in my selective procrastination, or my selective and biased recovery from procrastination… am I simply providing fertile ground and reinforcement for malingering?

-Pierce

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