Annnnd… this*. I’m never sure if it’s the chicken or the egg that comes first– if I get depressed because I let that procrastination take over, or if that procrastination taking over is a symptom of the beginnings of depression.
But they feed each other. Depression, anxiety and their concubine, apathy; they get together have a big ol’ ménage a trios in my mind and I’m the one left feeling exhausted and spent and seedy.
‘Your inbox will never be empty’, they like to say; and I’m fairly sure that was said back when an inbox was an actual box, as in ‘a tray on your desk’, rather than a folder in your email account. There will always be things to be done on your list of Things To Do. The key to it all is to give yourself a finishing time, a point in the day where you have done enough and can relax…
Which, in theory, is just fine.
My problem is that things seem to linger and stay on my list of Things To Do for longer than is reasonably necessary. I go to bed each night with the Things To Do list written, with the very best of intentions… Only to find the next day slips through my fingers like sand, like silicon; and I’m left repeating the whole process again.
I have a phone call on my list of things to be done that has been there, either transferred from list to list (both digital and papered in notebooks) for almost a year now. Roughly 360 days of saying “I will do that, tomorrow”. Roughly 360 days of beating myself up just slightly.
‘Clean the gross gunky stuff off the top of my kitchen shelves’– that one’s been on the list for eighteen months. Since I moved into this house.
‘Sow new buttons on Chop’s school shirts‘ is currently entering its seventh week of inbox loitering. ‘Make dentist appointment’ is cruising at three weeks.
It’s not as though any of these tasks are particularly important or life changing or ominous. They’re not even difficult. It’s just that even beginning them seems so many kinds of momentous. So I follow the steps of the dance of the chronic procrastinator and write lists, ignore them, rewrite them then ignore them some more.
They begin to feel as though they pile up on my soul as well as my lists, like the constant ebbing pressure of knowing I need to do them is eating big ulcerated holes in my mind.
It’s on those occasions that I’ve found it best to instate Anti Procrastination Day, FlyLady style. And take the veritable, bitching bull by the horns. Stop thinking too much about things and do things instead.
I’ve taken to calling them, in my mind, ‘karma blockers’, those annoying tasks and Must–Be-Done’s. Because it very much feels as though that is exactly what they are– they force up huge blocks in the way of the flow of life. They disrupt energy, negate change. And it’s impossible to invoke a sense of lightness when something makes you feel so heavy.
I like to imagine myself as some kind of video game heroine, doing great big round kicks and Matrix-style slow jumps through the air while I explode the things on my Things To Do list, kicking butt over one thing after another, growing stronger and gaining some kind of reward– life points, maybe, or just general good karma. And I walk around for days afterwards feeling alive, feeling good. Feeling like a mother f*cking adult.
I hate the feeling of things left over, of tasks left behind, gathering dust. The permanence of them annoy me– I can manage to cross a dozen things off my Things To Do list in a day, but none of them will be important. I think the rationale behind that thinking is as simplistic as it seems– I tend to do the easiest tasks first, the ones easy to cross off. I think we all do, maybe.
So the easier things slide off the list, daily, and only the karma–blockers remain.
It’s Anti–procrastination Day here in the TinyTrainHouse today. I have done six million loads of washing and am about to vacuum the goddamn floor.
Like the responsible adult I am.
*I have, evidently, been spending far too much time on Reddit lately. More on that, soon.