I’m getting to that…

Let’s talk procrastination, shall we?

I need some tips, ya’ll! I need some deep insights and practical solutions with a side order of peppy pep talks. I have SO MUCH TO DO before we leave for Europe, and while I am getting some of it done, I am starting to feel overwhelmed, which is usually the first step down the slippery slope that leads straight to Paralyzed-ville, a place where time stands still and all of my carefully crafted To Do lists crumble into dust.

Here are some of my worst habits. In bullet points, because THAT’S how serious I am about this:

  • I don’t complete one task, I half-complete about 6 at a time.
  • I get easily sidetracked, setting down the basket of dirty clothes so that I can sort through that pile of mail and never getting back to the laundry.
  • Focusing in on something totally unimportant and spending an inordinate amount of time on it while letting the more important things slide. Like reorganizing my junk drawer instead of cleaning up the den.
  • ˜Taking a break” to check my email or leaf through a magazine or watch a rerun, and looking up to see an hour has passed.

You get the idea. So please give me some advice, OK? Or at least commiserate and tell me some outrageous stories about your own bad habits so I’ll feel better!

24 Responses

  1. grfdave

    Are we related? (:

  2. tori

    grfdave– Possibly. Sooner or later I’ll get around to researching that…

  3. LindaB

    I also have that same problem, Tori and gfdave! Maybe this is just a big support group blossoming? Or a gathering of enablers? I really do hate being this way! I always feel unprepared for everything!!!!

    I have some good ideas to help us get our stuff done——but I never can seem to put them in use! Like…….make a list of things that need to get done and check them off one by one—–then reward yourself with some treat…. like an hour of internet browsing. Or a cookie and a mocha. But I can procrastinate the making of the list for so long that I’m hopelessly behind and the list would only be overwhelming and make me want to jump off a bridge. Or…..make a game out of it and see just how many things I can get done before a certain time. But I can’t do that either, and Lord knows, I love games! So…..I guess I’m no help at all.

    I’m anxious to hear from any commenters that really are organized and got it together! Please help us, your procrastinating sisters/brothers, who are not as on top of things like we’d like to be! Or, is it just the way we’re born and there’s no hope? Is it a cruel prank played on us by Mother Nature? I’d sure like to have someone else to blame!

  4. smartin956

    I got so bad about procrastinating that I had to go back to work. When you work, you HAVE to be organized and use your time more wisely because there are only a certain number of hours to get things done. Before I went back to work though, I tried volunteering so that I would have a place that I had to go where people other than my family depended on me. It just feels good to be depended on and appreciated by people. Most of the time your family just doesn’t give you the “love” that a mother needs. Try volunteering at your local crisis pregnancy center. What rewarding work it is when you counsel a young, scared woman and you convince her not to abort her baby and then you have the opportunity to lead her to Christ! CPC’s are always looking for a few “good women”. Good luck!

  5. swerchon

    Hi Tori,

    I am a Project Manager and organization is a big part of my job responsibiity. Here are some tips which may/may not help?

    1. Organize your To Do list – break it down into more SMALLER
    mangeable tasks, Identify what needs to be done by days.
    You may want to set some goals as well. Finalize it and
    committ to it.

    Prioritize the most important items/goals to be done again by

    2. Get help – divide and concur
    Assign some of the tasks to other family members and follow up
    with them.

    3. Set aside some time for “fun” and/or the necessary things to do
    e.g. – watch reruns @ (note time), do house chores (note time)
    etc. Include these items on your To Do List.

    4. Set up a system for tracking these items and/or rewards for items
    being done (by you or other family members). Try something,
    modify and discard if it doesn’t work.

    I hope this helps.

    In His Grip

  6. swerchon


    I posted my comment from work so I did procrastinate my “work” in order to do this. Ssshh – don’t tell my boss.


  7. themema

    Susan, that is just great for a professional organizer. But what you have to realize is that we are talking about us with the Procrastination gene so imbedded in us that there is no hope for change. Tori sounded like she was writing for me with her bullet list. We just don’t get it done until the deadline is staring us in the face. We are hopeless and helpless in that department. I can start a million things, and finish none of them. But Tori, there are rewards to that.

    I was a Sr. Field Rep with the American Cancer Society. In other words, I recruited, trained, and supervised volunteers. I was an enigma to most of the other Reps because I could do my job and turn it over to the volunteers with complete confidence that they would finish it with my encouragement but without my shadowing them and pressing them for timetables and progress reports.

    So the goal, is to accept who your are, and do the most pressing things first. I have really been working recently on completely tasks. Things as simple as taking the dry clothes all the way to the designated room and actually putting them in the correct place and then …..get this…. CLOSING THE DRAWER OR CLOSET DOOR!

    Did I say that my Christmas tree is still in my living room?

    Today, I have completed one item on my must complete this today list. It is now 3:16 in the afternoon, and Dennis will be home in about an hour. What does that tell you?

  8. themema

    Oh, and Tori. You won’t miss the flight to England.

  9. themema

    Oh, yeah. Meant to comment that I love the cartoon. Just another example of not being able to finish what I start. The cartoon is ME. And here is where i am…….

  10. GRITSinNC

    Tori, as usual, you make me LOL. You described me to a T. I got so embarrassed one day last week. It was one of those days when I’d start one project, put it down, go to another, etc. until I had a really big mess, and then the preacher dropped by, and what was I doing in the middle of all this mess? Sitting at the computer. I also noticed him look at the dust on my coffee table. I told a friend about it and she said I should have asked him to autograph it…wish I had thought of it. LOL

    I religiously make lists and it makes me feel so good when I get something scratched off but mostly, they just get carried over to another day. My motto has become “don’t do today what can be put off till tomorrow”.

    Just wanted to let you know you’re not alone. Oh, and the thoughts of packing to go on a trip freaks me out!

  11. chillybean

    Oh, my. And I thought I was the only one with this issue. Glad to know I am not alone.

    Must get back to putting away groceries, prepping all the fresh produce, clearing the table from breakfast, starting supper, doing the dishes, prepping some laundry, cleaning the bathroom, and ridding the living room of legos.

    But first, I must take a break from all my half-started tasks to re-check my email. Somerone might have written in the last few moments.

  12. Pearl

    Susan’s first point is the best- break down your list into tiny mini tasks and then prioritize the whole list.
    A-Most important, MUST be done- ie, pack clean underwear
    B-Needs to be done but not at the expense of the A list- ie, clean out fridge before we leave
    C-Should be done but the earth won’t stop if it doesn’t get done- ie, vacumm before we leave

    themema’s plan to finish each task is essential. When you start a mini task don’t stop for anything but massive bleeding until you have completed it. (Most mini tasks should take between five and 30 minutes)

    Use a timer. Set yourself a time limit for each task and work like crazy to beat the clock. After you’ve completed a certain number of tasks or worked for a certain amount of time (say an hour or two) reward yourself with a treat -check email, have a snack (I recommend chocolate), read a blog, etc- BUT set the timer FIRST for 10-15 minutes. When the timer goes off- back to the list.

    I get sidetracked because I’m afraid that if I don’t deal with that stack of mail while I’m looking at it I’ll forget about it. So I use sticky notes. It helps to keep a pad and pen in my pocket so I can jot down notes on the go and stick them to my master list. That way I can remind myself that I won’t forget and keep on task.

    One last thing. Set up some “stations” around the house for certain things. For example:
    -All papers go in the basket by the desk.
    -Stuff we want to pack for the trip goes in the box in the spare room
    -Library books go in the tote bag by the front door
    -Things I need to take care of when we get back go in the basket in the dining room.
    You get the idea.

    Just a few ideas from a reforming procrastinator. There are probably 12 steps but this is all I’ve got for now. :)

  13. tori

    LindaB– I’m going with the ‘cruel joke played on us by Mother Nature’ theory– takes some of the pressure off!

    smartin956– I totally get that! I am much more organized with my writing jobs than with my around-the-house jobs…

    swerchon– OK, you have some really useful ideas here. I particularly suck at #2, delegating things to others. That would make my life a lot easier!

    themema– AND… that is why you and I always get along so beautifully– peas in a pod, we are!

    GRITSinNC–Thank you, it DOES make me feel better to know I’m not alone!

    chillybean– You too! Join the club!

    Pearl– You may have the makings of a global movement here– seriously, those are really good suggestions! Prioritizing my lists and the whole timer thing make a whole lot of sense. Thank you.

  14. johnboyFL

    well i had alot to say earlier today about this and i couldnt get logged in…technology is great when it works ehhh.

    now im tired and ready for bed and nick at night…LOL

    tori i say its easier to move than to do housework.

    i went to the doctor this afternoon concerned i had a blood preasure problem because my hands were num and come to find out i have capal tunnel. imagine the shock…LOL

    im more concerned with the fact you will have your laptop and internet access way over yonder tori. they do have internet over tehre dont they..lol

  15. gracelynn

    Yep, I knew it Tori. We are DEFINITELY related! The more organized I try to become, the more unorganized everything ends up being. Story of my life. Try sorting through 180 days of lesson plans and putting them into logical order by the state objective (e.g. Teaching Hardware and Software). I’ve been meaning to do that for what?….3 years now. LOL I have yet to organize my pictures from my Spring Break trip and label them. That doesn’t even include the ones that I took this past weekend when Wanda and I were gone – haven’t even loaded them on the computer yet. I’ve been meaning to clean up my bedroom for 3 months now….you get the picture. ROTFL Shoot, I barely got packed for my trip to see SSQ this past Friday until I got up Friday morning! I get sidetracked so easily, especially when packing. I’ll come across something I intended to do and before I know it, I’ve got to quit and go to bed or I’ll fall dead asleep on the floor. Trust me, I’m the queen of procrastination in my family’s household. Mom was running a close race tonight though but she didn’t win. She managed to pack EVERYTHING for hers and dad’s trip tomorrow BEFORE she went to bed. So I’m still wearing the crown in this household.

    Welcome to the club my sister!

    johnboyFL, I have carpel tunnel too so I know how it is. Hang in there.

  16. mkittrell

    Oh, Lori,
    Here you go sweating the small stuff in life! Don’t worry about the laundry. One day you will be going through the mail, look over and see the basket of laundry and go do it.
    The next time these kinds of thoughts go through your head, take one of these steps:
    — Go outside and find a butterfly. You’ll smile.
    — Dig out an old photo album from underneath the laundry and look through it. Traipse down Memory Lane for as long as you like!
    — Play hide-and-seek with your cat. You be the one who hids. The best place to hide is on your bed or in a nice comfortable chair. Take a book. Most cats aren’t good at this game. But you need to learn that for yourself.
    — Demonstrate to your children the dances you used to do as a teenager. Watching them bug their eyes out is so cute!
    — Listen to The Carpenters.
    –Ride in your car with the windows down. Sing out loud at red lights.
    — If the laundry piling up in the room is getting too much for you, guess what? Turn out the light, shut the door to the room and go play Twister with your kids! Or better yet, Russ!
    Marty from Vicksburg
    — Eat a different kind of ice cream. Go to Wal-Mart and get some sprinkles to eat on it.

  17. LindaB

    Oh, mkittrell, I like the way you think! I’m writing all your suggestions down!

    When life gets too much, my granddaughter (who lives with us) and I get in the car, take off down the road, put on our Temptations CD and sing along at the top of our lungs! It works for us! And it makes us laugh!

    To further encourage the laugh factor, I bought a hula hoop last week! It took me a while to find one that fit! But I finally found an extra large one. I used to be very good at hula hooping when I was young. My kids are just dying to see me try to work this nostalgic toy, even threatening to put it on UTube. I haven’t attempted it yet. Too many witnesses around. But when the time is right, I’m gonna give it my all! (I’m checking my Tylenol suppy before that happens.)


    Sorry, can’t give you any advice or inspiration on this – since you sounded just like me. Hey, I know – get that crackless plummer to help! Then, you really will get your $ worth! I’m still trying to respond(break through) to Russ’ website so I can torture him for a while! Thought I’d give you a break! =)

  19. johnboyFL

    whats the word today tori. i just got out of bed and raced to see what the blog of the day was and theres nothing…LOL

  20. rachelbaker

    Well, what can I say?

    I turned on my computer to check my bank account to make sure I had enough to do my online grocery shop.

    Then I noticed I had emails.

    One of them was a facebook notification that my Mum had ‘tagged’ me in a picture.

    I had to check that out, just in case it was unflattering or embarassing, oh fortunately not (this time).

    Oh look, someone has written on the wall of my bible study group’s page. Girl’s night on Thursday with Take-away food and no kids – definitely, will phone my friend and say yes.

    Back to the computer – oh look Tori’s posted a link to her latest blog, must go straight to it.

    Now – why was it I turned on my computer?

    Its a universal problem I think, and I’m with mkittrel all the way.

  21. BrownEyedGirl

    I used to be so organized until I started working and keeping up with three teens. I’m slipping………….

    We just need to have one big cleaning party – all of us – complete with food – pot luck. We’ll get Tori’s house done first and take a road trip to the next one and so on. I’m sure we’d all be laughing the whole time we’re cleaning. Yes, we would have to designate a supervisor to make sure we actually clean :o)

    Who’s in?

  22. chillybean

    BrownEyedGirl – that sounds like the best suggestion of all. I have always loved cleaning at someone else’s house, rather than my own.

    Anyone want to travel to WI? ha ha…maybe I should suggest this with a closer circle of friends…not sure they will stay friends for long, but if my house gets cleaned first…hmmm…

  23. jonny

    Well, if I could only figure out some way to get everyone over to Finland… Definately could use some help with my place as well!! = )

  24. sammifredenburg

    finally getting around to responding here, talk about procrastination!

    I’m an adult with ADD. rejoice you don’t have that handle lol!

    i picked up a great little book at the Franklin Covey store at a mall somewhere, they sell nothing but planners and accessories and such, i love mine, sometimes i use it, more often i misplace it. but the book is “Eat That Frog! – 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done In Less Time” by Brian Tracy. the premise is based on a saying by Mark Twain that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go thru the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all the day long. somedays my frog is the bird cage, or the bathtub, or the fireplace, but i try to get one unpleasant thing done before i give myself some computer time. (tho i do paruse my blackberry email before i get out of bed, in case i have any immediate actions in DC,i’m three hours behind there!

    so believe me, there is a big gap between my philosophy and practice. i wish i had a housekeeper, an assistant, a mentor. i know your situation is most likely a lot less serious than i’m reflecting here, certainly your home is lovely and your life is together and this is just a venting moment, we all need them.

    love you much. i’m going to go swallow another frog, then come back and enjoy the great comments in this thread, and hopefully catch up on your latest one or two blogs. talk about procrastination!

    stay close,

    sammi =)

    ps: hope daddy is doing okay? i need to read the latest on how he is doing, and if madi is back home. *blush*

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