Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I am constantly cutting out articles from the newspaper.  What inevitably happens is that the articles then pile up, and I eventually throw them out.

Trying a new strategy today.  Going to document what I think is interesting out of the article on the blog, and then throw the paper away.  

Article on procrastination from Washington Post, March 31, 2009, by Erica Davis Bak

The gist: if you are a procrastinator, you are not alone and that there are strategies to help.  

A study divided procrastinators into two groups: those that delay out of fear of failure, judgment and even success and those called "arousal procrastinators" who wait for the thrill of it.  

Never really thought about there being differences in the types of procrastinators.  I would fall into the first category.  I thought it was interesting that they included the fear of success as a reason.  I totally agree though.  In most cases, I'm not afraid of failing at something, but what happens if I succeed?  What else will be expected of me?  Can I live up to those expectations?  What if I am not as successful next time?

"A recent study suggests that consciously changing the way we think about things we have to do --approaching them as concrete steps rather than abstract ideas--may help even chronic procrastinators."

Agreed.  Saying, "I need to clean out the office" is a whole lot more intimidating and overwhelming than breaking it down into discrete tasks: for the next 30 minutes, I am going to shred any bill that is older than one year out of the top file cabinet drawer.  OK, totally doable.

"The issue, he said, is giving in to feeling good in the moment.  'We're always looking after how we feel.  Facing a task doesn't make us feel good.'"

Totally true.  This concept has been coming up a lot also in the personal finance books I have been reading lately (more on that to come).  Step back and stop to think and not feel.  Obviously, feeling is important, but there are times when the thought is a better guider than the heart.  I am going to buy this grill because I want it; it will make me feel better to have it.   Instead of thinking about how that fits into the spending plan and thinking logically.

"The greatest grief people have on their deathbed is the things they left undone....For me, procrastination is not the problem of the all-nighter and the last-minute effort," he said.  "It's a problem of not getting on with life itself."

Two words: live intentionally

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