Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Anti-Procrastination Challenge

It's 11:00AM on a Wednesday in July. It's going to be one of those days. I can't, nor will I, bring myself to do anything productive. In fact, by writing this post I'm slacking off!
Granted, it's summer break, vacation time, blah blah blah, but am I the only person who really struggles with a non-productive day?
I can't stand the feeling of crawling into bed at night and not being exhausted from the day's work. That  right there is a guaranteed restless night of sleep.

Procrastination has been a personal battle my entire semi-adult life. I can remember when I was in high school coming home and plopping in front of the TV for two hours straight (I had a long day, I deserved it, right?). And I mean, who really does their homework until right before class the next day?

The moral of this short story is that I started some horrible lifestyle habits in my early life, and they are haunting me to this day, affecting my school work, my relationships with friends and family, my free time. I even struggle with procrastination when I know that I have so much to do and so little time to do it in. It's like my coping mechanism to deal with this stress is to turn on Netflix.

I would consider myself a very organized person (Mom, there's a difference between being organized and being clean!). I have a daily Moleskine 12 Month Planner (archies unite!) that I carry with me everywhere and write in every day, and hi-light, color code, tab, etc. I also have a weekly calendar that sits in a place I can look at daily to see what the rest of my week entails. It's not like I'm oblivious to the work that needs to be done (I'm not sure if this makes my situation better or worse?).

However, when it comes down to just doing the thing, whether it's a class assignment, or working on my design portfolio, or cleaning the apartment, I. just. can't. do it.
Why?

I have no theories so far as to why I am such a procrastinator despite all the steps I take to prevent disorganization, except that I have developed bad habits.

I would say about myself that I haven't been fully aware of my procrastination until my sophomore year of college. I knew since high school that what I was doing when I did anything besides what I was supposed to be doing that I was procrastinating, but I didn't understand the repercussions from choosing this lifestyle. I just saw that what I was doing was fun, and what I wasn't doing wasn't fun, so I just chose (key word: chose) to keep doing what's fun and to do that other stuff later (never).

I think this is an important step of making a lifestyle change, that accepting and acknowledging your problem is the first step. I'm aware of my procrastination, and I want to make the change, and this is a huge step.

But then what's next?

 The not fun part. The actual change.

I am fully aware that this will not be an easy life transition, but it's a transition that needs to be made. From disappointment to satisfaction. From defeat to victory. From childhood to adulthood.

Now, I am also fully aware of the fact that my God will love me even if I don't make this lifestyle change. I love Him, and in the end, that's all that matters. I don't have to do anything at all to "make it" into eternity besides love Him with all my heart and soul and mind.

But I also know that life is a precious gift from God, which I should thank Him for every single hour of every day. On top of this, I can not fully love Him if I don't praise Him in everything that I do, and I don't praise God very well when I've been on Facebook the past two hours.
The truth hurts.

The simple fact is that it's time to grow up! It's time to put my big girl pants on and take responsibility for my actions. Hasn't this been what I've wanted my whole life? To finally be an adult?

It turns out, adulthood can be just as fun as we thought it would be as kids. WHAT? You've got that wrong, Jordan. Adulthood is a time to make hard decisions, and work hard, and go to bed early, and wake up early, and raise smelly children, and be on the go 24/7, and never have enough money, and...

I'm not going to sugarcoat this sucker for you. What little I know about adulthood does include making hard decisions, and hard work, and waking up earlier than you used to, and, for some of us, raising children who may or may not be smelly, and never having enough money.

But there is so much more to life than this. I just know there has to be, and there is. And the difference between people who see adulthood in this negative light and people who love their life is a change in perspective.

I now get to make hard decisions I've never made that will alter me and my life, always for the better.
I get to work hard doing something I love, and if I don't love what I'm doing, I love who I'm doing the work for, my creator.
I get to wake up earlier so that I have more time in the day to spend with the people I love.
Raising clean children can hardly be fun!
And I fully believe that God will provide me with everything I need. Even the richest man in the world needs more money.

A change in perspective is my first step to being productive.

OK, now that I have a change in perspective it's time to get moving! I need some practical, life-applicable changes to be made in my life.

And thus begins the two week challenge!
Exactly two weeks from today, I'll be preparing to make my pilgrimage back to Lawrence from Chicago for school, and I have SO much to do between now and then! This sounds like a perfect time to "grow up" :)

First things first: eliminate all distractions.
Computer:
1. I'm going to be keeping my laptop downstairs 24/7 so that I'm not tempted to get on every social media site possible every five seconds.
2. I'm no longer going to sit in my bed and work on my computer. This is when I get on the computer for four hours before I realize what I've done.
3. I'm giving myself an hour each day to do "non-productive" tasks on my computer (this includes all social media and blogging!)

Phone:
1. I'm deleting Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. off my phone
2. Is this really all I can come up with for my phone? I'll have to think of more "punishments"

People:
1. If I find myself being distracted by family, friends, etc. then I must stop being friends with them immediately. Get away from me, satan!
Just kidding, but seriously, the next time I'm being distracted by another person I have to politely tell them that I need to get work done, and distance myself from this person for a short period of time to actually get the work done.

Next to conquer: free time. Relaxation is a great thing! I'm a huge believer in taking breaks, but not for more than 30 minutes at a time. Time to eliminate hours of doing nothing.

There's a million other ways to conquer procrastination I'm sure, but I'm going to start with these tasks and see how it went after two weeks!

We can do this! Procrastination does not own me, or you, or anyone. We are the authors of our own story, and with the help of God we will overcome any obstacle we put our minds to.



"Slack habits and sloppy work are as bad as vandalism. God's name is a place of protection-good people can run there and be safe," Proverbs 18:9 MSG.
Dwell.
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