Procrastination – or I wished I finished my holiday shopping in August

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Are you a procrastinator? According to Psychology Today, 20% of all people describe themselves as chronic procrastinators.  Does that make you feel better or worse? 
All of us at one time or another have procrastinated over something. This morning I woke up, picked up my journal and cringed (actually I screamed!) when I noticed the date – December 8! Shouldn’t it be November 2?  That is when I wanted to begin my holiday shopping, but didn’t.  If I had, I wouldn’t be in such a state of almost panic!  Holidays can do that to us, especially these holidays coming up when the stakes are high and the question is – what gifts to buy everyone?!
So now you know we all procrastinate, college kids do it 80-95% of the time (how many college students do you know who pull all nighters because they procrastinated?), but right now it isn’t a college paper that is stressing us out, it is the holiday season. 
Sometimes the challenge of getting something done right before the deadline within a shorter time period gives us a rush – the stress of a deadline, which increases the flow we feel when doing the task, a challenge!  And yet we also know procrastination can bring on a different kind of stress.    We all know, stress is not good for the body! So, how do we overcome procrastinating? Unfortunately we cannot add more hours to our day to get everything accomplished, but we can begin now and not put things off until tomorrow or Christmas Eve (we all know people who go out and do ALL of their shopping that evening – oh the stress of it!). So how or what do we need to do to get ready and not be stressed.
Since procrastination is all about self-regulation (sounds like something I can put off until after the new year!) what can I do to #1, stop procrastinating and #2, prepare for the holidays. 

  1. Just begin what you need to do – sometimes the act of just starting a project, a paper or a life choice can get you engaged enough to continue.  Write that list of gifts you need to buy! Write a menu if you are cooking dinner or dinners.  What can you purchase rather than prepare yourself (less stress and even the Barefoot Contessa says buy some of the dishes that go with your meal! And if she can do it, so can you and I!) Make sure you put dates of when these things need to be done.
  2. Break the list of your goals into manageable steps so it is easy to get finished.  At lunchtime, pick up one or two gifts, whether at a local store or online. Order the food you need, straighten up your house (make the beds if you can that guests will be staying in for the holiday)
  3. Keep this up until you have completed your list (it does feel good to check off the items on your list).
  4. Reward yourself for the small victories – the reward doesn’t have to be  big or expensive, sometimes the reward of time is the best reward we can give ourself. 

Have a great holiday. Remember to breathe and savor the moments with family and friends.  Time may not be on your side to accomplish what we want to accomplish, however, it is all we have, so make the best of it.
 Want to see who is living in our heads, this TED talk describes what is going on in your head when it is procrastinating (and it is funny!)  Do you have these voices in your head?  https://www.ted.com/talks/tim_urban_inside_the_mind_of_a_master_procrastinator?language=en
Be open to the possibilities,

Ronnie

 

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