Killing Procrastination

Bear with me, this post may feel scattered. I’m retracing my steps in an effort to figure out what moved me out of procrastination on some long awaited activities/projects this morning. Maybe I’ll learn something and hopefully, if you’re reading this maybe you can too or at least help me figure it out.

Here’s where we end: I start to download pictures from my phone to work on a new blog post. Opening my file organizer I see a great deal of piled up files that keep getting dumped into my generic “documents” folder, instead of rolling my eyes like I usually do and telling myself I need to start cleaning that up, I actually start creating folders and moving files. After a few minutes my pictures are downloaded, I’ve made a significant difference in my digital clutter and I find myself inspired to continue the digital cleaning. Weird. I just killed some long lived procrastination and now I feel ready to keep it up. As I stop to ponder what just happened so I can figure out how to store it and use it again in the future, I decide to write it out as I’m thinking it. So here goes.

This morning I sat down at my computer to do the routine checks: email, google reader, blog, etc. What’s different? 1) I come to a clean inbox, 2) I break a pattern.

1) The inbox; stupid thing always gets full too fast. I’ve gotten so bad that I usually have two to three hundred read emails in there before I do a clean out. I hit that mark a few days ago so this morning my inbox was clean. (Side note, I’ve also noticed the cleaner my inbox, the less stuff I end up keeping. I like this.)

Lesson: Clean and organized – no matter how small – has a big impact, especially at the starting line of a day’s activities.

2) Pattern break. I usually go straight from my e-mail check to status checks of friends and family on Facebook. Naturally, this lends to games and other time suckers. This morning I go from e-mail to google reader and my blog.

Lesson: Patterns can become ruts that support energy drain and deter productivity. A little break goes a long way.

I move into my google reader. What’s different? 1) New features, 2) Obvious neglect.

1) New features were the first thing I found when I went to my feed reader this morning. While I’m not sure I’ll use many of them, it was inspiring to see the effort invested in improvement. I wonder what things I should be investing more improvement in myself.

2) Obvious neglect. At least 85% of my blogs I’ve subscribed to are completely inactive now. I can’t help but remember what it was like several years ago when these blogs were active. I reflect on my own blog, what it’s purpose was/is for me and if my actions support it.

Lesson: If it’s worth doing, it’s worth continuing to do and improve.

I respond to a comment on my blog about a file download. What happened? 1) I’m reminded of how badly I need to update and tackle this concept of file compilation and sharing. 2) I’m inspired that someone found something helpful.

1) Outdated – There simply has to be a better solution out there for me to share my files, teaching and creating ideas. I’m thinking about it again and how nice it would be to have a system that worked.

2) It’s helpful. This is the most inspiring piece of the morning. Someone is commenting on using something I’ve shared. Another comment reminds me there are still a few people reading my blog. I need to do better.

Lesson: Action begins with a thought, it is motivated by encouragement.

Inspired to do better on my blog I decide to write an article today. Halloween was yesterday, I have photos and things I could share about my son’s face painting success and failure. I need to download pictures. The device opens my file organizer where I see a mass of cluttered mess. I start moving/cleaning files. What happened? 1) I may have ADD, 2) Action is contagious.

1) The Attention Deficit Factor. This isn’t all bad. After all, these many steps lead to other steps right?

2) Action is contagious. This is an awesome recognition.

Lesson: Focus is necessary but if overdone can actually feed procrastination. There’s something to be said for the phrase “Do it now”.

1) Start with something clean or organized.
2) Shake it up, do something different – break a routine.
3) Identify activities worth your time.
4) Think, act, feed.
5) Focus with flexibility, just do it.

I’m on the war path.


3 comments on “Killing Procrastination

  1. Oops — the comment got lost, so here we go again.
    My email client (Thunderbird) allows me to set a retention policy for each folder (don’t know about the latest version of gmail)
    so after I’ve finished reading the emails, I do the following:
    1) move personal emails (like yours!) to a folder that keeps files forever (or at least until I’m through with them)
    2) select all remaining emails and move to trash folder
    3) the retention policy for the trash folder is 30 days, so anything older than that automatically gets deleted
    a) this lets me go back and see what someone said that I didn’t respond to and fix that
    b) every once in a while I sort the trash file by sender/recipient and remove those that have accumulated to almost the max (like all the email lists — FHCNet, How-To-Geek, etc. where I get at least one a day each)
    4) do the same for the sent folder; about 1x a week I double check to be sure that those I wish to keep (which will later be copied to my journal) have been moved to their proper folder(s)

    This keeps the clutter to a minimum while helping me not panic about having lost something that I really wanted to keep but didn’t move it when I was working with it!

    Is this _too_ organized?


  2. Most of headlines in your post sound like me when I simply need to clean up the kitchen. 😉

    Hee hee

  3. Being organized is something I really need to work on. I’m also suppose to help my son organized his room too. Stiill have not done it after talking about doing it a couple of months ago.

    I can relate! :)

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