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Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

January 3 Challenge: Get Er Done

born to be distracted
What's that hanging over your head?

Today's challenge is to take care of one thing on the To-Do list.  What's something you've been putting off?
Scheduling that mammogram/colonoscopy/dental check up?  Opening up that bill or email?  Returning that sweater that doesn't fit, that phone call that feels like trouble?

Pick one thing, small or large.  Write it down.  Do it.  Cross it off.  Be done!

There's a general law regarding animal behavior: avoid discomfort.  Did you ever do that experiment in biology class where you aim a little laser light or prod a sharp pin at an amoeba?  Even these little single celled creatures, lacking a central nervous system, will move out of the way.  We move out of the way too, and embellish with lots of rationalizations and distractions.  We're more sophisticated in behavioral repertoire. And the funny thing is, Brain happily accepts temporary comfort of avoidance as a Big Reward: DING!  Problem averted!  But this momentary relief is often accompanied by prolonged vague dread.  And psychological dis-ease.  Enough of that and we can even get physical disease.  Remember, Mind and Body occupy the same vehicle.  We really aren't as smart as more instinctual life-forms.  We cause ourselves all sorts of trouble with our temporary avoidance.

don't wither on the branch
We also procrastinate because, as humans, we are fantastic story-tellers.  When we aren't sure what will happen next, we make up tales.  Usually scary ones.  Like:  the dentist will yell at me for missing my last cleaning, then say all the teeth must go.

Most of the time, our dread of the task consumes much more energy than the actual doing of it.  The stories are overblown.  And even when they aren't-- when we are facing something that truly is going to be difficult, no ifs, ands or buts-- well, it doesn't go away just because we don't do it.  If there IS a tumor, the bill IS really high, the person IS frustrated we haven't called back-- it's not getting less complicated with delay.

Dealing with the hard stuff = hell to pay.  Putting it off:  Hell to pay, plus interest.

I can write for days about procrastination.  I'm a pro at it.  Maybe I will pick five things for Thursday's challenge.  I'll let you know what I did.   How about you?   What does future self want you to take care of now?

Related reading:  The Now Habit:  A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt Free Play.  Neil Fiore, PhD.
Quotes of the day:  “God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.”  St. Augustine
"Procrastination is the thief of time.  Collar him."  Charles Dickens

Vid of the day: 


Jana Svoboda, LCSW said...

I procrastinated getting this started tonight. There were some really boring photos I wanted to delete first, and then i needed a little snack after all that tedious clicking, and then BOOM, deadline. Got er done. Not great, but good enough. I am crossing Write Jan 3 Challenge OFF my list.

Kiesa said...

I don't have time to procrastinate, but I did mail two letters that have been sitting on the counter for a few days . .. ..