23 March 2014

Sitting at my computer, hands poised on the keyboard, staring vacantly at a blank document. Willing text to spontaneously turn up and form the policy analysis report I’ve been assigned.

Reminding myself that this is the third time in the last two days that I’ve sat in this exact place. Feeling dull, uninspired, tired.

Acting defeated.

A sudden bleep! cuts through the palpable dread hanging in the air. A new email has arrived! A welcome distraction. In a rush of relief, I quickly abandon the empty, white struggle and direct my attention to the inbox.

The email is from a co-worker and in bolded print the title reads, “Do YOU procrastinate?Procrastinator

“Yes!” I exclaim aloud. And I laugh uncontrollably at the blatant irony of what I know I’m about to do next. Clicking to read more, I find this cute – and quite relevant – graphic:

I recognize all of these different procrastinators in myself, but immediately pick out my go-to personas. All too often – and in fact already today – I am the Cleaner, the Panicker and the List Maker.

While adorable and humorous, this graphic got me thinking a little deeper about why I so quickly and faithfully transform into one of these subspecies of procrastinators. The different personas are really self-created reasons, justifications for not doing what I know I should be doing.

So what is getting in the way of me doing what I know I should be doing? What am I really trying to avoid so fervently that I feel the need to create explanations for my idleness? Who am I explaining to?

Oh sheesh, the obstacle is me. I’m trying to stifle and hide feelings about the project from myself. And I’m explaining to myself that everything is absolutely fine. “Pay no attention to your defeatist attitude, Kim. If you avoid it enough, it’ll just clear right out…”

Practicing yoga has helped show me the value in acknowledging yourself and your emotions in a particular moment. On the mat, I allow myself to experience the wide spectrum of feelings that may froth up from the recesses of my mind/body. I’m learning to breathe through them, to not suffer from them and to let them go, removing the blocks that hold me back.

As a result of adopting these behaviors in my yoga practice, I am more able to apply them to other facets of my life. I am able to recognize my procrastinator-self, shed light on the obstacles that I, myself, am constructing and then find an effective strategy for getting done what needs to be done.

What subspecies of procrastinator are you? Are those identities and behaviors getting in your way? I invite you to view yourself and your procrastination head on, without judgment.

Of course, I love a good internet cat video, tasty snack or peaceful nap as much as the next person.   But let’s stop using these activities to hide from ourselves, get our work done and start enjoying them as leisurely pastimes.

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