Superprocastination-expialidocious :-)

So I asked myself one question this morning. “What is procrastination?”. I’m often at it’s mercy apparently and I often play victim to it but do I really understand what it is? For me at least.

What it is for me

So I wrote, “Procrastination is the act of delaying an action or decision/choice to a point where it has a negative outcome”. And I felt a deep twinge as I wrote it. I recognised that there is something below the surface here, something to learn from. So I decided to write about what happens as it happens to see what happens.

Firstly, I identified the feeling of shame around this habit I have of procrastinating. It has led to a lot of disappointment, problems and frankly I don’t like to admit how often it happens. Literally, all of the time. And when I ‘sober up’ and take a long hard look at my pile of things to do, it is unpleasant to say the least. And very often sends me back under the blankets again waiting for that monster to go away.

So why do I do it then? The classic answer, I’ve often read, is all about instant gratifition and delayed reward. In other words, I can’t buckle down now and miss out on fun or pleasure right now for some pay off later on. For example; Checking Facebook or emails before rather than after I get the report started, or heaven forbid, finished.

Now that may seem a little lame but, as the saying goes “How you do one thing is how you do everything”  It isn’t the single act or choice isn’t the problem, in the same way a single drink or cigarette is unlikely to casue lasting damage. It’s the accumualtion of the consequences over time. The dripping tap that fills the bath.

However, it is more fundamental than that, I feel. It becomes normal to delay, to put off any and all things that require effort. Add them to the Ayelgetroundtoit pile, the looming mountian stuff to be done that casts a long shadow. The metaphorical and actual pile of  envelopes opened or unopened that require something of me. Even if it is only a moments time to make a decision or read and put away or bin.

So now what?

Well, that was depressing. And it’s patently obvious, everything I’ve read and done up to this moment has not worked. Not consistently and certainly not enough to overcome or stop it. Which leads me to a question.

How can I change?

I’m not sure why but almost immeadilty a new question arose. Why do I want to change? I can almost see the wry smile or hear the groan on your lips but bear with me. I believe you can only change things when you really want to change them. I won’t use the word motivation, even if that is what it might appear to be. I feel that the why is so important because change requires investment.

This investment, or delayed gratification, is the key. I’ll illustrate an example in one aspect of my life. Fitness.

Investing in my body

A few years ago I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes and then Type II. I was tired and achy all the time, frequently out of breath and perspiring. Overweight and getting old. At 50, I realised that I’d kind of given up on this body of mine. Everything I tried didn’t stick long enough for it to work.

But one day, and I don’t remember exactly how or when it changed, I realised that I had to get help. That alone I wasn’t capable of doing what was necessary, consistently, to get the results I needed. So I searched for a perosnal trainer or a gym to join. I emailed one or two and only go one prompt response. Martyn, who ws everyhting I was not. An Iron Man competitor about my age who looked like a wippet.

And so began my journey, one hour a week in his garage/studio/gym. And it was hard. It was painful in the sense that my body was being asked to go outside of its comfort zone. For days after I’d ache, I’d almost feel worse than I did before. I have to admit there were some days when I didn’t feel like it and cried off sick ~ genuine and pulled a ‘sicky’.

But something started to happen, over the weeks and then months, things got easier. A little bit at a time, almost imperceptibly so. I often joke with Martyn that I wish I had a video of my first few sessions just so I could see before and after.

For example, when I started walking more, faster and further, my calf muscles would cramp up or I’d get lower back pain. Nothing lasting but for a while it felt like I’d never get beyond it. Sometimes I had to ease back a little for a week or two and then try again. And throughout all of this Martyn gently pushed me but never too hard.

 

Advertisements

Wow!

I’ve just listened to my heart after deciding to ‘just write’. While reading the latest edition of Writers Forum magazine I came across an online course by Neil Gaiman. And it slapped me in the face – “I need to do this!”. A writer who I’ve admired for a long time; from the Sandman graphic novels, through his books ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ and then adaptation to the big screen ‘Stardust’ and then the small screen ‘American Gods’ .

So I looked at the cost £90 and thought ‘no-brainer‘ for a course by one of my favourite writers. Then, as usual, I looked at my bank balance…my bills and thought ‘I can’t afford it right now’.  With my Mr Lack head on (think Worzel Gummidge) I gave a shrug and decided it would have to wait.

However, my heart wasn’t impressed and demanded I take off Mr Lack and put on Mr Abundance instead. So I did, I chose not to focus on the scarcity thoughts and just allow that somehow, because my heart wanted this so obviously, that it would happen. I didn’t tyr to figure out how or when. I just knew in that moment, you could say I belived if you like, that this was something I just had to do. No matter what.

And it happened just like magic. I received £90, in cash, from an unexpected source and after a moments hesitation*, I deposited it in the bank and came straight home to enrol and begin the course. I’ve just watched about half an hours worth and my heart was so right! I need this. It’s like oxygen. It’s like waking up inside a dream and realising it was real all along. I can only describe it as watching the best movie ever about the subject you most love.

To say I am excited is an understatement. This is the fuel I needed for my rocket. As the man says “To Ininty and Beyond”.

 

 

 

 

Write here, write now

crow flying above green grass field

Photo by Batuhan Alper Bilginer on Pexels.com

Meeting Mr Tourmaline

I met a curious character whilst out walking the other day. Dressed in black with his neat grey waistcoat, I instantly knew this skip walking corvid was Mr Tourmaline. Of good standing in the Hooded Crow clan, he was in a cheerful mood muttering as he slowed to a waddling saunter, inspecting the grass with bright eyes for his breakfast.

Read more here

The Pivotal Moment

August didn’t know it yet but his mission, hidden by his momentary loss of reason, carried a soul crushing responsibility. Crossing into a world bereft of magic and hope, slowly smothering itself in inhuman technology, he was here to prevent the crystallization of the formless mass of interconnected machines and processors into a unified inorganic god.

The sheer weight of millions of devices and quadrillions of calculations would press the technology into an indestructible whole, much as graphite dust can be compressed into a diamond lattice. Already the weight of the ever-growing pervasive technology had pushed out the old magics and created an entropy gap between the bound and boundless realms. Once the transformation happened it would be irreversible, trapping August in a world doomed to a slow death in service to the new god.

With the aid of a few remnants of the old races and embers of magic, he would have to strike at the precise moment of the transformation. Too soon and, like punching smoke, it would have no impact on the result. Too late and, like punching rock, it could not undo what was done. Only at the pivotal moment, when the energy in the system began forging, crystallising the random formless parts into a mesh of new indestructible bonds.

A moment when the forces could be turned to consume the parts, shatter the new bonds and destroy the technology completely. To avoid extinction, August would unleash destruction almost as severe, in order to rebuild the bridge between realms and begin healing the world once more.

crow flying above green grass field

Photo by Batuhan Alper Bilginer on Pexels.com