Trying Not to Make Such a Meal of Things

Something I wrote in an email to a friend:

I’m a bit of a procrastinator, busy or not – with me it’s always: “I’ve got to do this PROPERLY!” Prepare the ground and get my plans in order and be sure of plenty of time off… therefore nothing gets done.

For instance I might say, “I should creosote the shed” and nothing happens, because I need the whole day, and to get up early, and lots of sun and fresh air, and enough creosote, and all the brushes, and the stuff to clean them, and the jars to clean them in, and the old clothes to wear, and the bags to put down round the shed to protect everything, and water to wash down anything I splashed accidentally, and a dry brush to brush down the shed and remove all the dust and cobwebs and little spiders and bugs.

Just doesn’t happen, as the thought of all the planning and work puts me off before I even get started.

Then Mum comes along and says “I should creosote my shed,” and buys a tin of stuff, and when she finds ten minutes between ‘Flog It!’ and ‘Countdown’, she’s out there (in her good clothes, minus dry brush, jars, bags et all, with an overcast sky lowering), and she’s already halfway through covering the shed with this creosote. And finally she comes back in, and says “there, that was a messy job; the stuff was like water and sprayed all over me!” and smells of spilled petrol…. but her work is done.

Maybe the secret is to play down the preparation and just throw yourself into it!

One day, doubtless, I’ll just do the website without having planned it. Just – “eh, that annoys me!” and next thing you know, I’m up to the ears in code and graphics. That’s usually how it happens.

Must admit, Mum can get to grips with the shed but would never put up a website in a month of Sundays. She would be much more likely to chop down trees and put up entire sheds than make a website. So I guess I shouldn’t underplay my ‘getting to grips’ with stuff – it’s just different stuff. She’s left me a message asking me to look at her printer today, which has gone on strike. I sorted it out last time it did that. I was muttering to her about it not being at all intuitive – you need to consult the map to find out where all the printer options are; they’re hidden in the unlikeliest places. I wrote out a couple of sheets of instructions for her concerning the printer alone, but now maybe the problem is something different.

Well, the printer seemed to have healed itself – I tried to print out a blog post from Aw Diddums, and instead it spat out five pages of a route description. Then it started printing them out all over again, and I stopped it, and checked the job queue, and it had five or six of the same jobs waiting – and one of Aw Diddums. Managed to clear all that without deleting the printer from the computer (which I did twice before; once on Mum’s and once on my own – at least it also cleared the jobs queue while it was at it!)

So that was all right. Except that Mum said originally it was refusing to print her route description – it did two pages then stopped. I don’t know what that was about. I said either she accidentally turned the printer off, or it had to be ‘turned off then on again’ to clear the block (a corrupted file or something). I hope this isn’t some kind of printer glitch I will start seeing in my own sweet printer. I would be very disappointed.

Anyway… I must get on with my procrastinating.

Comments for this entry (during its previous life on Blogigo):

1. Pacian wrote at Apr 5, 2007 at 12:04: I’m doing my procrastinating later. Maybe tomorrow.

2. Geosomin wrote at Apr 5, 2007 at 16:21: Procrastination is something I keep meaning to try…:)

I know the feeling. I fixed up a room in December with my Dad and I’m STILL in the midst of painting it… just too daunted by the day or two of hard work after all the mudding and sanding and priming I”ve finally gotten thru. That’s my goal for this weekend – to finish it up.

Truth is if I don’t soon my husband may kill me as all the stuff from that room has been sitting in the rest of the house for 3 months. The planning thing is what gets me too…It’s just a little room…but so daunting!

3. Jo (kitschkitten) wrote at Apr 6, 2007 at 08:09: Hey Diddums,

I find the secret to overcome procrastination on one thing is to be procrastinating on another thing. Eg. today I was supposed to be fixing up a website, looking for jobs and about a dozen other things – but because they are all a bit overwhelming, I have found myself instead spring cleaning the house. I had been meaning to spring (autumn) clean the house properly for a long time though! So at least something is getting done…

4. Diddums wrote at Apr 8, 2007 at 01:39: Pacian: ha ha…

Geosomin: it’s funny how it’s hard to get oneself doing something one dreads, but then when you get started, you almost enjoy it. Or at least feel it’s not the end of the world. Well… I don’t know, I’ll have to think about that. Sometimes I get a bit lost in the middle of something I didn’t want to do anyway.

Jo: I found that too, recently – I was so busy not doing A that I suddenly found myself in the middle of doing B. And the euphoria from finally cracking B carried me into doing A quite soon after. Hoorah.

PS: I heard back from my friend, saying that in the time it took me to write all that in my blog post, I could have finished creosoting the shed! But he can’t know me that well… I would still be carefully brushing off the spiders.

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