All the things I did when I was supposed to be writing my blog post

Maui 2009

I started out strong, tucked into my in my favorite coffee shop words flowing, but then two loud talkers came in and started talking about their lives. So I packed up and went to my office to write, forgetting that the reason I was in the coffee shop is because my office is a complete wreck with post-conference materials, general debris, and change of season clothes bins.
So I:
1. Started cleaning up my office, stepped on my favorite hot pink clipboard, broke it. Did not finish office cleaning.
2. Looked online for professional office cleaning services that could help me out next time so I don’t end up breaking more stuff.
3. Looked through all my office supplies for a suitable replacement. Yes, I have an office supply addiction, don’t you?
4. Stopped off at the library on my way to get new clipboard, picked up books on hold, signed kids up for summer storytime, chatted with the librarian.
5. Went to office supply store to get clipboard, remembered I needed toner, found toner, spent time wandering around looking for a new clipboard, ogling office supplies, and fondling pens. Loitered talking with my favorite store clerk. Yes, she knows my name, and that I sometimes refer to her as my dealer. I told you, I have an addiction.
6. Remember that we are out of bread. Go by grocery store to get bread, run into friend, talk about Summer plans, pick up potato chips, get in line to buy chips, have to leave line to get bread that I went in for.
7. Get to school early for pick up, and write this in the while waiting in the car. Make notes and deepen outline for the post I did not write.

So it goes. I realized that my difficultly writing this week’s post is that I have not done enough thinking about the topic I wanted to write about. I often find myself procrastinating/ self-interrupting when I have not spent enough time noodling/researching my topic.
The take away is this: when a piece you are working on doesn’t work, it is okay put it aside and give yourself time to think about what your want to write. This is not the same as abandoning a project, although sometimes that is the wisest thing to do.

Figuring out when to quit, when to let something rest, and when to press on is part of understanding yourself. For those of us with attention issues, this is particularly difficult as we often have exciting ideas about other projects that would be so much more fun/exciting/better than what we are doing at the moment.

When the urge hits to abandon a project I ask myself these five questions.

  1. Will it make a difference in my life if I quit?
  2. Do I need information/ resources/ help to complete this project?
  3. Is there a way to change the project so that I will want to do it?
  4. Will quitting cause a problem for important people in my life?
  5. What would make me want to finish the project?
The answers to these questions help me determine if my procrastination is really just thinking in disguise. When the urge to quit hits, try asking yourself these questions and give yourself permission to creatively procrastinate.