Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘procrastination’ Category

Sometimes being a Procrastinator keeps you in charge of the situations, but it won’t be to your advantage..

George came to see me for therapy because he wanted to know why he’s a procrastinator.

I started by asking in what areas he procrastinates. He smiled and said, “In most areas.”

George procrastinates at work, he doesn’t turn in reports on time. He doesn’t fill out his expense reports. Once the company he was working for withheld his paycheck until he got all his cases up-to-date.

George procrastinates at home. He promises to do chores and then puts them off. He waits until the last minute to pay the bills.

I asked George if he had any idea why he procrastinates.

He said, “I always have. When I was in grade school, my mother had to push me to do my homework. In high school it was the same. I always waited until the last minute.”

I asked George if he saw how procrastinating might be serving him?

He thought one advantage was the rush he got when he was up against it and absolutely had to get something done.

“Any other advantages,” I wondered?

He couldn’t think of any.

I pointed out a few:

-When George procrastinates and someone else is waiting for him to do something, he has their attention. This attention may come in the form of nagging and nudging, but it’s attention.

-He has control since others often can’t complete their work until he does the task he’s putting off.

-He can play good guy/bad guy which adds to the drama of his life. When he doesn’t do something he knows he needs to do, he takes the bad guy role. When he performs the task, he becomes the good guy.

-He can get out of doing undesirable tasks.

-He fears failure. If he puts a task off, he doesn’t really have to test his ability to succeed.

I could go on listing the whys of procrastinating, I told George, but hunting for the whys can be another form of procrastinating.

Instead, I suggested we make a list of things George is currently putting off, look at them as problems to be tackled, and do some problem solving.

Concerning his incompleted reports, George decided to get to work a half-hour earlier each morning and do all necessary paperwork before he allows himself to have his second cup of coffee or return any telephone calls, two things he enjoys doing.

With regard to paying the bills at home, George decided to let his wife take over the job. She has wanted to pay the bills because then the bills would get paid on time, but George has always assumed he should be the one to pay them.

Concerning cleaning out the garage and removing the leaves from the gutters, George agreed to hire someone within the next week. He promised not to put off the hiring. In fact, he said, “It would be a pleasure to farm these chores out.”

Concerning starting an exercise program, George decided to bag the idea until next year, at which time he’ll reevaluate.

I suggested that instead of thinking of himself as a procrastinator, he look at the task he’s putting off as a problem that needs to be solved. He should then figure out two or three ways of tackling it.

P.S I’ve seen George one time since his initial visit and he’s no longer putting off what he needs to do.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

Read Full Post »

As Mike was coming home one night, he found a puppy in the street. Who can resist a tiny, helpless, homeless puppy?

When Mike’s parents saw the dog, they reluctantly said yes he could keep the dog. But the dog was his responsibility. Mike would have to feed and water the dog, take him to the vet, and pay his vet bills. And the dog was to reside outside primarily.

Mike is 23 years old, so the requirements to keep the puppy didn’t seem harsh or extreme.

Mike’s mother agreed to buy an insulated doghouse. She also bought the dog a plastic swimming pool because “he seemed to love the water.”

Mike sort of kept his agreement with his parents. Sometimes the puppy was left with no water. Sometimes Mike took off with his friends for the weekend, so it befell his parents to take care of the puppy.

Now, as in many families, everyone in Mike’s family works outside the home or goes to school all day. So no one is home during the day. And dogs become bored. One boring day the dog ate all the shrubs.

A friend gave Mike’s mom some beautiful Japanese iris, each marked by color. When she planted the iris, she was careful to place them according to the color scheme in her garden. The next evening the dog removed each plant from its hole.

Mike’s mother planted the iris again, giving up on the color scheme. The following morning they were out of their holes again and strewn across the yard.

Then came the weekend. Everyone was going out of town. Mike, Mike’s father, and his sister had already left town.

Two hours before Mike’s mother was to catch a plane, she walked past the kitchen door and saw the dog. ‘Who’s taking care of the dog?’ she thought. Of course she already knew the answer. She got the dog in the car and took him to her mother’s house for the weekend.

The following Monday, Mike’s mother informed him that because he was not taking care of the dog, the dog had to leave. She gave Mike six months to find a home for the dog. After that, he would have to go to the dog pound. Mike agreed.

Five months passed. The dog continued to miss meals and eat shrubs. The mother kept issuing warnings: “The dog goes in four weeks… The dog goes in two weeks… Please find a home for the dog… The dog goes in one week… Please, please find a home.”

Eventually Mike was forced to take the dog to the pound.

For the rest of that week everyone was angry at the mother. Her husband and children gave her dirty looks. They avoided talking to her. She was an outcast in her own family.

Being responsible has more down sides than most of us care to look at.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

Read Full Post »

I guess there are some things I’ll never understand.

For example, why would a landscaper come to your house, draw up elaborate plans, meet with you to go over the plans, and then never get back to you with a bid?

When you call him, he says, “Oh, I’m going to get that bid out this afternoon.” But it never arrives.

I’ve heard stories about furnace men, air conditioner people, painters, plumbers, carpenters, and wallpaper hangers coming to make a bid, and then never getting back to the person with their bid.

If they see that they don’t want the job, why not tell the customer, instead of putting the customer on hold?

Then there’s the plumber who says,

“I’ll be there Monday afternoon.” You take off work to meet him. And, by heck, he doesn’t show.

Monday night you can’t reach him. Tuesday morning you can’t reach him. Tuesday afternoon, when you finally talk, he doesn’t even say, “I’m sorry,” or, “I forgot,” or, “I got tied up.” He says, “I’ll be there Thursday.”

You cross your fingers. Of course you could call another plumber, but you might run into the same thing again.

There is also the person who says, “I’ll call you this afternoon with the information,” and then doesn’t call.

Even if he isn’t able to get the information, he could give you the courtesy of a call back. Or he could have his secretary telephone and explain that he wasn’t able to get the information.

We all have times when we don’t want to make a telephone call that we have promised to make. Our life is already too full. But if we could remember how it feels to hear someone say they are going to do something, and then not do it, we might be more responsible.

This week, do everything you say you are going to do. If you can’t possibly follow through, give the person a call back, or drop him a note.

Life isn’t always so dependable. But people could be.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

Read Full Post »

I asked a friend who is an architect how business was going. He said it was fine except that he had a cash-flow problem because people weren’t paying him fast enough. Then he smiled boyishly and said, “of course, I don’t bill them right away either.”

“How long do you wait until you bill them?” I asked.
Now he laughed sheepishly and said, “oh, about three months after I’ve completed the work.”

“You do your clients no favors.” I said. “People who don’t get billed for three months have already forgotten about that debt because they are on to making new ones. And then when your bill comes, they have to stop and figure out how to make a payment to you.”

“So why do you think I procrastinate?” my friend asked.

“Maybe you have a problem with charging people for services,” I said, “and you don’t think you’re worthy of the money. You’d be surprised how many professionals grapple with this issue.”

“That’s interesting,” he replied. “Have you any other ideas as to why I procrastinate?”

“Maybe you like the stimulation that comes from living on the brink of financial trouble. Or you are testing people to see if they will call and ask about the bill.”

“Why else do you think I procrastinate?” urged my friend.

Not able to resist, I went on, for I like to play, “I’m only trying to help you.”

“Maybe you had a parent that procrastinated and modeled for you that way of behaving. You just never learned how to be a self-starter. Or you procrastinate because that’s the way you learned to express your anger. Procrastination is passive-aggressive behavior, you know.”

“But what do you think is the real, underlying reason for my procrastination?” my friend queried.
“Maybe you’re not supposed to be more successful than your father, so you procrastinate to keep yourself less successful. Or you’re afraid to fail, so you don’t complete a project.”

“Why else?” he demanded.
“Could it be,” I mused, “that always asking ‘why’ is in itself a form of procrastination?”

“Let’s change the subject,” laughed my good-natured friend.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: