Observations on Procrastination and Avoidance

I seem to have had a difficult time beginning this post. So, I’ve decided to observe my behaviour in this respect – postpone the original idea for the post, and post regarding this instead!

  • First of all I blamed the kitchen table – for being too kitchen table like.
  • Then the table was too high for me to type at ‘properly’ – never mind the fact that I only feel like I’m typing “properly” when typing on a “proper” keyboard, not a laptop interface!
  • Then the chair just wasn’t ‘right’ – yup – far too kitchen chair like.
  • Then the words wouldn’t flow because I was still in my dressing gown.
  • Then I couldn’t type at the same table my partner was currently typing at – the noise of his typing was given the blame for my thoughts getting interrupted, and there was a little voice inside that said I was playing catch up
  • Then I blamed the fact that it’s just too noisy in my head with the events of the past day or so all being talked about by different parts of my unconscious mind.

So – having changed all of those things, it still feels difficult – time is passing and so much for my wanting to make the most of my weekend by “getting things done”. (I do have a list).

  • I am now dressed – in a fashion.
  • I am sat on the sofa instead of at the table.
  • I have “held my tongue”!

So where are the words that seem to elude me right now?

Blame“, so quick to inFlame and Shame us into avoidance, and with one internal comment of “Yeah but….” back we go around the circle of Blame. Lets follow some of mine that happened through the process of writing.

Yeah but…This table is too wrong.
The table is fine. It’s a table.
Yeah but it’s too messy. The tablecloth is too loud.
But you just said it was messy – how can you see the tablecloth under all this “stuff…”?
Yeah but… It’s too high.
Next you’ll be telling me the chair is too hard.
Now you mention it yeah.
So move then?
Yeah but… I can’t write when I’m not dressed.
So what about all those times you’ve HAD to get up in the night and write what you’ve been inspired to write? Did you take time for a shower and get dressed then? No. Did it matter you were sat scrunched up on the futon, or on the floor? Or on the most uncomfortable chair you have?
Yeah but … that’s different. The noises around me are interrupting my starting thought pattern.
But you do have the infuriating ability to switch audio off – to selectively hear only what you want to hear.
Yeah but… the table’s moving.
Right – so move then?
Yeah but… ARGH! Enough!!

What does this mean though? And really – does it matter actually? You can sit and attach meaning and why’s and wherefores to all of this, which is just more avoidance of what you initially wanted to achieve. If you want to change this cycle, we need to break the cycle. Whichever method works for you and there are a variety of methods out there to pick from – pattern interrupt and change state to name just two of them. The one I wanted to focus on within this post though, is the power of observation.

Observation is a wonderful thing, and it can help us to spot behaviours in ourselves that are less resourceful than we’d like them to be.

Right at the first “yeah but” I began observing. By doing this, it removes all meaning from your behaviour. You turn yourself into a third party and just watch your actions, then you watch what effect those actions have on your emotions, or state. Is this helping you to achieve all you wanted to achieve? Is it resourceful? It may well have a positive intention in the fact that the office really does need turning into a usable office, or the table does actually need tidying/clearing – but those things are neither urgent, or, all that necessary.

In the scenario above, the avoidance was causing frustration. In times past, the frustration would have led to me going outside and mowing the lawn. Good for the lawn, (positive intention) but not so good for my list of things I wanted to achieve this weekend.

The “list”, then, would have been thrown out of the window – probably literally. I’d have used my time in doing other things that “Really Need Doing Because I’m Now Not Thinking About Any Of The Things I Initially Really Wanted To Do This Weekend“.

Ohhhhh! Right – Distraction! The art of “being busy”. Busy being too busy to even think about the original goals set for myself!

These things that were ‘blamed’ for distracting me were all external. One of the presuppositions of NLP is that everyone has all the resources they need within them. There’s a latin quote of “Omnia Mea Mecum Porto“, translated, it means “I carry with me all my things”.

Going back to this presupposition means then, that I don’t have to be at a certain table to write, I don’t have to wear the certain attire, and neither should noise around me distract from accessing that which is within me. You could say it was a matter of choice – and in this case, I choose to get on with that which is on my list!

So with that, I’ll leave you with one last quote, and get on with the rest of my list!

Tempus Fugit

(Time Flies)

So don’t let it fly off without you!

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