I Need a Life Coach for My Procrastination.

I can never seem to get myself to do pretty much anything that doesn’t need to be done right this moment.   I am a champion procrastinator and I am always waiting for that moment when my procrastination will finally do me in.  We’ve had some very close calls.  The closest call was for my finals 3L Fall.  I had been busy travelling Europe for the prior 4 months and therefore not preparing at all for my upcoming finals.  As of December 1, 2008,  I was the least prepared I had ever been for finals in my 3 years of law school.   This was especially bad because the classes were smaller in London which meant the curve was bound to be harsher.  Then, as my long term readers now, my then-boyfriend’s father passed away unexpectedly, and our worlds were turned upside down.  I think it’s fair to say those final two weeks in London were the roughest two weeks of my life.  As a result, I was convinced that my procrastination was finally going to get the best of me, and my grades that semester were going to be an epic fail.  But somehow, I forced myself into a chair in Starbucks for 12 hours per day for 3 days straight (not normally a public studier, but I figured it would keep me from crying), and I blasted “Hillsongs” in my iPod to block out the conversations around me, and I learned 3 areas of the law.  And in the end, my grades that semester were the best of all 6 semesters in law school

How do you get yourself to stop being such a procrastinator with those results?  I hate the stress and anxiety I feel in the moment when I’m trying to pull it off and always wondering if this will be the time I will crash and burn.  And I always say, “next time I will not procrastinate because I hate this feeling.”  And yet, next time, what do I do?  Procrastinate AGAIN.  It also doesn’t help that the one time in college when I wrote a paper in advance (in a Con Law class of all things) I got a C, and yet every paper I ever wrote at the last minute always got me an A.  There is something about pressure and stress that motivates me to get the job done, and get it done well.

I’m writing all of this for two reasons.  First, I have all of these little tasks at work that need to get done.  They are not time sensitive right now, and therefore getting myself to buckle down and do them is nearly impossible.  I know another month like March is coming (where I ended up billing 330 hours in one month because some of my pro bono cases heated up at the same time I had already committed all of my normal waking hours to a chargeable case).  Therefore, I should get all of this little stuff out of the way so I’m not pulling 34 hours straight in the office like last time to try to get everything done.  (To be fair, last time had nothing to do with procrastination, it was all unfortunate timing… but I don’t want to bring that type of situation on myself again due to procrastination this time!). 

The other reason is that I really, really, really need to get into a work out routine and a healthy eating routine.  I swear if I’d just cut out the bagel and the white mocha from my iced coffee in the mornings, and not eat a big cookie every day with lunch, I’d instantly start losing weight.  That thought occurred to me yesterday and what was my second thought?  “I should try that experiment starting next week.”  Working out and eating right is always something that I commit to start “next week” and I never do.  Why?  Well, the truth is I’m not at any kind of danger zone yet to kick in my procrastinated-too-long stress hormones to get me going.  My pants still button and I’m not in any kind of health danger zone.   But much like my school/work life, I want to stop procrastinating.  I don’t want to wait until it gets really bad to get myself in gear. 

I need some discipline here!

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4 thoughts on “I Need a Life Coach for My Procrastination.

  1. My line of work is very bursty. There are a few months of the year where I literally work from six am until midnight seven days a week and then long periods with nothing. There is also work that magically appears and I need to drop everything for a few days and fly somewhere to do it. In fact I was supposed to be in China this week, but the volcano ash stopped that.

    I have had some disasters where I was not ready and have had clients who were very upset. I listened to a lot of people and they basically told me I had to make a schedule for my life and realize there are many tasks which are basically support for when I’m working frantically. I spend an hour a week making a list of all of these tasks and prioritize them. Then I assign them time slots and I treat it as a full time job. If I did not do this I would have to find and pay someone else.

    Some of what I have to do is practice as it is performance and I couldn’t farm that out if I wanted to. That can be very difficult to find motivation and I now schedule it and pay myself for it. This is the hardest part as it is maybe as much as four hours a day during the off season. I do hire a coach to keep myself on target and motivated.

    The staying in shape part comes easily has I’m addicted to running and I don’t have a car, so I also bike for more than an hour a day just getting around. Eating right is something I’m still working on and if you have specific ideas I would like to hear them:-)! I’m a vegetarian, so hanging out with other people and sharing the load doesn’t work. Here people almost think pork is a vegetable.

    I don’t know that I have anything specific that can help, but creating a week worth of tasks every week and paying myself for them works for me.

    • I need to get better about keeping to do lists!

      When I lived in Europe for a little while, I was in fantastic shape because I walked everywhere. We don’t have a lot of places like that in the U.S. where you can just walk everywhere. (NYC and DC might be exceptions but even in those places I think people rely heavily on public transportation and taxis and don’t necessarily just walk everywhere).

      I live in downtown L.A. so I can walk to most things… but downtown L.A. is very small so my walks are very short. When I lived in London I would walk several miles every day, because I preferred being above ground and getting exercise to paying $$$ for the cramped underground tubes.

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