Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The art of procrastination . . .
The one thing I am fabulously brilliant at, is procrastinating . . . I can do it at any time, and anywhere . . . I’m a natural born procrastinator . . . and you know what? I’m comfortable with it!

I wasn’t always this brazen about my procrastination skills, and it’s taken a lot of time (and hard work), to get to the stage where I’m happy with them.
The penny really dropped when I read the fabulous book by Sark ‘Make Your Creative Dreams Real,’ (www.planetsark.com) which actually said it was OK to procrastinate . . .
‘What?’ I thought, 'how can this be?'

The more I read, the more sense it made to me – everyone procrastinated, and I wasn’t alone, and there was no cure for it. Most of all, I came to realise was that it was a trigger for major anxiety for me . . .
 At the age of five I would bimble around in the morning before school, doing anything other than getting ready, and then have a major panic that I would be late . . . I can still remember arriving sobbing because I thought I was going to be late, and the last one in the class . . . I was never late, but was always the last one because we lived further away than everyone else, and had to drive. . . (my poor mother, I often wonder how she coped with this dreamy, highly strung individual . . .)
Later on in life, I would set out the most wonderful revision timetable, make flash cards to go in the new card index box that I had decorated, then go into a major tailspin the night before an exam . . . I always passed, but always felt guilty that I could have done better if I had put more into revising. . .
And here I am today . . . once again putting everything possible off, so I can write this . . . The difference is that now, I have a structured approach, and know that I need this to help me day to day.
So, here are my top tips for controlling the art of procrastinating . . .
1.       It’s OK to procrastinate!  Read Sark’s fabulous book –she has many other wonderful books, all written and illustrated in her own particular style . . . my other favourite of hers is . . . actually there are three, I just can’t choose  . . . ‘Glad No Matter What,’ ‘Prosperity Pie’ and ‘Eat Mangoes Naked.’ All are available via Amazon.
2.       Be effective with the time you have. Write a list of the most important tasks, and see which ones will take the longest, and which ones you can put off to another time  . . . then write a note next to those ones, detailing how it will impact on your life and the knock on effects if you don’t do them now – always a fabulous wakeup call! It’s amazing how much you can deceive yourself, when push comes to shove . . .
3.       Reward yourself. The most important thing here is to cross completed tasks off the list once they have been done – this gives you a huge sense of achievement . . . And what if I haven’t managed to do anything on that list? I add something that I have done, just so I can cross it off - daft I know, but it gives me that fabulous feel good factor!
4.       Don’t overload yourself – I am infamous for taking on everything I can, as I can multitask like no one’s business . . . This is great, as I love being busy, but what it’s not great for is getting things done . . . So the key here is to say no when I feel comfortable with doing so . . . and give yourself effective timelines when you cant . . .
5.       Be kind to yourself. Over the years I have realised that my moods and health are integral to my effectiveness – if I’m feeling low, then there is no way I’m going to get anything done.  So, a big thing is to pick your moment when you know you are going to be completely effective . . . And if you are feeling low – do something you want to! Be kind to yourself!

It’s all about the coping strategies in life . . .
On a day to day basis, these have all helped me – I’m not saying I have cured myself, as that would be impossible, but what I have managed to do is to stop that horrible feeling of being totally overwhelmed, that in turn leads to episodes of horrendous anxiety and self-doubt . . . and that in itself is a huge, huge relief . . .

Much love, Ax


  1. I particularly like point 5. Great blog. Helen

  2. I here you! I have the exact same "problem" and still manage to do a lot of things, just because I think that I don't have the time! I never thought that procrastination was a good thing, but I am glad I read your post :) And will definitely buy Sark's book.
    Zoe from Stripes 'n' Buttons

  3. I've been a procrastinator my whole and am now very comfortable in my skin! I also make lots of lists...

  4. I make lists for lists I need to make... I'm need to read this book! thank you xx

  5. Lists are the way forward!! Fantastic points, really relevant to me too, I also especially like point number 5... feeling low and unproductive is probably my body's way of telling me i need some 'me' time, and trying and failing at making something will only make me feel worse and be a big waste of time.

    So glad i read this, thank you! :) xxx

  6. oh and love the Mark Twain quote too!!! SO true!!!

  7. I need to get this book!!

    At last someone actually agrees with me, that making tea, walking the hound, cleaning my floors, emptying my dishwasher and faffing around on Facebook/internet is far more beneficial than sitting down to revise :)

    In all seriousness though, I have made a new year's resolution to get more organised (scatty is my middle name), and i have so far made a couple of to do lists.......i'm not too far into them though and it's almost Feb....ah well, the thought was there :)

    Great post A xx

  8. Love it! So lovely to read that I'm not the only one! I've taken to writing my to do list on my calendar...never going to lose that and I see it everyday! Thank you sweets, looking forward to your next installment, Lizi x x

  9. Thanks so much everyone for your commments - doenst it feel great to know you arent alone with this?!!

    Procrastinate like theres no tomorrow!