Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Procrastination Files

As I discussed in this post, I find that by indulging in procrastination - particularly when in tandem with the other activities that I engage in as I merrily skip down the path of living unintentionally (sleeping in, reading during the day, and spending time online) - I bring both inner and outer chaos to my life.  Although it is a bit tongue-in-cheek, I have described this blog to friends as a place to shame myself publicly into making some changes that I wish to bring to my daily life.  In all seriousness, this is a place that I wish to use for introspection and to engage with others who find themselves in a similar place.  I'm okay with the fact that my posting frequency has slowed down a bit from where I started earlier in the year, but as I look back over what I have been posting lately I don't see as much introspection as I would like.  To that end, I'm here today with the Procrastination Files.

Sometimes I end off putting something off because I don't take the minute (or less!) that is needed to complete a task intending to come back to it later and then forgetting about it.  This is a particularly embarrassing example of that. The kids and I came back the other evening after E2B's karate class to find that the cat had thrown up and had a bout of diarrhea in Miss Intrepid's room.  I immediately cleaned it up and while I worked on treating the spots on the carpet I moved the trash basket full of smelly sickness out onto the front porch so that the room could air out and I could then take the basket out to the large trash can we keep outside.  As you might have guessed, I forgot all about it.  Do you know when I remembered it?  That would be when someone came to my front door, in the heat of summer, and had to stand next to this.  Seriously, if I had taken 30 seconds to walk around the corner and throw it away instead of waiting until I completed the longer task of stain treating the carpet I could have avoided this procrastination fail.

Welcome to my house...sorry about the poop.

Sometimes I end up putting something off because I think that it is going to be more involved than it actually is and by doing so I actually make things more complicated and, in this case, more expensive.  Last March, after having both our washer and dryer worked on several times, we purchased a new and more energy efficient washer and dryer.  As soon as the good folks who delivered and installed them left, I noticed that the felt strip around the edge of the dryer lint screen was loose at the bottom right hand side.  It was easy enough to tuck back in and slide in without issue, so although I thought about calling the store where we bought them to get a new and undamaged lint screen, I just rolled with it and never did it because it seemed like the easier, and less time consuming, path to take.  Over the past year that strip has come further and further detached making the lint screen more and more ineffective. Finally, about 15 months after noticing that there was a problem, I called to see about getting a new one.  Because I didn't call within the first year, when the dryer and its parts were all under warranty and I would have been given a free replacement, I had to purchase one myself.  Rather than making one phone call that would have taken a few minutes right away, I spent more than a year trying to fix it and then I spent considerably more than a few minutes making calls and researching what part I would need/where I could find the most reasonable price online.  The fact that replacing a lint screen is more expensive than I would have guessed was frustrating as well.  Why, why, why didn't I just take care of it when it came up?

When your lint screen looks like this, you may as well distribute lint all over the inner workings of your dryer yourself because the screen isn't collecting all that much.

You're looking at my $50 lint screen ($37 on sale through an online appliance parts store).  Way to go procrastination!

And sometimes I end up putting something off because I simply don't feel like dealing with it.  Let me introduce you to one of the biggest clutter gathering areas in my home - the counter area around my kitchen sink.  Looking at this photo - taken this morning - you will see dishes in the drying rack, with overflow onto the counter beyond it, waiting to be put away.  You see a sink full of dirty dishes, overflowing onto the counter in the foreground, waiting to be hand washed and put into the drying rack or loaded into the dishwasher. Although you can't see that this is so, the dishwasher is full of clean dishes and for the past day and a half I've been pulling bowls, plates, and utensils out one at a time to put them on the table as we've needed them.  Oh yes, and there's the cup and saucer I took out to photograph for last week's Thrift Share post still waiting to be put away.  I also see the tops to some thrifted canisters waiting to be cleaned up from two weeks ago (I'll share them once I get my act together).  I don't know why I persist in ignoring trouble spots like this, but my kitchen counters look like this a lot more than I'd like to admit.

Of course, I know logically what I need to do.  Take care of things right away and just do what needs to be done in the moment.  What I don't necessarily know is how to change my patterns of behavior.  I do think that the first step is in admitting what the problem is and that's where putting this out there publicly comes in for me.  Much as I found that committing publicly in this space to cleaning up certain hot spots around my house during Simple Mom's Project Simplify helped lend me the motivation that I needed to get it done, I'd like to make a public declaration about my plans at this point.  I'm going to give the 21-Day Trial Program a try in managing my kitchen clutter.  Every night for 21 days I will not go to bed until all clean dishes have been put away and any dirty dishes have been washed or loaded into the dishwasher.  I will not go to bed until any other items that don't belong sitting on my kitchen counter are put back into their proper place.  And I'll check back in here to let you all know how it is going.  This isn't a life changing habit I'm cultivating here, but it seems a good place to start.

Happy Tuesday, friends!

"To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing."  ~Eva Young


  1. I have the same problem with laundry that you have with dishes. :)

  2. Oh I so admire your determination! The clutter, for me, creates mental static - and it's a noise that doesn't go away. Good for you for addressing this!!

  3. Way to go!!! Will you be my coach too!!!

    Seriously, good luck with your 21 day challenge!

  4. Good luck with the kitchen counter tidying. I have been making an effort with mine recently and it is so nice to come down in the morning and have a sweet smelling kitchen for one thing. The whole kitchen seems tidy if the worktops are clear. Also if I want to bake (and I do) I don't have to move a ton of stuff first.

  5. I used to be so organised Brittany but just find myself doing so many jobs at one time that everything ends up looking such a mess. Especially when cooking I'll make four or five dishes at once and seem to use every pot or dish in the house!

    I'm currently in the process of trying to simplify and get rid of things I don't need and try to only bring into the house things we really need. I am trying but as you have seen the odd Bavarian pipe gets sneaked in too...

    I think my mantra is probably similar to William Morris: 'Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful"