Tags: procrastination

the torch-ginger

101 in 1001

Forever is composed of nows.
Emily Dickinson

Over nine months ago, I told the world that I would write a list that, in a process of incremental victories, would change my life.

Finally, on November 19th, in the earliest hours of the morning, listening to zordac's near-apnea, I wrote my list in a ten-inch, spiral bound school notebook (my current think-pad of choice).

The list is this: one hundred one things I will accomplish in one thousand one days. 101 in 1001. These items can be modest or they can be monumental. These tasks can affect just one person, or millions.

I know that my attitude and goals will change over the nearly three years that list is supposed to take, so I will allow myself to change some of the items. I can take any item off the list but only if I put one of equal difficulty and significance in its place.

I am including this on my LJ profile page and after a few days will put this entry at the top of my journal. Encouragement is always welcome; questions about why any item deserves to by on my list are also welcome. Please let me know if you choose to write your own 101 in 1001 or anything with a similar agenda.

My list is very personal. Many of my choices may seem unimportant, superfluous, and wasteful. Some acknowledge, unblinkingly, my most embarrassing weaknesses. All are things I have talked about doing without actually doing. They may not change the world, but doing these things will change me.
My 101 in 1001
1. Write this list.
2. Finish building Clay Canvas website (gratis, for a company I adore).
3. Learn to ballroom dance. - Took one class in Dec. 2008, will take more when another event calls for it.
4. Go out specifically to ballroom dance in public.
5. Finish curtains for living room. - Finished April 2009, added sheers to the list to go under them.
6. Complete one original piece of artwork.
7. Complete one original piece of artwork per month for three months.
8. Complete one original piece of artwork per month for six months.
9. Showcase artwork in a local arts and crafts festival.
10. Showcase artwork in a traditional art gallery.
11. Sell one piece of original artwork.
12. Learn to sing an Irish drinking song.
13. Learn to sing at least three Irish drinking songs.
14. Have a dress up portrait photography day.
15. Paint a studio photography background.
16. Make softboxes for studio photography (again).
17. Maintain a day sleep schedule for one month (with fewer than two off days).
18. Maintain a day sleep schedule for three months (with fewer than six off days).
19. Maintain a day sleep schedule for six months (with fewer than twelve off days).
20. Maintain a day sleep schedule for one year (with fewer than twenty-four off days).
21. Host another murder mystery party.
22. Write my own murder mystery scenario for at least ten players.
23. Write/script a dark, spooky, one-shot larp for three to six players.
24. Sweep/vacuum floors once a week for one month.
25. Sweep/vacuum floors once a week for three months.
26. Make dust ruffle Velcro attachment for master bedroom.
27. Paint the master bedroom.
28. Organize my office as a clean, flexible art studio, sewing room.
29. Touch up paint in living room and dining room.
30. Make/build canopy for master bed.
31. Get a job (small or big to supplement my self-employment income).
32. Help Jimmy pay off dining room table and chairs (must be completed by Nov. 2009). - Jimmy did this without my help; I need to add something to replace it.
33. Pay off credit card. - No more debt except student loans, March 2009
34. Get health insurance.
35. Keep kitchen clean for two weeks.
36. Keep kitchen clean for one month.
37. Keep kitchen clean for three months.
38. Visit both sides of my extended family at least six times a one year period.
39. Write a will, a living will, and last wishes and burial information.
40. Exercise every other day for two weeks.
41. Exercise every other day for one month.
42. Exercise every other day for three months.
43. Exercise every other day for six months.
44. Buy an alto or tenor recorder, hang drum, or other simple instrument.
45. Learn to read music.
46. Learn to play three songs by heart on the recorder, hang drum, or other simple instrument.
47. Play in a large main event poker tournament.
48. Hang artwork in the living room.
49. Hang artwork in the dining room.
50. Design and build/or have built a sideboard and cabinetry in the dining room.
51. Decorate guest bedroom.
52. Make curtains for master bedroom.
53. Make curtains for dining room.
54. Make curtains for guest bedroom.
55. Sew/drape another Halloween costume next fall.
56. Finally set up a Christmas tree.
57. Host Jimmy's family for a holiday celebration. Thanksgiving 2008
58. Host my family for a holiday celebration.
59. Learn to belly dance. - In the works! So far, I look ridiculous.
60. Design and build a website for my work and/or creative pursuits.
61. Trim hedges and shrubs in the early spring.
62. Write a complete outline for a novel or web comic.
63. Spend two hours per day for one week working on novel or web comic.
64. Spend two hours per day for two weeks working on novel or web comic.
65. Go to a storytelling convention.
66. Participate in one political demonstration.
67. Take a tap dancing class.
68. Color (or have colored) my hair a deep shade of red (similar to Debra Messing's).
69. Volunteer for one hour.
70. Volunteer for one hour per week for one month.
71. Design and apply full back henna tattoo for Tiffany.
72. Organize tools on sun porch.
73. Keep bedroom tidy for one month.
74. Keep bedroom tidy for three months.
75. Keep bedroom tidy for six months.
76. Get married? - Engaged June 18, 2009, wedding within a year or so.
77. Get pregnant? (If I choose to do this, it will be at the very end of the 1001 days).
78. Work uninterrupted at the computer (without games or distractions) for two hours.
79. Work uninterrupted at the computer (without games or distractions) for four hours.
80. Work uninterrupted at the computer (without games or distractions) for four hours every day for a week.
81. Work uninterrupted at the computer (without games or distractions) for four hours every day for a three weeks.
82. Go without playing any pointless online games for one week.
83. Go without playing any pointless online games for two weeks.
84. Go without playing any pointless online games for one month.
85. Spend one week helping Grandma with her family photo project.
86. Attend a Renaissance Faire or Celtic Festival.
87. Save $1000.
88. Save $5000.
89. Save $10,000.
90. Go for one week without doing the tapping/syllable-counting fidget thing.
91. Lose ten pounds.
92. Lose twenty-five pounds.
93. Lose fifty pounds.
94. Lose seventy-five pounds.
95. Grow poker bankroll to $2500. - In progress.
96. Post a thoughtful entry in Livejournal twice per week for one month.
97. Post a thoughtful entry in Livejournal twice per week for three months.
98. Make a t-shirt quilt.
99. Complete (at least with a sketchy outline) my unfinished travel diaries.
100. Sort and organize my travel diaries and memorabilia.
101. Plan and go on another vacation with Jimmy.
I have also divided my 1001 days into trimesters. Deadlines help. My 1001 days started November 19th, 2008.
  • The first trimester will last 333 days and end on Sunday, October 18, 2009. I will be thirty years old.

  • The second trimester will last 334 days and end on Friday, September 17, 2010. I will be thirty-one years old.

  • The third trimester will last 334 days and end on Wednesday, August 17, 2011. I will be thirty-two years old.
ruined paradise

The Psychology of Procrastination

Today Jimmy sent me an article that stitched together various ideas I'd had about my severe procrastination into one coherent explanation.

I've often wondered if I had adult ADD or if it was depression or just a huge callous of avoidance that took years to build. But one thing I was certain of is that my problem was an addiction, as bad as cigarettes. I knew that breaking such deeply ingrained habits would be like sticking to a diet or exercise regimen.

The first thing the article did was rule out about 80% of people who claim to be procrastinators. Nearly everyone on the plant experiences a little procrastination that wraps itself up shortly. The author is quick to distinguish between the average tiny bouts of procrastination that most people share and the severely debilitating kind that I suffer from.

I'm not making excuses for myself by claiming to have a mental disease. But I do know that I'm flawed, severely. The article didn't so much tell me anything I hadn't heard before, but its frankness and clarity served to remind me that I do fit this profile almost perfectly.

It doesn't take much for me to admit that I have a problem. I know you guys have seen my countless livejournal entries about my frustration and lack of focus. And these complaints have spanned years, even more years than I've had this blasted journal. I speak in generalities about my feelings but I never give examples of how my time goes to waste because it's just too embarrassing, too frightening to admit openly.

The severity of my procrastination is something I keep to myself. When people ask how work is going or how I'vc been, I often have to lie, either by saying that everything is fine or lie by omission by not telling them how each accomplishment, every minute, has been a struggle to maintain control of myself and my time. Whole days or even weeks go by when I don't accomplish anything of significance. And it's not just the boring tasks of organizing closets or ironing. It's my work and my life and my projects. I work for myself from home, so there's no one holding my ass to the fire but me. When I cut one large distraction out (like quitting Asheron's Call a couple years ago), another one takes its place (a new TV show).

I have good days, good weeks, good months, but they are fewer than the darker weeks that leave me by turns resolute or sobbing in hopelessness. I am cheered by my own improvements but often doubt that the changes I've made are merely delusions of improvement and I'm still in the same rut I sat in six years ago.

I'd like to put a good spin on this and tie this entry off with a tidy, hopeful ending. My life is better than it was this time last year. I have accomplished things I'm proud of. I'm enjoying my work and sticking to it, but I fight for every minute of focus and I still lose three hours to drifting attention for every hour of wood work I put in.

So, read for yourself. Collapse )