Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Procrastinating 101: And Now for the Cure. . .

Er, first of the cures, actually.

This week, Procrastinating 101 continues our study of Never Be Late Again:  7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged, by Diana DeLonzor, progressing to "CURE ONE:  Who, Me?  Face the Facts."  Here, those of us who attempt to rationalize away our chronic lateness confront the truth.  For our own good, of course.

At the outset, DeLonzor presents the reader with one of those "You might be a . . ." lists.  In this case, we stand to be assessed as, not a redneck, or a Monty Python fan, or, God forbid, a procrastinator, but, in DeLonzor's schema of the seven types of lateniks, a Rationalizer.  Here's the list, short and not-so-sweet.  If:

  • You are frequently late for work, appointments, or social engagements, yet feel lateness isn't a problem;
  • You believe people are too uptight about punctuality;
  • You often attribute your lateness to circumstances beyond your control;
  • You make up excuses when you're late;
You might be a Rationalizer.  If, indeed, you, like me, are at least a bit of a Rationalizer, you may find yourself falling into one (or more!) of these three common traps:
#1--Denying There's a Problem
#2--Blaming Outside Influences
#3--Minimizing the Selfishness of the Act

Luckily, DeLonzor lights the way out of this morass of self-deception, recommending three steps to overcoming rationalization--
  • Recognizing the Problem
  • Facing the Consequences of Your Lateness, and
  • Changing Your Attitude.
She goes on to outline helpful exercises as part of each step.  Two of the overall ten approaches recommend themselves to me as useful places to start.  Both are part of the prescription for "Recognizing the Problem." (Note to publisher/proofreader:  There are four exercises listed under "Changing Your Attitude," but the last is labeled Exercise Five.)

The first directs us to keep what I would call a "lateness diary" for a month, tracking punctuality (if it should occur) and incidents of lateness, and recording the number of minutes by which we miss the appointment hour.  My inner worry-wart raises a concern here about the possibility of being late in recording my transgressions.  But moving right along. . .

The second exercise involves looking for ways in which we have, and could begin to use control over the situations in which we find ourselves being habitually late.  I have decided to focus for now on the almost-daily challenge I face in trying to arrive on time for the one job, in my collection of paid employments, that has set--though frequently changing--hours.  

And now it occurs to me that I am too often jotting the last lines of a blog post when I should be collecting my things and running out the door to get to said job.  Gotta run. . .

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