“Procrastination is not the cause of our problems with accomplishing tasks; it is an attempt to resolve a variety of underlying issues.” Neil Fiore, “The Now Habit”

What does this mean? It means great news for procrastinators! In a world of go go go and get more more more it shouldn’t surprise us that anyone not doing or going or earning or what have you are given the vile and sticky label of “lazy” or the milder, yet still distasteful label of “disorganized” or worse yet, “ornery” – and to be honest we, me and my procrastinating posse for whom Neil’s book was written, often pin those labels on ourselves. Ouch!

Nonetheless, according to Dr. Fiore these labels are totally false. What? That’s right. He gives a phenomenal argument for what really causes procrastination along with prescriptions to combat this uncomfortable condition.¬† According to Neil, procrastination isn’t a result of laziness, but rather a way to deal with a whole slew of debris floating below in those still waters.

So, what are some of these underlying issues? I’m glad you asked. They include, but are not limited to: “low self-esteem, perfectionism [when did average become shame-worthy?], fear of failure and of success, indecisiveness…ineffective goal-setting and negative concepts about work and ourselves.” His prescriptions for overcoming this dreaded disease include, but are not limited to: increasing positive self-talk, minimizing the fear to fail, enabling the freedom to play (and hence want to return to work), helping breakdown tasks for the overwhelmed, helping to set realistic goals, helping readers find their¬† “flow” and more.

So, Step #3 Stop berating myself for “being lazy” and do some soul searching to find out what’s really putting the breaks on up there.

And for added levity and inspiration:

“If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly” GK Chesterton as quoted in Gretchin Rubin’s “The Happiness Project”.

“Procrastinatio…

Where’s your sweet spot?

Where's your sweet spot?

In “Quiet”, a fascinating account of introversion in an extroverted world, Susan Cain notes that by finding one’s “sweet spot”, or the place where they feel neither over-aroused (clouded thinking) nor under-aroused (cabin-feveresque), one is able to cultivate a climate – to the best of our ability to control our climate – that enables us to focus, think and perform at our optimal self. She notes that many of us do this subconsciously; however, mindfulness of such a factor can be life-changing and even saving in some cases.

So, what does this have to do with organization? Everything.

A scattered-brained aka: a brain perpetually in the state of over-arousal, can also be described, and is described in Rhona M. Gordon’s, “Thinking Organized For Parents and Children”, as a “disorganized thinker”.

She explains that a disorganized thinker lacks the executive functioning skills (like goal-setting, planning, revising plan, achieving said plan) as they pertain to fulfilling long term goals, like becoming a fire fighter or short-term goals, like getting to church on time.

Needless to say, I run approximately 30 minutes late to just about anywhere, and still at the age of 37 (gulp), am not sure if I am doing all that I could be doing (or want to be doing) with my life…hellooo, disorganized thinker.

Even more, Rhona refers to a type of memory (in addition to short and long term) called the “working memory”. It is here where data is stored that is currently in use: like the points you’d like to make during an argument with your spouse, or remembering the question that was asked that prompted you to start speaking in the first place. I haven’t quite made the connection between how this fits in, most likely due to my scattered “working memory”, but I am most certain that there is a connection.

So, step #2 to becoming unscattered is to organize my thinking with these five steps:

1. continue to keep calendar and post reminders on said calendar. Keep all other papers, etc. in folders and binders clearly marked.
2. wear a watch and time how long it takes me to get dressed, ready and arrive to places…on time
3. have a place where I consistently put down my important items – so misplaced keys no longer tack on an extra 20 minutes to my already delinquent 30 minutes.
4. Practice good study habits – notes, reviewing, flash cards (I’m a visual learner), outlines, etc.
5. Use memory techniques like: visualization, chunking, acronyms, acrostics and taking notes.

Oh and 6. Increase or lower stimulation to suit my “sweet spot”.

I can’t even begin to organize my life without an organized mind. Wish me luck!

This is me, by the way

This is me, by the way

This is me on a day when I tried to look my best. Unfortunately the sporting of a fever sought to sway me otherwise. Several years and two babies later, my creative and scatterbrained self has made strides towards organization, but has a long way to go…thank goodness they say knowing is half the battle ;)

“Outer order contributes to inner calm.” – Gretchen Rubin

Step #1 Get my “house” (my car, aka: my material possessions) in order.

Okay, so no matter how many days of spring cleaning I may have (and I don’t have that many – and oddly they only seem to proceed having company over). The last pair of underwear will never be folded and put away. The last dish will never be scrubbed (er, um, placed into the dishwasher) and the floor will never be mopped for the last time. Material organization and upkeep is an ongoing process. I acknowledge that…which makes it easier to realize that this is a habitual, everyday, ongoing task. Nonetheless, when my things (and the baby’s things and the toddler’s things and my husband’s things and my mother-in-law’s things) are finally all tucked away asleep in their bed, I do have a deep seeded sensation of inner calm and confidence.

“Outer order co…