>One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is, “I’ll do it later.” This statement frequently pops up when we encounter a situation that does not fall into our pre-defined day.
I’ve spent most of my life, and I do mean life, battling this little voice in my head. Since I was a young child, any moderate deviation from my preset plan triggered the, “I’ll do it later”, response. Now in my case there was a good internal survival reason for it. As the result of a learning disability, I have some challenges with organizing tasks into manageable chunks. The way I often explain it is like a file cabinet. I’m expecting to look for data in a specific spot. If I can’t find it, I don’t have a subroutine in my head that prompts me to look elsewhere. I just stop. So if I’m looking for apple, I look under A. If it’s not there, I don’t automatically look under fruit. As a child, this was an exceptionally aggravating situation. To cope, I learned early on that the coping mechanism which caused the least amount of stress was, “I’ll do it later.” The problem is, too often later never showed up.
Most of us recognize this mechanism by the name procrastination. Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow. I battle this every single day. Now with age and experience, I’ve learned a wide variety of compensatory mechanisms. I work to build specific rituals and routines which keep me on track. I have iron clad rules regarding things like trash and dishes. Even if it interrupts something else, I MUST stop and deal with trash or dirty plates. I eat on a precise schedule. I also run myself through constant what if scenarios. It’s a form of visualization that allows me to work though potential kinks before they hit. That way if something doesn’t go the way I expect, I can adjust.
Yet with all this work and practice, there are still days where all I want to do is say, “I’ll do it later.” Today has been an exceptionally good example. I had several specific tasks to do today. I walked out the front door, made it to the car and realized I’d forgotten something. That little voice piped up, “you can do that later.” I automatically turned around and walked back upstairs to get said item. Returned to my care and headed out to work my list for the day. First one on the list was a trip to REI looking for some shoes. I arrived and discovered they were out of the footwear in question. Minor, but it upset me. Which is a huge warning sign. When I’m out of sorts over minor things, it means I need to watch out. From REI, I went down to Home Depot in order to return some items. Including the item I’d had to make a trip back upstairs for.
I pulled into the parking lot and dug out my wallet to check for the receipt.
So I’m sitting in the parking lot with the laughing soundtrack in my head saying, “told you that you’d do it later.” So what to do? The worst thing I can do is give in to this particular voice. I will lose whole weeks when I give in. Things snowball so fast it’s not even funny. So how to work the situation where it doesn’t win?
I walked into Home Depot. Since I was working a bit on my box gardening bits today, I figured I could at least look at plants. Nothing struck my fancy, so I wandered along the aisles. When I hit the paint section, it hit me. I’ve chosen to paint the apartment. But I still need supplies. I could get various painting bits and bobs. So I picked up the rollers, paint tray, edger bits and a brush. Nothing too fancy, but it’s things vital for me to start painting.
Additionally, having painting gear prevents me from dumping the painting project into the, “I’ll do it later”, pile. So I got two wins out of that visit to Home Depot.
The rest of the day hasn’t gotten easier. That’s okay. Some days the wins come from you just sticking one foot in front of the other. I’ve knocked two things off my list for the day and I’m focusing on progress. Things do not need to be perfect. I’ve got box garden bits set up and full of dirt. I’ve gotten the apartment picked up a bit. Next battle is getting the laundry done. Make no mistake, it’s a battle today. I’d much rather sit around and say woe is Clara.
The thing is, Clara will have more woe tomorrow when these things are not done. I don’t like living in woe. It’s not comfortable, and frankly the decor is not to my liking either. You have to get up and move. That is the only and I mean ONLY way to keep yourself moving forward.