Procrastination, part 1

This is part 1 of 2 exploring the why and the what next of not getting things done. 

It is no coincidence that writing about procrastination is harder than talking about it. 

Writing feels so much more permanent so I want it to be perfect. 

If you have not heard my issues with perfectionism, you can listen by clicking here or on the podcast logo below. It is a wild ride into Susan’s Brain. Take some popcorn, friends. 

Season 2, Episode 12 is all about Perfectionism

As I was drafting this column, I wanted to have a magic turn of phrase that will help you break out of procrastination, and when I could not find it I just didn’t write about it at all. But it kept nagging at me and rolling around in the back of my mind at inconvenient times – like 3:00 am.

How many of us are walking around in the world like this? Putting off taking action because we are frozen in time. Or fighting the wrong fight. Or fleeing from taking action by burying ourselves in busy.

I love this list from Emily Sanders (no relation) about why people may tell you they are ok – and I believe it also applies to procrastination. 

At least for me, it is a list of what I tell myself about whatever it is I am procrastinating on. Let me give you a few examples.

Why Example One

One of the goals I have for my 48th year of life is to draft a book proposal. It may be a big fat SFD that sits in a drawer. Or it might be acceptable but not submitted anywhere. Or it might be submitted and rejected by every publishing house in North America.

But these 365 days will pass (AGAIN) so why not draft the proposal during those days and see what a year brings. 

This was decided approximately 39 days ago and I have done exactly nothing to push this peanut forward. When I look at Emily’s list what jumps out to me is this:

THEY MAY BE SKEPTICAL THAT ANYONE ACTUALLY CARES.

I am not really sure what to do with these feelings besides sit with them. Which feels SUUUUUPER weird. It’s sort of like sharing a bench in silence with a stranger while you wait. Just awkward.

Why Example Two

I am sure I am not the first writer to feel like no one cares about what I write. Perhaps I could reach out to other authors to find out how they dealt with this. 

Seems like sound advice. Enter Emily’s list:

THEY DON’T BELIEVE THEIR PROBLEM SHOULD TAKE UP ANYONE’S TIME.

or 

CONCERN THAT IT’S NOT THAT BAD OR THEY WILL LOOK WEAK.

or

THEY DON’T THINK ANYONE CAN HELP THEM.

What Next

This is the part of the post where I tell you how to fix it. Or give an uplifting, humorous anecdote about resolving this quagmire. 

But this is not TV where we get resolution in 30 minutes minus the Applebees commercials. I am wrestling this 800 pound gorilla called procrastination right along side you. 

I do think that being aware of the gorilla at the dinner table is part of the battle though. By being aware of what could be causing the procrastination, we can truly excavate the infection instead of just slapping a bandage of time management over it and letting the actual wound fester. 

I am mixing my metaphors here, but I think you get it. There are reasons for procrastination, and none of them are because you are a worthless person.

Let’s digest this piece first before we dive into other side of the issue. This is just part 1 of 2 exploring the why and the what next of not getting things done. 

Sustainable You Questions 

Avoiding what is really going on is not going to get you the result you want and it is hardly sustainable. Ignoring these types of signals is what drives us to numb out and want to escape our lives. Here are a few questions you can use to dig a little deeper to get to the root cause of procrastination.

1 – What would happen if you set aside judgement and tried to work with that 800 pound gorilla instead of ignoring her. 

2 – What is keeping you from taking a good look at that wound, cutting out the infection and really working on keeping it clean? 

3 – What would happen if you were afraid and did it anyway?

By |2022-09-18T10:01:12-04:00August 2nd, 2022|Habit Change|0 Comments

Podcast: Planning that does not suck your soul

A couple weeks ago I was planning for the June – July – August quarter. As usual I identified one thing in each dimension of Sustainable Productivity to focus on. That means one thing for Health and Fitness, one thing for Mental Well-being, and  one thing for Environmental Surroundings.

I broke it down into an action that I could do daily and wrote the goal to be able to say yes or no that it was done (all the better to check that box in the habit tracker. This was fine for the Mental Well-being and Environmental Surroundings dimensions.

Then I got to the Health and Fitness dimension.

I literally had 5 hours per day. FIVE.

Sure, it sounded fun today, but after a couple weeks it would certainly suck my soul.

I had to coach myself up a bit and return to the two Sustainable Productivity questions:

  1. Is this productive – am I getting the result I want?
  2. Is this sustainable – can I continue lifelong if I want?

The clear answer to both of these questions was no – a laughable no. Not a shaming laugh, but a, “Wow, do I slide back into old, bad habits quick?!” laugh.

In the podcast this week Genay and I talk about getting realistic about planning, which is of course the root of Sustainable Productivity. You can listen here or anywhere you get your podcasts.

As I wrap up this post, I want to ask if you would share the podcast or these posts with someone you think would relate. I often get people telling me to let them know how they can help me grow as a writer, speaker, and podcaster. Share, share, share. The most common way podcasts of our size grow is word of mouth. Recommending Sustainable Sue or Conscious Contact to someone would mean the world to me. Thank you!!

By |2022-06-07T09:48:48-04:00June 14th, 2022|Sustainable Productivity|0 Comments

Podcast: Is it Time for Recovery?

Hot take alert!

We all have the opportunity to be in recovery from something.

Recovery does not only mean abstinence from substances. You could be recovering from shopping addiction, perfectionism, need to be busy, social media, sex / porn or more. In our society we tend to pigeon hole recovery as something for people who cannot handle their liquor (or heroine or whatever substance).

Another hot take coming… It is not about the substance (or shopping, or feeling of importance at being so busy, or the porn). I think it is about feeling disconnected. The opposite of addition is not sobriety, it is connection.

On the podcast we talk about how recovery applies to each of our lives – both the woo woo and the practical, including resources that you might find practical.

One of my favorite “tools” as I am deciding whether something is part of recovery of part of disconnection is to ask myself this:

Will this move me towards or away from health?

Take a quiet moment to connect with yourself or have an honest conversation with an authentic trusted friend. Float the idea that something is not working for you. Peel off the layer to ask yourself / wonder out loud why you continue to do that or what it might be helping you disconnect from.

You may be surprised at what you find.

You can find the episode here. I would love to hear your thoughts on this theory of recovery. If you had a visceral aversion to these ideas, I would be interested to know that too. You can comment below or at susan@sustainablesue.com.

If these messages or the podcast is connecting with you, please share it with someone you think may be ready to hear it as well.

By |2022-05-31T15:52:47-04:00June 6th, 2022|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Boredom

This week Genay and I go toe to toe on whether boredom is good or bad. Debate between us is always interesting because both of us suck at the grey area. We have a tendency to see things as black and white, bimodal, with me or against me, etc.

We talked about being “bored” as kids and how that looks today. We also spend a bit of time breaking down the different components of the definition of boredom.

Boredom: state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.

Weary

Sometimes what I call boredom is actually a signal that it is time to move on. This might be weary in a relationship – trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I have had friendly and romantic relationships where I felt more lonely with that person than by myself. I grew weary of trying to make it be different.  I did not identify this as boredom at the time, but looking at it from a distance I can see how it can be stale boredom to do the same thing over and over when all you want is something else.

Photo by Sinitta Leunen on Unsplash

Lack of interest

The book I can only read a few pages of at a time. The craft project that I rush through just to be done. Skipping the last set of nerve glide exercises because I am sick to death of them.

All examples of how boredom shows up as lack of interest.

Restless

This is where I start to turn the corner on boredom – this restlessness can actually be considered a positive if it creates space to allow creativity in. Here are a couple ways this presents in my life these days:

  • Puttering through chores.

Some days I am just bored with the daily mundane work of being an adult. One trick Bixby and I use is to set a timer for 15 – 60 minutes, put on our favorite playlist to play throughout speakers all over the house, and divide and conquer on tasks. At the end of the timer, sometimes we quit on the spot, sometimes we wrap up the task, sometimes we continue to clean, etc.

But the opposite is also true – instead of jamming through a finite time slot, puttering around can be successful. I fill out a form and take it to the mailbox. While I am out there I see flowers to deadhead and get the scissors from inside. Dropping the deadheads in the compost bin, I decide to turn the compost. Then throw the ball for Lucille.

I go inside and take a stack of books upstairs and see a load of laundry needs to be put in. Sweeping the stairs leads to folding napkins. Turning over the laundry leads to matching odd socks.

It all leaves space to naturally lead to whatever the universe brings to my attention.

  • Sitting and not meditating. Not every second needs to be accounted for. Truly. Louder for the people in the back

NOT EVERY SECOND NEEDS TO BE ACCOUNTED FOR. 

Ok, if you need to account for it, call this “restless mind syndrome” and assign it a 5-minute time block. Literally sitting down with no agenda, no book, no TV or phone, and NOT trying to clear the mind. I keep a notebook and pencil for anything that flows in. I find that it takes a few minutes to start to trickle in. Then WHOOSH – floodgates.

Genay and I talk ourselves in circles and as usual the answer to if something good or bad, we came to the conclusion: yes.

You can listen to the whole episode here or wherever you get your podcasts. But I just need to summarize that this topic has lead back to something that I have been working a lot on – Making space.

Space to learn something new.

Meet new people.

Do something new.

React differently – or not at all.

Maybe listening to our thoughts on boredom will shake something loose for you. I would love to hear about it in the comments or email me at Susan@sustainablesue.com.

By |2022-05-22T15:37:39-04:00May 31st, 2022|Sustainable Productivity|0 Comments

Conscious Contact at Work

I have spent quite a few years pretending I knew what I was doing. Approximately 40-some years.

It is exhausting.

In this week’s podcast, Genay and I talk about Conscious Contact in the workplace and for me, this is where imposter syndrome really showed itself.

And man, I sure took it out on a lot of my direct reports. I required perfection at all times and was scared shitless that someone would find out I was clueless on how to get there. I ruined a lot of relationships and drove off a lot of good people – just because they were different from me or needed something I was not able to give them.

Although I stopped managing people in 2010, it took about 7 more years for me to start to loosen the death grip on perfection. Here are a couple tent poles that I keep returning to:

  1. Wearing life like a loose garment.
  2. Learning about the Buddhist concepts of beginner mind.
  3. Having a sense of humor.
  4. Trying new things.

“In the beginners mind, there are many possibilities, but in the experts there are few.” Shunryu Surjuki

Listen to the whole episode at this link or wherever you get your podcasts.

By |2022-05-22T15:06:09-04:00May 24th, 2022|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

I want to catch you up on the fun stuff that has been happening while on hiatus.

Remember how I said I wanted to get my Tupperware drawer in order? I did approximately zero minutes of that.

Live footage of the jumble of plastic containers.

But what I did do was become a co-host of a podcast.

A friend of mine started the Conscious Contact podcast earlier this year. Here is the description:

Do you hate small talk? Do you often think about how to live a meaningful life, and where we get our reference for what is important in life? Join your host, Genay Peavey, and special guests as they dive into how they reconnect with the present, pursue their bigger purpose (and how they found it), and put the phones down so they can actively participate in their lives.

Sounds like Sustainable Productivity, right?! I thought so too and was delighted when she asked me to be one of her first guests. You can listen to that episode here.

Things just naturally progressed and now I am onboard as cohost!

I am excited about the podcast medium. I did not think the speaking thing was going to be my jam, but Genay makes it super easy, and we both have the same intention with our creative efforts.

If you want to learn along with us, subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. We are on most podcast platforms. You can also follow us on Instagram at @consciouscontactpodcast

By |2022-05-11T08:03:54-04:00May 11th, 2022|Sustainable Productivity|0 Comments

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