Tag Archives: Procrastination

The Book Project, Vol. 2

(Image/timemanagementninja.com)

(Image/timemanagementninja.com)

You probably think I’m procrastinating. (And you’re technically correct.) But in the context of my life, things are right on schedule.

This is how I operate. I’m not defending it, nor proud of it. It’s just a fact.

Remember that one time I pledged you’d want me by June 1? Because I said I’d be in good shape by then? I didn’t even start seriously working out and altering my diet until a week before June 1. I can’t be entirely sure you’d want me today, but it’s at least 200-percent more likely than before. You’re welcome.

In April of LAST YEAR, I told you about the book I am planning to write. And I do have several thousands of words written for it. It’s not like the workout thing, where I literally did NOTHING I said I would for a few months.

But, still. I’ve been putting it off. And that has to stop. Now.

My 500-Words-Per-Day Strategy

I won’t know I can do this until I actually do it, but there’s nothing particularly daunting to me about the prospect of writing 500 words a day. I think it might help.

My favorite writer James Altucher preaches generating 10 new ideas every day. (It doesn’t matter what for. It only matters that you do it.)

Bestselling novelist John Grisham has published 33 novels in 25 years because he commits to writing at least one page daily, and sticks to it.

Perhaps the most successful comedian of all time, Jerry Seinfeld, set a simple target for himself: One new joke per day.

It’s a productivity hack to harness the power of momentum and reap the long-term benefits of incremental gains.

Writes Cathryn Lavery in the Medium post that inspired this one: Persistence creates luck and experience.

I know it to be true. Now, it’s time to apply it to finishing this book project which I hope will lead to new ones.

I am a world-class procrastinator. I will NEVER publicly admit all of the problems that have cropped up in my life over the years because of my tendency to put things off.

I am the captain of the ADHD squad.

And I am a little bit childish in that I prefer to spend pretty much all my time doing whatever it is I want to be doing, and pretty much never wanting to do things that don’t fit nicely into that little Things Matt Likes silo.

I can continue to use those things as excuses and never achieve goals I set for myself, or I can make small changes and slowly but steadily inch my way toward the finish line.

The key takeaway from going through the StrengthsFinder program in May was the realization that I need to sometimes protect myself from myself and structure projects and parts of my life in ways that minimize the negative effects of some of my (less-than-desirable) tendencies. In other words, in order to finish this book, I need partners.

A friend and co-worker agreed to be the person to hold me accountable to writing 500 words per day. If she does her part, and I do my part, the book should be written by the holidays. I am grateful to have people in my life who want to help me with this project. Much like the workout thing, one morning it was finally time to move. For book writing, today is that day.

Improve at something 1% each day, and you’ll be twice as good at that thing in 70 days. Improve 1% each day, and at the end of the year you’ll have improved 3,800%.

All it takes is repetition and the will to say yes every day. And like working out and disciplined eating, I can do that.

Which is good.

Because it’s time to scare the hell out of Bruce Lee.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your Penis Looks Bigger When You Don’t Procrastinate

(Photo by The Plain Dealer)

This could have been me! (Photo by The Plain Dealer)

There are two ways to write this post.

There’s the way where I paint myself a victim of circumstance—someone who got totally screwed and didn’t deserve it.

And there’s the honest way.

I am a chronic procrastinator and am grossly irresponsible for a 36-year-old father.

It’s the reason my retirement account isn’t as large as it should be. It’s the reason I don’t have any books published. It’s the reason I don’t have a 28-inch waist. It’s the reason my house isn’t as clean as it should be. It’s the reason my ex-wife gets pissed at me when I overlook or don’t pay attention to some detail related to our son’s school schedule. It’s the reason I let my auto insurance lapse last year.

And it’s the reason I don’t have natural gas service to my house as I sit here typing this.

“What’d you do, Matt? Not pay your bills!?”

No, dick.

I actually have a credit on my account because I pay more every month than I need to, thank you very much.

But what did happen is the gas company kept visiting my house to inspect my gas meter when I wasn’t home. Not the entire company, I don’t think. Probably just one guy. They need to inspect meters (mine’s indoors) to ensure they are gauging gas usage accurately and to regularly check for natural gas leaks.

So, instead of just breaking in or maybe letting my uncle’s ghost show them around, they left a little card on my door knob informing me I needed to schedule an appointment to have my meter inspected.

It seemed important, so I put it in my Jeep to remind me to call on my morning commute instead of calling immediately. I called one time a couple days later, but the offices were closed, and I just sort of never tried again.

I just kept on living because if I just don’t worry about it, it will magically go away!!!

Because I live in Ohio, the temperature can swing 30 degrees in one day. And it did. We had a little cold spell recently, where it was in the 30s and 40s (Fahrenheit) at night, and in the 50s during the day.

Wednesday, I noticed the temperature reading in my house was 59 degrees. Unacceptable. I turned on the furnace and went to bed.

When my alarm clock woke me yesterday, my sinuses were totally clogged and my bedroom was about 55 degrees, as if a little magic ice troll was camped out in my air duct shooting pneumonia sprinkles and fuck-you dust at me all night.

I assumed my furnace was broken since that was the most expensive explanation. Whatever. I’ll fix it later!

I put a space heater in my room last night because I figured possibly setting my house on fire is better than being a tiny bit cold and also because screw that little ice troll.

Everything seemed fine until the part where I got in the shower and screamed obscenities. Because that was hell.

That’s what hell is, folks. An endless cold shower where all the women you find attractive take photos of your shriveled penis and post them to Instagram and Facebook and then tag your grandmother.

“Hahaha! See how funny it looks with the Lo-Fi filter!?”

Like. Like. Share. Like. Share. Like. Like.

No hot water combined with my furnace blowing only cold air told me all I needed to know: Those bastards shut off my gas.

Is that a little harsh? Shutting off gas to a customer who is a couple months AHEAD on his bill paying? Maybe another warning stuck to my door? Might that have been a better way to handle it?

I think so.

If it was winter and they shut off my gas, my reaction would be infinitely less measured. The gas company would have a real problem on their hands. And by that I mean, I would have complained to four or five people who don’t procrastinate all the time, and then do exactly what I’m already doing, which is meeting a gas company person at my house whenever they call me.

(Insert magic time-travel sound effect here)

I have a minor gas leak in my house! Gas company man just left. He was cool.

Now I’m waiting for the plumber to come, install new fittings, then I’ll have to call the gas company back so they can restart service.

I think this is one of those times it’s important to look on the bright side.

Is it fun waiting for a plumbing company to call you back, and then overcharge you for the work they’re going to do?

No.

But is it kind of awesome that I will greatly reduce the risk of dying in a fiery explosion in my own house?

I feel like it probably is.

Maybe you guys would hear about it someday. “News at 11. Procrastinating blogger’s home explodes, killing him, but also saving him from having to power wash his exterior walls and mop the basement floor, so don’t feel too bad.”

Or maybe you wouldn’t hear.

Either way, I’d probably end up in that forever-cold shower, shriveled penis exposed, and going viral on Facebook – Eternal Damnation Edition™.

Like. Like. Share. Like. Share. Like. Like.

But, hell. Since I’m still alive?

I guess I’ve got some things to do.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Matt the Plumber

(Image courtesy of Emergency Plumber Boston.)

(Image courtesy of Emergency Plumber Boston.)

I looked the part. Jeans and a tee shirt. A wrench and a bucket.

But the universe knows I’m not really a handyman, outside of the kitchen or bedroom. I’m more of a helper. Like Al on Tool Time.

It’s not that I can’t fix or install things. On a case-by-case basis, I can. I just generally require at least one more trip to the hardware store than a regular person.

I’ve installed a dishwasher that only leaked once, a garbage disposal that has miraculously never failed me, some lattice on my deck that lasted a solid five years before falling off, a flat-panel television by my basement bar with minimal wall damage, and I once fixed a washing machine. It still totally works. Seriously!

Bucket in hand, I was all ready to go. I would have charged myself $80 an hour, but I didn’t even have my ass crack showing, so I was like: I’m not paying this impostor.

“Hey Matt! What happened to your sink!?!?”

I’m so glad you asked.

You know the little plunger on the backs of faucets that move drain plugs up and down? Yeah, I somehow disconnected mine from that mechanism on the sink in one of my bathrooms and have never figured out how to fix it, so I just never did.

I needed to plug the sink to do some bathroom hygiene stuff which I really, desperately, want to tell you was because I fill up the sink to shave so I can conserve water responsibly while shaving my two-day stubble that took four days to grow.

But that’s not the reason. It’s because I needed to clean a plugged ear. (Hot, right? You eating lunch? Mmm. Don’t worry, this gets slightly grosser.)

So I press down the plug and let the sink fill up with water while I do what needs done.

It’s time to unplug the drain, only the little plunger-majingy on the faucet isn’t working, because duh, bitch, it doesn’t work!

Crap. How am I going to get this drain unplugged?

I ran downstairs and grabbed one of my old steak knives I would never be able to use again and tried jimmying it into the space between the plug and the drain surround.

It was an ineffective strategy, but I kept trying it over and over and swearing a little. The swearing didn’t help.

Hmmm.

A moment of genius.

Got it!

I grabbed the toilet plunger, because I’m totally brilliant and I figured I could create enough vacuum suction to force the drain up that way.

Three things happened really fast.

The first thing that happened was epic failure as my shitty plan didn’t even almost work. The drain didn’t budge.

The second thing that happened was that all of the totally disgusting bacteria and mildew that lives inside not-well-cleaned toilet plungers totally contaminated my predominately clean sink water, save for the remnants of my successful ear-cleaning procedure.

The third thing that happened is despite almost throwing up in my mouth, I tried the shitty plunger idea a few more times to see if it would work, and it never did, but some of the dysentery water splashed up on my vanity and got all over my toothbrush which I promptly threw in the trash and lit on fire.

The sink was winning.

I needed to think. And find a new toothbrush. And a new place to brush.

I knew I was going to have to disconnect the drain pipe and hit it from underneath (giggity), but that seemed like a lot of work and since I hadn’t contracted malaria or toilet-plunger gonorrhea yet, I wanted to give it a little more brainstorming and disease-marinating time.

Finally, it was last night, and my son would be home the following and there’s no way I could let him see this, so it was time to take action.

A ladybug had already found its way into the disgusting water and had fortunately died instead of turning into a giant flying Toxic Crusader insect that tried to hump my mouth while I slept.

Armed with my wrench and bucket, I pulled out everything stored beneath the sink, situated the bucket and went to work on disconnecting the drainpipe.

Turns out, whoever plumbed the sink installed fittings that could relatively easily be unscrewed by hand, so my wrench was totally for show. I disconnected the drain, pushed the plug out with a screwdriver from underneath, and watched my hand get some AIDS water on it but somehow not shrivel up and disappear. All that remained in the sink was a black ring of filth and horribleness.

I went to work with disinfectant and napalm, cleaned up, put everything away and admired a job well done that maybe took 15 minutes altogether. Even with the napalm.

What that means is I “brainstormed” ideas to fix my sink for 48 hours to try to avoid doing it “the hard way.” The hard way which only took 15 minutes.

It was a missed opportunity.

At $80 an hour, I would have been almost $4,000 richer.

And probably rocked some wicked-hot plumber’s crack.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

How to Stop Procrastinating Later

procrastination-flowchart-2

A husband I know got into hot water with his wife after letting the family’s insurance coverage lapse several months ago.

“How could he be so irresponsible? How could he let that happen to his family? What if something happened?” my friend said to me.

I just shrugged. Because I do things just like that.

I am a world-class procrastinator. I think I currently rank No. 2 in the world, just behind my five-year-old son. I’ll check the rankings later.

My friend thinks I’m a good person and totally responsible. She thinks I’m a good sounding board for discussing her marital frustrations.

I got a letter in the mail a few weeks ago. There was a huge “URGENT!” stamped on it in super-duper-emergency red.

The exact wording of the letter from my insurance agent escapes me, but it was VERY close to this:

“Dear Matt,

“Because you are an irresponsible degenerate piece of shit who can’t manage bills like an adult, your insurance policy has been cancelled. We sure hope you haven’t been driving around with lapsed auto coverage, and we have our fingers crossed that your house doesn’t catch fire or get swallowed by a sinkhole.

“But if it does, you’ll deserve it. Because you’re an asshole.

“Life tip: You and your son’s health and wellbeing, along with your house and car are the three most-valuable things you possess. So maybe think about growing up one of these days and taking care of your shit.

<Cue Samir from Office Space> You are a very bad person, Matt.

“Sincerely, Your Insurance Agent”

Yeah, tell me something I don’t know, Insurance People. You should see what I can do to a marriage.

One of the best ways for me to overcome procrastination is to create an emergency.

I respond FABULOUSLY with focus, energy and determination when I’m facing an emergency. I had insurance coverage restored within 24 hours of realizing I had a problem.

You may be wondering: “How the hell could something like that happen?”

I have a three- or four-month supply of unopened mail on my home office desk.

I still have unopened birthday cards laying on my dining room table. My birthday was three weeks ago.

THAT’s how.

I am capable of putting things off in ways you haven’t even thought of yet. And maybe I’ll tell you about it someday if I ever get around to it. Start holding your breath… right… now.

AWOLprocrastination

Procrastination is not a good thing. I’m making light of it because I don’t see the point in flailing about all dramatic-like, AND because this offers you a peek into the guy my ex-wife wanted to leave.

I do want you to know who I am.

One wonders why I wouldn’t want to clean up the sins of my past that lead to the single-worst thing that has ever happened to me. Perhaps there’s a psychological explanation for why I am the way I am. And perhaps I’ll look into that one day. You know, when I get around to it.

I am a negligent person.

Some of you may remember the post where I explored the hypothetical ramifications of my grandmother marrying a Liam Neeson movie character. At the end of that post, I disclosed that my grandmother had been in an accident which forced her to have a variety of surgeries. She was in and out of the hospital for several weeks.

My grandmother is the sweetest woman on the planet, and I think about her often, and did pray earnestly for her recovery.

I called her yesterday for the first time since the accident in January. I left her a message because my grandparents weren’t home. When my grandma called me back last night, I ignored the phone call because I felt “too busy” to answer.

Hopefully, I’ll be disciplined enough to return her call today. Start holding your breath!

I only recently discovered PsyBlog. It’s awesome.

Last month, PsyBlog author Dr. Jeremy Dean wrote a nice post titled 10 Foolproof Tips for Overcoming Procrastination.

If you’re interested, please give it a read.

I’ll list the 10 here, but you’ll need to read his post to get the full context for a few of them.

1. Start easy

2. Start anywhere

3. Beware excuses

4. Up the value

5. Procrastination personality

6. Turn up

7. Think concrete

8. Don’t rely on memory

9. Avoid over-thinking

10. Forgive yourself

There’s a lot of good stuff here that very much applies to my life.

Because I do make excuses. To others and myself.

Because when I “Up the value” (an emergency!) I get shit done.

Because I do have a procrastination personality.

Because I have a subpar memory for task management and short-term things.

Because I over-think EVERYTHING.

And because I have a lot of trouble forgiving myself for… gee, let me think… pretty much every bad thing I’ve ever done.

I bet if I stopped procrastinating, I would feel less stressed.

I bet if I stopped procrastinating, I could get in great shape again.

I bet if I stopped procrastinating, I could make a good book.

I bet if I stopped procrastinating, I would feel spiritually balanced.

I bet if I stopped procrastinating, every facet of my life would improve.

This is great! I have something to focus on! An identifiable shortcoming I can do something about!

It’s going to be so gratifying to work on this stuff and grow and evolve into the person I want to be!

But when to start!?!?

Eh.

Maybe later.

Tagged , , , , ,

A Robot That Does Everything For You

I don't recall Andrew wiping any butts in "Bicentennial Man." But I might have to watch it again to be sure.

I don’t recall Andrew wiping any butts in “Bicentennial Man.” But I might have to watch it again to be sure.

“Hey dad,” my five-year-old son said. “Wouldn’t it be cool if for your birthday, I got you a robot that would do everything for you?

“Like, you could say: ‘Hey robot! Clean those dishes,’ or ‘Hey robot! Pick up my toys,’ or ‘Hey robot! Give me a bath,’ and then the robot would just do it for you.”

I smiled. Funny kid.

“Yeah, bud. That would be amazing. I would love a robot just like that,” I said.

My desk is a disaster zone. Bills. Things that need filed. Photos.

A total mess.

A metaphor for my entire life from an organization standpoint.

I still have some Christmas decorations in my bedroom that need put away. It would literally take me less than two minutes. A few boxes sitting right next to the storage doors.

I have a pile of laundry by my dresser. It would literally take me less than 20 seconds to pick up the pile and carry it down the hall to a closet where a laundry basket lives for that very purpose.

Both my son’s bed and my bed are unmade. I had strep throat this past weekend and haven’t washed my sheets yet. It would literally take me three minutes to make both beds.

There’s a pretty disgusting fish tank sitting on my kitchen counter right now. I intend to clean it tonight, assuming I don’t drink myself into a nerve-wracked stupor.

Several months ago, a little girl who was at the house playing with my son dumped an entire bottle of water-treatment bacteria into the tank. (There were no fish in it. It’s the Tank of Death™.) The water got really cloudy and gross.

I just left it there to run every day until two nights ago when I took it downstairs to my kitchen.

It’s a freaking miracle we don’t have SARS or bubonic plague or scurvy.

I’m glad it’s there, because it makes the stack of dishes seem less unsightly.

Can robots get scurvy?

“Hey dad!” my son yelled from the bathroom. “Wouldn’t it be cool if we had a robot that would wipe our butts for us?”

He thinks things like that are hilarious and it’s totally my fault.

“A butt-wiping robot? I don’t know, man. That sounds dangerous,” I said.

It was bath time.

Every time we had a new task, it was: “Dad. Wouldn’t it be cool if we had a robot to do…” whatever it was we were doing. Scrubbing with soap. Washing and rinsing hair. Drying off. Brushing teeth. Combing hair.

A butt-wiping robot? This boy is displaying subtle signs of laziness.

I worried for a minute. I’m a worrier.

I stepped into the living room to shut off a couple lights before taking my son upstairs to tuck him in.

When I’d last left the room there were plastic and rubber reptiles and dinosaurs scattered everywhere.

He had picked up every single one without me asking and put them in one of his toy bins.

Good boy.

I worried less.

Today, I had to take my son to school for the very first time. Usually the day care lady manages this process.

Somehow, we didn’t have any of his shoes at the house. They were all at his mom’s or at the day care family’s.

Shit.

Snow boots weren’t going to cut it. It was gym class day, he said.

I called my ex-wife. She was kind enough to leave her office and run home to get us a pair.

Thank you.

Maybe a robot could have made us a cool pair of shoes or run to my ex-wife’s house for us to pick them up.

I drove to the school.

When I was in school, things were simple. There was a building. And when you arrived at the building, you could just go inside of it.

Now, thanks to shitbags and psychos intent on harming children, there are all these rules preventing such convenience.

And it became obvious right away: I was doing it wrong.

I was waiting in a drop-off lane.

One lady two cars back was VERY disappointed with my choices. I could tell by her honking her horn.

She pulled out of line and drove up next to me. I thought she was going to say something to help point me in the right direction because clearly I looked like someone who didn’t know what he was doing.

I rolled down my window with a smile on my face eagerly awaiting her helpful advice.

“There’s a whole fucking parking lot right there, asshole! Why don’t you try parking in it?!?!?” she yelled, not very nicely.

And because I’m REALLY tough when I’m safe in my car and firing back at bitchy soccer moms, I was preparing to retort: “Yeah! Cool! Yell at me! I’ve never been here before, you mouth-breather! Thanks for the help!”

But I didn’t have the satisfaction, because she drove away like a coward after verbally abusing me.

“Why did that person yell at you, daddy?” my son asked.

“Because I’m parked in a very bad place and because she is a very bad person,” I said.

Maybe a robot could have gotten out of the Jeep and robo-punched her in her stupid face.

I am getting better.

I am.

At managing my life. The adjustment is a gradual one. And I’m a talented procrastinator even in the best of times.

I was joking with a few guys at the office about how I need to invite people over to motivate me to keep my house in tip-top shape.

“So THAT’s why you don’t have parties anymore,” one said.

There might even be a little truth there.

Another guy said all will fix itself once I have a woman back in my life again.

I half-snorted.

“I have enough trouble getting dates as it is,” I said. “Maybe I should throw in the all-enticing offer to help clean my house.”

That does sound nice, though. Right, single people?

Someone to talk to?

Someone to sit with?

Someone to wake up next to?

But maybe the kid’s onto something.

I wonder what Johnny 5’s up to these days?

"When you gotta go, don't squeeze the Charmin." Johnny 5 seems uniquely qualified for my son's unusual request.

“When you gotta go, don’t squeeze the Charmin.” Johnny 5 seems uniquely qualified for my son’s unusual request.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: