Posts tagged: Avoider

Diary of a procrastinator

diary of a procrastinator

Productivity has never been a problem for me. I know the glowing feeling of accomplishment that comes from a daily to-do list stricken with check mark after check mark. I know what it feels like to be the good kind of tired — the kind that comes from spending hours in the zone getting stuff done. And I know these things because I have a top-secret productivity weapon.

I’m always, always avoiding doing something else.

No surprise, then, that when I recently used the Unstuck app, it told me I was acting like an Avoider.


Procrastination and I go way back. Back to college, when I worked my butt off at internships and jobs, then wrote term papers just hours before they were due. Back to my days as a news reporter, when I produced multiple headlines a day, but left
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How to escape the busyness trap

“I’m so busy!”

It’s the auto-pilot response to “How are you?” these days. And of course we are busy. In addition to family, friends, and work, we’ve got a whole world at our fingertips to keep up with.

All this busyness can be overwhelming. But it can also be comforting — for a couple of reasons. Being busy brings a kind of badge of honor that the world needs us. It’s also an excellent way to steer clear of life’s thornier issues.

And that’s when we can get stuck — taking life as it comes rather than giving direction to how we spend our days.

I’m busy, therefore I am
Quick story: Ann was waiting for the restroom at one of Boston’s trendier brunch places. A woman got in line behind her and casually began complaining about her lack of free time. So many obligations on the weekends, she said, kept her jumping from one
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Roman Holiday: Princess Ann gets unstuck as an Avoider

Her stuck moment: Sick of life in the royal fish bowl, Princess Ann runs away from duty to paint the town red as carefree commoner “Anya.” Her incognito adventures — including a dance party that ends in a wild melee — throw the city of Rome into an uproar.

She goes for it: Though she falls in love with life on the other side — and with handsome American journalist Joe Bradley — she’s realizes that running away from her obligations can’t buy happiness, and a “holiday” can’t go on forever.

Unstuck result:  Ann returns to her royal responsibilities, but with new maturity and a stronger sense of
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Question: Does procrastination ever make life better?

Who doesn’t have a justification for not doing something: I’m too busy, it’s too hard, it’s not due yet, or the perennial favorite, I just don’t feel like it. But even with an excuse, is life better by putting off the inevitable? It’s hard to say yes when delays usually mean internal nagging, diminished trust, lower-quality work, and disappointment.

Often, we’re unknowingly stuck in some way that results in procrastination. Maybe we can’t see the possibilities. Or we don’t believe in the goal. Not having a plan can stop us, as can lack of resources.

Unstuck’s “Now or Never” tool helps us find what’s missing so we can get on with it. If you’re on your iPad, click to go directly to the tool (this won’t work if you’re using Unstuck on the web). Or download the free Unstuck iPad app
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Procrastination: How to silence the fears that stop you in your tracks

Meet Jamie Palmer and Jan Bavea, two brave women who are ready to stop acting like paralyzed procrastinators. After receiving our “What kind of procrastinator are you?” newsletter, Jamie, a former PR professional who is now writing a book, admits: “I couldn’t even bring myself to open the email about procrastinating.” But her worries about regret and wasted time overruled her trepidation and she emailed us. Jan, a certified business and professional coach who helps busy people find the balance they need, also wants to find a way to overcome her fear of judgment and perfectionism: “I just want to change my mindset to see that being good enough doesn’t mean being perfect. I would finally be able to stop procrastinating around things I know I can do and stop all my second-guessing.”

What they’re currently struggling with:
• “I’ve always been an introvert since I was young, and it’s hard
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A method to stay focused on what you want to do

Albert Schweitzer once said, “Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.”

We’re seeing more and more peer-to-peer help within the Unstuck community, and we thank you — for daring to be vulnerable publicly and for rising to the call and helping others.

In our Unstuck newsletter, we featured “How to stop drowning in a sea of details,” which prompted a reader to comment that she could use a system to remain accountable. Two fellow readers stepped forward with great suggestions.

Dan Butcher suggested a tactic he uses on occasion himself: Give someone you trust a check for $100, written out to a cause you detest. If you don’t get done what you need to, the check gets sent. We like this idea for larger, nonrecurring tasks.

To help with daily
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Procrastination: How to deal with those boring tasks


Meet Arpan Patel, hardcore put-upon procrastinator. A student majoring in software engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Arpan believes procrastination is a way of life. His motto? Play before work. During high school, Arpan never studied for tests and excelled at convincing teachers to grant extensions or accept late work. Now in college, he’s still living on the last-minute with everything from laundry to papers to financial aid forms. He claims it hasn’t negatively affected his life all that much, but his biology grade tells another story.

Arpan’s recent procrastination moments:
• It’s unusual for Arpan to have regrets, but not studying earlier for biology exams throughout the semester is one of them. A typical test covers eight chapters of a textbook and 12 PowerPoint presentations that are 40 to 90 slides each. Most students start weeks in advance, but Arpan began studying the day before. When the grades came out, he wasn’t
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Procrastination: How to stop drowning in a sea of details


Meet Linda Hollander, self-professed pinball procrastinator. Currently a freelance writer and mother living in the Netherlands, Linda began her career as a secretary. Bored with her job, she noticed that she procrastinated on even the smallest tasks, and chalked it up to lack of interest. After a few years, Linda quit to pursue a writing career. But even as a successful freelancer, her procrastination habits remain.

Linda’s story of extreme procrastination

“Whether it’s turkey or a crucifixion, all over the world people have their own way of celebrating Christmas on the 24th of December.” Yes, you read that right. It was Linda’s first sentence of her first article ever published — the result of some serious procrastination. Four years earlier, when an editor friend asked her to contribute a piece for the December issue of his magazine, Linda was ecstatic to officially begin pursuing her passion as a writer. Problem was, she didn’t
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What kind of procrastinator are you?

Procrastination Avoider

The funny thing about procrastination is that we hate doing it when we’re doing it, but it’s hard to stop. Though not impossible, if you really want to break the habit. To get unstuck as an Avoider, we like to start at “why?” Once we recognize why we put things off, we can develop habits to reverse our impulses. To find your procrastination style, take our mini-quiz.

When you put something off, what do you feel, think, and do? Pick one from each group.

What do you Feel when you’re procrastinating?
A. Overwhelmed
B. Guilty
C. Annoyed

What do you Think when you’re procrastinating?
A. Oh, I really should be doing that. And that. And that, too
B. I’m only making it worse but I can’t help myself
C. Shouldn’t someone else being doing this kind of thing?

What do you Do when you’re procrastinating?
A. A little of a lot of things to keep all the balls in the
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