My Secret Strategy
If you wonder why I write so much, it isn’t because I think I know so much. It’s because that is my life. I write and speak. I hold down a job that pays bills and then I write and speak which pays for nothing…but it’s my passion. Like most people, I work for a paycheck and live for something else.
Since the key to being productive in my life seems to hinge upon being pro-active; and being proactive appears to be a character trait of which I possess very little, I have recently stumbled upon a brand new world of opportunity that is working like “clock-work” for me. I hire to my weakness.
Give me a minute and don’t misunderstand the word “hire”. There are any number of things that I do well. Most procrastinators are gifted individuals. In fact a recent study indicates that most people who cite procrastination as a real problem in their lives; say that they have so much they want to do, but lack the skills to organize the high number of tasks they want to accomplish. “highly intelligent people often lack to ability to organize and have real problems with procrastination” The Master of Getting Things Done (Business 2.0 magazine) June 2007 article.
I realize that I cannot get everything done that I wish to accomplish by myself even if I was the most intelligent and organized person on the face of the earth.
This is why I believe one of the most productive things I can do (even if it is a bit expensive), is to hire to my weaknesses. A brief glimpse into this practice I think will help you decide to do the same.
I am a former gymnast. I highly value physical fitness. At 50 I work out at least twice a week and sometimes 3 times a week. How can a procrastinator do that??? I pay for it… higher than I would pay for a gym membership, granted, but I get SO MUCH in return. My trainer calls me, and tells me he is expecting me in 15 or 20 minutes on the day of my workout. I asked him to do this and he knows why… I would put it off. I also will be financially penalized if I don’t show. Now how can I afford to do this… I take things off my list that other people normally do, like going to Starbucks to pay for coffee, getting a newspaper subscription, (no papers to pick up, I read it online or at the library!) , in other words, I prioritize around my most important values; and it works. I even get a non DSL line for my internet and I save $30.00 a month! Yes there are sacrifices, but am I serious about changing or not?
Let’s take another example. Yes, it’s easier to hire for something you WANT to do, like working out, but what about house cleaning? Yup… I hire it out. No I am not rich, I do not make enough money to have a house keeper weekly, so I hire it out once every two weeks. This means, that I pay $60.00 for someone to come in and clean floors, toilets, vacuum, dust (everything). Guess what? I DON’T HAVE TO DO IT!!!!!! And even though (you may say)… the house gets dirty the other 13 days a week, I do my best NOT to be a pig. Hey, I don’t know about you, but clean toilets, clean mirrors, swept and mopped floors makes me feel rich… and I can save $60 bucks by planning and teaming up with my spouse to make it a priority. (She feels very valued because I do this, even if she doesn’t understand my procrastination…lol).
Food… instead of taking this to the extreme…(no I don’t hire a chef,) I have discovered the term, “Almost homemade”. If you’re like me, grocery shopping is a hassle that I just don’t need. I like people and hate crowds, if that makes any sense. Grocery shopping is maddening, because I know I need food, I don’t want to prepare food, I don’t want to clean the dishes after eating food, and fast food makes me as round as a barn. So what do I do? I get a lot of pre-cooked and EasySchmeasy stuff that is ready in 5 minutes (or less… yes really!).
Uncle Ben is a particularly good friend of mine. His 90 second rice is absolutely the best invention on the planet. Frozen chicken breasts, in bulk, Good quality cream of mushroom, cream of chicken soups (not Campbells okay?), dump them together in a crock pot and then procrastinate the day away baby!!! Dinner is cooking and I get to be a hero again!!!! Do you know what time of day I do this? When I can’t sleep, like at 2 in the morning, and I am wide awake, I do it before I make myself a big bowl of cereal and going downstairs to watch Andy Griffith re-runs)…again, my five minute game works for me and when my spouse gets up, dinner is on.
Sam’s Club is another life saver. I go and get pre-packaged lasagna. (now listen to me… I know it isn’t your mothers lasagna but I suppose I have decided that this stuff is really, really good and if I don’t say anything, my mom won’t find out!) PREPREPARED RULES!!!!! – and like Steven Colbert…and so can you!
A word about personal hygiene… it’s like manners; it’s for other people. Since I have limited what I spend money for, haircuts and (for women, who are the civilized gender of our species… I really mean that), manicures, pedicures and such, I barter. Yes I barter. I prepare extra food in my crockpot, or purchase pies from Sam’s (you know the big 15 inch pies that they make…) and struck a deal with my hair stylist neighbor. I show up with a pie, she pulls out the scissors; that’s the deal! I even get a shampoo and guess what, I make her call me once every three weeks to say she is expecting a pie tomorrow. (okay you active minds out there, yes she’s young, pretty and my sister in law and my wife goes with me… so there!) I also hire middle school students to mow my grass for a pittance, (they’re happy, I’m happy). I work deals so I can’t get out of them. I obligate myself socially I guess you would say, and while it sucks to follow through, it sometimes sucks so good that I am glad I followed through. (everyone who is reading this and is a true procrastinator understands what I just said.)
Yes, I am a sick puppy. I am a procrastinator and I am working my way back to being a responsible member of the society I live in. I must create systems, I must trick myself and yes I must play my little games. Hiring to your weakness is not a cop-out, it is a strength to recognize that you cannot do everything that everyone else seems to be able to do, (although THAT is a lie… everyone else procrastinates too!). Other areas you can hire (cheaply) or free are:
- An organizational expert – (universities have students who study this and look for cases to practice on, the university I live near has this and I have one coming for FREE!!!!!! Yes, yippee!
- Car Maintenance for free. Go to your local Technical School and ask the academics coordinator to introduce you to the automotive department head.
- Hire a cook. Did you know you can have a little old lady who is looking for extra income, come into your home and cook on a Saturday, and freeze what she cooks into portions that you and your spouse will love? You give her the money, she cooks and you pay her about $40.00 for 3 hours work.
- Go to Swifty and have them pump your gas. They will you know! For the same price of you having to get out and pump gas. I know this sounds lazy, but sometimes I run on fumes because I put off getting gas. If Swifty doesn’t exist in your neck of the woods, there is a Swifty alternative just waiting for you to find it!
- Gutter Cleaning service. Okay, maybe this is over the top, but you can pay a kid $25.00 to get up on your ladder and clean out your gutters.
Finally, can I just say, you’re worth it? It doesn’t really much matter what I say, I guess I want to ask you if YOU will say it. You are worth the extra money it takes to make life work. My heart breaks sometimes when I hear procrastinators living so far below what their genius is worth. You are wonderful, flesh and blood people with real life issues to deal with. Hiring to your weakness can improve your quality of life and your self esteem greatly. Just decide what sacrifices you want to make, take baby steps and see your life blossom.
Having just awakened,