Mad at myself
Not really a check-in, so I'll post this here. (Though not really a question/answer/introduction, either. More like thinking out loud.)
I'm feeling mad at myself and frustrated. I'm taking today off, and my intention was to get to bed early last night, get up at my usual time as if going to work, and get some cringe-busting done. Instead, I stayed up late fooling around on the internet and slept very late. And woke up into one of those days where I know it would feel good to get things in my life taken care of, but am just dragging my feet on doing anything at all.
I'm mad at myself the way you get mad at someone you love when you see them behaving self-destructively and feel powerless to change their behavior. It's the kind of anger that comes not from being judgemental, but from frustration and concern and fear. It's scary sometimes to feel like I'm not in control of myself.
Sometimes I feel as though I want to punish myself for procrastinating. Not because I'm judging myself or think I deserve to suffer, but because I'm frightened. Sort of like the way that even the most gentle parent may find themself reflexively wanting to scold and slap when they see a child running into the street or playing with matches. "Don't you ever do that again! You'll get hurt!"
Procrastination does lead to negative consequences, but they are usually diffuse, cumulative and not experienced right away. There's no immediate negative consequence for putting things off, and sometimes I wish there was, which is another aspect of wanting to be punished. It seems like I'd "get it" a lot better that procrastination hurts if it actually did hurt at the time of the behavior -- say, if someone would smack me upside the head right away if I surf the web after bedtime (wonder if I can hire someone to do that. . .?) ;-)
I get so tired of always having to be my own parent. Coaxing myself, coaching myself, figuring out ways to move myself along. Being in conflict with myself over ordinary, everyday things. Seeing myself live with disorganization and disarray and wanting something better for myself, yet fighting myself every step of the way, like a cranky child resisting the very things that could make it feel better. I wish I could just grow the hell UP, and do stuff without all this fuss.
:(( Sigh. Guess I have a bit of sorting out to do. Thanks for the opportunity to rant!
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Acceptance & Surrender
I agree with most of what I've read here, except I don't believe fighting my dis-ease works. It didn't work for me when I wanted to quit using drugs, so I can't imagine it would work now with procrastination.
Whatever I fight seems to gain energy--I empower it. Surrender is a much better alternative for me, not surrender to the dis-ease (procrastination) but surrender to a Power greater than myself, Love, HP, the group, whatever works.
First, of course, I have to admit I have this problem. All of us here have obviously done this. Then I accept, which isn't the same as saying I like having this dis-ease. But I accept that it's something I can't change on my own.
Then I become open to alternatives. Working with my strengths, rather than focusing on my weaknesses, brings me new energy. I ask the Universe, the Now, to reveal answers for me. Invariably I find answers I'd never thought of. Struggling with myself seems to stifle answers and brings me too involved with my feelings, rather than my intuition.
Acceptance AND Web Moratorium
Wow, I wish I could somehow join the threads up, because I want a single reply to both posts.
I agree, procrastination's not something I can 'fight' - that's just a way of distancing myself from *myself*, from my own behaviour, my own actions.
At every point, it's my power and attention I am *giving* these behaviours, abdication of responsibility as a way of not having to self examine...
What Falcon said, really resonated with me:
"I tend to use distractions like websurfing as a way to keep my brain occupied on a superficial level, while avoiding deeper thoughts & feelings. I've been finding it helpful this month to not have the distraction there -- I do get bored, but I find when I let myself just BE bored, that my real desires come to the surface out of the boredom."
I use certain activities as a *way* of ignoring my dis-ease, and distress. Filling an emotional gap with stuffing, rather than really examining what my dis-ease is, and finding what would truly put me at ease.
Like, I don't just want to stop procrastinating, I want to stop what I see, as the related behaviours, like unconsciously 'punishing' myself by telling myself I can't leave work until I've finished a certain task (and because of the other behaviours, not doing it).
So often, I think I blow up my unfinished tasks, assumed 'shoulds' and 'responsibilities' until they're the monster in the closet I just don't want to look at. So often, the thing that takes the most courage, and gives the most relief, is just to examine, evaluate where I really am, how far behind I am, and then if I have to (the really scary one), go back to people and tell them I'm behind, or go give them/do the thing that is really, really late (once something is late, I avoid the task because I associate the negative consequences with the actually doing it - getting punished for finally handing in the late assignment etc, and the longer I hold off, the longer it is til I face that punishment - and the worst punishment is just other people's disappointment).
Thing is, all too often when I do finally evaluate where I am - it's not as bad as I think! I've been thinking it's so, sooo, bad, and actually, most of the time it's smaller, it's recoverable. I've been seeing a huge shadow rather than the monster, because I haven't shined any light at it.
I give power to things by leaving them in the shadows, by trying to fight or ignore them, when what I really need to do, is examine them, accept them.
Websurfing is just a way to put off my deeper dis-ease. So, if I'm really wanting to go to the page, maybe I need to get up, go off by myself (the bathroom, given that I'm at work), and figure out where the dis-ease is from, and what would really meet it. Usually I'm just bored, but websurfing barely ever relieves my boredom. So, maybe take a book of sci-fi short stories to read, and let myself go off for a 'book break' and read one? But only when I'm sure that THAT's really the problem.
Thing is, I find most of my procrastination activities MIND NUMBINGLY boring when I'm not procrastinating! That's why they're not filling that need!
So is it really boredom? Or is it some kind of anxiety-soothing response?
If so, it doesn't work!
I'm trying to figure out some short, 5 minute relaxation techniques etc, just to test out the 'anxiety' hypothesis.
I wonder if the reason I do better when I'm really busy, is that I'm *so* busy, I take the time to figure out exactly how much I have to get done *today*. All aware, not blind spots. Just for the last couple of days, the CI has really helped with that. Hey, Thursday? I got 8 full hours in!
Anyway, just some thoughts I've been having...
so much of this resonates
so much of this resonates with me. The placating myself superficially because of some deep dis-ease. Nice term "dis-ease."
So many times for me being behind has grown into that inconquerable monster, and, same as you, when i actually face it, it's not as bad as i thot. I'm trying to face my behindedness sooner these days, trying to trust that it's not going to be as bad as i think. Most often, it is not.
g, i'm impressed with how well you seem to have this figured out. It helps me to isolate these levels in myself.
I hope you keep posting as you explore what the underlying need is in your life. Your courage to take action is inspiring.
Figuring it out
g, i'm impressed with how well you seem to have this figured out. It helps me to isolate these levels in myself.
Oh. There's degrees. There's only some stuff I have figured out. Have I mentioned that one of my favourite ways to procrastinate, going right back to early high-school, was to read material on how to stop procrastinating, and how to arrange study habits, then time management, organisation etc.
Hey, on the good side - I have *so* much good advice for anyone ELSE who needs it! ;P
The hardest thing is realising it applies to me. I'd read things and go, I don't have fear of failure, I don't have fear of success (maybe I do have ADD?). And it's a lot harder to realise where the blindspots are. Where it *does* apply.
And I keep thinking, hey, I've just got to outwit myself - make it easy for myself to do the *beneficial* thing.
I might seem bad now (I'll post my CO for the day next, ouch) but - really, you have no idea just how great I'm doing. In *comparison*.
So, so much better than I was. I have a job! A good job. A big room, and I'm getting closer and closer to getting the floor clear. ;)
I have *friends*, projects I'm involved in, and I'm hoping and mostly believing I'll be able to pull off some longer term plans like travel in a year.
I am geeky/analytical type, and well, doing practical things is far more helpful that more analysis, even if I want to analyse. So, the trick at the moment, is trying to use the analysis to convince myself to action - to come up with as many practical things I can do as possible, to try and come up with plans and contingency plans for myself.
I'm an optimist, and I'm trying to learn to be a pessimist. ;)
I assume that things *should* take me a small amount of time, that I *won't* lose things, that I'll get across time in the *minimum* amount of time it's ever taken me, and so I'm just trying to be... more aware. Accept where reality and myself don't match my beliefs.
If I was setting a task for someone else with my track record, would I be expecting what I am? No. If I was looking at myself as an other, with compassion, without judgement, I'd be coming up with better plans, suited to my abilities.
I've gotten better at contingency plans.
Like, just for losing my wallet all the time:
I have $20, a bus ticket, spare ID and a spare eft-pos card stashed in my room for everytime I lose my wallet.
I've been getting eft-pos cards in pairs from the bank so I always have a spare or two (my bank lets me have the same pin number for them).
And finally, I have a *chain* on my wallet, it's a skater wallet, and have that attached to whatever bag it is in.
My next plan is to get big nappy pins, and attach them to my jacket pockets, because the last wallet I lost, I lost on a bus out of a jacket pocket that had nothing to attach the chain too.
It's a little odd sometimes, talking to people who sympathise and say they've lost their wallet... once. Ever.
And a couple of people - <i>never<i>.
My mind boggles. I have the 'stash' because I often misplace my wallet for a day or two, and often I find it again, and that would happen every few weeks, and I'd permanently lose it 2-4 times a year. Anyway, I'm doing better, and now it's not even interrupting my life when it does happen!
Drat, where did I lose my point. The point is - bedtime! Ha!
And I wish I *did* have it figured out. ;)
neither optimist nor pessimist
I am shooting for a realist: I have the same irrational expectations of myself. Let me know when you figure a way for not losing keys!
At one point I had them tied to my main bag with elastic, like a school kid - but that's less practical at the moment, as I keep changing which bag I use.
Oh, maybe I should get a 'medium' sized bag and just use that for everything?
Now I just don't lock my door...
we dont either. Except when we're inside. good thing we're all anonymous on this website :)
" go off by myself and find out where the disease is from
I find that this website is an excellent place to do just that. However, I also find journalling all my compulsions in Word helps enormously: I might write an email to HP and press send, or come to the chatbox to work it through.
Well said, I did the same the other day, I just stopped fighting and accepted that I was powerless over the dis-ease of Procrtination and a peace came. I relized that I was worrying about finances and making money instead of providing a service and the money will come from that.. I just had things backward. Could'nt see that until I surrendered. This new info helped me to move forward and out of my procrtinating effertlessly. Before I
knewit I was not stuck in that same old spot and was moving forward, God will not mine.
Thanks for sharing,
Janet from Canada
I have the same problem--allowing worrying to keep me from taking action. I glad you were able to benefit from my writing. It helps me to see it in print!
that sounds like a beautiful moment in your life. Thanks for sharing it with all of us. It brightens my day. I hope you have many more moments like that.
Making a commitment
Well! This was going to be cringe-busting & housecleaning day -- looks like it turned into internal cringe-busting & housecleaning day instead. My apartment is still grubby, but my mind and heart are more in line with each other. Which, come to think of it, is better than having an immaculate apartment but being stuck & unhappy inside (and there are a lot of people like that -- sometimes we procrastinators do have an advantage when it comes to introspection!)
O.k., so I don't need to be smacked upside the head. But I do need to be "grounded" for a while.
So, for the rest of this month, no going online except for email and (of course!) Procrastinators Anon.
If I need to go online, ex. to look something up, I will jot down where I'm going online, and my start and stop times.
I know I can do that, because I did a similar web moratorium for several months last spring and summer. It helped me break the surfing habit and opened up time & space for me to confront & work through some inner conflicts, and was hard but positive. I missed my favorite web haunts (cuteoverload.com, anyone?) but it was worth it. Time to do it again.
I'll check in at the end of the month, and report on how it goes!
Moratorium on websurfing?
I just read this, and thought - I couldn't do that. I just wanted to not do it at *work*, and I tried, I even installed a program called 'Leech Blocker' which stopped me visiting websites, but I'd just go into it and lengthen the amount of time I had.
And I've just realised, maybe that's the problem?
I gave myself a small amount of time for 'surfing' each day, when maybe I just... can't? Have a small amount?
Maybe I should try again, and just have it so that I can't visit *any* sites, that aren't p-a?
Ouch. That freaks me out.
I think my problem is that I get bored so so SO easily, and I keep distracting myself to keep myself entertained - I'm wanting change, stimulation. Or, that's an excuse to not do this.
Ok. I'll set it to only allow email and p-a, and see how I go next week!
I tend to use distractions like websurfing as a way to keep my brain occupied on a superficial level, while avoiding deeper thoughts & feelings. I've been finding it helpful this month to not have the distraction there -- I do get bored, but I find when I let myself just BE bored, that my real desires come to the surface out of the boredom.
But I won't deprive myself of cuteoverload forever! I'm thinking at the end of the month I'll give myself a day (maybe april fool's day!) to just binge on all my favorite play websites. Then probably go back to the moratorium, and maybe make the one-day binge a monthly event if it seems to work well.
I can relate to the need to "keep distracting myself to keep myself entertained . . . wanting change, stimulation". Not only does that contribute to my procrastination, but to overeating as well!
boredom + music + snack
when i had to do my boring task today, i had to turn on my music to keep my brain full. Otherwise it would be too mindnumbing and much, much harder. This seems similar to what you guys are saying.
I also had to get a snack to placate myself thru the pain of the bordeom. Did i just say that: "the pain of the bordeom" hmmm.
Snacks, for me, are the first way I learned to get through things. If I get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired I will stuff the feelings down with food. I am not as active in that compulsion anymore, most likely because of this fellowship: here I own my feelings, where when I am 'in the food' I am denying them, just as i do when I compulsively self soothe on the web, with shopping, reading trashy novels, or other forms of procrastination.
own the feeling
you said, e, "own the feelings" that resonates with me. Yes it's ok to admit on this forum that i can't get myself to brush my teeth. We all still think that's bad, and we all still want to change that, but it no longer is a condemnation of the whole self. It becomes just one thing that we can work together to fight. That's the benefit i get from being here. I think. I'm still trying to sort all this deep stuff out.
what resonated with me is
what resonated with me is what pro said in the intro to this entire site "Chronic Procrastination is NOT a Time Management Problem!" If i cut out web surfing, i would just find something else to get distracted in. Reading. Even organizing--if i'm doing it to procrastinate my most important thing to do. Until organizing comes up on my to-do list, then i'll procrastinate by doing something else.
I think, in a way, AA and DA are lucky. Not to diminish in any way the real pain and tragedy that many of them go thru, but you CAN go cold turkey on alchohol and gambling. You can't go cold turkey on "doing things". OA same thing. You can't go cold turkey on eating. At PA it's as if we have to drink a little, or gamble a little, and not get carried away. That seems to me to be much harder.
I guess we're lucky that we dont have the descructive medical effects of alcholol, or the dramatic and short-term financial effects of gamblers. Some of us seem to feel that our procrastination has held us back in our carreers and we fear someone's going to find out what's going on and fire us. But these are lower intensity and longer-term effects than gambling which removes money from your bank acct right now.
so i've come to the place that i dont feel i'll ever "get over" procrastination. 20 years from now i'll be here on this site fighting it. It's just my lot in life. Play the hand you're dealt. One day at a time. I have come to believe that i'm not responsible for my urge to procrastinate, but how hard i fight against it. Also that i'm not repsonsible for whether i succeed in that fight, but that i fight as hard as i can. And even that's a slippery one, because the underlying causes of procrastination affect my ability to show up to fight in the first place. I'm responsible for what i choose to do with the strengths and weaknesses that i have. I'm not going to be judged as if i did not have this procrastination problem.
What also resonates with me is what i've heard AAers call themselves: "i am a recovering alcoholic". Always the gerund, never the past tense.
I can report that these beliefs have stolen some of the power from the underlying causes. Strong detest of failing is part of these causes, at least for me, and these new beliefs of mine reduce that fear. Unfortunately, they've only reduced *some* of the power. Perhaps just enuf that i can keep fighting. And that is my hope. And that's why the idea of a Higher Power makes so much sense to me. Something/one to hope in.
I think i've heard similar ideas from some of you, but not sure how many here feel similarly. But i'd love to find out :)
Time binging, is not time management etc
I think this is converging over from the other conversation, on 'junk activities'.
I have two, maybe three problems.
1. Procrastination - I don't need another activity to procrastinate with. When it's been really bad, I've sat and stared at the walls rather than doing *anything* I needed to.
2. Distracting myself - I think I need to schedule breaks etc, give myself other stimulation etc, maybe that will help.
3. Time binging on junk activities - the problem with junk activities, such as websurfing, is that I'm restless and 'dissatisfied' when I start them. I think I'm wanting something, but unfortunately, giving over my attention to 'junk' activities doesn't make me any happier, less restless, or satisfied, it just kills time.
So, what I didn't get into above, is that I don't just want to stop websurfing, I want to look at alternative activities.
Sometimes I'm actually satisfied and productive when I'm 'procrastinating' with email, and I don't stay on it too long - so that stays.
If there's something I can do, for hours, and feel really dissatisfied and miserable with how I spent my time, I shouldn't be doing it. I should go for a walk, or read a chapter of a book instead.
I like to think that one day I will be able to get my procrastination to manageable levels. *I* am giving over my 'personal power' to behaviours that do not serve me, and I want to reclaim that power back. I don't think I'll fundamentally change (if I was in the US, I'd be diagnosed with ADD), but I still believe I can develop practices in my life that can support me, rather than hinder me, and that I can work with my strengths and abilities - because I believe I do have them.
you have expressed the frustration I have with myself so well! I do now know why we do these things to ourselves, but I have the same pattern. The only thing that really works for me is being honest with myself and doing 12 step work. Putting out your anguish with yourself may help to clear the way for progress: youi just admitted you were powerless over your behavior. Step 2 is hard for some people to take, but I find it helps.
please keep writing!
Thanks, elisaveth! I know 12 step programs are very helpful for a lot of folks -- glad it's a tool that works for you!
I do find it helpful to sit with the sense of despair, sometimes, though for me it's not a matter of admitting I'm powerless (to me, the sense of powerlessness is just a feeling, not a reflection of my true self.) It's a matter of admitting that the way I'm doing things isn't working right now, and I need to change -- and changing is within my power.
I don't usually find that the 12 step philosophy meets my needs. But empathy does help. A lot. I really appreciate your good thoughts! And I will keep writing -- thanks for the encouragement!
Re: Mad at myself
I could have written this post, on many other occasions, and certainly today. What you wrote resonates very much. No advice, as I am exactly in the same place, but much commiseration. Why does even the most mundane have to be such a struggle?
Take good care, and be certain that you are not alone.