Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

slider faces a career decision

Pro wrote in the article on reasons for/types of procrastination: "Sometimes when you procrastinate, it's your unconscious trying to tell you something important." I know that this has been a major issue for me for a long time. I nearly left the ministry two years in to it (this was 10 years ago), but out of pride or ego and fear of the unknown, I stuck it out another 5 years in that situation before things came to a head. Then, I've been where I am 5 years now, and it was only going to be for a year..but it was ok until two years ago. I started getting really turned off and demotivated then. Been hanging on for practical, family reasons, again. And that was leading me to resent my family for "pimping me out" to the church to suit their own security needs! It also has been a real strain on my marriage.

Well, I researched some other options. I could keep my nursing home chaplaincy (15 hours) and tack on a night shift as an aide. They like that idea a whole lot (it would be like having a really cheap supervisor on board), and they'd be willing to let me work only 3 nights a week instead of 5 (would be a total of 39 hours a week--but the chaplaincy side would have occasional extra hours for various things). I can hack that. I've been an aide before, and I am a serious night owl. It's not all that much work, either--rounds every 2 hours, and in-between I can write! I would come home at 6 and get to sleep by 7:30. I'd work 5 days a week, for three hours, in the afternoons as chaplain. Some days I'd be a little shortchanged on sleep, but I'd have other times when I could make up for it. I'd be able to see the kids off for school and spend time with the family in the evenings. The pay would be less than I make now, AND I'd have to find a place to move to that has a fenced yard for the dogs and start paying rent (right now we live in a parsonage). But there would be a lot less responsibility and hassle, and I wouldn't be pulled in so many different directions. The biggest bonus is lots of writing time. Obviously, that would move me to submissions for publishing quicker. Writing is the direction my soul is strongly pulling me in now.

However, after thinking about finding a new place to live and moving, I realized I am not ready. There is an opening available in 30 days, but that's too fast for me. It's true that you sometimes have to start before you are ready, but what I mean is that I couldn't possibly find someplace to live that we can afford and that would have room for all the pets in 30 days. And I feel obligated to follow through on a number of things here at the church through Christmas. So I need a little more lead time, at least. That's ok, because there is always turnover, and other opportunities will occur. By then I may have my household load lightened through decluttering and reorganizing. Then it would be simpler to move and less hassle to clean up after ourselves (never mind the part the church has not been keeping up with; even though they haven't, there is stuff we need to tend to when we move out). So this plan is my backup plan. It's still waiting there for me after I evaluate for 6 months.

Another proposal I made was to work part time in Activities. That proposal was not accepted because of management's plans regarding Activities personnel. So that option is out (for now).

Another option occurred to me tonight. I realized (finally) that a great deal of my dissatisfaction here is the result of my own attitude and seriousness. I ~could~ view my work as a kind of game. I could lighten up and go with the flow of the congregation instead of continually trying to redirect its flow because I disapprove of it. I believe that if I follow all ~their~ rules instead of trying to get them to change them for idealistic reasons, I will have the latitude to experiment, to take risks, to playfully challenge them, to take time off (that is, to make certain periods clearly off-duty and enforce those boundaries), and to work rewards into my daily plans. This will entail a total sea change in how I view things and react to various threats to my ideals. I believe those would be healthy adjustments, so I am willing to give it a go. I have explained to my husband that the whole family would have to abide by the rules--not for their reasons but for our own ends--and he agreed to do so and to make sure the kids do, too. We will all play the game. While this somewhat violates the ideals of the Office, it does not violate my private views about the ministry and my personal sense of spirituality and call (I am extremely unconventional and have to reinterpret almost everything that is traditional in my own terms, anyhow). I can still be a Vessel of Divine Delight, within myself (better than before!) and in ministering to others. It's the leadership I'll be faking, because I won't really care about things the way others do. I won't believe in and be invested in the same things they will; for me it will be a social and religious experiment to get me through the two years until my son graduates and/or my husband gets a great job (been waiting here with the PhD for 3 years now!).

I have already figured out some guidelines for how to make it a doable and fun game. Tomorrow I'll spell those out. I'll use this column to reflect on how well I am keeping the game in sight and not getting caught up in things that undermine my morale and lead to ever increasing procrastination. We'll see, too , if my family will get behind me and toe the line so this will work. It's to their benefit: they want to stay put and keep the same family income, so it ought to be worth it to them to do their share.

Follow the Rules

1. Follow the rules (be on time, be prepared, be orderly and neat, follow up/follow through, remember commitments, double-check, keep in touch, keep clear boundaries, lead with love, be a calm non-anxious presence).

I have an extraordinarily hard time keeping these rules: be on time, be prepared, and be orderly and neat. I despise them. I will have to TRAIN myself to follow ~these~ rules. I WILL WRITE A BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION PROGRAM FOR THESE (rewards/penalties). Partner with DH.

(Privately, I actually see part of my mission in life as liberating people from tyrrany to overzealous demands for order and conformity! I see their usefulness; I just don't think the penalties for not abiding by them should be so steep. I have an artistic, mystical soul, and rules like this often seem practically evil! I think that my ADD is what makes these rules so hard. My ADD is also probably part of what makes me artistic and a mystic.)

I do intensely value the spiritual & people-oriented ones: remember commitments, keep clear boundaries, lead with love, be a calm non-anxious presence. But I'm not much better at them. I WILL READ UP ON THESE, JOURNAL ABOUT THEM, AND WRITE AFFIRMATIONS FOR THEM.

And there are the in-between ones (partly about relating to others and partly about maintaining certain standards): keep in touch, follow up/follow through, doublecheck. I just need to REMEMEMBER THESE, SO I WILL SET UP REMINDERS AND TICKLERS.

whether I agree with all these or not, I will have to abide by them if I want to avoid unnecessary trouble and get through the next two years in place, until my son graduates and while I prepare to change careers. I have been approaching my job as being about proving that a person doesn't have to socially conform to be a decent person--i.e., broadening the boundaries of what is acceptable--for myself and for all the misfits and marginalized people. For me, this is a very important role of the Church--accepting outcasts. It makes me FURIOUS when any part of the church doesn't do it. (And I think they oughtta start with me!) ;) But I have to pick my battles. I'm not sure the Church will EVER do what it is SUPPOSED to do, and it seems to be more a bastion of conformity and homogenization than of liberation, so I expect I'll give up on it altogether when the 2 years is up. What I NEED for now, is to get along, stay put, and get paid, while I declutter my home and reorganize my life. If I want to be ready to sail when my ship comes in, I have lots of work to do to be sea-ready!

Bottom line--3 goals:
--Write B-Mod program addressing being on time, being orderly and neat (especially in highly visible areas--i.e., church study, yard, and living room on an ongoing basis, and in the areas that need repairs, whenever workmen come), being prepared (no more seat-of-the pants classes!) Set up rewards/penalties and recruit family to help me keep them.

--Set up reminders in calendar and establish tickler files for all commitments and for particular ministry goals. Read GTD.

--Re-read books on family system theory, codependency, and pastoral care, as well as self-care. Use Flylady and SHE forums, and post affirmations on bathroom mirror. Journal regularly.

That's all I'm going to write at the moment, or else this will turn into a time-binge and I'll use up all my interest and energy planning and never implement!

How to Make This a Game!

The following "rules" might help me keep a lighter, more detached attitude toward my work. And that, I hope, will reduce the causes of my procrastination.

1. Follow the rules (be on time, be prepared, be orderly and neat, follow up/follow through, remember commitments, double-check, keep in touch, keep clear boundaries, lead with love, be a calm non-anxious presence)

2. Strategize! Means good stewardship of body (rest, nutrition, exercise, meds, de-stress), property--( 1)Flylady: zones, declutter, organize, routines--and 2) finances: taxes, savings, budget, invest), & time (schedule, routines, time off, and aids (timers, calendars, cell phone, laptop, etc.)

3. Experiment (have fun reading and trying things out: continue with metaphysics, healing, mysticism, native spirituality, etc., and try new things, too)

4. Take chances (try challenging, riskier things and invest in new things for self, family, & church)

5. Take your lumps (pay your debts, fees, & fines) with courage

6. Challenge others (duel, spar, play, tease, goad, incite, initiate)


8. Delight in the fun & fellowship

The one who is still sane and happy and emplyed/housed but also ready to venture into a new game in two years wins!

Getting Back to This

I never did spell out my guidelines for how I shall make my work more of a game for me. Guess I really need to do that, because I feel like I'm sinking again and about to drown. I have some thoughts already written in a journal (and did before I even posted this forum). Right now I don't remember where I wrote them (which notebook, and where that is). But I think I'll take a breather and look for it, because I am feeling SO BURNED OUT AT THIS MOMENT that I don't see how I can go on. I have the Council President really pushing right on the fracture between my public position and my private position about the nature of religion and the church and ministry. What he is advocating that our congregation do is quite contrary to our denomination's theology. I'm going to have to articulate and defend our denomination's theological stance, even though I privately don't completely agree with it myself. That really creates some pressure and tension for me.


I'm glad you are recognizing that what you want and need are important elements to consider in making life decisions!


Why is your husband not working? That hardly seems fair.

He is

But he's in a temporary position. And they will cut him off at the end of this school year. He's putting a lot of effort into the job search, while also trying to rewrite his dissertation to make it publishable (you know it's still true that in acadamia you must publish or perish--and he needs publications to look good on the job scene, where there are often around 600 applicants for every position open. Twenty years ago that was supposed to change, but it hasn't!) He works pretty hard at his job, and at career hurdles. It keeps him away from home, or up late, or wakes him up in the middle of the night with anxiety. 'Bout all he can manage. My problem is that he doesn't give a flying @#*% about the church or my work. Or anything that has to do with the church (including the parsonage), due to passive aggression toward the church. There's precious little teamwork around here. I contribute to the problem, of course.

WTG Slider

Sounds like you're having a very creative time and coming up with some positive solutions.

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career decisions

Looks like you have figured out a couple good options.

I've done the "change tactics" thing at a previous job and was glad I did. I'll probably have to figure out something similar at my current one. What I found was that it worked OK until another opportunity I was truly interested in came along. It didn't fix everything and I was still a bit unsatisfied but it definitely improved the situation. When I finally left it was to go to a better situation, not to get out of a bad situation. For me, that was the right thing. YMMV, etc.

Whoa, yeah!!!

"When I finally left it was to go to a better situation, not to get out of a bad situation. "

Slider this is great!

You are finding the solution within yourself, rather than trying to change something external. I am a firm believer that you can still positvely influence others even if you have to adjust your communication style to their understanding. It takes a lot more work on your part, it may even feel like you're giving up something you believe in, but one can profoundly affect others by doing so. Play by their rules and live your life to the best of your ability. Let your example light up your part of the world.

Slider's proactiveness

You are finding the solution within yourself, rather than trying to change something external. I am a firm believer that you can still positvely influence others even if you have to adjust your communication style to their understanding

I find this very powerful, too - I love this philosophy and am tryig to incorporate it into my way of thinking and my whole approach to life. Slider, you are making such positive steps - I am so proud of your attitude.

I see you're online - do you have an update for us??