Tag Archives: procrastinator

Are you a Pre-Crastinator? (encore)

by Kassandra Lamb

Way too many irons in the fire this week so I’m doing a re-run of an oldie but goodie post from a couple of years ago.

We just had Thanksgiving weekend here in the U.S., so Americans are now all focused on…

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!! (A mall in Toronto actually; photo by Benson Kua, Wikimedia Commons)

While everybody else is gearing up, I’m done. I finished my Christmas shopping last Friday. Now before you decide to hate me, let me point out that my goal of being finished all yuletide acquisitions by December 1st is not necessarily coming from the healthiest of motivations.

There really isn’t a word for what I am. I’m the opposite of a procrastinator. Some people might say that I’m organized, or even disciplined. I am definitely organized. Not so sure about disciplined. Better descriptors for it might be obsessive-compulsive or even control freak! 🙂

Procrastinators put things off for psychological reasons. The task makes them anxious. They’re afraid of screwing it up, so they avoid dealing with it until the very last minute.

I am the opposite for equally neurotic reasons. I am afraid that something will go wrong if I wait too long. That somehow I won’t get it done on time. The thought of that makes me so anxious that I want to do it RIGHT NOW. Get it done and then I know everything is okay!

So I start my Christmas shopping in early October. My brother and I usually go on an all-day shopping binge trip, hitting at least two or three major stores. Now you might think this odd that my brother goes with me. Before you revoke his man card, let me point out that he does so in the hope that I will find things for him to buy for everybody in the family. And I usually do. I am a shopper extraordinaire.

If I could just figure out how to make a living from shopping…

But I digress. Once I’ve got a big chunk of my holiday shopping done on that trip, do I relax and cruise along, picking up a few things here and there? After all, I’ve got over two months.

Heck no! Once I get started, I want to get it done!

Afraid that I will forget someone, I make a list of everything I’ve got and who I still need some things for. Then I start methodically nailing down those final purchases.

I mentioned last week that I was going to my church’s Holiday Bazaar. We have a wonderful bunch of women (they call themselves the bazaar ladies, and yes the double meaning is intentional) who work throughout the year to make all kinds of gorgeous craft items–wreaths, jewelry, decorated baskets, ornaments, paintings, placemats, baked goods… just about anything imaginable related to Christmas or that would make a good gift. The prices are good, and the proceeds (95-100% of what we pay) goes to help the homeless in our town!

Going into the Bazaar I usually only have a few people left to buy for. This year, I got them all covered. Here’s my haul:

A wreath for my bird-watching friend, Doris (look close; you’ll see the birdies); some luscious-smelling potpourri for JJ; a necklace for Alice; a little something extra for the hubs (even though I thought I was done for him); a cute little felt bag to put a gift card in and… Voila, I’m done!

How about you? Are you a pro-crastinator or a pre-crastinator? When do you usually do your holiday shopping?

Oh, and by the way, I hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington mystery series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy mysteries, set in Central Florida.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )

Getting A Round Tuit

by Kassandra Lamb

I postponed a deadline this week (one of the perks of being the co-owner of the press).

coffee mug with "The Boss"

(photo by ThisIsRobsLife, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

I think it was a good stress-management decision. But it’s hard to tell sometimes when we’re “managing” our schedule and when we’re just plain procrastinating.

We all procrastinate occasionally. I have a very tall stack of papers on my desk (about two years worth of receipts) that can attest to that.

The most common reason for the average person’s procrastination is that they just plain don’t like doing that particular task. That’s how I feel about filing paperwork. On my list of top ten least-liked tasks, it’s about five, right after having a root canal and right before having a mammogram. That’s right. I’m better at making sure to have my boobs squished yearly than I am about filing away those receipts that the IRS might someday demand to see.

But for chronic procrastinators, the motivations are usually more complex. They put off everything. Often they’ll tell you that they work best under pressure. Or even that they produce their best work under pressure (a subtly different statement). Most of the time, neither statement is true.

RoundTuit pub domain

drawn by Heron2 (public domain)

Usually, there are two factors at work here. One is psychological, the other is habit. The psychological factor has to do with self-confidence. On some level, they don’t believe they can do any task well. This makes every task unpleasant to a certain degree. So every task gets put off.

And because it gets put off and is done with inadequate time to do it well, the belief is reinforced that the person can’t do it well. It gets done “good enough” but not really well.

But what about the belief that they do their best work under pressure. Hmm, there may be a little truth to that. Some people do indeed perform better, are more motivated and energized, when they have a deadline. But waiting until that deadline is looming is not a recipe for high-level performance. More on this in a moment.

The habit part… when we get into a pattern of doing things a certain way, it’s hard to break out of that. So if our mind set is that anything that isn’t due in the next day or so doesn’t need our attention, we’re going to keep procrastinating and doing things at the last minute.

Sometimes we’re tempted to dismiss ‘habit’ as a simple thing to overcome. It’s not. These patterns become ingrained in our thinking and are automatic. We find ourselves doing it that same old way before we even realize what’s up. It takes a fair amount of conscious effort over a lengthy period of time to break these patterns of thinking and behaving.

Which brings us back around to the belief that one does their best work under pressure. Often this is rationalization for the habit of procrastinating. But that justification can also be an indicator that you’re a closet adrenaline junkie.

Maybe you’re not bungee jumping or hunting wild game, but you may be feeding your need for stimulation by setting yourself up to be stressed by looming deadlines.

We all have something that psychologists and physiologists call ‘thresholds’–pain thresholds, stress thresholds, sensory thresholds, and stimulation thresholds. All of these thresholds vary somewhat from one individual to another. Some of us tolerate pain better than others, for example.

The same is true for stimulation thresholds. Some of us need more stimulation in order to feel fully activated, energized and alive.

cartoon: person buried under papers on deskAnd some of the folks who have high stimulation thresholds get into the habit of stimulating themselves by procrastinating, so that they then have looming deadlines creating an atmosphere of stress/stimulation.

Is this healthy? Psychologically speaking, on the one hand, they are meeting their needs for stimulation, but on the other hand they are setting themselves up for unnecessary anxiety and less than optimal performance.

Physically, they are stressing their bodies with that unnecessary anxiety. And such chronic stressors take a high toll over time.

Me, I tend to be a precrastinator rather than a procrastinator. But more on that next time when I talk about how to overcome the tendency to procrastinate (including how folks with high stimulation thresholds can find healthier ways to get that stimulation).

How about you? How much do you procrastinate?

Here’s something you don’t have to procrastinate about if you’re a Kate Huntington fan. My latest novel in that series is available for preorder. With two quick clicks now, it’s ordered and it will pop up on your ereader when it’s released on October 27th.

It’s on sale for a reduced price during the preorder period. Just $1.99 (goes up to $3.99 after the release).

SuicidalSuspicions FINALSUICIDAL SUSPICIONS, A Kate Huntington Mystery, Book 8

Psychotherapist Kate Huntington is rocked to the core when one of her clients commits suicide. How can this be? The woman, who suffered from bipolar disorder, had been swinging toward a manic state. The client’s family blames Kate and they’re threatening to sue for malpractice. She can’t fault them since she blames herself. How could she have missed the signs?

Searching for answers for herself and the grieving parents, Kate discovers some details that don’t quite fit. Is it possible the client didn’t take her own life, or is that just wishful thinking? Questioning her professional judgement, and at times her own sanity, she feels compelled to investigate. What she finds stirs up her old ambivalence about the Catholic Church. Is her client’s death somehow related to her childhood parish?

When she senses that someone is following her, she wonders if she is truly losing it. Or is she getting dangerously close to someone’s secrets?

PREORDER NOW on  Amazon US   Amazon UK   Amazon Canada   Amazon Australia

(Nook, Kobo and Apple fans, it’s coming soon to those e-retailers!)

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series and has started a new cozy series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy mysteries (coming soon).

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )

Are You a Pre-crastinator Rather than a Procrastinator?

 It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in the U.S., so Americans are focused on…

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!! (A mall in Toronto actually; photo by Benson Kua, Wikimedia Commons)

While everybody else is gearing up, I’m done. I finished my Christmas shopping last Friday. Now before you decide to hate me, let me point out that my goal of being finished all yuletide acquisitions by December 1st is not necessarily coming from the healthiest of motivations.

There really isn’t a word for what I am. I’m the opposite of a procrastinator. Some people might say that I’m organized, or even disciplined. I am definitely organized. Not so sure about disciplined. Better descriptors for it might be obsessive-compulsive or even control freak! 🙂

Procrastinators put things off for psychological reasons. The task makes them anxious. They’re afraid of screwing it up, so they avoid dealing with it until the very last minute.

I am the opposite for equally neurotic reasons. I am afraid that something will go wrong if I wait too long. That somehow I won’t get it done on time. The thought of that makes me so anxious that I want to do it RIGHT NOW. Get it done and then I know everything is okay!

So I start my Christmas shopping in early October. My brother and I usually go on an all-day shopping binge trip, hitting at least two or three major stores. Now you might think this odd that my brother goes with me. Before you revoke his man card, let me point out that he does so in the hope that I will find things for him to buy for everybody in the family. And I usually do. I am a shopper extraordinaire. If I could figure out how to make a living from shopping…

But I digress. Once I’ve got a big chunk of my holiday shopping done on that trip, do I relax and cruise along, picking up a few things here and there? After all, I’ve got over two months.

Heck no! Once I get started, I want to get it done!

Afraid that I will forget someone, I make a list of everything I’ve got and who I still need some things for. Then I start methodically nailing down those final purchases.

I mentioned last week that I was going to my church’s Holiday Bazaar. We have a wonderful bunch of women (they call themselves the bazaar ladies, and yes the double meaning is intentional) who work throughout the year to make all kinds of gorgeous craft items–wreaths, jewelry, decorated baskets, ornaments, paintings, placemats, baked goods… just about anything imaginable related to Christmas or that would make a good gift. The prices are good, and the proceeds (95-100% of what we pay) goes to help the homeless in our town!

Going into the Bazaar I usually only have a few people left to buy for. This year, I got them all covered. Here’s my haul:

A wreath for my bird-watching friend, Doris (look close; you’ll see the birdies); some luscious-smelling potpourri for JJ; a necklace for Alice; a little something extra for the hubs (even though I thought I was done for him); a cute little felt bag to put a gift card in and… Voila, I’m done!

How about you? Are you a pro-crastinator or a pre-crastinator? When do you usually do your holiday shopping?

Oh, and by the way, Happy Thanksgiving!

(Seriously, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! I certainly have lots to be thankful for this year.)

 Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

 

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by filling in your e-mail address toward the top of the column on the right, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun!