And Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Chaos

Maybe. I might put it off until tomorrow, though. Did I mention I’m a procrastinator sometimes?

Last week was extremely busy for me – more packed than my usually crazy schedule. We loaded the set into the theater on Sunday, rehearsed Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, and then had shows from Wednesday – Sunday (2 on Saturday). After the show yesterday, we struck the set, and took it all back to the clubhouse.

Today, I slept in. And I’m still in my pj’s. I have a few self-care things planned for my day, before the Peaceful Woman meet-up tonight. But I’m relishing this tiny amount of down time before I go back to work tomorrow.

So, I’m keeping this post very short, because it is too close to being like work right now. I may be back next week with something less fluffy. We’ll see.

Blessings,

Mary

The Pain of Discipline vs. the Pain of Regret

I have several practices that I do on a regular basis: yoga, journal writing, and meditation. Over the holidays, and the time leading up to the holidays, my discipline at maintaining these practices has been slipping. As someone with a history of procrastination, I have had any number of reasons (read: excuses) as to why I cannot do any or all of them. Since I practice first thing in the morning, and right before bed, many of my excuses revolve around sleep.

“I stayed up too late last night, so I ‘m going to sleep a little later this morning.”

“I feel a cold coming on, so I am going to rest more to fight it off.”

“I have to finish reading this book so I can get it back to the library.”

Thinking of these three practices (yoga, meditation and journal writing), it can be difficult to measure the effects of doing or not doing them.  If I don’t brush my teeth before bed, it’s easy to relate that to furry teeth and horrible morning breath when I wake up.  If I don’t put my raw breakfast on to soak before I go to bed, I have to have something else to eat in the morning. But is the late afternoon headache coming on because I didn’t do yoga, or because I didn’t drink enough water today?  And am I irritable because I didn’t write in my journal or meditate last night, or because my hormones are changing with the onset of my moon time?

And then there is the guilt.  I made a commitment to myself to practice yoga at least three times a week, and to journal and meditate before bed at least 5 times a week.  If I can’t keep my commitments to myself, how trustworthy am I?  And if I am not keeping my commitments, I am not in alignment, and I am not attracting the things I want into my life.

Why did I make these commitments in the first place?  Yoga helps keep me flexible and is a good way of combating chronic plain.  Writing in my journal and meditating help me stay balanced emotionally, and help me feel calm and peaceful.  I am able to stay focused longer and accomplish more.  And frankly, I don’t like what I become when I am not practicing.

So while it may always seem easier to follow an excuse and not get up for yoga, or short myself on meditation time so I can get back into whatever book I am reading, I almost always end up regretting the decision.  Discipline is much more challenging to maintain, but it is so much easier to live with than the regret of not following the discipline.

Keep this in mind as you make your New Year’s Resolutions, if you partake in that ritual.  Will you be self-disciplined enough to keep your commitment?

Blessings,

Mary

PS. How do I best impart this lesson, which has taken me over 30 years to understand (and I still haven’t gotten it perfect!), to my young sons? 🙂

Why Guided Meditation?

When I tell people that I write guided meditations, I get a lot of smiles and nods.  Most people have heard of or tried some form of meditation, but don’t know exactly what “guided” meditation is.

I gave this explanation to a couple of colleagues a few weeks ago, and around their giggles, they both said I had to video it and put it on my site.

In a true procrastinator’s style, it took me about two months to take the video, and another week to upload it.

So here is is: my video explanation of guided meditation.  Enjoy!

Blessings,

Mary

The Crown of Procrastination

How many ways can I procrastinate? Oh, there are many!  Just today, for example, I did laundry, and read email.  Then I had a whole bunch of errands to run with my husband, since this is a day off for me and two of the boys were in school.  One of the errands happened to be upgrading our old cell phones to iPhones, so then I played with that for a while, and entered all of my contacts from my other phone.  There’s still a lot I want to learn about my new toy…but that’s another day’s procrastination!

After adding all the contacts, I then made dinner, and started watching a movie with the boys.  Now, it’s bedtime, and see how one of the tasks I had set as a priority for myself is still not done.

When I was in University, I often joked about being the Queen of Procrastination and wearing the crown.  I regularly left assignments to the last minute, writing papers the night before they were due, studying in the last hour before a big test, etc.  Even now I leave planning for my spiritual circle until the night before, or even the day of.  It’s not that I haven’t thought about what I am going to do.  I just don’t get it out of my head and onto paper.  This inevitably causes me extra anxiety and stress that I don’t need.

So why do I do it to myself? I know right now that I have another circle to plan, and it is less than two weeks away.  I also know that I will need to write another blog post for next Monday.  So why don’t I get started right now…after I finish this post, instead of putting it off until the eleventh hour?

In yet another diversionary tactic, I did a little research. One possible reason is impulsiveness and lack of self-control.  Go for the instant gratification today instead of putting work before play.  Hmm…yes, at times that does fit me.  Like getting the iphone today instead of waiting until next week, or eating the last piece of chocolate instead of saving it for tomorrow.

Another reason some people procrastinate is that they are perfectionists, and they fear not achieving perfection.  Guilty as charged.  I come by my perfectionism honestly.  My mother is also a perfectionist.  I don’t consciously feel fear about not being perfect.  In fact, there is a part of me that believes I already am perfect.  That part gets drowned out sometimes by the nag that says I’m not, so I can see how this would affect me into procrastinating.

Not feeling passionate about what you are doing can also influence procrastination, since we tend to avoid doing things we dislike.  That would totally explain why I leave the dishes until there are no clean ones left in the cupboard. (Thankfully, my husband has taken over that chore, and I am EXTREMELY grateful!)

All this is fine and dandy, but what can I do to reduce how often I wear the crown?  First, I need to focus on the dream I am bringing to reality.  Whenever I am not feeling motivated, remembering that I am working to bring my financial house into alignment with my purpose helps get me going again.

Second, I can break the big things down into smaller chunks.  Sometimes I don’t start a task, because I don’t feel I have time to finish the whole thing.  But if I break it down into bite size pieces, I can complete it little bits at a time, in those windows I have the rest of the week.

Third, I can schedule those windows of time for myself.  Ahh, now here’s a challenge.  Remember that instant gratification part?  Time management is definitely and area I could improve in.  Writing a to do list for each day and prioritizing the tasks may help me there.  I could change my mindset and turn it into a fun thing: how can I use my new iphone to help me schedule my time better?  I think I will go start entering tasks into my iphone calendar now…