Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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Taming the Procrastination Beast

Smart people procrastinate.

Really? What do smart people have to procrastinate about? Can’t they just get things done with ease and aplomb?

Oh, brother.

(Now I realize that you may not be a procrastinator. And if you aren’t, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t a smart person. I’m just making a sweeping generalization, as is my tendency, because so many of the rainforest-minded folks I know, are. Procrastinators. And, as I’ve told you before, I know a heck of a lot of smart people since I’ve been working with them in some form or another since the ’70s which I realize suggests that I must be close to geezerhood. Which I am. But, age aside, I still have a totally unscientific anecdotal experience of hordes of g-g-gifted people waiting until the very very last minute to complete whatever it was that needed completing.)

Really.

For those of you who are procrastinators, then, or for those of you who have one or more in your home, I’m here to help.

First, let’s get clear about the reasons why you procrastinate. In no particular order.

Do you ever think any of the following:

If I do it at the last minute, and it’s not great, it’s because I didn’t have the time.

I have to be brilliant all the time or people will see I’m not so smart. They’ll be disappointed in me and I can’t let that happen.

My identity depends on my achievements. If I fail at something, it means I’m worthless.

I believe that everything I do needs to be perfect.

I could do assignments for school at the last minute and still get an A. Now I don’t know how not to do things at the last minute.

I never learned how to take one step at a time or prioritize so I get overwhelmed by tasks.

What I’m doing is so mundane, I can at least add time pressure to make it more stimulating.

I can’t be mediocre, ordinary, work hard, ask for help or lose.

What do all of these thoughts have in common?

Pressure. Expectations. Perfectionism. Performance anxiety. Patterns formed in childhood. A shadow side of being g-g-gifted.

So, what do you do?

First, you don’t have to feel guilty if you haven’t tamed your procrastination. In the best book I’ve seen on the topic, titled creatively, Procrastination, by Jane Burka and Lenora Yuen, readers are told that the factors that contribute to procrastination are “not only individual psychological, behavioral, and emotional issues, but also social, cultural, and technological dynamics, biological and neurological predispositions and universal human tendencies.”books

Oh boy.

Now don’t get all overwhelmed on me.

They then provide several chapters of excellent suggestions. Steps you can take to begin to tame the beast.

And, what else?

What if you start to imagine that you do have a rainforest mind. You’re highly sensitive, empathetic, socially conscious, emotional, creative, and intense. You analyze deeply. You think nonstop.

It’s not good or bad. It just is. You just are.

And remember–

“Confronting and changing long-held assumptions about you and your family can be unnerving and disorienting. This is why procrastination is so hard to overcome. It’s not simply a matter of changing a habit; it requires changing your inner world. However, as you access capabilities and parts of yourself that have been held back by procrastination, you can derive great pleasure in claiming your whole self.”  Jane Burka & Lenora Yuen

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To my dearest blogEEs:

Let me/us know your experiences with procrastination and how you deal with it. Don’t put it off. Do it now!

This is very likely the last post before the SENG conference this coming week, July 18-20, in San Jose, CA. I mean, I really have to finish planning my presentation. Not that I’m a procrastinator, mind you. I’m not. I’m just saying…