“the Spirit of Procrastination”

FFC image for the Spirit of Procrastination

I sometimes find myself rushing to do things at the last minute.  I know that these things must be done by a certain time and I always find myself waiting until the last minute to get it done.  This is what your call I call “the spirit of procrastination!”  This is a horrible attribute to have attached to you.  Although it may seem like you have it under control; sooner or later, procrastination will betray you and end up being you worst enemy.

Here are some tips from psychology today to help deal with procrastination:

  1. Leverage the tasks you want to do by withholding them until your more odious tasks are completed first. That way, desirable tasks become a motivating reward.
  2. Make lists on paper of all the tasks you need to accomplish and the dates by which they need to be done. This will help us parse our time so that we aren’t forced to choose between completing one task or another. We need to order our tasks into groups so that tasks upon which other tasks depend are listed—and therefore done—first. Then we need to place the most burdensome tasks first. Whether it’s answering an email, calling someone, reading a report, or writing a paper, our goal should always be to dispense with our most difficult tasks first.
  3. Eliminate distractions. Distractions used to be far less of a problem—but now are ubiquitous. Especially when we want to be distracted (as when facing an odious task), we will be. So shut off the push notification on your smartphone, switch your email “send/receive” to manual, keep your web browser closed (some software programs will even prevent you from using it at intervals you set if you find you can’t resist it), and forward all calls to voice mail. Batch those distractions only once you’ve accomplished a predetermined number of tasks.
  4. Ensure you have adequate energy. Get enough sleep (few of us do). If you’re depressed, get help.
  5. Understand all the reasons you don’t want to complete a task. You very well may not know them. Perhaps you’re actually afraid to talk to a particular person. Maybe you think that what you have to say about the topic on which you need to write is banal. The reasons we do things—and don’t do things—may seem obvious to our conscious minds, but our conscious minds are champion storytellers.  They come up with reasonable explanations that are far from proven and then accept them completely even though they’re often dead wrong. Keep asking yourself: Why don’t you want to make that condolence call? Why don’t you want to write that book report? Why don’t you want to go to that meeting? Whatever the true reasons, when you apprehend them, they’ll lose some of their power to induce procrastination.
  6. Remind yourself why a task is important. Follow through in your mind to the worst consequences possible of not completing it.
  7. —leverage anxiety. Too much anxiety is paralyzing. But a little anxiety is motivating (nothing like the fear of failing a test to motivate you to study for it). Learn to gauge your anxiety level. If it’s too high, and you’re procrastinating because you’re simply overwhelmed by it, get professional help to manage it.
  8. Make a plan first thing in the morning (or even last thing at night). Decide what tasks you’re going to accomplish and actively anticipate doing so as you approach the time you’ve planned to begin tackling them. Like a professional skier mentally rehearsing each and every twist and turn of a ski run, you’re more likely to succeed if you succeed first in your mind.
  9. Plan rewards for yourself. Looking forward to a reward for completing a task eventually creates a craving that can be highly motivating—even if the rewards are small (ten minutes of reading for pleasure, for example). If you jump to the reward before you’ve earned it, stop yourself, and return to the task at hand.

Try to implement some of these tips if not all to help you reduce and or eliminate “the spirit of procrastination.”



The Power of No!!!




Since I was a young girl; perhaps it has to do with being a middle child- as long as I can remember I have been a “yes girl.”  If my older are younger sister would not do something, I would take up the slack as a way to keep the peace.  Being a “yes girl” has carried over into my adulthood. Although, I can honestly say that I am getting better at saying “no”, something still feels wrong about it. I have been enrolled in my own personal “just say no course, 101.”  I have seen gradual progression with occasional relapse, especially when it comes to my family. Here is a list regarding the Power of NO by Judith Sills Ph.D.

As a general guideline, five situations benefit from increasing strength to say No.

When it keeps you true to your principles and values.

It’s a beautiful thing—emotionally, spiritually, and even professionally—to be generous, to be supportive.  If a family and/or friend is doing something such as adultery and they confide in you. You should give them the opportunity to come clean on their own and if not you should explain how you will not be keeping their secret.

When it protects you from cheerful exploitation by others.

It’s remarkable how much some people will ask of you, even demand from you, things for which you yourself wouldn’t dream of asking. Protect yourself best from the many who feel entitled to ask by being strong enough to say a firm, clear, calm No.  This is the one I have the most trouble with.

Take a classic school and office scenario: A happy, popular, slacker colleague asks again to borrow his worker bee teammate’s careful notes. Mr. Worker Bee resents being used, but can’t think of a good reason to refuse. So he acquiesces. Gets asked again. Resents more. Can’t think of a good reason to say No, so he gives in. And so the cycle goes.

Finally, paying attention to his own feeling of being taken advantage of—instead of focusing on finding a reason acceptable to the cheerful exploiter—Worker Bee turns Mr. Popular down. Scraping up his backbone, Mr. Worker Bee simply says, “No, I’m not comfortable with that.”

His No earns him a chilly reception in the company cafeteria for a week or two. It isn’t a pleasant time, but it passes. In its wake, Mr. Worker Bee will find a new safety. No is a necessary life shield against the charming users who sniff out softies. It turns out nice guys can say No.

When it keeps you focused on your own goals.

When her boss criticized her for the second time as a “Chatty Cathy” whose work was late because she wasted too much time talking, Amy felt hurt and unfairly evaluated. Was it her fault that people loved to stop by her cubicle? How was she supposed to turn away Marsha, whose aging mother presented so many problems, or Jim, who wanted her thoughts on the best way to proceed with their clients? Her colleagues needed her support; cutting them short would hurt their feelings and her relationships.

Amy clearly needs the power of No. Why? Because, loving and being interested in them as she is, Amy is losing sight of her own responsibilities, her own agenda. No is a necessary tool to keep your goals in mind. Frankly, meeting your own goals is what you are being paid for and what will pay off. We all need No to do our job instead of someone else’s.

When it protects you from abuse by others.

Sadly, our most important relationships often invite our ugliest communications. In part that’s because the people closest to us arouse our strongest emotions, and in part it’s because they are the people we fear losing the most. Fear can sap the strength we need to say No, just when we need that power most.

A mean adult daughter is a case in point. Isabelle would insist that she loves her mother, but she also finds her irritating, offering the grandchildren too many snacks, giving Isabelle useless, anxiety-driven advice about health, bad weather, or spending. When Isabelle gets irritated, she snaps. She’s rude (“Shut up!”), insulting (“Trying to make my kids fat like you, Mom?”), or just downright mean (derisive and contemptuous dismissal). Her frequent assaults hurt Mom deeply, and Mom complains bitterly and often to other family members about Isabelle’s treatment.

Despite the support of her family, Mom never draws a line with Isabelle herself. She has yet to pull herself up and say, “Do not speak to me like that.” She feels unable to because, quite simply, “This is my daughter. If I tell her she’s not allowed to speak a certain way, she is quite capable of not speaking to me at all. I just can’t risk it.” Stripped of the power of No, we leave ourselves vulnerable to verbal assault.

When you need the strength to change course.

The invitations are in the mail, but the impending marriage is a mistake. The job looks good to the rest of the world, but it’s making you sick in the morning. Your family has sacrificed to pay the tuition, but law school feels like a poor fit. When you find yourself going down the wrong road, No is the power necessary to turn yourself around.

The obstacles to this potent No are twofold: First, of course, you have to be able to tolerate acknowledging, if only to yourself, that you made a mistake. So many of us would rather be right than happy. We will continue blindly down the wrong path because we simply can’t bring ourselves to read the road signs. Most of the time, though, we know when we need to draw the line.

The problem is getting ourselves to do it. Accessing your own power requires overcoming one huge obstacle: the cost of dishing out No.

So what do you think about the POWER of NO?

Loving Gestures Begin to Fade–Angry Marriage Sign #1

Everyone looks forward to special gestures in their marriage.  If you stop feeling like doing them or if they don’t happen very often, this may be a sign. At the start of an anger cycle the willingness and interest in doing favors, or treating your spouse and special ways stops.  If your spirit of generosity feels bankrupt it may show up in other places in your marriage, seeming unintentional.

Example: “we used to watch TV together almost every night, but I’ve been too busy to do that for a while.”

It may also feel like you have a valid excuse for the change in behavior.

Example: “My husband never used a mind me hanging out with my girls, but now he’s always checking up on me when I do. I told him where I was going, I don’t have to keep checking in with him.”

Whether the decrease is intentional or seems unintentional, or purposeful, when you stop indulging, pampering and pleasing each other, when you stop treating each other carefully and gently, you are most likely feeling the pain of disappearing goodwill.


Gottman Sound Relationship House Part 5

gottman 5The next level in Gottman’s Sound Relationship House is called the Positive Perspective. Gottman says that happy couples have Positive Sentiment Override, meaning that they view their spouse in a positive way. Neutral actions are interpreted with positive meanings, and even negative actions are interpreted as “she’s just having a bad day.” In contrast, unhappy couples tend to have Negative Sentiment Override. Positive actions by the spouse are interpreted to have manipulative motivation, and neutral actions are thought to be negative.

For example, think of this common event: a husband walks in the door and says, “hi Honey, I’m home.” A wife with positive sentiment override will assume that the husband’s intention in saying this is to show that he’s happy to be home with her. A wife with negative sentiment override might assume he’s announcing his arrival so that she will make him dinner and tend to his whims.

In both cases, the reality of his motivation (maybe he’s happy, maybe he wants dinner, or maybe it’s just a matter of fact statement that he’s home) is not relevant. It’s her perception of him that matters in how satisfied she is in her relationship. And it goes both ways: husbands also have either positive or negative sentiment override as well.

So how can you have a more positive sentiment about your spouse? The answer is in having “money” in the “relationship bank.” This is done by working on the previous levels of the house: knowing each other’s inside worlds, showing fondness and admiration, turning toward each other instead of away, and accepting influence from your spouse. If you find that you have a negative sentiment override toward your spouse, work on the lower levels. Get to know each other, find what you like and appreciate about each other, find a way to be partners together.

As always, I strongly recommend The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, by John Gottman.

Gottman’s Sound Relationship House, Part 3

gottman 3

This is the third part in a series on John Gottman’s Sound Relationship house. The first part was about “Building Love Maps” (found *here*) and the second was about “Sharing Fondness and Admiration” (found *here*). The third level of the house is called “Turn Towards Instead of Away.”

“Turning towards” means showing interest in the mundane details of your partner’s life. It means that when she says she hates her boss, he asks why (and probably does not try to offer a solution). When he says he’s been eyeing the new Corvette, she says, “yeah, it’s beautiful,” not, “you know we can’f afford that!” Simply put, when one spouse makes a bid for emotional connection, the other responds in a positive way. This, according to Gottman, is the basis of romance.

Unfortunately, many times when a spouse makes a bid for connection, the other ignores or even attacks. This happens all too commonly, but it erodes a relationship. Each time you respond positively to your spouse’s bid (“Honey did you see this commercial?”… “Oh my gosh, yes, it’s hilarious!), you are making a deposit in your relationship’s “bank account.” Each time you turn away from a bid (“Honey, did you see this commercial?”… “Leave me alone! Can’t you see I’m busy?!”), you make a withdrawal.

Strong relationships have approximately an 80% positive response rate with only 20% rejections. Ailing relationships have 50% or more rejections. A strong relationship has built up a big cushion of deposits, so that when conflict does arise, they have plenty of positives to work with.

Most people do not reject their partner’s bids for connection maliciously. They are simply not being sensitive or mindful of their spouse. Gottman says that, “for many couples, just realizing they shouldn’t take their everyday interactions for granted makes an enormous difference. Remind yourself that being helpful to each other will do more for the strength and passion of your marriage than a two-week Bahamas getaway.”

Read more about Gottman’s Sound Relationship house in The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman.

When Was The Last Time???

FFC image for When Was the Last Time    

     It is all sugar with spice and honey you are so nice in the beginning of most relationships.    How long do the “sweet nothings” last?  For a majority of marriages it does not last long.  It seems that we put our all into the relationship when it first begins.  Some would even go as far as sailing the seven seas to capture the heart of their significant other. Then after a while things seem to go cold. Where is the fire?  What happened to the roses, the feet rubs, the hot oil massages, the spontaneous dinner dates, the midday messages, etc.? What happened to the thrill?  When was the last time he looked into your eyes and told you how beautiful you are and how much you really mean to him?  When was the last time that she fell into your arms and told you how secure and protected she feels when she is in your arms?  When was the last time? 

     It is too often that we forget about the things that made us fall for one another.  It was those things that sparked a fire in our hearts and even influenced some of us to enter into marriage.  Take a moment to evaluate you marriage. Of course you are probably not going to do all those things that you use to do to keep the fire going.  However, just take a moment to see what you can do to reignite the fire in your marriage.  Start during this season and make a decision to bring back the thrill.  It is never too late until it is too late! Go ahead, make the first move. This is not just a relationship. This is your marriage!