Sunday, June 10, 2007

Procrastination Paula


By: Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

It’s Monday, and oh, how Paula hates Mondays. “Blue Monday”. “It’s a jungle out there and a rat race”, she reminds herself. In fact, she has a bumper sticker on her car that reads, “I just had a whole week’s worth of Mondays”.

As Paula arrives at her desk, she notes the other slogan she has pasted on the wall that best articulates here motto, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life”. That helps her to feel okay that she didn’t have time last night to plan her day for Monday.

Friday afternoon when she left work and all throughout her weekend, she reminded herself that this was the week when she would tackle and complete that client report that has been hanging over her head for the last three weeks. “How kind this client has been allowing me to extend the due date so many times. I wish others were as patient."

Paula has other important things to work on this week as well, like those phone calls she meant to make last week and the job description her boss asked for two weeks ago, not to mention starting the term paper for her night class that is due on Thursday of this week.

As she looks at her desk, she is reminded of a lot of other things that need to be done because they are all right there in front of her, spread out over the top of her desk, some stacked next to the desk on the floor, and the rest on a table behind her desk. “I’ve got too much to do”, she concludes.

“Actually, the boss didn’t say when he wanted that job description, so maybe I can get to that tomorrow”, she reasons as she sets that file on top of the magazines she’s been meaning to read.

Just then, Bill drops by. “Coffee, Paula?” he asks. “Sure”, she replies. Both proceed to the coffee service area and Paula discovers she is fascinated hearing about every detail of Bill’s weekend, asking him to repeat certain parts, and asking pointed questions to fill in the gaps to his story.

Back at her desk, Paula stares at the client report folder. “This is going to take forever to complete”, she says as those feelings of dread well up inside of her. “I can’t get this done on a Monday, there’s just too much to do today. I’ll just work on this tomorrow”, she assures herself as she places the client folder on top of the job description file, which is on top of the magazines she’s been meaning to read.

To her left is a stack of some junk mail that arrived on her desk over the last week. There are many catalogs for office products, one for motivational audiotapes, and another for decorative curtains. “I can’t work with this hanging over my head. I’ll just go through these and get them off my desk so I can get a better focus.” So diligent is her focus that over the next two hours she ignores three incoming phone calls that go directly to her voicemail. “I’ll finish these catalogs later”, she says as she re-directs her time to catching up on her voicemail.

The first voicemail is from Sarah who works down the hall. She needs to know if Paula is going to Rosita’s retirement party on Thursday, and, if so, what she will be wearing. The second call is from her boss who is looking for the job description and the third call is from Sarah again asking Paula if she would care to share a ride with Sarah to the party on Thursday. “I better call Sarah”, Paula decides. “She did call twice.”

After going to an early lunch with Sarah, Paula is feeling spent. “Mondays are tough”. And while she knows she ought to get going on some of the things that have been hanging over her head for sometime, “Today really is the first day of the rest of my life and I really do have the rest of this week to do those things”.

And so it’s back to the catalog pile and Paula can’t help noticing that her desk is a little dusty. “Tomorrow, I’ve got to get this desk cleaned. I’ll never get done what I need to get done working with this mess.”

Want to get a better control of your procrastination? I have prepared five simple ideas to help you, in an article entitled, “Procrastination Pointers”. To get your copy, email your request for “pointers” to:

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Dr. Donald E. Wetmore-Professional Speaker
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