Wednesday, November 28, 2012


In his book, Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-free Play, Neil Fiore advises people to keep a procrastination log. The idea is to record when you procrastinate, what you procrastinate on, your thoughts, your feelings, your justification, and how you deal with it. (Of course how you deal with it, is a little bit affected by the fact that you are monitoring your procrastination). Here is my log from the last couple of days:

Work, morning 26/11. A co-worker asks me to take over her project. I really do not want to, but I also sympathize with her situation, and end up agreeing to it. It involves giving a lecture in front of 200 people within a few days. I still haven't started preparing. Feel a bit like a victim for having taken on this task. Feel overwhelmed, and stressed about not having enough time to prepare, about doing a bad job, about being unable to answer questions etc. I procrastinate even thinking about this and still haven't started the preparation.

Work, morning 27/11. Working on a simple project. As I am working I realize the project is more complicated and time consuming then I originally thought. I feel overwhelmed and frustrated. As some kind of reflex, I open up my email and facebook. I procrastinated for about 10-15 minutes, but then forced myself to get back to the task.

Work, afternoon 27/11. I finally get back to my important project that has been neglected for a while. There is no fixed deadline, but I feel like this project should have been finished months ago. It involves finishing up a research project and sending it out for publication. I am really reluctant to finish this up, as I am afraid that it has mistakes, or that it will not be perceived well. At the same time I am irritated at my self that I haven't gotten this project out of the way sooner. As to justification, I feel like I never have time to work on the project and finish it up, but I am still very much aware of that lack of time is not the main problem here.

Home, evening 27/11. I look at the boxes in my living room. Simplifying the children's room a few weeks ago left me with 4 boxes full of toys that I am not sure what to do with. It feels wasteful to throw them out, I want to give them away but I don't know who would take toys for charity. Then I feel overwhelmed about the task of figuring that out, and about getting the boxes somewhere else. I am also concerned that my kids will actually miss some of the toys, and I will have to explain to them that I gave them away. I should probably involve them in the process....but that too is overwhelming. I am frustrated at myself, my indecisivness and my tendency to drag project like these on forever.

Work, morning 28/11. Need to start on a task that I expect to be both boring and time-consuming. For a moment I get caught in the victim role, I think about what I "have to do" and what I "should be doing." I check email and fb for 10-15 minutes. Then I shake it off, and think to myself "I choose to start on this now, and get it over with as soon as possible," and I make a commitment to myself to work on it for at least 30 minutes. The task ends up being less boring and less time consuming than I expected it to be.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

the last minute

I may have mentioned this one or two times before, but I have a problem with finishing tasks in time. While I meet deadlines and usually show up for appointments on time, there is often a lot of last minute stress involved. I've tried to avoid these situations but unfortunately been rather unsuccessful.

Some people claim they are more efficient when working last minute, or that they are more creative when working under pressure. I refuse to believe this. It may be true that there is some correlation between being creative and being an unorganized procrastinator, but I don't think that is a causal relationship. I sincerely believe that those creative people would be even more creative if they managed to overcome this bad habit. It is exhausting, it is stressful, and recently, I've really started to see how this stress affects my temper and how I sometimes take it out on the people around me.

When people repeatedly get themselves into these last minute situation it usually means they have a bad sense of time. But it is also very psychological. I don't think it is laziness. It is perfectionism, insecurity, indecision and sometimes a lack of ability to focus.

When deadlines approach project becomes better defined in my mind. The time-limit becomes more tangible and what I can and cannot do is more evident. But I also become stressed. There is no room for assessing, being creative, revising and refining. There is also no room for unexpected things, like computers crashing, children getting sick, etc.

So how do I deal with this???
  • The practical side involves stuff like making plans, using my calender, being better organized, putting a buffer in my work plans, dividing big projects into smaller ones, etc. I've done all of this to some extent. It helps. But still I often end up with the last minute situation...
  • What is probably more important is to work on the psychological side: the insecurity, the indecision, the perfectionism. I somehow need to shift my paradigms.
  • Finally I think it takes practice. It is a bit like a muscle that needs exercise. I need to find situations where I can start practicing with smaller projects, and then go on to bigger projects.

If anyone has good advise on this I'd love to hear it!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November: back to basics

November is the sixth month of my impeccable project. I feel like now is the time to sit down, take a breath and evaluate the progress I've made so far. I want to use this month to reestablish and reinforce some of my earlier resolutions. Moreover, I want to take time to finish some unfinished projects...making space for new, more exciting ones:)

For the last couple of months I also feel like my resolution charts have grown out of control, and I have been slacking on some of my more important habits, such as my meditation practice, my gratitude journal and I've also found it difficult to find the time to sit down and write posts for this blog. However, these resolutions are the foundation to my project. The feeling of balance and happiness that comes with meditating and focusing on gratitude is truly amazing. And this blog has been so valuable to me. Writing the posts helps to keep me on track, but more importantly it has given me the opportunity to interact with and get inspiration from other bloggers on a similar journey. So...

Resolutions that I want to reiterate this month:

  • meditate
  • write in my gratitude jorunal
  • blog at least 2x a week
  • be present
  • bring lunch to work (healthier and saves money)
  • be proactive: focus on voice, posture, and excuses

Tasks that I want to finish in November:

  • empty my email inboxes (there are currently 3756 emails that need to be processed)
  • finish the blanket I'm knitting
  • Christmas presents (part of my impeccable time/stop doing things last minute resolution;))

Looking back:

  • June *Mind and Positivity*: In June I started meditating, writing in my gratitude journal, exercising on regular basis, and I also started this blog. I focused on happiness, and read several books on the topic. This month really was a success, and a great way to start the project. I think of this as the basis for everything, and want to continue focusing as much as I can on positivity and happiness. In the last couple of months I have been slacking in this area, and it is very important to me to get back on track...
  • July *Home*: In July I focused on my home, both the apartment we live in, but also on getting to know Copenhagen a little bit better. I bought flowers, lit candles, made the bed every day, decluttered...and walked a lot arount the city. Many of the habits from this month have really stuck. I wish I was better at keeping the clutter away...but there is definitely an improvement. After some delays, I painted my children's room, and gave away four or five boxes of toys. That room looks so much better now, and the children are actually much better at playing in their room now when they have fewer toys:)
  • August *Family*: This month was really important to me, as I worked on my relationship with my children. To lighten up, be more patient, be better at talking and listening. This was super successful, and our communications have really transformed. This alone has made the project worthwhile:)
  • September *Work*: I wanted to use September to decrease stress, and to become more organized at work. This was not a very successful month. But hopefully some of the work I did that month will prove to be useful for progressing in the future.
  • October *Time and Money*: Unfortunately I did not address my money issues at all that month. I did continue working on my relationship with time, and made some improvements. But apparently this is not an easy task for this will continue to be on my agenda. In October, I also started reading the 7 habits of highly effective people. The first habit is to be more proactive, and I have been working on that with some success. That alone makes me feel like I achieved something of imporatance in October:)

Looking forward:

    I've rearranged the rest of my project a bit and now the calander looks like this:
  • December: Impeccable Fun and Friendship - be there, reach out, lighten up and have fun
  • January: Impeccable Health and Beauty - find ways to treat myself and my body better and with more respect
  • February: Impeccable Love and Marriage - be kind, have fun, love infinitely and unconditionally
  • March: Impeccable Passion and Meaning - Find my passion, work on independence, and "being me", make time time for what is important
  • April: Environment and Nature - find ways to enjoy nature and be kinder to the environment
  • May: Bootcamp Impeccable

luv, Di.

Friday, November 2, 2012

October: wrap up

In October I wanted to deal with money and time. I did make some improvements with regards to time, but was less successful in dealing with money...

My October Resolutions

  • Wake up 6:20: I set my alarm clock every weekday, but it was sort of irrelevant as my children woke up before that time almost every day. It did give me a sense of having more control over my mornings though. I am undecided whether I should try setting the alarm clock 10-15 minutes earlier. On the one hand I would love to have a little bit of time for myself in the mornings before the crew wakes up, on the other hand I feel like I desperately need all the sleep I can get...
  • Be present: I definitely made the effort here:)
  • Monitor/log every penny: this did not happen.
  • Take a few days where I log my time, minute from minute: I did this for two days and was not surpriced to find out that too much of my time is divided between Category I (urgent and important, such as workstuff that has imminent deadlines) and Category IV (non-urgent and non-important, such as spending too much time on facebooking, internet browsing, watching tv). My goal is to increase time in Category II - i.e. spend more time on things that are important but non-urgent.
  • Be proactive: I definitely exercised this muscle a bit.
  • Make weekly plans: I did and it really helped me get an overview of my schedule, goals, projects, deadlines, etc. I think this can be very helpful when trying to move my time more into Category II.
  • No non-essential spending: Unfortunately I was not very good at this.
  • Bring lunch to work: I did this for the first week and than I gave up. I will try again.
  • Say positive affirmations about abundance (in terms of both time and money): did this a few times, but not nearly every day.
  • Do not stress about time or money: Not really successful here.

Other related things that I did this month was to start reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People...and in order to minimize stress and urgent tasks in the next couple of months I took up this challenge and have started preparing the holidays:)
Have a wonderful weekend!