Motivation II

I continue to get to know myself as I might get to know another, by observing myself. I know lots of sensible stuff-

-Strike when the iron’s hot
-A stitch in time saves nine

I would tell you that it is good to start a task plenty of time before it needs to be completed. This is obvious. I would brook no argument. Except when it comes to it, often I don’t. This morning, I knew I had to do something, and thought, ah, I will cycle to Swanston for a food shop first. Then I thought, if I do that I will be too tired in the afternoon, and put it off until the evening; then I will be too tired in the evening, and put it off until the following day. And I also have leaflets to deliver for Beth Miller, the plucky Labour candidate standing against the nasty Nationalist, liar and destroyer of the public services. I will do all I can against the Tories. I got the leaflets yesterday.

There is never a great deal on my to-do list, but I still manage to not do it. Even, my teeth feel a bit yuck, but I do not clean them. I observe dirt on the pad when I cleanse, but do not cleanse. My living room is untidy. (I leafleted for the local elections last week, and went round to the candidate’s house. We chatted in her yard, but she did not want me to come in as her house was a mess. It may be fairly common, people tidying for ten minutes before someone else arrives, except in my case where the place is too untidy for ten minutes to do.)

There is that task which I must complete even though it may not do any good. I am terrified. Homelessness is not completely impossible. I have not started it. I thought, ten days ago, that buying the CPAG Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook might be a good idea, and today I phoned them to order it, a week after I could have done. I am glad I did it today. The sense of foreboding is fended off a little by doing something about the threat.

I thought also of speaking to the GP. Am I in any sense “ill”? I lack motivation, I am happy enough watching TV all afternoon, I cannot see a better way of looking after myself than what I do. Do I lack energy, am I traumatised, should I take anti-depressants or counselling? I thought of it but have not arranged it.

And, on Sunday, I thought of taking a photograph to advertise the Quaker meeting for the Greenbelt festival. I did it without any care, because- well, better not say in public. Even though x will make it almost unusable, I could still have taken more care over it to make it less bad. I took ten and looked at them and thought they are all dreadful, worse because I did not y.

Or, I was so unhappy at x I stopped caring or thinking of it. Well, that one is probably the best.

I know how I respond; how I do not do something because I must do something else first, except the something else never gets done. Well, this time I sent the email about Greenbelt before going off to Swanston. I just did. I know the wisdom, and I know myself, and I defied my own expectation and did the sensible thing. I do sometimes. Or, I might be getting better. There may be hope for me yet.

5 thoughts on “Motivation II

  1. It has been my observation that many trans people are procrastinators. I haven’t seen that any formal study has been done on the subject, but, as a hypothesis, it seems to make sense. Perfectionism is a cause for procrastination, as is low self-esteem. I know I have these “conditions”, and they both caused me to delay my own transition a good fifteen years.

    Combating procrastination on an intellectual level is futile for me. Make lists, the experts say – I’ve lists all over (and under) the place. Prioritise? I can find something on my list that will make me feel better than what I know to be of more importance. That doesn’t mean I don’t attempt to do things; I have many unfinished projects to show for it. My to-do can’t be made just so, so I just don’t do.

    I have also noticed that hoarding is common among the group of trans people I know. I’m not sure how that relationship works, except that cleaning out my basement has been on every one of my to-do lists since I started making lists. I think I even have a box-full of lists on a shelf downstairs. 🙂

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    • My best way of combating procrastination is thinking of it in the moment. Right now, I am thinking of doing the thing, so I patiently and gently question myself. What are the alternatives? Do I want to do the thing? If I don’t do it now, what are the chances of doing it at any particular future time?

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      • The paralysis of analysis: Never put off doing until tomorrow what one can think about doing (or not) today. My mind can be as cluttered with thoughts as my house is with stuff.

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        • Not about all the things I should be doing, but about one thing, which is particularly important. Keep it as simple as possible. And not about “Why not do it a month ago?”- this is not about berating myself, I have too many excuses for that.

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          • For over four decades, since I attended university, I have had a recurring dream. I would suddenly realize that, on the last day of the term, I had forgotten that I had enrolled in a philosophy class, and had only attended the first day. In this nightmare, I am running across campus, my mind racing even faster with possible excuses for the professor or how I could possibly pass the final exam. After I find my seat, in the midst of trying to catch my breath, I hear the professor say, “I assume you’ve all read your first assignment.”……. I had pre-procrastinated (fore-crastinated?)!

            Only in my dreams can I go back to where I should have started! A side note to this (although it may very well be the crux of it) is that this dream has had me in a dress, which I am frantically trying to keep from flying up as I run across the campus, for the last ten or twelve years.

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