How to Stop Procrastinating

When I made the decision to move to the suburbs, I knew that leaving my apartment was going to be hard. Partly because, I lived in that place for ten years; it was the end of an era. But mostly because, after ten years in that place, I had accumulated SO. MUCH. STUFF.  Thinking about the logistics of getting all of that crap down three flights of stairs and out the front door made me want to lay down on the floor. So I did what I do best in stressful situations: I procrastinated like a mother fucker.

I remember lying saying to myself on my birthday in late February, “I’m going to give myself this weekend but then next week, I’m going to start sorting through things. I don’t want to leave it all until the last minute.”

(fast forward to the last minute)

Lies. It was all lies, I tell you. Because after I gave my landlady my 90 days notice, I proceeded to do nothing for two and half months.

Well, maybe not nothing. I pulled four shirts out of my closet, and called it “purging”. I took online polls about the value of high school yearbooks and had a spirited debate with a friend about whether or not to keep my CD collection (but what if they come back?).

I looked through no less than five photo albums and thumbed through a stack of O Magazines I’d been saving. I played with an over-priced makeup palette I forgot I had. I tried to remember old cheerleading dance routines while listening to songs on my very first iPod (because it still works if it’s plugged into the wall). And I watched the second season of Bloodline three times (we need to talk about Kevin).

Then about two and a half weeks before move day, I looked around my apartment. The only thing I’d done that might count as packing was taking the glasses and mugs out of the kitchen cabinet and putting them on the dining table. But beyond that, all of my belongs were still sitting on shelves and hanging in closets.

This is what denial looks like.
I’m not moving, you’re moving.
But it’s so pretty.

I had procrastinated myself into a corner and I was annoyed. Why did I do this to myself? Why do I ALWAYS do this to myself? Really, Raina? You know you don’t do your best work under pressure (unless that work involves frenzied flailing, a little crying, and profuse sweating).

But I quickly realized that:

A) none of this self-flagellation was helpful and
B) I very literally didn’t have the time to sit around criticizing myself. As much fun as that is, I had CDs to stuff into trash bags and sets of dishes to pawn off on the girl downstairs.

In a little more than 10 days, three of my friends would be taking time away from their Memorial Day Weekend to help me move. I had to get my shit together. And fast. There were only so many trips up and down three flights of stairs that I could ask these kind souls to make. And if nothing else, the shame and embarrassment of being the friend who asks you to help them move and then isn’t ready to move was enough to kick my ass into gear.

It wasn’t the organized effort of my dreams. And I didn’t take nearly enough to Goodwill. But after some long, dirty, and sweaty nights (which makes it sound more fun than it was) and with the help of some friends, I got all my stuff out. After ten years and all of my thirties, I left my apartment for the very last time.

I’m not crying, you’re…no I’m crying. You’re totally seeing me cry.

I’m sorry if I misled you with the title of this post. I hope you didn’t come here looking for tips. Because I got none. No, I’m asking the question. I’m looking for some ideas. Possibly an intervention.

Let’s talk about it. Guys, why do we do this to ourselves? And what can we do to be better?

Normally I’d just type “How to Stop Procrastinating” into Google but I’m feeling social. I thought it’d be more fun to talk to you guys. And then I don’t have to read a bunch of articles.

Win win.

2 thoughts on “How to Stop Procrastinating

  1. Hell, I’m 67 with no solutions. Perhaps procrastination is my subconscious freedom of choice. The last minute challenge is like a great race. When I finish, I’m high!

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