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Procrastination Versus Perserverence

Procrastination versus Perseverance.
by Michelle Arroyo

Rome wasn’t built in a day. It took a week to make the moon and the stars, the sun and the earth, and Jupiter and Mars. That either was accomplished demonstrates not only stamina, but also perseverance. Ok. God is God and could do anything, but civilizations are born of man. So if man can build empires, surely little ole me – or any one of us – can write a book amidst our busy lives, or make a quilt. Just pick whatever project(s) you have stored away for some day.

I am really good at starting a project, but for the love of doing so many interesting things, new projects come my way and I am attracted like a butterfly to a flower. But then a larger, prettier flower appears and the rest are ignored. Oh, I’ll finish them, eventually, you’ll see.

So I have eight shirts cut out to be sewn, a king-sized quilt to mend and a few afghans begun, oodles of fabric and yarn with which to sew and crochet. Then there are my literary works in progress, one of which is barely edited and up to 3000 words.

My therapist insists I procrastinate because I get something out of it. What something I don’t know, he keeps that part a secret. But his point isn’t lost on me. What reinforces that behavior? I have no clue, other than habit.

So break that habit. This would involve the Herculean task also known as time management. I poorly practice this craft. But time management, basically, is discipline. (And in my case, it’s a lack thereof) Anyone can do it, some more easily than others. I never used to iron my clothes for work. Shameful, I know. But, now, I’ve found I DO have the time and I iron every morning before work. How did I manage this? I got up 15 minutes earlier. I also could have had it done the night before. If I can change that little habit, anyone can take such baby steps to reorganize their life and persevere.

Once you get started, what keeps you going? What motivates you? The time management workshop at Romance Divas is excellent and talks about how to stay motivated. An external factor to remind you why you write, or even a whip-wielding, cheerleading friend to keep you on task, is a magnificent thing.

My husband keeps me motivated by reminding me that his quilt is still “missing.” And the joy of writing can lose its luster when life gets in the way. So think small. Every journey begins with a step. My goals – did I mention you have to set goals? – are to write articles first. These are small endeavors that can easily be completed. That is what keeps me going. I can say, “I finished it!” and that fulfills me, motivating me to do the next one. I think a lot of reason the flower fades is because we become over-ambitious and expect more of ourselves than is realistic. (ME!) Lofty aspirations and ambitions are WONDERFUL, but taking on way more than one should just opens the door to burnout or procrastination.

Tackle the tasks little by little and do not start all projects that come your way. Otherwise, it will lend itself to you not putting everything but one or two projects on hold. Hence, a project can be accomplished — you can gain a sense of completion. Now you can get fueled up for the next project!

So, lookie here! This article is done! Now, where is that quilt?