Monday, October 12, 2009

A special kind of procrastinating

Tonight I tackled a project that's been gnawing at me for some time - I organized my dresser drawers. When we moved Portland in March, I was about 5 months pregnant and fully in maternity clothes. When we unpacked, I put only maternity clothes in my dresser and all other clothes went into storage bins. Ever since Cy was born, I'd been slowing adding non-maternity clothes to my dresser as my body returns to some semblance of it's former shape. As a result, my drawers had gotten really out of hand. There was basically no organization left whatsoever - I was just putting items wherever they would fit, regardless of what other items occupied the drawer. Finally, it just got to be too much. I had Jason take the storage bins off of the top shelf and I commenced sorting my clothes into three piles: maternity clothes to be stored until pregnancy #2, clothes that currently fit or are very, very close to fitting, and clothes that are still quite a ways away from fitting, and may in fact never fit.

I got about 3/4 of the way through my project and then lost motivation. Of course, this is the point in the project when things still look pretty bad - most items have been put in their place, but there is a smattering of items from all categories scattered across the bed, as well as some things about which I'm just not sure what to do. I walked out to the living to complain to Jason about how much I just didn't want to do this project anymore. He asked me how far I had to go, and when I replied that I was almost finished he gave me a knowing smile and said "Right there is your problem. You never want to finish things."

And he's right. This is my special form of procrastination, and it applies to all areas of my life. I get very close to the end of something - a term paper, packing, a household project, cleaning, organizing, etc - and I just kind of give up. I used to spend nearly as much time writing the conclusion to an essay as I did writing the entire remainder of the essay, and I usually finished the paper with no time to spare, even if I had started it plenty early. Even letter writing and thank-you notes are affected by this. I don't know how many times I have written a thank-you note, even addressed the envelope, and then never sent it because I didn't have a stamp, or just didn't take the time to put a stamp on. Every time I tackle a project like the one tonight, I stop just short of finishing it. Even as I write this post, there are a few items that need to be hung up that are still sitting on my bed.

I have no real explanation for why I do this. Perhaps it is a result of my perfectionism. Maybe there's some kind of fear that as long as a project remains incomplete, I can still fix it. This makes sense with an essay or even with thank-you notes, but makes no real sense when it comes to cleaning and organization. Sometimes I think it's a product of my indecisiveness - things left at the end of a project are often things for which I don't have a clear place or solution, and therefore I just kind of give up. Who knows?

Ha! Even now, I'm sitting here trying to figure out how the heck to end this blog post. Hmm. I'll guess I'll just leave it at that...a weakness that I need to work on.

My newly organized drawers. Look, I completed a project!

1 comment:

  1. It's nice to know some things haven't changed!


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