Spring Cleaning for the Soul
According to Wikipedia, procrastination refers to the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of low-priority, and thus putting off important tasks for a later time. Stress, anxiety and frustration are all by-products of this enemy called procrastination. The medicine to cure this dis-ease seems so simple, right? Prioritize, organize, troubleshoot and just good old fashioned “get ‘er done,” right? So why do we all struggle with this common problem?
This was the topic of discussion between a very good friend and I as we were discussing our day to day responsibilities and laundry list of “to dos” that swim in our thoughts each day. It was then that she said “Maybe we are just in need of some spring cleaning for our soul?!” EUREKA!!! It took me a few days to really wrap my head around this statement. If you think about it, who really enjoys missing deadlines, disappointing others and suffering from constant stress, anxiety and discord in their lives? It just doesn’t make sense but yet a majority of our society still does it over and over again.
After several discussions with my friend, it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, we are reacting this way to do information overload? Simply stated—it’s our brain’s way of shutting down and going on strike. (Side Bar: This statement is not to be taken out of context to give people carte blanche to act lazy or to be used as a scapegoat.) This whole concept really hit home recently while on “date night” with my husband. I was so tired and mentally/physically fatigued that I was in a complete malaise the entire evening. To say I was quiet, distant and unresponsive was an understatement … which is clearly not “normal” for me by any stretch of the imagination.
Think about it… our grandparents didn’t have to check their work email, personal email, iPhone, remote desktop, Facebook, Twitter etc… before ever stepping out of their house to go to work. (Side Bar: I too am guilty as charged!) The only “ping” or “buzz” that they would hear in the morning was the sound of a time clock or the bell of someone showing up to their office in person to discuss a matter. We live in the information overload society, so much so that if we do not respond to a text or email within seconds of having received the question, people lose interest and even get offended!! We are conditioned to expect instant results – thought, quality and style are out the window. Nowadays, we are expected to be “on the clock” every waking moment without giving ourselves any time off. It is almost as though, as a society we have completely eliminated the word vacation or time away from our vocabulary.
To say that we are not going to check our emails while at lunch or dinner or to ignore the text messages that flow in and out is unrealistic. However, if by some miracle we are lucky enough to truly disconnect (even if it’s only for two days a week) to decompress and recharge our batteries maybe it would be easier to compartmentalize the things (i.e. feelings, emotions and mental to do list) that we do not have time to sort out in between the voicemails, emails and texts messages. We can’t even get to the spring cleaning part if we are unable to quiet our minds long enough to hear our thoughts. So what’s the solution to all of this madness? Maybe if we throw a cog (i.e. rest, relaxation and reflection) into the wheel the hamster may have enough time to take a break and sort out, reconnect and re-evaluate the why behind the procrastination. Just a thought – “ping!!!”
Be good to each other,
Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James
My friend Miranda “Mandy” is a legal wizard with a unique perspective on love, life, and the law. I enjoy reading her articles and I hope you do as well. Amee