Teaching is a lot like being a mom. Seriously. Each day you have in your charge 20-30 kids for 6-8 hours. Their time must be managed, their learning planned, their behavior modified, their hearts healed and the list goes on and on.. There is so much to do; so much that legally MUST be done, you have to be organized. Teachers take the old “Fail to plan and plan to fail” quip as TRUTH itself.
SInce I began my second career as a newborn photographer, things are a lot different. But still and all, just like you moms out there, procrastination rears its ugly head. It dawned on me one day early in my professional life, that trying to eliminate procrastination was like trying to stop a train by blowing on it. So instead, I decided to learn to let it live with me, but on my terms. “My sandbox, my rules”. Here is what I did to help us get along.
It is all about how much you are willing to suffer.
When learning to cohabitate with procrastination, you have to decide where your ideas rate on the “to do” landscape. I made it simple:
Nearly all choices come down to these two simple things. You either want or need something. And your reason for wanting or needing is either for you or for others. If there are things you NEED to do (I mean things that if you do NOT do them you will suffer in some way), nature has it in our brains to get it done. You do not have to worry about it. The question is all about: “How much will I suffer if I put off doing something I need to do? The less you will suffer, the longer you will put it off. But it will get done. Once I found out how much I was willing to suffer, then I just let procrastination live with me and I would not judge myself about how much I put things off.
On the other side of this chart is the WANT side. If these are things that are PURELY things you WANT, then they too will get done. It is human nature to do things that make us happy.
But it can get complicated. Somethings in life you want to do. But they also carry a little bit of “need” as well. For example, I want to buy a gift for my daughter-in-law who just had a newborn baby. Of course you want to do it because it is a nice thing to do. But you are also doing it so that your family “looks” good, so that when it is time for your family to deserve a gift or a card, you will get one and so on. Again, ask yourself, how much are you willing to suffer? If you say ” a lot”, then you will likely never buy that gift. But if you say “I’m not willing to suffer”, you will find yourself at Macy’s that same day.
By realizing your willingness and tolerance for suffering, you can let procrastination be its happy self and you do not have to fight the continual fight of chastising yourself for not doing such and such on time.
Katie is a maternity and newborn portrait photographer in Los Angeles, CA 91042