Whoot Whoot … All aboard! First, next and last stop … Procrastination Station! This basically sums up the past two(ish) weeks for me in the trading world. Blog posts? No. New trades? Nope. Great new ideas to make trades happen? Not really. Low motivation concerning the whole project? You Betcha.
You all know what I’m talking about. Picture this: you’re nearing exam period but it isn’t quite down to crunch time and suddenly you realize that you simply will not be able to get any work done unless you rearrange your furniture, or vacuum all of the floors, or clean up your iTunes library, or rearrange your closet according to colour, or finally get around to starting another project that you’ve already applied your great procrastination skills to and pushed firmly to the back burner, etc. How is it that out of the blue you can’t seem to concentrate when there are so many things that just need to be done? Really important things like baking, tanning, napping, checking off easy tasks on recently made “to do” lists that give the illusion of productivity, FBing, replying to e-mails, and just general tidying. Friends, this is my continual struggle.
In the interest of being open and honest on the ol’ blog, I’ll offer up some examples of my extreme procrastination. In point form (and don’t worry I’ll also provide photo evidence) here is a sampling of all the extremely important things I have done since I last posted – feel free to eyeroll at any time:
- Rearranged furniture in my bedroom
- Bought a new dog bed + toys + bowl + brush
- Helped complete a Coke themed jigsaw puzzle
- Online shopped for myself and others
- Real life shopped for myself and others
- Decided it would be fun to take up knitting again
- Knitted roughly 30% of a scarf
- Painted my toenails .. two coats
- Watched the Grammys
- Watched two episodes of Survivor, three episodes of Glee, and one episode of Australia’s Best Athlete (yes, it exists)
- Read 29% of Pride and Prejudice
- Bought a lawn chair for tanning .. and also used it
- Bought new sheets + a new pillow
- Read multiple magazines.. many of the tabloid variety
- Baked two batches of brownies for different occasions
- Participated in a longish bike adventure
- Got a car wash
- Went out for numerous coffees, ice creams, and lunches
- Aided in the construction of a fence to prevent the dog from making any more “great escapes”
- Watched Toy Story 3 .. which I have already seen
- Set up a trade section in the living room of our training camp apartment that highlights the current trade item
- Believe it or not I am also currently procrastinating by watching Survivor and only typing on commercials
|Very sophisticated method of showcasing ol' blue. Are you wondering why it's not working? Me too!|
|New digs for Liesl the Weasel|
|I'm not ready to apologize for these just yet. I'm convinced they were time well spent|
|Very mature and stylish, I know. Young House Love would be throwing up in their mouths right now.|
|Surprisingly effective ... for now.|
|This says 27%, the list above says 29%, and I am currently at 32% which gives you a rough idea of how much procrastinating went down during the actual composition of this post.|
I know it seems as though these things wouldn’t really kill too much time, or that I could easily find a few minutes to sit down and tap out a quick blog, but that’s not really the point is it? C’mon, we’ve all been there. The whole “I’ll do it on Monday” routine where Monday turns in to Tuesday, Tuesday turns in to Thursday, Thursday turns in to next week, next week turns in to two weeks and next thing you know you’ve either completely forgotten about it, just realized that it’s actually due tomorrow, or have this horrible guilty feeling all the time. Not to mention that the longer you leave something, the more daunting the task seems to become. I’m in the nagging guilty stage at the moment because I know that I’ve been neglecting the project for no other reason than because it became significantly less fun than when I started.
Procrastination as a result of low enthusiasm
I am entirely aware of it, but why do I still procrastinate and put things off? In this case, it’s a mixture of a few things. I think that because this is sort of for fun, I didn’t have that sense of urgency that really aids in productivity. Also, there are no set rules, no real deadlines, and no severe consequences for not posting. Essentially, it was on me to keep it up, and when prioritizing my activities and managing my time, thelittleredpaperclip somehow slipped down on the list (how it got below car wash, I’ll never know). I think that part of it is definitely because the trading has really dropped off. Things are less exciting and believe it or not, very few people in a sunny southern state feel the need to own a lightweight spring/fall jacket (spring and fall referring to Canadian spring/fall). This lull threw me off because the trade scene was really buzzin’ at first. I suppose that this is bound to happen with more expensive and specific items, and I’ve certainly got to figure out a new way to deal with it. The bottom line is this: I tend to put off doing things that I don’t consider to be fun. Ummm duh Una.
The importance of setting goals and making plans
In trying to determine why I was suddenly so disinterested in something that I was borderline obsessed with a week earlier, it struck me that I hadn’t really applied any of the normal practices to the project that I would for sport or school or work. In the trading/blogging world, I was that girl who makes a well-intentioned fitness resolution at the onset of a new year, and then only uses her gym pass from Jan 1- 8. I didn’t sit down and make a plan of how I wanted to proceed, I didn’t set any concrete goals for what I wanted to achieve, and I certainly didn’t give much thought to what I would do if things weren’t going well. I am now left wondering why on earth I thought wingin’ it would work for this, when I know for a fact it does not work in any other area of my life.
There’s something really cool about setting goals and writing them down. Somehow it’s like as soon as you say them out loud or write them on paper, they are real. What was once just an idea is now something more physical, concrete and measurable – there’s a record of it. Having a goal makes the tough parts easier to manage because it keeps you motivated and on track. When things aren’t going as smoothly as they should, you can look back on your goal and remind yourself why what you’re doing is worth it. I had an ah ha moment when I realized that this isn’t going to be super duper fun all the time (what is anyway? besides eating ice cream), and that I still need to commit to it anyway.
Setting a goal and writing it down sounds fine and good. Easy enough right? Not necessarily. Not only do you have to set goals, you have to make a plan for how you’re going to achieve them in measurable terms. Tracking your progress also helps to keep you motivated and excited about the task.
For example, here are some of the goals I have set out for thelittleredpaperclip project, and some ideas that I have to help me achieve them.
Goal: Go outside of my comfort zone and make trades with people other than my immediate family and social circle in an attempt to gain new skills and confidence.
Plan: Try as best as I can to at one point make a trade with an absolute stranger – and have fun with it.
Goal: Make at least five trades before April 30
Plan: Stay on top of blogging and promoting my current item. Never miss out on an opportunity, and remind people about what’s going on. Also, be proactive about trading – don’t just wait for someone to come to me with a trade.
Goal: Try to differentiate myself from others who have done the project before, or are currently doing it (ahem Connor Taras).
Plan: Be creative and explore interesting ways of trading. Make a trade through the mail, maybe even make an international trade. Try to make a trade using only the Internet. Aside from posting a blog and a new profile picture, try to make a trade NOT using the Internet. Research marketing strategies and techniques and apply them to my trading.
Goal: Even if there are no new trades, blog once a week at the very least.
Plan: Set a time each week to sit down and write. Make sure that this is a time where I won’t be distracted or easily convinced to do other things.
Goal: Maintain and/or improve my writing while not taking an English class.
Plan: Approach the blog in a professional manner in terms of editing and structure. Obviously the style isn’t super scholarly .. but don’t settle for typos and carelessly sloppy sentences.
Goal: Have fun and learn lots.
Plan: Remember that this can be fun as well as challenging. Add a personal touch to each trade and try to pass on a smile. Stay focused and commit to the project, but try to avoid taking myself too seriously.
So here’s the deal ... same item, new goals, new attitude.
Once again, if you’re interested in trading or even stopping by to see the jacket, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org