Procrastination is making me wait...

Procrastination is making me wait...

Prompt: Do you have a tendency to procrastinate, or do you like checking things off your to-do list?

My response: Yes.

sssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

That's me, trying to succumb to the pressure of using NaBloPoMo prompts. NaBloPoMo, which has begun to roll off my tongue after two months of participating in it, stands for National Blog Posting Month, which I thought was November but actually is year round. (But NaBloPoYe doesn't have the same ring to it.) The theme for January is "pressure."

under pressure nablopomo

Here's how BlogHer, host of NaBloPoMo, dolls up "pressure" and twists the idea of using it as a theme into something positive:

Sometimes a little pressure can be exactly what you need to catapult yourself through your resolutions, and if you resolved to write more in 2014, we hope you'll join along with January's NaBloPoMo to jump start your year.

This month, we're looking at the concept of pressure -- the pressure we put on ourselves, the pressure we feel from others, and whether that pressure can be used to our advantage. This month is about finding your strength and letting out a Katy Perry-worthy RAAAAAAAAWR!

Actually, Melissa Ford of BlogHer (author of the above) and NaBloPoMo don't insist on my using the prompts; they just provide them to spark some ideas for writing. Any pressure I feel comes from me trying to embrace the theme as well as write something worthy of reading; I shudder at the thought of writing drivel and force feeding it to my followers. I used to feel pressure to write a blog post once a week. Since November 2, when I discovered (and joined) NaBloPoMo, I have been writing daily without fail (except for the occasional drivel, which I consider a fail and which I hope is only occasional). Now I feel pressure to write daily -- and keep up with my job, which actually pays, and my home life, which pays much more than cash. Striking that balance is what makes blogging hard; it is the pressure I put on myself and the pressure (sometimes imagined) I feel from others; my goal is to find a way to use that pressure to advantage.

So let me attempt today's prompt once again:

Prompt: Do you have a tendency to procrastinate, or do you like checking things off your to-do list?

My response: Yes. Yes.

I don't consider myself a procrastinator; yet I do procrastinate. Just today, for instance, after worrying for a couple of weeks about a student's college reference form I needed to complete, I finally did it. I envisioned the child being denied college acceptance because I failed to complete a simple form -- and, yet, I procrastinated. Only today -- when I determined that if I had ruined this child's future I would call the college and claim responsibility and beg on his behalf -- did I actually read the form and note that the due date was still a week away. I completed it, wrote a rave review in the form of a letter, and posted it before I could delay any longer. Whew. Done.

And I didn't even have it written on a list.

When I was in college, especially around finals time, I would massively stress. As in my mother, at least, thought I would ... actually I don't know what she thought. But I had so much I needed to accomplish that I needed help. And that help was my mother's advice. She always suggested writing a huge to-do list and dramatically marking off each accomplishment as I went along. It benefited me in two ways: I got things out of mind and onto paper; I got immense satisfaction in marking through completed tasks.

The list was usually numerous sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 inch unlined paper covered with tasks written with chunky felt-tip markers in a variety of colors. I would write each one in large letters, about 8-10 tasks per sheet, tape the pages together, and then adhere the massive list to my wall. I would use a chunky brown marker -- dark enough to indicate completion, light enough to rejoice in what I had completed -- to mark through what I had accomplished. The entire list remained on my wall until every single task was marked through with brown ink. Whew. Done.

I find to-do lists helpful and comforting -- more so than a calendar or planner, which I buy regularly and then ignore. Scrap paper -- printed on one side -- makes the perfect to-do list. (I have three working right now, actually, as I work through my final day of Christmas "break.") Procrastination is not my modus operandi but it happens... usually when I don't complete a to-do list. Or is it that I don't complete a to-do list when I'm practicing procrastination...

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