While reading Great by Choice this month I have reflected on my own issues with procrastination and the choices I make around the ability to focus on the right things. When I was in college I quickly learned that I was unable to focus on studying for exams until my physical surroundings were organized. It was as if I didn’t have confidence in my ability to absorb and retain information until everything was in its right place. The laundry folded, the bills paid….
I haven’t taken an exam in quite a while, but I noticed recently that my stress level is still affected by what kind of environment I am walking into. If my desk is cluttered and there are stacks of files and folders waiting to be handled, I get that little pang of being overwhelmed right when I walk in. If I walk in to a messy house after working a long day I silently scold myself and then blame it on circumstances, like traffic, or two cute but messy dogs, or being tired, or having too much on my plate. And yes, sometimes my husband is in that list too. But, when I make the right choice by being prepared and planning those pesky tasks I feel more focused, able to commit to whatever is coming next. I have learned that I have to make a conscious effort, a choice to plan out my life each week so these things don’t all pile up to an overwhelming heap.
But there are lots of other areas in my life where I procrastinate that I haven’t quite figured out how to master, like consistently making healthy food choices (I’ll start my diet tomorrow) or staying committed and consistent to an exercise program (I’ll take today off since I exercised yesterday). Getting further and further away from my goal, whether it is losing weight or exercising more frequently, or working on something I have little to no experience with at work reminds me it is all a choice of how I spend my time and what I value.
So while I don’t have it all figured out, I do feel that reading this book and taking it day by day is a move in the right direction. For what it is worth, I have actually been consistent with my diet for a little over 30 days now, and having seen some results it has made me even more confident that I can do this. Every time I make a choice to stay true to the commitment I made to myself I gain confidence. And as I see more results I don’t want to turn back.
As I read in the book, I am reminded that it is not about circumstance but about choice each and every day, hour, and minute. A simple truth, yet so easy to forget.