I Procrastinate

Confession Time. Here is my hidden secret.  I am a closet procrastinator.  Because, in general, I am a well- organized person and productive I can hide my procrastination. But there are many things/tasks that I put off, delay, or postpone.  Of course, I would rather talk about someone else’s struggles than my own.  Yet, I think I must examine why I procrastinate and what I can do about it.laundry

Why do I procrastinate?  Sometimes I just don’t want to do it. If it was a request from someone else and I had an option, then I should have said NO up front.  Saying NO can be difficult because I don’t like to disappoint people.   Sometimes I am just uncomfortable with the task.  I actually hate making phone calls to ask others to do stuff, or even to make appointments.

Sometimes I am afraid.  I am afraid that I will fail or even do a poor job.  It is a fear of how others will react or maybe even reject me.   Sometimes I delay because I don’t know where to start or I need an idea but don’t have one.

IMG_5249I can even procrastinate at writing, which I love and do all the time.  I have written daily in a journal since 1984 but there are days I don’t want to do it. I also write Bible study lessons, communion meditations, sermons, and this blog.  I write a lot.  Yet I often postpone working on one of these by addressing a smaller or easier assignment.

Some of my children are proficient at procrastination.  I can commiserate with them. It is much easier to point out their struggles than to admit my own. I have failed at helping them get a handle on their struggle with procrastination.   I have learned that encouragement is more effective than nagging.  Nagging shuts down communication and builds up defiance.

 

The following are some things that help me with procrastination:

  1. It is okay to just say, “No thanks”.
  2. A feared outcome is seldom as bad as expected.
  3. Finishing a task/project feels SO GOOD.
  4. Provide a reward as incentive for completion.
  5. Or maybe rewards for steps towards completion (frequently used).
  6. Make lists for daily, weekly and monthly goals (I love checking them off).
  7. Prioritize tasks and set deadlines.
  8. Pressure and stress melt when tasks are completed.
  9. Just start somewhere. Make some progress.  Any progress.
  10. Tackle the hard tasks first or early in the day to get it over.
  11. Remember what I have accomplished in the past and that I am capable.

I believe that these can be useful tools for teens and children. If you see procrastination in your children, I hope these tools can sideline a lifestyle of procrastination.

 

“You never know how courageous you can be until you face your fears.”

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Cousins are the Best

Cousins are like candy, the more you have, the better.  They are sweet and sour and wonderful, some are squishy and some are hard.   I hope you are blessed with many of them.  Cousins can be like extra siblings or better.  A cousin can be the sister or brother that you do not have.  A cousin can be your first playmate and best friend.

Barb, L & D

My cousin, my sister and I

How many cousins are enough?   My children have 8 first cousins.  I had 37 and my husband had almost that many too.  Some of ours have passed away.  Nearly all have married (a few multiple times) have children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren.   All of which, equates to more cousins.  No one has any control over how many cousins they have.  You get what you get (many life lessons there).

Make time for your children to know their cousins, even the ones who live far away.  Consider vacationing together or just visiting at their house.  Invite them to your house.   One precious memory I have was when my parents, siblings and their families went with my family to Starved Rock State Park to spend the day with my aunt, uncle and their children and grandchildren.  I only wish we had done it more than once.  Throughout our lives friends come and go and change, but cousins endure with us.   Our common family history and experiences bond us together.

Lilicia Park deer

Me, with our 4 children (daughter in back pack), plus 2 of their cousins at Lilacia Park, Lombard, IL

Connecting with cousins also gives us opportunities to relate to people beyond our own age and gender. I had far more boy cousins than girl cousins.   I learned to interact and relate to my boy cousins in a very natural way without the weirdness that often accompanies cross-gender friendships. (At age 14 there was one whom I wished could have been my boyfriend).   I recall having fun pestering some older cousins (trying to count freckles) and sometimes being thrilled and terrified by older cousins.  I admired and adored them and loved being with them.

Among my grandchildren it is fun to watch the cousins play together.  Generally the boys play with the boys and the girls with the girls.  Younger and older play together.  My heart is warmed at their friendships.  I heard that last summer at junior high church camp my grandson and my petite granddaughter who are only 2 months apart in age but many inches apart in height hung out with each other and often sat together.  He is caring and protective and she is sweetness.   I am certain that at camp someday soon they will clearly identify each other as cousins.

Attend your family gatherings at holidays, weddings, showers, funerals, and reunions.  If those really big gatherings are overwhelming, then plan some frequent little ones.  May your family be a blessing in your life.  If it is not, I give you my condolences, and may you have wisdom to set healthy boundaries.