Sunday, April 21, 2013

Perfectionism, Procrastination, or Both?

Image Courtesy of [scottchan]
Sundays, I usually wait until the last possible moment to think about what I am going to do on Monday.  Do any of you do that?  Maybe, that is a remnant of wanting to savor the last possible moment of weekend family time or not wanting to face going to work or to school the next day.  Or maybe, it is my propensity for procrastination raising it's little head and saying, "You don't want to do that now, do you?  Come on, let's do something fun!".

At any rate, I am breaking the mold today, and popping procrastination's little balloon.  I was thinking about what to suggest for Chronic Fatigue and Creative Decluttering this week.  I still have jobs that are not finished yet, but it may not be accurate to think you are as slow at getting things done as me.  Even though, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME have similar symptoms, not all people who have these debillitating symptoms have exactly the same ones at the same time.  Therefore, according to age, other illnesses that affect you, life stresses, responsibilities, flare-ups, or coming out of a flare-up, we are not experiencing exactly the same things on any one day.  Sometimes, we do, because of weather or whatever, but there are multiple variables.

Because of the variables, I feel a responsibility to suggest areas to work in that we have not recently touched;  so I decided to look at FlyLady  on Facebook for inspiration.  I ran into a neat little article called Ducks in a Row,  that had neon words flashing themselves at me.  Marla had written, With our ability to hyper-focus and our perfection thrown in to boot, we have a tendency to want every thing perfect before we even start. How about that control journal of yours? You want it absolutely perfect before you begin to even think about establishing your routines. This is another excuse for not getting started. 

Again, I have been enlightened and reminded by Marla Cilley of some of the important things that most clutter-challenged people can learn to apply in their lives:

  • Routines are a good thing, thus she helps people to establish a control journal.  My routines are in a plastic sleeve in my control journal and one on my bathroom wall.  Unfortunately, I cannot always stick to my routines, but being aware and having worked on them in the past helps me to get back on track.
  • Perfectionism can be something that keeps us from even getting started.  Is this true in your life?  Does it keep you from getting dressed in the morning, tackling the mess in your bedroom, the spare room, or another area of the house?  Does it keep you from making a short list of things to be done in the house?  Does it keep you from your family or friends?  Or writing in your journal, writing a poem, or painting a picture?  What does perfectionism keep you from? 

Just a reminder: I know the chronic illness is often the thing that gets in the way.  When we are in pain and unrelenting fatigue assails our bodies, our routines often fly out the window.  We wonder how to get started up again, as we compare what we used to do with what we get done now.  I understand.

The best example I can think of right now comes from my own personal life.  About a month ago, I started getting rid of the clutter in my dining room, which is also my  workroom, and the most used entry into our house.  I had a goal, which included having the table and sideboard decorated for Easter.  However, as I worked, I realized I needed to organize my arts and crafts supplies or box everything;  also, I was working on a couple of blog posts for Deborah Lynne's Inspirations.  I had other things that had to be done too:  laundry, bathrooms that needed to be cleaned, blogs and Facebook pages to tend to.

 "What's the point?",  you may ask.  The point is not finishing the dining room did not kept me from working on it a little bit at a time.  I have done the necessary everyday things, which I can rarely finish in one day.  I do what I have learned from FlyLady.  I jump in where I am.  I try to do a little bit everyday.  On the days I feel better, I may do a little more.

An example would be the bathrooms I cleaned on Saturday.  I cleaned the sinks and counters in both bathrooms, and in one I wiped down the toilet.  I had done the inside and outside of the half bath toilet two nights before, so I concentrated on the things that needed cleaning the most.  I didn't do the shower in the big bathroom, because  it was too big a job for me to tend to that day.  Nor did I do the inside of the toilet bowl in the master bath, because I was plumb out of energy.  I thought I might get back to it, but I haven't yet.

The point is I have not let perfectionism keep me from cleaning my bathrooms.  It is not an all or nothing thing.  My house is cleaner than it was a month ago.  In fact, I was able to rest comfortably when I needed to, because I had cleaned the toilet bowl  less than a week ago.   I feel good about what I'm doing, because I am making progress.  Truthfully, I doubt my house will ever be as clean as I used to keep it when I was healthy.   But, that does not mean I have to give up.  Nor do I have to compare myself with people that are physically able to do more.  I am doing what I can do, baby step by baby step.

So, I want to say thank you to FlyLady, who reminded me  routines are good, I can have a cleaner house by taking baby steps, and I will enjoy the results as I gradually take control of my life again.

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It's always lovely hearing from you. xoxo, Deborah