Blogging From A to Z

L is for Label #atozchallenge

A Procrastinator’s Guide From A to Z

“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”
― W.C. Fields
L

L is for Label.

We all carry around labels.  Labels used in salutations: Mr., Mrs, Ms.  Label that indicate familiar relationships: mother, father, brother, sister.  We have labels related to our job titles and labels that reveal our hobbies.  Labels that mark our education level and labels that suggest our ethnicity.  But the labels that seem to stick to us like a foul stench are the labels that symbolize our character.

Lazy, stupid, selfish, useless.

Procrastinator.

We can’t aways choose the labels that are given to us.  We can decide which labels we should own and which labels to cast aside.

I’ve thrown away many labels and replaced them with ones that are more suitable, more palatable to my tastes.  For example: I am not cheap; I am thrifty.  I’m not middle-aged, I’m living in my middle years.  I’m not a fatigued hipster; I’m a writer!  LOL

I am also a procrastinator.

I don’t like being labeled as a procrastinator, but it’s honest enough.  It’s a label I willingly own.  You can alter and change items you own.  If you own a pair of trousers you can shorten them, but department stores tend to frown on merchandise alterations that don’t belong to you.

I am a procrastinator. I am not lazy, however I have to remind myself that I am good enough.  I am not stupid, even though I have to remind myself that I am more than capable of making good choices.  I am not selfish, but I have to remind myself to be kind and loving towards myself.  I am not useless, although I have to remind myself that I’m worth the positive changes I’ve made in my life.

When the world thinks of a procrastinator, they think of a person who can’t get their act together.  They think of a person who is lazy and late for everything.  What they don’t understand is the mindset of a procrastinator, a person who is full of fear, a person afraid of being good enough.  The world thinks you can “fix” a procrastinator by teaching them better time-management skills.  This is about as helpful as painting spots on an elephant and calling it a dalmatian.  The underlying cause of procrastination comes from the way we see ourselves.  It comes from the way we treat ourselves.  It starts from within.

A label.

 

 

 

 

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24 thoughts on “L is for Label #atozchallenge”

  1. Do procrastinators tend to tell themselves they’re lazy, stupid, selfish, and useless? I can see others saying this about them because they don’t understand the mindset of a procrastinator. People are quick to label things they “observe” without really understanding what they’re looking at. Anyway, I was wondering if procrastinators ever say this about themselves. If so, no wonder it’s hard to break free from procrastinating. 😦

    Now I understand why my friend doesn’t need me giving her ideas on how to manage her time. What she really needs is someone who won’t judge her. Thanks, Juli!

    1. OMG Yes!!! It’s as though there’s a barrage of mind clutter, berating you at every turn. Want to try something new? That voice reminds you of all of your prior failings. I’m not sure if it’s nature, nurture, or a combo of things that triggers this “not enough” voice, but it’s been my constant companion for the majority of my life. It’s no wonder that procrastinators also seem to go through bouts of depression. How can you NOT feel depressed when you’re mentally putting yourself down all the time? The ONLY thing that has helped me with my procrastination is self-kindness and journaling through my struggles. Morning journaling is AMAZING medicine when I’m feeling depressed. I’ll write in a spiral notebook, first thing, before I’ve even started my day. In theory, your brain should reset when you go to bed at night and wake up to a new day. However, you’d be shock how many fears show up in this early morning writing! Crazy fears. Irrational fears. Putting them down on paper seems to make it easier to handle them. It puts them out there. And it’s funny, but once I write them down, I can move forward. Those fears are no longer an issue. I NEVER reread these journal entries. I don’t think that would be helpful, at least not for me. Morning journaling is my way of taking out the mental trash. Once it’s in the garbage, I don’t feel the need to sift back through it.

      1. I’m glad you found a method that can counteract this. I agree on not reading over it. I wouldn’t do that either. I love the idea. I might do that to relieve some stress. 🙂

        I’m wondering if there’s something someone else can do or say that might help. I know someone who has said similar things that you did, and now that I know why, I’d like to help make things easier. I’m not planning to tell her what to do. But I would like to say something that she would find encouraging, if possible.

        1. Julia Cameron’s books have some great advice. I just gave her new book, “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again,” to my Step-Mom as a birthday gift. My Step-Mom LOVES it and is already recommending it to others.

    1. You can call it anything you like! We can rename it “Bob” if that helps. LOL Bottom line is this, I think we all need to learn how to take better care of ourselves. 🙂

  2. I totally get this, as a procrastinator myself. Thankfully, I don’t think I struggle so much with depression, but I hate the way it comes off as a sneer. I’m not lazy, like people like to accuse. To me, procrastination is what I do when I’m putting off what people think I *should* be doing as opposed to what I *want* to be doing. So, the rug’s not vacuumed, but look at all the awesome blog headers I made! 😀

    Now I am content to vacuum. 🙂

  3. You know, I keep listening and still can’t understand the use of hipster. Friend to friend, I’m glad you eschew that label. I guess procrastination’s built on fear, as you say. But I keep thinking about what’s good in procrastinating. (Learning how to spell procrastination is one thing.) I tend to think it goes with day-dreaming, mental pebble-tossing atop (mentally) peaceful water, and thinking outside the box, so to say. I’m never sure what box I’m in, though I’m sure there’s some container, maybe well-camouflaged. (Another word to learn to spell.)

    Yes, I guess it’s putting something off. And that can become worrisome. I guess I simply thought that for what is put off, something else is put in. Imagining. Visioning.

    Well, your procrastinator’s guide is smarter on the subject than I. You stir me and others to think. As an educator, I can’t appreciate a better result than that!

    1. “Hipster” is probably a fitting label for me, a modern take on bohemian. My home is thoroughly nested with vintage items and oddball pieces: vintage furniture, unique accessories, clothing, and music. I never could figure out how to “fit in,”so I finally decided to march to my own tune. With bagpipes and electric guitars, perhaps? It wasn’t a calculated move, not at first. But later on, I found it was easier than trying to live like everyone else, only to continue to find myself a step behind the masses.

      For example, men’s fashion, hairstyles, etc never seem to change as dramatically as women’s fashion. However, if one ignore’s trends and focuses on timelessness instead, think of Hollywood icons such as Audrey Hepburn or Louise Brooks, it’s easy! As long as it seems to be done deliberately, I can wear whatever I want…and I do. I especially adore hats! Whenever I wear them, I’m constantly told by other women, “I love your hat. I wish I was able to wear hats like you do.” It’s silly. Of course these ladies can wear whatever they want, but they’re afraid of “fitting in.” What they don’t understand is that it’s actually MUCH easier to set the tends than to follow them. A plain, simple t-shirt worn with grandma’s pearls makes a statement without much effort. Keeping up with the latest trends is expensive and exhausting.

      I’m sure fear was the initial catalyst to my lifestyle. I still can’t figure out why or how ALL of the other moms seem to be dressed alike every time there’s a school function. Same haircut and color. Same clothes. Same makeup. I don’t GET it. And…I know that if I tried to match these homogenized ladies, I would fail. Miserably. Therefore, I don’t. They go blond. I go red. They wear matching leggings. I wear well-cut trousers. They wear puffy jackets with expensive, “designer,” sweatpants. I wear dark jeans with a corduroy blazer. I know I don’t fit in. I know this makes me stand out. But it’s easier than feeling like a loser, toting last season’s “must have” item, when everyone else has latched on to some new trend.

      When I’m in the day-dreaming, planning stage of a project, I don’t consider it “procrastination.” When I’m at a place in my life where I’m not moving forward, where I’m being controlled by my fears, where I’m too scared to try…that is the pit of procrastination. In my eyes, procrastination and depression often skip along, side-by-side, making new challenges even more daunting.

  4. “…The world thinks you can “fix” a procrastinator by teaching them better time-management skills. This is about as helpful as painting spots on an elephant and calling it a dalmatian…”

    YES!!

  5. I’ve always been a procrastinator. No one has ever labelled me as such and I don’t go around flaunting that label on myself. I just am and have managed to deal with it without procrastination becoming what I’m known for.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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