While unpacking my bags after a lovely beach vacation I opened a closet to put away some belongings. The joyful carefree mood I carried back from the coast instantly evaporated as I viewed the tangled mess of shoes and disorganized clothing. When did this happen I wondered? I always prided myself on maintaining a wardrobe where pristinely pressed clothing arranged in color hues hung neatly in the walk-in while my shoes obediently sat below in tidy rows. Okay, I’ll fess up. I had no reason fake surprise. I’ve been procrastinating over organizing that closet for several months.
The word procrastination stuck in my craw like the stray sandal I discovered wedged between a pair of black pumps. Typically I am not prone to delaying action items on my “to do” list. Scrolling through my memory of months past, I realized it took me forever this year to organize tax documents for the accountant. Several other recent instances came to mind where chores remained undone until the eleventh hour.
As a life coach I realized I needed to do some heavy duty self-coaching before my newly developed procrastination habit adhered itself to me like duct tape on a leaky beach ball. My concern was not why I recently fell behind. I’m human and occasionally succumb to bouts of rebellious laziness. My sole concern was instituting the fix.
I immediately invoked the ten minute rule. Experts at “Psychology Today” recommend a “five-minute rule,” but I knew 300 seconds wasn’t going to cut it. I positioned the timer and spent the full ten bringing some semblance of order to the wayward shoe jumble. Feeling a bit better about the closet fiasco, I knew the next step was setting a completion date. I reviewed my schedule for Monday and slotted in another 45 minutes to complete the job. Knowing that carrot motivation works better than the stick, I promised myself when the wardrobe reflected perfection I’d treat myself to a new beach cover-up, AFTER I compiled a stack of gently used items and dropped them off in the donation box. Had I resorted to self-bribery? Yes, but for a good cause.
Are you blatantly ignoring a chore? Make time to tackle the job, even if it is just ten minutes a day. Reframe the outcome and sweeten the pie. Organizing the overloaded and unkempt garage means you could hold a garage sale. Just think what you could do with the proceeds!