Sunday, May 2, 2010

My Surefire Trick to Beating Procrastination

Yes ladies and gentlemen, sirs and sirettes. I do have a trick for beating procrastination and other forms of laziness and it works every time, and I plan to share it with you. But first, let me tell you about today's moment of random ickyness.

I'm in my 4:30 staffing meeting, and I've just come from the coffee shop. I've got a grande whole milk mocha with a little bit of extra chocolate, just the way I like it. It's sitting right in front of me, just to the north of my big staffing binder. The stat nurse sits to my left, the patient flow supervisor stands to my right. None of the charge nurses have shown up yet, so stat and PFS are talking about a transfer. Everything's on the up and up until the PFS leans over to point to the transfer paperwork sitting in front of the stat nurse. I dive for my coffee, but it's too late. The baggy, shapeless sleeve of the PFS nurse's filthy white lab coat is rubbing all over the lid of my coffee cup. I'd like to insert some sort of metaphor involving a groupie backstage at a Whitesnake concert, but I've decided to refrain.

So I hate to break it to you, people, but at many hospitals there is no centralized laundry service for doctors and nurses (they'll wash patient bedding and stuff, but they don't wash scrubs, or lab coats, or what have you. That's up to the staff to do on their own time.) And many of the docs and nurses NEVER wash theirs. And when they do, it's almost always on a regular cycle in the home washing machine, which just does not do the trick. (I have a sanitize cycle on my washer, which runs for 2 hours and 15 minutes, and that's what I do my work clothes on, but my washer is brand new. I don't trust that every doctor and nurse in the world has the same brand of washer as I do.) So anyway, those lab coats are often just *crawling* with C-diff, MRSA, other forms of staph, and god knows what else. Needless to say, my coffee hit the circular file after that. Thanks bunches.

Now, on to the main attraction! Ending procrastination. It works for me every single time, and it only involves just a little bit of lying. I'm an honesty is the best (and only) policy type of girl, but the only person you have to lie to is yourself, so in this case it's OK.

Here's what I tell myself: "I can do anything for 15 minutes. That's all it will take."

So let me provide you with an example.

Brain to self: "You need to unload the dishwasher."
Me: "I don't want to."
Brain: "You can do anything for 15 minutes. That's all it will take."
Me, sighing: "Fine."

Fifteen minutes later, the dishwasher is *almost* all the way unloaded. I've got a glass or two still in there, but I go ahead and finish up, even though it takes me 17 minutes, cause really. Am I going to leave 2 glasses in there just because my 15 minutes is up? No.

You can do the same thing with writing. And the cool thing about writing is, once you get started, it's so much fun that you often end up typing away for a few hours. Sleep, schmeep. Unless your dreams are really really good. Then you do need to sleep but you have to write the dreams down afterwards, so it's kind of a double-edged sword. But in a good way.

You're welcome.


  1. Not a bad system. Although there are some things I can't do for 15 minutes. Not at my age. :)

  2. Yes Trav, but I would think something like *that* wouldn't be something you'd procrastinate about.