Is Your Procrastination Costing You?

half-closed window, closing window, window of time, prorastinationTwo ways my procrastination is costing me right now:

1. I missed getting my material on the choral masterpiece Carmina Burana ready in time for the fall concert season. This short e-book has been on the back burner for at least a year and probably longer–I can’t remember when I first came up with the idea of packaging the posts I wrote for the Cherry Creek Chorale’s 2013 performance into some sort of sellable item for other choral groups.

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Every Day You Live . . .

Goose and goslings looking at each other. . . is one less day you have left.

Sound morbid? It’s not. I quoted my dear friend Nancy’s father, something said at his funeral and which I wrote about last summer:

“What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.”

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Moving Day Drama

cartoon of man moving a boxSunday evening, May 21: Here I sit on the stairs of our soon-not-to-be-ours house, and I’m so tired that this is the only thing I can do. It’s too early to go to bed, I don’t have any books I want to read, and there’s no TV. And pretty much no internet, although once in awhile I can get a faint waft of Xfinity wifi. So I’m writing a post! Aren’t you flattered!

What a day! And we’re still not done with the packing up and moving, but I think we’re going to be able to walk into closing tomorrow and hand over the keys. There was a point today around 6:30 when I took a look around at all the stuff that still needed to be moved and thought, “We aren’t going to make it.” And then my phone rang, and it was Jim. “Guess who just called me? Jet Movers!” We had decided that we were going to have to hire some movers for the biggest stuff, as we had a wonderful crew but of the guys present we had 

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How Are You Treating Your Future Self?

picture of baby, picture of old womanBefore I get to the subject of today’s post, I have to ask: Did you notice that the website looks different? New lettering and new features on the sidebar and at the bottom. I’m pretty sure I’ve posted about this upcoming change in a previous post, but it has taken a very long time. Jim has labored to get all of my sites onto the WordPress platform, which has its own challenges, but which gives me much more in the way of flexibility and features.

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Procrastination Regrets

woodwork in need of refinishingThis post is going to be in the “I should have known better” category. As I wrote last week, we have put our house on the market, and we started showing it this past weekend. The realtor had scheduled the first appointment for noon on Saturday. Oh man! As I said to Gideon, “You wouldn’t think that getting a house ready to show would be so much work when I really try to keep it in good shape all of the time.” Jim was still finishing up the basement ceiling which had had to be repaired because of this mysterious leak that turned out to be caused by water overflowing from a plant pot in our entryway.

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Post-Party Analysis

pile of utensils, ingredients, and bowls on a cluttered kitchen counterAlthough I’ve temporarily discontinued my posting on the “Intentional Hospitality” blog I’m still cooking away. Last night I provided the desserts and punches for my church’s Christmas banquet. This turned out to be yet another one of those “I-thought-I-was-going-to-have-an-easy-time-of-it-but-I-was-wrong” episodes in my life. I had made my famous orange-almond biscotti before the Cherry Creek Chorale’s concert over a week ago with the intention of putting them together into tree shapes held together by frosting, but I just ran out of steam and time, so I ended up putting the baked biscotti into the freezer with the intention of building the trees for this party.

 I kept thinking, ‘I have the biscotti made, so all I have to do is make the cranberry tarts and the chocolate peppermint crunch cookies. I’ll do that Sunday afternoon and still have time to clean up the kitchen.’ What was I smokin’? I worked like a dog all afternoon just to get everything made and still ran out of time for making the frosting for those blasted biscotti. Some very helpful people who came early pitched in, and one woman suggested that we could stack the biscotti plain. I wish I had a picture of the beautiful platter she made. People were saying, “You’re doing Jenga!” It was great.

Well, all was well in the end. I could have done a lot more prep on Saturday and saved myself having a nervous breakdown Sunday. But the important thing is that everything was on the tables, ready to go, and that people had a good time. I’ve now gotten through my two big parties for December, but there’s more to come on the family front. My sister- and brother-in-law get here Friday, and we’ll have many get-togethers during the week they’re here. So I’ll have lots of opportunities to either a) procrastinate or b) be proactive (pro-acticate?).

If the items mentioned above sound intriguing, I do have posted recipes for three of them. Here are the links:

​For the biscotti trees: “A Beautiful Celebratory Dessert”

For the cranberry tarts and pink egg nog: “Second Time Is the Charm!”

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I Must Stop Saying, “But First . . . “

man counting to 1 on his fingersA terrible, terrible habit of mine. I’ll be all ready to get started on an actual task, something that needs to be done, and then I’ll say to myself, “But first let me check my e-mail. But first let me see what so-and-so is saying on that website I like. But first let me have a snack.” Whatever. Half an hour, forty-five minutes, an hour can go by. 

So earlier this afternoon I was all set to sit down at the keyboard and go over my music for the Cherry Creek Chorale concert next week. (Got your tickets yet? Get them here. Read my fascinating commentaries here.)

And since I had my phone with me to I could listen to the practice music files loaded onto it, I thought, ‘But first let me . . . ‘ and then I thought, ‘No. I have to quit doing that.’ It’s almost as if I’m afraid to just go ahead and get going.

Ever happen to you? How do you deal with it?


A Good Nudge in the Ribs

book cover for the Big Thing: How to Complete Your Creative Project Even If You're a Lazy, Self-Doubting Procrastinator Like Me, Phyllis Korkki

The Big Thing:  How to Complete Your Creative Project Even if You’re a Lazy, Self-Doubting Procrastinator Like Me by Phyllis Korkki, 2016, available through Amazon and many other sources. (Title link is to my Amazon Affiliate page.) Visit the author’s website at www.phylliskorkki.com/.

​What are some of my own “big things”? I want to:

1. Prepare all of my music posts (now mostly over on the “Behind the Music” page) for use by choral groups, re-formatting them into pdf files and eventually (I hope) making some money from them.

2. Finish up my e-book on the Benghazi tragedy. (I’ve done a ton of research on this topic and would like to put together a straight-down-the-line “here’s what happened” account that brings all of the threads together.)

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Beware of “The China Syndrome.”

Highly polished table set with elegant chinaYet another cadged idea from my Top Three Sources. I could probably do a post a week based on Gretchen Rubin’s podcast that she does with her sister, “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.” Before I get to the above subject let me encourage you to listen to this week’s episode and, if nothing else, start at about minute 19 and listen to Liz explain how she gave a very tactless gift to her mother-in-law. Gretchen just loses it. I would challenge you to keep a straight face during this segment. I had to ask myself, Didn’t Gretchen know that Liz would tell this story? Don’t they plan the podcast out in advance? It sounds completely genuine.

Anyway, be that as it may, what’s the “China Syndrome”? It has nothing to do with China the country and everything to do with the china that you put on your table–or, as so often happen, the china that you keep on the top shelf of your kitchen cabinets. It’s the idea that by having something you’ll automatically do something. If I have nice china, then I’ll automatically give great dinner parties, with a beautiful table and great food and fascinating conversations. (Not to toot my own horn here, as I have lots of China Syndrome failures in other areas of my life–I actually do this dinner party thing sometimes. Not as often as I should, but sometimes.) Guess what? You have to plan the menu, and do the shopping, and drag that china off the shelf and set the table, and figure out when to cook what, and oh yes, invite some people over, and then sit down and enjoy the occasion. (I write in the “procrastination” chapter in my book that there have been times when I couldn’t do that last item because I’d had so much to do at the last minute and was so tired that all I wanted my guests to do was to go home.)

The China Syndrome is alive and well in every area of life. Right now I have one of those big spring mix containers sitting in the fridge. I bought it Tuesday, telling myself, “If you buy this you have to commit to eating it up.” How many salads have I made from it? One. Every single time I buy one of these containers I end up throwing most of it away. Just having the stuff in the fridge doesn’t mean that I’ll go to the trouble of making a salad and, you know, actually eating it.

Pretty trivial to worry about a few bucks’ worth of salad greens, right? It’s a symptom, though, of a bigger problem: failure to execute. We make all these grandiose plans but we don’t carry them through. We think that buying something, or joining something, or even just getting older, will mean that we’ll actually carry through on whatever it is. “I’ll buy this book on marriage and my marriage will be better.” “I’ll join a gym and get fit.” “Next spring I’ll turn ____ and then I’ll be motivated to ____.” Right now I’m going through my usual procrastinating about learning the music for our upcoming Cherry Creek Chorale concert. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to buckle down and do this, since I love being in the Chorale so much. I really want to know the music well; I’m particularly aware of my need to learn the clapping pattern in our arrangement of “Get Along Home, Cindy.” That sort of thing just drives me nuts! And if I don’t learn it, and I’m the only one up there who’s off, it’s going to be pretty embarrassing. (There a video of the Parker Chorale on YouTube that shows me being off four times in the course of a few measures in our performance of “Age of Aquarius.” Two of my nephews watched it with me and just about fell through the floor laughing. Thank goodness it’s only had 79 views. But if you want to watch something really funny I’ll embed it below even though that may mean upping the views. Hey, if it brightens your day I guess it’ll be worth it. This concert was back in the early days of that Chorale; they’re now in a very snazzy venue at the Parker Arts Center and a much bigger and better group.)

Well, better quit and make myself some salad for lunch. Where in your life to do you see the China Syndrome?

Do you put up roadblocks for yourself?

barrier across the roadAs I work toward becoming more productive (tomorrow will be a review of Charles Duhigg‘s new book), I find myself doing something rather puzzling:  I’m all set to get on with a task or goal, heading straight for it, and then I think, ‘Oh, before I get started I’ll just . . . ‘ and before you know it the momentum has stalled.  45 minutes have passed since I was supposedly going to get started.

What’s going on here?  I can’t be the only one who does this. Here are some possible answers:

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