3 Ways to Avoid Procrastination

What if Sisyphus wasn’t being punished by the gods? What if he was an avoider? A chronic self-saboteur? What if Sisyphus rolled that huge boulder almost to the top of the hill and thought, “Screw it, this is just too hard!” and he steps back and lets it go?

Unhappy Sisyphus

He’d feel instant relief. “Oh, man, that feels so much better!” He’d stretch his back, roll his neck, maybe sits down to enjoy the view from the top of the hill, watch the glorious Greek sunset.

Then, when he walks down the hill, all la-dee-da, whistling, he sees the dreaded boulder, waiting for him at the bottom of the hill, mocking him.


When something makes us anxious, avoidance works to lower anxiety. All procrastination is avoidance. And it’s a damn hard habit to break because avoidance works to lower anxiety. So is thinking everything else is more important than the thing that makes us anxious. We’ll do anything but not the thing that makes us anxious.


Get Up Off Offa That Thing!

Reap the Benefits of Physical Exercise!


What? Go for a run when I have a million other things to do? Who has the time for that!

This is a typical thought that passes through my mind more frequently than I would like to admit. However, I am aware of it and I refute it with a positive statement to motivate myself to go such as “I will feel better after, I always do, so just do it.”


Anne Lamott (my latest girl crush) On Perfectionism

anne_lamott_credit_sam_lamott_final_small_custom-7e5d0b9ab1f825f3b80131f7594ab88e8c3f9039-s6-c30Sometimes you run across a quote or a passage that makes you stop, read it again, maybe one more time and think, ‘That’s it. That says it all.’

Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life, is full of bits like that. The paragraph below opens her chapter entitled ‘Perfectionism’. It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer or not, if you are reading this blog I think you will find what Anne says here totally relatable.


Our Marriage Do-Over

UnknownYears ago I heard Harville Hendrix, author of Getting the Love You Want, speak at a psychotherapy conference in L.A. He was there to demonstrate Imago Therapy, a couples therapy model that teaches deeper communication to enhance mutual understanding and compassion. Basically, if a couple really uses the Imago techniques, they will still need to work out their differences but they don’t have to butt heads over it so much.

That’s all cool, but what really caught my attention was Hendrix’s theory of why we marry the people we do in the first place. Why do we make that particular choice?


3 Steps To Self-Care

IMG_1977Self-care is essential for any care-giver. Vacation is wonderful but it’s usually only a once in a while thing. We all need time to float, by ourselves, on a daily basis. Whether it’s simply time to take a nice long, hot shower, which for the new mother is nothing short of heaven, take a walk or finding respite care for aging parents so that you can take a day to go to a spa or just sleep-in. These are not selfish indulgences. Self-care is essential like food or oxygen.

What it boils down to is giving ourselves permission to be alone to do what is meaningful for us alone, permission to drink from the well by ourselves. Permission to take care of ourselves because no one else is going to do it for us.

Essential time devoted to self-care ultimately allows us to re-connect to ourselves again instead of pulled apart by a million demanding other voices. Those others may not know it at first, when you set the needed boundaries to self-care, but ultimately those we care for, who love us, benefit as well.

Think about what it is you need for your self-care. Whether it’s time to express yourself in a creative way, to just sit free of obligations, read a new book, anything. My call to self-care action was to write regularly again. Writing is that important to me. I needed to write to connect with me again, to be happy. I looked to writing experts like Anne Lamott and Stephen King to guide me. I think the advice they give applies to much more than writing.

1. Find a time, the same time every day for as long as is reasonable.

Self-care deteriorates when I have not protected my designated time from distractions. Lately I’ve invited distractions in. Everyone needs a piece of me always. That’s not the problem at all. I want to be leaned on, needed, asked for. That is my job, not just as a psychologist, but as a mom and wife, too. I’m good with being available, doing for others. But it can’t be all there is.

My time of day to write is morning. I don’t know why. It’s not as if I think morning is a more virtuous time. In fact, I hate people who make you think that there is only one way to do things. They are spirit killers. My time is early morning. Someone else’s may be after the kids go to bed at night. Find your time.

2. Have a space that is protected from as many distractions as you can manage. 

When I researched the best way to start meditating a well-respected expert said you had to find a space that had no other purpose assigned to it. What? How is that ever possible unless you lived in a Tibetan monastery? That eliminates the bedroom, living room, dining room, office, kitchen, bathroom. Basically the entire house!

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