Procrastination is perverse. It's a devil of a thing to overcome for ADDers. Procrastination is also the thief of time!
The green cat litter tray (don't ask why I use one as I haven't owned a cat in years) starts to overflow with credit card slips, bank statements and accounts some of which I have bravely opened and maybe even unfolded.
Others remain snugly sealed in their official looking envelopes. I toss the latest scrunched mess from my handbag on top and quickly walk away to avoid noticing those that fall down behind the bookcase where the tray sits.
Oh well, at least that is one job done. My handbag is now not too disgusting. Tomorrow I will tackle the green box. I sit down at my desk and write my "to do" list. Strangely tackling the green box doesn't get onto the list. Oh well ... the auditors don't need our tax stuff for another few weeks and there are far more important things to do anyway. Things like earning money not wasting time on seeing what we have spent. Mustn't live in the past you know.
Enthusiastically I do laundry, wash dishes, work on the website, write an article or two, reply to e-mails, make a few calls. Me procrastinate? Never! I am so disciplined and my task list is looking good.
Somehow I manage to avert my eyes each time I walk past the green tray. Doesn't exist, not urgent, not important ....... next week will be fine.
Next week, which may be 3 months down the line, finally arrives. Today I am tackling the green box. My halo is shining brightly. I line up the ice cream containers each labelled with a different account name or number. A fresh pack of similarly labelled large brown envelopes await the sorted and processed slips.
I carefully remove the box from the shelf and move the bookcase to gather up all the errant slips that have gone into hiding behind it. My stapler is ready to match credit card voucher to receipt and I am ready. Today is the day.
For the next hour I happily lose myself in this mundane task. It is actually quite therapeutic and very satisfying. "So", asks Dave, "why don't you just put the slips straight into the envelopes when you empty your handbag?"
My usual responses are that I don't know, I am too busy or when I am in a foul mood ...... maybe it is your turn! You also spend money, they are not only my slips, why should I do it ........... whinge, whinge, whinge.
Yesterday my response was different. I suddenly realised I get a perverse pleasure out of ferreting my way through the pile and reducing a mountain of mess into neat little boxes. But .... it must be a worthwhile mess to start with!
My multitude of ice cream containers is now neatly lined up and I am ready to start processing. We are using a great Online Accounting System called Sage One which is so simple to use.
Panic Sets In
I sit down at my laptop and open the programme and take the first box. I take a deep breath and my hands freeze and a ton of lead hits my stomach. I can't do this.
Yes you can, stay calm and pick up the first slip. Maybe I should just check my e-mails first? No, pick up the slip. Aaaah .... the washing machine has just finished, better hang the laundry. No! Pick up the damn slip!!!! OK OK and so I do and suddenly I am into this whole thing and it is so easy.
Before I know it, the boxes are empty and the envelopes are full.
Why on earth does it take me so long to do something so simple?
I am angry with myself and filled with disgust at my inability to just knuckle down and do what I have to. I am also confused. For years managing my money was an obsession. I even wrote an article for Fair Lady back in 1978 titled "Write It Down to Save It Up". I have studied accounting, trained people to use accounting systems, run accounting departments. I know all the theory yet now I cannot do my own. It is my procrastination nightmare.
The past 8 years have been an incredible journey for me, learning to manage my ADHD and I have made enormous changes in all areas of my life. Yet here I have gone backwards. Why??????
Procrastination is a major problem for ADDers (those who have ADHD).
- Sometimes we need to build up the pressure to light the cracker to get going because we have to do something that does not interest us.
- At other times we procrastinate because we are overwhelmed by what is involved. We may have agreed to do something simply to gain approval but do not have the knowledge, time or other resources to do the job.
- We don't know where to start so we simply put it off hoping that someone will get fed up and do it for us.
- Frequently though we procrastinate because we are terrified of having to face our fears and failures even if they are only in our imagination.
And this is the cause of my "financial" procrastination. For so many years I was obsessive about managing the money of our family and business terrified that we would go bankrupt and my facade of being an in-control successful wife and businesswoman would be shattered. Because I know deep inside I am actually hopeless with money. It holds little value for me and I am not materialistic. I am generous to a fault often for the wrong reasons. If I don't have money I don't have to make difficult decisions about what to do about it.
Having discovered the "real" me through the Living ADDventure® ADHD Coaching Programme I have worked hard to let go of my obsession and to have a more balanced approach to money. I know that if I start examining bank statements too closely I will become neurotic and I will slip back. So the pendulum has swung the other way and now the envelopes arrive in the mail and the slips pile up and I pretend they don't exist.
Perverse procrastination? Yes! An intelligent reasonably well managed ADDer like me should know better but every day is a challenge to manage my life effectively and in a contented and balanced way.
Hopefully the pendulum will settle in the middle soon and the green tray will never get more than half full.
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