Pot Scrubbing and Other Thoughts on Procrastination

Annelle loves to cook. This is a blessing for all of us. I enjoy doing dishes…or better said I have learned to enjoy doing dishes. That’s the trade around the house, Annelle creates fantastic meals, I enjoy the fruits, but I help clean up the peels. 🙂

Yet, it wasn’t always this way. There were times I would let the dishes pile up. To the point that we would rapidly run out of an essential piece of silverware in our relatively bare, newly-wed, apartment kitchen. Annelle would sigh and I’d look at her sheepishly, “We don’t have any more clean spoons…” she would say, meaning code phrase for, “Get your butt off the couch and do the dishes.” Annelle is too sweet to say something that direct, but I could definitely get the hint.

Dishwashing has become almost an art form — cups/drinkware first (don’t want cross contamination with dirty water…meaning half-full coffee mugs always last), then silverware on bottom to soak, next plates/tubberware, finish silverware (ensuring never to have knives or sharps in the water to cut myself), then finally the dreaded pots…

Annelle makes fabulously unique dishes…which generally requires multiple pots and pans to orchestrate. Not complaining here, but I do wish that non-stick meant…non-stick, like the caked on debris would kind of just flake off and be clean underneath. In those early days of waiting and letting the tough layers harden on the used pots with the dishes piling on top, meant that the pot scrubbing duty would become exponentially worst. Which then led me to dread even more the process of doing dishes…see the vicious cycle.

Procrastination has a nasty way of sneaking up on us very much the same way.

The longer we wait to scrub the pot…the harder, more arduous the process becomes. The practical book, Eat That FROG! by Brian Tracy takes a dive into a topic I have long struggled with: PROCRASTINATION. He offers 21 Practical Tips for addressing the issue and I highly recommend the quick read (I read it in one sitting with notes placed everywhere on a 2.5 hour plane ride, I’ve gone back since then to put into practice a few of those critical tips).

Honestly, I’ve gotten a lot better at addressing procrastination in my life over the past six years of marriage and five years being an educator, but it still has that devilish tendency of raising its ugly head. Where I faced the biggest issue was (and still at times) being the worrier type, here’s the thought process breakdown:

I make my morning to-do list…hover over it for about 20 minutes…it has close to thirty items on it…I think oh my gosh…there is so much to do! I drive to work worrying…meanwhile I’ve added at least a dozen more items on the to-do list…keep worrying, thinking how am I possibly going to get this all done in my plan…shoot emergency cropped up…lost my plan time…worry…worry…worry all the way home and sleep on my worry…to then wake up and do it all over again! 

This typified the early part of my career. What I’ve come to realize more so though than just procrastinating on the daily to-do list by lack of prioritization and breaking down bigger tasks, was the clear and undeniable fact of procrastinating on my own self-care.

Currently, I’m on my Brené Brown reading binge, and on p. 3 of her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, she summarized my past personal procrastination for self-care to the letter. She describes her “dig-deep” button. The button she would deploy to push past exhaustion and periods of crushing, overwhelming loads of responsibilities. There was never enough time for intentional self-care. This caused what she described as a breaking moment…where she knew that her “dig-deep” button was broken. It was through her research she reframed her perception of “dig-deep” and below is her encapsulated summary from p. 4:

Deliberate in our thoughts and behaviors.

Inspired to make new and different choices.

Going — take action.

Brené then leaves us as readers with a clear challenge…how will we DIG deep? Or further:

  • What thoughts and behaviors do we need to intentionally stop? What thoughts and behaviors will help us practice more self-care?
  • What choices will help sustain us (sharpen the saw of our mind, heart, soul, and body)?
  • What would stop us from taking action right now? How could we adjust that thought into a healthier mindset?

The “work” to-do list will never cease in growing…but our self-worth and self-care list needs to be the daily “frogs” we address first. Be that journaling, exercising, meditating, heck…enjoying a good cup of coffee. Whatever it is: DIG-deep, take time for it and relish in it for that 30 minutes before we tackle the day.

Trust me scrubbing the pots daily, I’ve come to learn, is much easier than waiting three days later. Our lives act much the same way. If we truly care about the lives of those we influence around us…we must scrub our pot daily, we are much more effective in use on the stove top, cleaned and ready, then in the sink waiting another day.

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