Procrastination is not a migraineur's best friend- so why do we do it?
It’s pretty easy for me to make a seemingly infinite list of tasks I’ve not accomplished, promises I’ve not kept. Bookstore-related duties seem to take the cake, but personal obligations fall by the wayside pretty frequently, too.
Remember how I was in a car accident last summer? Well, my helpful lawyer has been nudging me for several months now to send him any updates I had regarding my medical care and healing process. For awhile I held him off, as I continue to have back and neck pain and worry I never will heal from the seemingly innocuous event of having someone slam into my car from behind. But after 2013 began and six months had passed since the accident, I knew I’d better get some information to my lawyer if I really wanted to work on getting my costs covered. “Lawyer email!” or “CAR ACCIDENT INFO!” have been two popular items on my weekly to-do lists since early this year. I would do a million other tasks and try to consciously forget those tasks I wasn’t going to accomplish that week, including getting information to my lawyer.
In the end, it took me about 8 hours total to get all the materials I needed together. All the hospital bills, medical follow-ups, MRI reports, account numbers, self-report on pain & suffering, etc. I’d been too lethargic to organize finally all came together.
And that is how I finally accomplished that one thing that had been on my to-do list for many, many months. Yikes.
Before sending all the documentation to the lawyer, I gave myself some pep talks that invariably turned into lectures. “Now, Janet. You already have a life that’s pretty stressful, and your illnesses are exacerbated by stress. Plus you were in this car accident in which you were injured. You shouldn’t let items on your to-do list pile up and stress you out, especially when it’s possible that the resolution of some items could lead to better health for you.”
“Yeah, yeah,” I’d tell Preachy Janet. “I’m busy ordering books for next season.” “I have to catch up on this TV show I don’t much like anyhow.” “I’m too busy looking at my high school acquaintance’s sister’s baby’s pictures.”
In short: I couldn’t really motivate myself to do this thing that a, wouldn’t take much time; b, would be a positive move in supporting my mental and physical health; and c, would be a huge weight off my shoulders. What other payoff do I need dangled in front of me like a carrot in order to get things done?
As with many of my posts, I started writing this one with a focused idea in mind, but I started going off on something else all together. Now I’m left with this simple question: Why? Why have I been such a procrastinator all my life? Why are even the most pleasurable or potentially rewarding actions ones I postpone again and again? Why do I deliberately delay taking action when I know that that delay will lead to an increase in stress and, therefore, a likely increase in migraine attacks? Are any of you in my boat? Or have any of you ever been in this boat but have since learned to get out?
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