It Doesn’t Matter
Office Hours With Dr. Lacy
Transcript of Episode:
Hello, welcome to office hours with Dr Lacy. Glad you can come back for another week. I'm going to make this week's episode as fast as possible because I am about to go outta town and I'm supposed to be packing and preparing for my trip. But I also needed to record this and I live in an apartment with the AC. It doesn't have central AC. And so we have one unit in the living room and my room, it's all the way in the back of the apartment, but I needed to close my doors that you didn't hear it and I'm burning up. So I'm going to try to make his as quick as possible. So this week's topic is titled "It doesn't matter".
And first I want to talk about myself as a fellow procrastinator. I like to say I'm a recovering procrastinator, um, because I used to look at my procrastination as a way of life and I've now have learned to tweak my language. Um, in that I used to feel this immense pressure to be like constantly on top of everything and turning things in early. And then I got to a place where I was just like, that's not who I am like, I get things done right. Don't get me wrong. It's not like don't want to get things done. It's just that I had a different relationship with deadlines. Right and Undergrad I had a, I had a instructor who was like, you just, you just think the world is supposed to like rise or like revolve around you. I was like, no, I don't think the world should revolve around me.
However, if you have a stated policy and you had a stated rule in a due date, then I feel like you should abide by it. So if you, I'm a type of person that if you say like something I have two days. I had until like Friday at 11:59 PM to do something or get something done. Best believe, like nine times out of 10 I'm going to take all the way up until Friday at 11:58 PM to do it is I have the attitude like if you wanted it done earlier or if you wanted me to give it to you earlier, then you should have set the real deadline that you have. And, or you could have been honest with me to say like, you know, it's, it's due at 1159 on Sunday, but is it possible that you'd get it to me by Saturday afternoon? Right. I'm just looking for some communication.
But if you don't tell me those things, then I take what I thought was the allotted time. So I used to be very much like, I don't care about your feelings. It is what it is. Right? And you can't, I've learned that, you know, rubs people the wrong way sometimes. And so now I do my best at the beginning of a project, whoever I'm working with, someone else to say like, what is your, what is the deadline that you need this by? Is it your real deadline? And like what is the best and what do you need from me in terms of communication? Cause I'm also a person who likes to just take it once I understand what's expected of me, I go and I do my own thing. And you may not hear from me unless I have like questions and then I present it to you because I think part of that is that I'm operating off of things are flexible, deadlines are flexible, requirements are flexible in that if you're asking me to do something that you're not expecting, the final, final version that what I'm going to produce for you is open to discussion to a, I dunno, interrogation or criticism like we all need a starting place.
So if you are asking me to do a project, I'm thinking like that first due date you give me is just our starting point and we're gonna change things around and the final version isn't due till much later. I know that means that I'm making an assumption that people have it together and they have a plan and they see the bigger picture. And I know that not everyone operates like that, but that's just how I am. So I went on a whole tangent about who I am, how I show up to say that. Um, um, a lot of people will see that as a very severe procrastinator and that I do procrastinate. I am not going to sit here and say I don't want that. I always meet deadlines. No, because I procrastinate. I'm recovering. I mean, you know, I'm working my steps, I'm doing the program and the whole me communicating ahead of time.
It's about me being in recovery instead of being someone who is not actively procrastinating. Okay. Um, maybe you can relate to that. Um, do you consider yourself to be a procrastinator and maybe it's not like in all areas of your life and maybe when you come to like class assignments or writing or turning drafts into your chair, maybe you procrastinate on those things or maybe you haven't unpacked your bag in a whole week. I see that. Or maybe you, you know, the dishes have been in the sink for a few days now and maybe you hadn't did that or maybe you did your laundry two weeks ago and the clean clothes are blending into the dirty clothes and you're not really sure what's what but you just don't go off the smell because that's life. I don't really know what your brand of procrastination is what I'm wondering for this episode though, is how do you talk to yourself in the middle of procrastinating?
What are the messages you're thinking to yourself and it's the way that you're talking to yourself, sort of reinforcing the cycle of procrastination that you're probably in right now. And one of the biggest things that I have said to myself that I hear other people saying to themselves in some form of or other is it doesn't matter. So like it'd be something simple like, oh I'm know I said that I was going to read that article today, but it don't matter. I could do it tomorrow cause I got a time. I don't feel like it today. Or you may say something like, I know I sat down and wrote this long four page plan out about how I was gonna Map out my whole dissertation proposal and that I was going to have it done in two weeks. But you know, it's beginning two weeks and I could just start tomorrow because it doesn't matter.
Like I got the time and maybe you're not saying that exactly. It doesn't matter. Maybe you're saying something similar as like I don't feel like right now I got all this time, I could do it this way or I can move such and such around and how you know, you're saying it doesn't matter. And one of his form is that particularly if you're only saying like rearranging or rescheduling something in your brain and you don't go to whatever you use to track your time, whether it be a calendar or planner or whatever system you're using. If you don't immediately get up and go and actually schedule like I know I'm supposed to do this thing today at four o'clock but I, for whatever reason I'm not going to do it at four o'clock if you don't physically get up and change it to a new date and time or you don't put it in your planner for a new date, then, you're sending yourself unconsciously and consciously.
You're saying that your goal or whatever you were supposed to do doesn't matter. So your dissertation doesn't matter and subconsciously your brain continues to store that information and and then a future is going to be even easier for you to put things off or to watch that next episode on Netflix or to go out with your friends to Chipotle because you already told your brain that like, in this situation, your dissertation doesn't matter or those clothes, they don't matter or whatever `it is that you were supposed to do, doesn't matter because you keep putting it off and so it's no wonder that when you do decide like, okay, today is the day I'm going to write, I'm going to fold those clothes is it seems like the most difficult thing in the world to do, to take the first step. Cause your brain now is confused. It's like well girl, you told us it didn't matter.
We had all these plans, we were all set to go and when it came down to it, you put it off or you said that we didn't need to do it then. So this is not a priority. And what's more of a priority is watching Netflix because that's what we do all the time. What's more of a priority is going out to Chipotle cause that's what we do all the time was more of a priority is checking those emails cause we always put that ahead of everything else. What's more important is going to scroll on Instagram because we do that all day, every day. Or talking to so and so. Whatever you are putting ahead of what you're supposed to be doing or what you'd need to be doing then tells your brain that that's more important. And so then your brain will fight and program yours like you to react on a subconscious level and an automatic response to do those things that you keep putting before the thing that you need to get done.
So no, it's not going to. Now when you're like, Oh let's sit down and write and no it doesn't. Your brain doesn't want to write. It's kind of, it's confused. It's like that's hard. We're not used to doing that. That takes too much brain power. Let's just go back watching Netflix or scrolling Instagram cause that's easy. We know how to do that. We don't know how to do this writing thing. And so I just want you to think about and how many ways are you constantly telling yourself and very well the small ways or big ways. How often are you telling yourself that it doesn't matter because they started to add up over time.
Yeah. So I'm gonna leave it there. Like I said, I was going to keep this short and this is something I'm probably, will keep coming back to over on Instagram. Um, even though I just talked about you procrastinating on Instagram. Yeah, it's work in progress. Um, but I just feel like you could do those things when you schedule it out, like if you have, so I look at Instagram is like my reward. Cause now I feel like I'm going down a tangent, but go with me. I look at Instagram as my reward. So I, every morning I get up and I, um, write out three things, three small tasks that will take me roughly less than like five to 10 minutes to complete each. I write those out and those are my like must do things that I have to do for the day. And once I get those things done, I can do whatever else I want it.
So I can watch all the Netflix Watch, like be on Instagram as much as possible because I did those three things. And that's what keeps me moving. And I guess that's a good point to bring up in, which contributes to the procrastination is that a lot of times we will put too much on our to do lists and there's this pressure to feel like you have to cross out everything. I get to do lists every day. And w what ends up happening is your brain can only make so many decisions in a day. It only has so much energy throughout a day before it's like "I need a break" and it shuts down. And it makes you engage in activities that are not, um, probably like productive or conducive to crossing out things on your list. And it's probably [inaudible] but it is something that your brain needs to do to take a break.
So if you had like 10 15 things on your to do list for the day and they all required massive amount of time, energy, brain capacity, there's only so much your brain is going to let you do. You might get through a half or maybe one of those things before your brain is like, and we're done. Cause probably like to take even some more steps back. How you wrote out your to do list is probably, it's huge tasks that have multiple steps within them. And it probably takes two, three, four hours to complete one of those things. So if you're trying to do 10 to 15 of those things, one, is out of hours a day and then two, your brain just can't do that. And so that's why I set up my schedule in a way of I choose three things. I'll take five to 10 minutes.
So, let me see, what was on my list today. I'm gonna find my little plan here. But like I like I've seen small things I'm not trying to like, so like today's was I needed to call the dentist to schedule my cleaning and fillings. I needed to update my W2 forms at work and I needed to check my business email like, and check it means, cause I write this out and we used to read each one, delete the junk mail and respond to clients. Now the gmail, like all of these things, the call to the dentist took maybe five minutes if that, the W2's took five minutes. And then the g-mail probably took the longest, which was like 10 to 15 minutes. Cause I've been doing good about staying up on it and not procrastinating. Ha Ha. Um, so I feel accomplished because that helps me keep things moving.
So I'm doing things for myself. I'm doing things that I need to do that I've been putting off like the dentist, but I need to do it updating W2's and then the client stuff is to keep my business going. Well what's not on this list is I didn't say I need to check all my emails cause I have a personal one. I have a business one, I have one for clients to like or like people who are like, yeah one on one clients are respond to me. Um, I have one for like other programs or education materials or organizations I'm a part of. I don't have my work email and so I don't say check all of those at one time cause that's a whole lot. I've done that some days and it just takes a long time and that's probably the only thing I would do for the day.
Um, I don't have, let me go write all these blog posts, let me go do this project for work. Like I don't have all that on the list cause that's too much and my brain can't handle that. I have these three small things that combined takes me less than an hour. You will resist this at first because you'll be like, oh that's not enough. I need to do more than that. You don't understand Marvette. Like, I have so much I need to get done in your day and I can't just identify three small things because that's not going to get me anywhere. And what I'm saying to you is if you think by putting all those things on the list, it's gonna make you want to do them more. You're wrong. And if so I want to, I want you to take a look at your life like are you getting those things done?
If you are, how do you feel like, do you feel like you, you're good. Do you feel alive? Now there are very few people who thrive on that and getting a bunch of things done and that's their jam. And I'm willing to bet like most of you, you're not feeling real good. You're not ready to go do some cartwheels and jumping jacks and like fill in the best. After doing all those things, you probably feel real cranky. You probably resent that, you don't get to do other things like other people. You probably been putting off sleep and eating and just enjoying the summer. Right? Cause it's the summer when I'm recording this. If you are able to feel like you get to get things done and enjoy yourself without feeling stressed out, then yes, I'm gonna applaud you however if you're like anything like me and you try to do, all these things that are on your to do list and when you're trying to do all the things, you personally, your health, your wellbeing suffers. Or if you're focusing on your health and wellbeing and your to do list suffers, then I invite you to try out this strategy because it is helpful and when I do this, I am the most productive ever. I get so much done because usually what happens is I'm not fried and my brain isn't tired and so I'm able to do other stuff throughout the day because I'm riding off the momentum of that. I know if I don't do anything else, I got those three things done and on the days when I'm just not feeling it, it's a bad like mental day, health day. I just know I need to show up and do those three things and I'm good. And sometimes those three things are like brush your teeth, wash your face, drink your water. Sometimes that's all it is because sometimes those things are very difficult to do on a daily basis.
So I tell my clients to do this, they still look at me like probably how you're thinking right now. Like that's not going to work. And then once they get into it in a week or two, go by like they're amazed, amazed at one how they feel and all the things they've been able to accomplish. So I invite you to try this. You're gonna wake up every morning, you're going to write out three things are going to take you five to 10 minutes or less to do for each item. You're going to say, no matter what happens today, I'm doing these three things. And then at the end of the day you want to come back and say, did you do them or not? And that's it. You don't need a complicated thing. You don't need to write out all these massive fancy to do listen priority programs and project management or you don't need to do all of that.
It's just these three things, especially if you're in a deep hole of procrastination like you've been putting things off, especially if you're like I don't know how to go back. I disappointed so many people. I've been putting it off so long I dug a deep hole, especially if it's that and I'm going to invite you just for tomorrow or even today. What are three things that you can do that will take you an hour or less to do all three things. What is something that is so easy but moves you in the direction, a step closer to the end goal. What is, what are three things that you can do and if three is too much, what is one thing you can do just to get started? Okay. For Real, I said this is going to be short, but we're here so I would am curious to know what you thought about this episode. Please come over to Instagram at @marvettelacy and let me know any takeaways, any ah-has. I would love to continue the conversation with you over there and then until next time, do something to show yourself some love. I will talk to you next week. Bye for now.