Dealing with Procrastination

While most of us are not haunted by ghosts in this day and age, many of us are haunted by stacks of paperwork.  You can use Integral Deep Listening (IDL) to get leverage on even a mundane issue like procrastination.  Here’s an example of an unstructured dialogue with a pile of unaddressed paperwork that reflects the humorous, flippant approach IDL takes toward problems, interviewing and itself:

“Maybe I have been approaching it wrong.  Perhaps I should be addressing my pile more directly and formally.  I haven’t tried saying something like, “Oh, please, Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. pile, whichever is the case, would it be OK with you if I just have a ceremonial burning of you instead of sorting through you?”

“No.  I don’t think that would work. Perhaps I should say something more like, “Dear pile, You are such an unmanageable thing that I think you are giving me piles.  I think you are haunting me in my dreams, which is not good, because I work on my dreams.  I give you attention, but then you grow magically overnight like kudsu taking over the earth, and then silently call to me to give you more attention, like my dogs scratching to be let out or in, or in or out, endlessly, but much worse.”

Pile of Unfinished Paperwork: “Well, you’re right about that!  But what do you expect??  If you want to take on responsibility, you’ve got to be more responsible and take care of me!  Like Duh???”

“OK, but you just remind me of my own inadequacies.  You overwhelm me.”

Pile of Unfinished Paperwork: “GIVE ME A BREAK!!!  I’m an inanimate object!  If you want to project your power on to me and play the victim, pretending that I’m persecuting you, there’s not a whole lot I can do about it!!!! Do I care if you feel inadequate?  NO!  Do I care if you feel overwhelmed??  NO!  But if you want to use me to justify mucking up your life, well, there’s not a whole lot I can do about it, is there????”

“All right!  You’ve got me.  You’ve got a point.  I really do want to get out of being in an adversarial relationship with you.  But I don’t know how.  You’re intimidating.”

Pile of Unfinished Paperwork: “You know the solution.  You just aren’t self-disciplined enough to follow it.  If you worshipped at my altar for maybe fifteen minutes every day, making the appropriate blood sacrifices to the proper deities, they would no longer haunt you.  You only worship the gods you want to worship, and the others are calling out for attention.  Make tending to my altar part of your daily puja.  Make it a spiritual discipline.  Make it alchemical:  turning the lead of your secular life into the sacred.”

“That’s a stretch, to be sure.  While I am a student of comparative religion, I have never run across any religion where you make sacrifices to the god of procrastination and mundane responsibilities.  Are you sure this is a legitimate religion??”

Pile of Unfinished Paperwork: “If this isn’t a legitimate religion, then what is?  You spend your time worshipping me through your avoidance and fretting over me, don’t you??  You are the one who turns me into an object of fear in your life, aren’t you?”

“OK, OK!! I can see that I’m not going to win this argument.  In fact, I can see that the longer it continues, the more I’m losing, so let’s stop, shall we?  Here’s what I will try to do.  I will try to see you not as a secular pile of grief, which you are, but as a jumble of opportunities challenging me to transcend some of my own limitations that keep me from seeing the transformational potentials in everything, even boring paperwork.  I’ll try to approach you with a properly respectful, if not worshipful, attitude.  Now, don’t expect miracles, because I have a lot of resistance.  But I’ll try.  And don’t get the big head.  I’m not trying because you want me to.  I’m only doing this worship because I have to because none of the options work and I’ve tried them all.”

Pile of Unfinished Paperwork: “That’s good enough for me!  Anything would be better than you continually blowing me off, neglecting me, hating me, and then blaming me for your own irresponsibility!”

This interview has the advantage of being a free flowing, humorous conversation, and is a helpful format for some issues and some situations. As such, it is an example of what you can do with IDL, once you master the interviewing protocols.

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