“I’ve been meaning to do that for months now…”
Photo courtesy of "thebarrowboy".

“I’ve been meaning to do that for months now…”

Written by Emilie

Topics: Productivity

I squinted at my friend through the camera.

“What’s that on your wall?”

It looked like velcro, or something holding the place of where a picture should be.

“Oh that. Yeah, the previous tenants had stuff on the walls, but I just haven’t had time… I’ve been meaning to do something with this room for months now,” he said, annoyed at himself.

“Wait. That’s something that you do, too? You let stuff like that sit on your to-do list for months and then get angry at yourself?” I asked.

Another friend on the call piped up: “See this map behind me? It took us like three months to tack it up.”

And then another friend chimed in: “Dude, half our house still needs to be painted.”

This was a group of some of the most productive entrepreneurs I know. And yet, I could relate to everything they were saying. It had taken me months to get around to painting the interior of my trailer. It isn’t even done now. Painters tape is still stuck everywhere.

We all laughed at how familiar our stories were.

“It’s a matter of priorities, I guess. We all work so hard on our projects, that home decor tends to sink to the bottom of the list.”

“Much to the annoyance of significant others,” someone joked.

Our group’s shared experience was interesting, and made me feel a little better about the turtle-pace I adopt in certain areas of my life.

When you prioritize meaningful creative projects, naturally other things are going to slide. This isn’t an excuse to live in filth, and some balance is definitely required. It’s just nice to know that you aren’t, by any means, alone. You’re actually in pretty impressive company.

I think we could all stand to beat ourselves up a little less when it comes to productivity. If you’re working on something personally meaningful at all, then give yourself a fucking pat on the back.

Can you relate?

Share your thoughts in the comments below. Let’s get a discussion going.

em_bioEmilie Wapnick is the Founder and Creative Director at Puttylike, where she helps multipotentialites integrate ALL of their interests into their lives. Unable to settle on one path herself, Emilie studied music, art, film production and law, graduating from the Law Faculty at McGill University. She is an occasional rock star, a paleo-friendly eater and a wannabe scientist carpenter. Learn more about Emilie here.

30 Comments

  1. Neil Hughes says:

    Amazing post – so timely. I had JUST pressed send on an email about productivity and procrastination when this popped up in my inbox.

    Very (very) glad to know I’m not alone!

  2. Daria says:

    I definitely can relate :) procrastination is our life!
    I exist in 2 mode:
    1) I do a thing immediately (pick up stuff, sort instruments, wash the dishes, etc), OR
    2) if I don’t do it immediately, the issue can then last for days and weeks…
    I don’t know how to fight that, honestly.

  3. Bregt says:

    As i am looking at lamps that don’t work already for years(due to electrical default in the wiring), doors that needed paint years ago and still :) and even more of those annoying things ………….. i must admit i’m in the same postponing vibe for a long time. BUT, now that you remind me so vivid, i’m a member of a Local Exchange Trading System group and TODAY i’m sending out a request for help on our site. Because done together those jobs become much easier to do, and get finished!
    Thanks Emily , how picking up small details by you may cause a lot of effect/change!

  4. T.O. Weller says:

    We are so like that in this house … but we are now paying the price. We’ve just found our perfect dream home, but it means we have to sell the one we’re in. We’re in staging hell.
    Those “home decor chores” that I’ve ignored for my work over the last couple of years? They came crashing in on me. All other projects have been sidelined and the push is on. I hurt in places I didn’t know could hurt and these are the first public words I’ve written since last Wednesday.
    As I lay in bed this morning, in pain and completely uninspired to write, I started to worry that my muse has completely deserted me. (She doesn’t like house chores either.)

  5. Nicole says:

    Hi Emilie,
    I’m sitting in my loungeroom after the kids and hubby have gone to bed, working on two or three different projects (a pretty regular event!), surrounded by; a pile of linen on the couch that doesn’t yet have a cupboard to fit in; a mass of CDs that need to be sorted and taken to the record shop; photos gathering dust on the mantle that need to go on the wall; and kids toys needing to be re-homed.
    But after reading this post I just gave myself a fucking pat on the back because I wrote an awesome press release yesterday and inspired myself to start working on the next one!
    And I also had a little chuckle. Thankyou!
    Nicole

  6. Debi says:

    Thank you for dropping in with this perfect message. Please look forward to some change….although I have come to realize what I must do…I seem to be deep diving into myself to correct any intentions I may have that would sabbatoge my personal development. Or am I looking for an excuse to remain medicore…..see what I mean. Gotta go to work. Off tomorrow. Thank you as I have now made it my priority to get more involved with the who that I AM….lol

  7. Willi M says:

    Very very very expensive decor that should have gone up YEAR ago…gathering dust in closet. Because I kept thinking we weren’t going to be here more than a year and it’s going on 3

  8. Sami says:

    I love getting stuff to decorate my house, but actual house upkeep? All the sorting and cleaning and all that? I hate it. It’s my dream to hire someone to do it for me. But you know, when I’m procrastinating or stuck and need a change, I get super-productive with that stuff–I’ll do dishes, laundry, put stuff away, organize the closets… It’s just that I don’t get stuck as often as the house needs me to be!

    • Emilie says:

      I had a roommate in college who only used to clean when she was procrastinating/not writing an essay. I would come home, see her cleaning out the fridge, and be like, “big paper due?” Heh.

  9. will says:

    Is shitstorm a home decor style? I wonder if they kept kicking davinci out of living places or did he have a legitimate shop?

  10. Aryeh kaufman says:

    I usually reach a breaking point, and go on a cleaning frenzy, clearing clutter and neatning up. (Usually involves my desk and random important papers)

  11. If I can make a “project” out of it somehow, sometimes housework gets done. But for the most part…I’d rather be working on things that I care about, so…eh. The same thing happens with my email inbox. “Inbox Zero” sounds great, but it hardly ever happens.

    I have a few things I put on the calendar because they have to get done – like putting the trash out on the curb each week. The cleanest my house ever was was when I had a bi-weekly housecleaner for awhile. That was awesome!

    I often dream about having a lot fewer things, so I would have less to clean and manage. But taking things to the goodwill is also a chore that doesn’t get done. :-)

    • Emilie says:

      Sounds familiar. I downsized recently. It was pretty crazy how quickly my trailer would get messy though, even with fewer things. But also tidying up was much quicker. Anyway yeah, all this stuff just feels like a waste of mental energy much of the time.

  12. Paula says:

    I am so glad I found your website–I cannot believe that even the procrastination around around getting otherwise simple tasks done is a sign of multipotentialism (is that a word?). I am stymied quite often by to-do lists and if I were to pursue all of my interests as possible careers, it would take me several lifetimes to get through that list. I am now going to look for ways to not be and feel so frustrated in the midst of so many interests.

    • Emilie says:

      I think the word is multipotentiality, but multipotentialism works. :)

      Welcome to the community, Paula! You’re definitely not alone with those issues. But thankfully, there is a middle ground between doing everything under the sun (sadly impossible) and doing just one thing. A pretty vast (and awesome) middle ground.

  13. Margaux says:

    Yup. The place is a constant mess. So much so, the only people who are allowed in are people I don’t think will judge me.

    It took me about 4 years after I moved in to finally unpack all the boxes and make the living room liveable. (Caveat: In those first three years, I was living mostly at my boyfriend’s house. Still. Even after I really moved in, it took me months and months to get fully unpack.) Then, it took me another 4 to get real furniture in and storage to get most of the stuff off the floor and in tall stacks everywhere.

    So, yes. I can relate.

  14. Zen Dexter says:

    I can definitely relate to this Emilie!

    One example: when I’m working in my room, I often stare at the bookshelf to my right when I’m thinking. Some OCD part of me gets bothered by a handful of books that aren’t in correct height order. Some of them have been like that for years. It would take all of 20 seconds to fix them but I just haven’t done it.

    It really is a matter of priorities, and of scale. Reordering those books won’t have as much of an impact on my life as say, doing my Chinese study or reading interesting articles on Puttylike. I guess those books will be staying that way for a while!

  15. Victoria says:

    Haha this is so awesome! My living room is totally torn apart – we ripped off the carpet but did not yet remove the underpad until we paint… but the underpad is now ripping off in pieces that the cats drag all over the house… yet we don’t have paint or brushes yet… lol! And it goes on and on and on. The feeders I took out of the chicken paddocks last summer still sit on the back porch waiting to be washed… the tubing from the maple sap collection hasn’t been washed since last spring… the house is almost always a disaster unless I TORTURE myself to clean it…. and I have a bajillion ideas of things I want to learn/try/do/travel! So glad to have found this community!

  16. Pamela says:

    Oh yes, I relate to this. Try 12 years to finish upholstering my bedroom. It eats at me, as do the arched doors that need finishing, as does… Well, you know. The thing is, my husband only sees what good I’ve done, what IS finished. It is me that struggles with the un finished quality of my environment. I really do want it done but I have to do it… And I run out of energy. I try to remind myself that DiVinci left this plane of existence with a mass of unfinished projects. He/She (yes, there is some debate) got the clergy very pissed off when he/she would wander off of projects…and was resistant to returning. That said… I have returned to things and finished them up to 15 yrs later????, so who really know where this will all lead!?!