Parenthood and Procrastination

Having a newborn has been good for cutting through some of the thought patterns I tend to have that lead to procrastination. So, while I’m definitely getting less non-baby-related work done these days, I’ve also gotten more efficient at using the time I do have. Specifically, I’ve gotten considerably better at effectively using small blocks of time.

Here are some of the things I can’t really tell myself these days:

  • “I’ll wait until I have a block of time so I can really concentrate.” I may not get a big block of time that day. And when I do have a longer stretch because Lydia’s taking a long nap, I don’t usually know ahead of time. Sometimes I think I’ll have longer, maybe because she just ate and Will’s taking care of her, but I’m wrong because she needs to eat again.
  • “I’ll just read this article/email/book first.” It’s been pretty hard to type while nursing, but reading is easy enough, so it’s hard to justify using time where I actually have access to my hands to read. I have plenty of time for reading.
  • “I can just do it later.” This is the most fundamental thought, procrastinationwise. There’s a very good chance that later, Lydia will need to feed. Or, if she won’t, then I’ll want to eat myself, or take a shower, or do some laundry. I can’t pretend that time “later” is abundant.

And I think that’s the key thing. Time to work on the things I care about actually does feel scarce now, in a way that it never has before, which has its upsides. I get excited about having time to work on the things I care about and I want to use it efficiently. I also feel much more motivated to figure out what’s actually of greatest importance and start with that, since I know I’m not going to get through everything on my list.

Of course, sometimes I end up deciding to sleep, because I’m tired, or play (these days it’s usually Skyrim), because I want to recharge. But more often than not, those decisions feel like conscious choices that I’ve made for good reason.

As a bonus, it seems like I’ve managed to carry over some of the mindset I internalized during labor about taking things I’m worried about minute by minute, and not dreading the future. That helps too.

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