I LOVE MONDAYS

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What’s not to love? The alarm signalling the start of another week of newness. The opportunity to begin afresh. Perhaps akin to a New Year on an ultra minute scale. Unlike the New Year, I do make resolutions for the week. As for this week, I have made a promise to myself, and to my husband, that I shall be productive and I will absolutely, definitely not procrastinate. 

With the exception of house or anything baby admin, for which I’m the proud owner of Excel spreadsheets, I’m one of those people that hoards ‘To-Do’s’. I get so caught up in the catharsis of making the To-Do list, and smugly revelling in my productivity at its creation, I don’t quite get around to its completion. To make matters worse, and in my bid to procrastinate further, I’ll often (whilst aiming to tick an item or five off my list) contemplate why I’m such a procrastinator*, and/or watch a vlog on ‘being a more productive human’, and ‘living your best productive life’ amongst other obnoxious titles.

Consequently, thanks to past Georgia, this last weekend has been one of overwhelm (on my part), and shock (on Rich’s part): ‘You have items on here dating back months’. Actually Rich, a year. Maybe two. And sadly, I was more caught up in revelling in his underestimation of my disorganisation (I blamed his puritanical indignation), than in (rightfully) owning my own shame.

Nonetheless, there’s nothing like a 10 week (and a bit) countdown to the biggest life changing event to stimulate even the laziest of us to start hitting life admin like no tomorrow. I mean, what’s the likelihood I will be any more likely to tick these items off when I have a squawking baby in tow?! Therefore, and despite the physical and mental pain I am expending in addressing them, I am doing just that.

In case you’re also struggling with procrastination, and you too despair of advice like ‘create a fake deadline’ or ‘find an accountability partner’, here are some tips which make ticking off that To-Do list semi-bearable:

(1) Create an exhaustive list.

That means everything you need to do is in one place. I’ve only recently started using the reminders app on my iPhone (thanks Rich). Rewind a couple of months, I had lists spread across ripped sheets from notebooks, in my phone notes, in Word docs, Excel sheets…Needless to say this is/was a quick-fire way to losing sight of the scale of your problem. N.B. In contradiction to how it might seem, I’m not inherently disorganised. Rather I’m all or nothing, and for a long time I’ve been all nothing…

(2) Ensure your list is realistic.

Will you really send thank you cards a month post-Christmas? Accept you’re an ungrateful recipient, you’re unlikely to receive a gift next year, and move on. So I wasn’t guilty in this regard, but there were tons of ridiculous items on my list, and Rich (despite my protestations) was right in questioning whether they a) warranted a spot on the list, and b) the mental energy I was expending on them. ‘Paint nails’ and tasks from 1.5 years ago certainly didn’t, and so I painfully removed them.

(3) Ask your people for help.

My parents and Rich are now the proud owners of some of the tasks. After all, we all know you must share. This tip will especially appeal to the dictatorial natural leaders among us.

(4) Mentally note (or set a reminder for a specific time…a far more aggressive way of tackling those tasks!) each evening before bed,  which items you will address first thing in the morning. Emphasis on first thing. You must face them head-on when you’re fresh, and semi-raring to go for the day.

(5) Switch up your environment.

This works for digital life admin only. Not so well for tasks like cleaning the house! If you’re a coffee tyrant like me pre-pregnancy, find a coffee shop and deposit yourself and laptop in a comfy seat, where high on caffeine you can pretend you’re having fun ticking off those tasks.

(6) Costs and benefits shake-up.

Ensure the benefits to you of completing your To-Do’s outweigh the costs. On a most basic level, consider rewarding yourself as you go. One item, one cookie…or perhaps if your procrastination has been as acute as mine, you’re better sticking to something non-food based.

(7) Tip for the future: If a task takes less than 5 minutes, do it immediately.

Don’t even add it to your list. I’ve spent triple the time needed on simple tasks because they’re so old that I have to search my addled brain for what they’re in reference to, and/or locate the necessary documents hidden way back (amongst junk mail) in my inbox.

(8) If all else fails, accept you won’t do it, and stop wasting energy beating yourself up over it!

I’m sure if you started this article wondering why the title, you’ve probably figured out by now, that yes, I procrastinated in my writing of this post until Tuesday. As you can tell, it’s a long road ahead for me, and my procrastinating way!

Oh, one last tip: don’t be tempted to read self-help guides on addressing life admin. These are the ultimate in procrastination. Incredibly, I found I had to physically prise myself away from the below.

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*Such contemplation is never wise when you’re prone to obsessive introspection. Although, just in case you’re interested, I’ve narrowed it down to (a) stress…doing the items makes me feel stressed?!, and (b) perfectionism…I want to complete the items ‘just so’, and wait for the ‘perfect’ moment. Because of course, everyone needs to achieve perfection in mundane tasks like ‘sorting pension’…

WOULD YOU MIND KEEPING IT DOWN?

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So it’s finally happened. I’ve become that person. You know, the one who sends passive aggressive notes to the neighbours complaining about their noise? I’d like to apologise up front. Firstly, to myself for becoming such a bore (literally over night), secondly to our  overhead dweller (I think I did a good job…?), and lastly to everyone empathising with the unnamed tyrant, who is merely trying to live a sociable life at anti-social hours, in a block of poorly converted period flats.

If I was less hormonal, and therefore simultaneously less irrational and more tolerant, I would do the usual polite British thing, of silently harbouring resentment. Meanwhile building up to the day when I can take no more, and in a public showdown worthy only of Jeremy Kyle (think Jerry Springer), I declare pistols at dawn (cue the hair-pulling and egg-throwing) against nuisance neighbour. Or more likely, I plaster both our faces across my slanderous narration of ‘My Neighbour From Hell’ in the Daily Mail. Alas, my (in)sanity has (no) limits.

The thing is, it was 7am, and my husband (after much coaxing from me since a) his alarm was set long before mine, and b) he’s generally the sweeter of us two these days) had already tried the whole banging-on-the-ceiling-with-the-vacuum-wand trick. However, the cackling continued to rain down on us, and my tears threatened to rain down on him. Therefore, I was left with no choice. The shirty but nice note, penned itself.

Perhaps it’s the norm outside of London, or any big city for that matter, to communicate vis-à-vis with your neighbours, but here that would be sacrilege/nigh on impossible. Especially given we take it in turns to wait until the other one’s door has closed, before we creep along the corridor, and race out the communal entrance. I know she does it too. I’ve heard her breathing from behind the safety of her wooden portal!

In case you’re wondering, this isn’t our first threshold transmission. The first was when my husband, patiently following my (in)sane logic, requested that she remove the plugin air freshener from the corridor. Obviously, the dreadful device a) made me nauseous, and b) could make our baby sick with the deadly chemicals it was pumping out. She conceded. We also received a lovely letter back. I say lovely, because realising she was dealing with a pregnant head case, she had the good humour to make a ‘hope we bump into each other’ joke. Of course we never did ‘bump’ into each other, and given our hiding-behind-the-door act, I’m sure we never will.

Nonetheless, please don’t judge me. I had held off from taking a stand until her second selfish wakeup call. The first was two Saturdays ago, when at 2.16 am (yes I know my letter notes her crime almost casually, to the hour, but I could hardly confirm her suspicions I’m crazy could I?!), I thought it strange that I be awake and not needing to pee. That was until I heard our neighbour, and her awful accomplice, come crashing up the stairs, and against our door, where they would commence their hour-long mothers’ meeting.

Despite everything I’ve said, I do understand where my neighbour is noisily coming from. I’ve been there too, and I remember it all too well. Back when my husband and I were two youthful, and cool 22-year-olds. Scrap that. Back when we were two youthful (we were never cool) 22-year-olds, living in Parsons Green, we were the monsters/ life and souls of the party wreaking havoc. You’d find us hysterically laughing first thing in the morning, and then crashing through the communal door at 4am. Strangely, our neighbours-with-small-child didn’t see the funny side of our inconsideration either. On occasion, and undermining my previous argument that Londoners avoid face-to-face confrontation, the husband would appear sheepishly on the other side of a plea to ‘please keep it down’. Oh how we bemoaned our boring neighbours. Oh how they must have hated us.

I wonder what the turning point was for me. Perhaps London, or rather Londoners with their reckless abandon for other people’s welfare have defeated me, and my hormonal humanitarianism? After all, I’m at breaking point with people’s disregard for anyone outside of their virtue signalling vacuum. Or maybe the selfish veil of youth has finally lifted? Maybe the last 22+ weeks of disturbed nights (thanks pregnancy bladder) have finally caught up on me? Or perhaps I’m clinging tightly to my 11 short weeks of remaining sleep (for the next 18 years)? I’ll never know. However, what I do know, is I’m sorry to everyone I have ever woken up in a communal living space. Especially to my parents.