Part-time work, happiness and getting to goal

Last night Bart commented that he hadn't seen me this happy for this many days in a row for a very long time.
I was kind of shocked to hear him say that.
I mentioned it to a colleague at lunchtime today, and she confirmed that other people at work had also commented on the difference.
Had I really been so grumpy and seemed so unhappy this past year?

The answer is probably "yes". Daily frustrations and stress at work just stacking up and compounding into a permanent ball of resentment against everyone and everything in my life. Thinking back, it's difficult to understand how I let it get that far. And why I didn't do anything about it sooner.

But I also wonder what job I can possible find that won't have that effect on me. Maybe it wasn't the job? Maybe it's me. Maybe I feel some kind of entitlement to happiness that makes me bitter as soon as anything in my life isn't going the way I want it to?

I have to admit, I love being lazy. Well, I guess that isn't true. I love procrastinating, by doing just about anything except the one (or ten) thing(s) I'm supposed to be doing. I'm not actually lazy, because I'm usually busy - just not with whatever it is I'm supposed to be busy with.

Right now I should be working on a presentation. Actually I was supposed to have the afternoon off, but I'm staying at work instead to catch up on some things I should have already managed to finish this week, and probably would have, had I put my mind to it. Is it as frustrating for you to read that as it is for me to write it? Don't you just want to hit me over the head with a two-by-four and tell me to just get on with it?

I remember reading somewhere that people who procrastinate do it because they have a need for instant gratification. When faced with a cake with a cherry on it, they eat the cherry first, then the cake. Apparently, "healthy"/"normal" people are people who learned the concept of delayed gratification. These people are capable of getting the "chores" over with first, leaving them with masses of time for the fun stuff.
Us procrastinators for some reason have a problem with delayed gratification. We always want to do the most fun things first - but are also obliged to do the "chores" - and we usually end up in some kind of half-arsed version of both, dragging along our string of chores like a kiddy's blanket, whilst guiltily indulging in something we enjoy more, but not quite getting completely into it because of the chores we know we really should be doing instead.

All that to say, I wonder if I was less of a procrastinator, could I get my work - whatever it is - out of the way quicker and have more time to enjoy the rest of my life, thereby becoming an overall happier person? Do I create my stress and unhappiness because I always put off the essential (presentations, budgets, strategic recommendations...) to take care of the urgent (phone calls, emails...) that in reality are not that important? I know I get a "kick" out of feeling efficient and reacting rapidly to people's requests, and that is my "instant gratification", but it's not what I'm paid to do, fundamentally.

And finally, I'm wondering how my new-found dedication to WW fits into all this. Because isn't food the most common form of instant gratification? And what else is a diet if not delaying gratification? Choosing not to eat the crisps or drink the wine in order to fit into a size 12 jeans by the end of the year is exactly what I have been incapable of doing up till now - at least not for long periods of time, and these past 6 weeks are definitely a record. Am I finally learning to delay gratification? According to this site, the ability to delay gratification is often a sign of emotional and social maturity... so is this all part of me (finally) growing up?

The Wikipedia page on deferred gratification relates the following tell-tale test of impulse control:

[In] the "gift delay," (...) children were shown a nicely wrapped gift but told they must complete a puzzle before opening it. Researchers then calculated a "delay score" based on how long the children held out. When independent examiners interviewed the test subject years later, they found that boys who had not delayed were "irritable" and that the girls were "sulky." In contrast, the patient boys were "attentive" and the girls "competent."

Hm... there's that sulky girl again. Well, if that's true, it really is time I do something about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment