Are You A Ditherer Or A Doer?

This weekend is jam packed and it hasn’t even started yet. I have a busy day at work ahead, working on a big project with an ever nearing deadline. A colleague is leaving to take up a new position in China and we are having a farewell 5K run for him this weekend. Most people organise farewell lunches or drinks for this sort of thing. Stephen arranges runs. Yes, I am that running dork and stand guilty as charged.

Adam is working tonight at the Kingspan Stadium, where Ulster Rugby are taking on Edinburgh. And tomorrow morning, he will be taking to the field of play himself for Lurgan College’s first game of the season against RBAI, one of the best sides in the country. I never sleep well the night before he has a match and I doubt tonight will be any different. I’ve also just remembered that he needs a new gum shield.

At some point over the weekend there is also the small matter of fitting in a 20 mile training run, my last long one before I tackle the Causeway Coast Marathon in two weeks time. Oh, and there’s the small matter of the latest draft of the novel in chipping away at; I’m attempting to complete a chapter a night, ever aware that my loyal army of beta readers are currently scouring over Chapters 15-30.

I’m a master at procrastination. If I can put off a task or activity to a later date, then I will do it. Meetings, phone calls, anything remotely challenging, I will dread it’s approach. Give me an opportunity to reschedule and I will gleefully do so; then worry myself sick until the day in question comes around. I will only act swiftly if I’m backed into a corner and left with no other option.

I’m not one for grabbing thistles or bulls by the horns. Carpe diem is not my battle cry. I don’t laugh in the face of danger and you will never, ever see me on a documentary with Bear Grylls no matter how many million copies Kirkwood Scott sells. It’s not in my nature, it goes against my grain; my ears have no interest in the call of the wild. I’d rather leave it for tomorrow, for we all know, tomorrow never comes.

I’ve no choice this weekend. I need to man up and grow a pair, as Fionnuala so often tells me. She really is the most charming wife. But she’s right, and without her pushing me on I would never get anything done. I’d dither, delay and dally until the cows come home. And the last thing I need is a herd of Frisian cattle sashaying through our front room. Especially if I’m chasing a bull around the kitchen trying to grab its horns.

There comes a time when you have to leap out of your comfort zone, grit your teeth and jump in with both feet. Because if you don’t then the boat will have sailed, and you will be left standing on the dock, forlornly watching your dreams sail over the horizon. Yes, there will be trepidation, fear and probably more than a little pain, but ultimately I believe it is both necessary and worthwhile in order to lead the lives we were created to live.

If you procrastinate you will never liberate. We are blessed in that the majority of us are not shackled, at least physically, by chains which restrain us. We have freewill to make the decisions which will impact upon, and shape, our present and future lives. Sometimes even shrinking violets like yours truly have to seize the day. And if I can, then so can you. Even if it means the occasional sting or jag along the way.

Are you a ditherer or a doer?

When did you last seize the day?

32 thoughts on “Are You A Ditherer Or A Doer?

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  1. Oh, Stephen, there are many parts of me that dither around until under some kind of imminent threat. But writing? I write when it hits, while the iron is hot. If I cant sit down to compose, I make notes. It’s glorious, like an awakening in my soul. Except reality means I have to hop to many other things besides writing. I know you understand.

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  2. Generally speaking, I tend to dither a lot. I am a daydreamer and, of course, a philosopher. So, I feel most at peace when I can go along and just dream and think and do a little bit of stuff and then dream and think some more. But, I am pretty good at doing a little bit at a time with writing. It’s one of the only areas of life I do this well in. Congrats on your training. Your running is inspiring. I am working on building up to walking a marathon, but my training schedule is a little off right now.

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  3. I’m a chronic procrastinator but rise to the occasion when the pressure is on. It’s when I’m at my best and then I’m a whirlwind in action. I’ve just accepted this is just my nature. I never miss a deadline but often am right up against them.

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  4. Great question! As I pondered my answer, I realized I am a little of both. I seem to be an absolute doer on the little, insignificant things… you know, the things like tidying up the house, mowing the lawn, fetching the mail. But when it comes to significant undertakings – like writing or planning a major family trip – I am a total ditherer.

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  5. You are so much like my husband. But he gets it done when it matters and I feel like you are the same. Anyway, putting on my coach’s hat for a minute. Can I humbly suggest a change to your training schedule this weekend? I’m worried that you have a big shock coming in that Coastal race. I think you’d do more good by going out for a trail run , even if it’s only 5-10 miles, instead of a 20 miler on the road. You already know you can do that. You need to get the feel for running off-road. It’s very different! Either way, you have my prayers and support, just like I give my procrastinating husband even though he drives me crazy.

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