Saying Goodbye to Guilt — An Update

by Katy on September 22, 2010 · 16 comments

I wrote a post last week titled “Saving Goodbye to Guilt” about how I’m methodically tackling my embarrassingly procrastinated tasks. Not only am I continuing on with this project, I’m making huge headways towards no longer having mental weights burdening my otherwise happy life.

It exhilarating, it’s empowering and yes, it’s oddly addictive.

Over the past few weeks, I have read my father’s books, Good Friday and Lincoln’s Daughter, which are the second and third novels from his Lincoln Out of Time trilogy. (Abraham Lincoln: A Novel Life is the first one.)

It’s not a casual thing to read your father’s published novels. I didn’t want to read them in fits and starts, instead wanting to give them my whole and undivided attention. . .  which meant they were starting to gather dust. And if not reading a book dedicated to you isn’t at the pinnacle of guilt induction, I don’t know what is.

I make this sound like a horrible chore, but of course it wasn’t. I read one while on vacation a few weeks ago, and the other while at home, waiting to pick my son up from school, in bed and just about anywhere else I happened to find a few free minutes. They were lovely.

The other was making me feel like crap chore that I tackled was painting the trim of the house where there was sloppy looking paint overspray. My husband painted the house a few years back, and I told him I would complete this task, as I actually like to paint. But catching a sunny day where I have nothing to do can feel as likely as picking those winning lottery numbers.

Which meant that this dialog ran through my mind every time I walked into my house:

“Wow. The paint job on this house really looks like crap, I need to paint over that overspray.”

Which is hardly the serene thought process to bring into one’s own home.

So yesterday, I pulled all the supplies out and got to work. I painted over the painty fingerprints on the second story window box, as well as the window trim, garage door and on the porch. It took around five hours, but I had my audiobook of “Julie and Julia,” to keep me company. (I do love me a rags to riches blogger story!)

And now, when I come into my house, my thoughts go a little something like this:

“Wow, the front of the house looks fan-freaking-tastic!”

Which is a better mindset.

The next task on my list is taking an in-depth inpatient OB certification exam that will give me a $2.75 per hour raise once completed. This test costs $300 to take and is only reimbursable by the hospital if I pass it, so it’s a bit of a daunting task. But I’m a good test taker and am going to finally take the plunge. I’ve bookmarked the test site, and have started to put the word out about borrowing the study materials.  The thought of failing the test and losing $300 makes me feel a little ill, but I need to not let fear guide my decision making.

I am fully aware that there will never reach a point where there I’ve completed every task in life, and to try and accomplish this would be a frustratingly impossible goal. I just want to be free from weight of procrastination.

Does this make sense? Are you tackling your procrastinated tasks? Please share your stories in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Katy September 22, 2010 at 11:38 am

There are a couple other procrastinated tasks that I’ve tackled, but am too embarrassed to write about on the blog.

I am feeling very free.



Lucy September 22, 2010 at 11:50 am

But we’re dying to know! What else ???!

My father had an really long unpublished civil war novel that I procrastinated reading for a long time. It made me feel sooooo guilty! I finally recycled my printout of it, justifying the action by reminding myself that I had read parts of it and enjoyed it, but I was never going to be able to dive into it as a “beach read” or something like that.


Lisa September 22, 2010 at 12:12 pm

TomTom, the cat, shamed me into getting started yesterday. First thing, he jumped onto the night stand and knocked the alarm clock to the floor where it broke into a million pieces. I thought, “I know I kept my old wind up alarm clock. Now where did I put it?” You see, I am a closet hoarder. To all who are unaware, my home and life seem to be well organized, neat, and tidy. And that’s true….until you start looking in cabinets, closets, and other likely hiding spots. I still haven’t found the clock but have started winnowing out my packed to the gills hidden junk piles. I’ll keep chipping away little by little. Who knows? In ten years or so, I may find that clock!


Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary September 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm

LOL, Lisa, I can sooooo relate to your description of being a “closet hoarder.” I’m much better than I used to be, but I am afraid it may take me 10 years to finish uncluttering. Good luck finding that clock!


Molly On Money September 22, 2010 at 12:19 pm

What I have learned recently is to make my list shorter! The beginning of the summer I made a list of all the projects I knew I could do over the summer. I obviously had a lot of confidence in myself because the list is l-o-n-g. I’m chipping away at it!
Up next: stain the outdoor furniture.


Tonya September 22, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Thanks for publishing this post (and the original). They helped me realize that I too, have a lot of angst from “undone” miscellaneous chores and tasks! I love that you’re so real about this stuff.
I love getting your daily blog in my inbox!!


Kat C September 22, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Thanks for this post!

I declared last year the year of the unfinished project. I listed 7 projects I’d been working on for some time and promised myself I’d finish them before I started new projects. It didn’t work.

I finally completed a quilt that I started a long time ago (so long ago that I’m a little embarrassed to publicly state) for a f riend who just had a baby. (It was originally intended to be a big quilt for my own bed). It was so great to get that project off my list! I have so many projects that just require the last few hours of work and then they’ll be complete.

I just started reading through some of the posts at Zen Habits about getting stuff done… I think that will help too!

I always like to read your posts… keep ’em coming!


Tammy September 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Paid an overdue library fine.


Martha September 22, 2010 at 8:08 pm

funny you should be writing about this–I finally got a box and put the stacks (on the floor of my office) into it: things my kids chose to keep in the basement because they dont need them now but might want them someday (old school work/art/yearbooks). Also I got my sick son to go through 3 boxes of hand me downs today!! Yahoo! I have 4 boxes on the porch ready to go to the goodwill equivalent!


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl September 23, 2010 at 4:29 am

I wrote and published a book review that I’ve been needing to do for several months. lol I just have one more to do.

I fail at getting book reviews done. =P


Saving Her Life September 23, 2010 at 5:27 am

Finally taking the plunge and applying to graduate schools, three years after I finished my undergraduate degree. 🙂


Toni September 23, 2010 at 5:57 am

Wahooo! Go, Katy, go! 🙂 I canned almost 10 pounds of okra yesterday. This was big because I recently let a whole heap of scuppernogs go bad because I procrastinated canning. My family and I are *finally* taking a vacation after three years since our last. I’ve got concrete plans for our Halloween costumes. And, at last, I removed the big pile of oh-I’ll-read-that-eventually materials from my nightstand. You have inspired me. Next up? The garage sale I’ve been putting off for almost two years.


Jenny September 23, 2010 at 8:06 am

Filed the pile of paid bills and paperwork that’s been lurking on (and falling off) the corner of the desk all summer. Just for fun, I timed it and it took 12 minutes! Can’t imagine how many more minutes than that I’ve wasted thinking I should be doing it, or picking the avalanche up off the floor.


fairydust September 24, 2010 at 5:40 am

Continuing to clean out the house – really clean it out! DH moved out in March (long, horrid story) and even though he will be moving back in, in November, I wanted to take the opportunity to get rid of EVERYTHING. Originally, after he got his can’t-live-without-it stuff out, I was going to get rid of everything else and purge him from my life. Now that things are a little different and he’ll be staying in my life, I still want to unload as much of the accumulated detritus-of-life stuff that I possibly can. Then we’ll be painting and new flooring, which is another project we’ve put off since we moved in 15+ years ago. So, new house! (sort of)


Diane September 27, 2010 at 7:55 am

$300 for a test that increases your pay by 2.75 an hour will pay for itself in under seven weeks, assuming a 16-hour work week. If you work fifty such weeks in a year that’s $2200! Nothing to sneeze at and great return on your investment. Even with study time, that’s a deal. Go for it!
P.S. I’m participating in a neighborhood-wide garage sale next weekend, so I’m all about de-cluttering this week. Thanks for the inspiration, Katy.


Julie September 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Katy, my dear….

You are going to pass that test 🙂 I have taken it twice…. (let it expire once)

I am glad to hear you are a good test taker. Most people say it wasn’t so bad, after they take it. It is usually test anxiety and not the content that is hard. You are very intellegent and have been in the field for a long time. Maybe NCC will take your picture with your card for their web site too 🙂

hug hug hug


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