Procrastination in Writing and Life Steals From Others What You Are Purposed to Share

If you choose to be a writer, you must write.

Duh!

If you’re anything like me, though, there are times when reading e-mails, Twittering, calling family or friends, or just waiting to be “in the mood” interfere with sitting down to write.

This… is called Procrastination. I find it one of the deadliest sins for a writer.

Do I procrastinate? Absolutely.

Along my writing journey, though, I’ve picked up a few tips that help keep me focused and moving forward. For blogging, something I’ve found useful is to pick a topic that particularly interests me the day before I plan to begin writing. Sometimes it comes from a Twitter I read, or a Facebook reference; something I saw on TV or the Internet… or just a thought. By the end of the day, though, I have my topic chosen, and throughout the evening I write subheads. Then, when I start my article the next morning, I decide on three to five major points.

For this article, for example, Point #1 on procrastination is how many great quotes there are about it. Here are a few: “Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.” Don Marquis

“To think too long about doing a thing becomes its undoing.” Eva Young

“If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting it off.”

And, one of my mother’s personal favorites (spoken frequently to me when I was younger) “If and When were planted and Nothing grew.” Proverb.

Point #2: Procrastination spawned an industry. Look at the number of speakers, presentations, books and authorities there are on procrastination — telling us how and WHY to overcome it. Procrastination is considered, after all, to be just another habit (unfortunately not one of our better ones)… a way of coping with the emotions and physical symptoms that accompany various elements of depression.

Driven by guilt, self-doubt, or not wanting to make a decision, procrastination can become habitual until all that we WANT to do, or to achieve, just seems overwhelming.

Point #3: When are we most likely to procrastinate? Interestingly enough, while we can procrastinate anywhere throughout a task or project, we are most likely to procrastinate as we approach a deadline for getting something done.

Point #4: How many of us are procrastinators? Based on some figures from research groups, about 95% of us know how to do this really well. About 20% of us are chronic procrastinators with serious problems as a result.

Depending on the topic… I think I fall into both groups. When it’s time to get household chores done, I generally fall into the 95% group… I know how to procrastinate really well. And…when it comes to making a dental appointment, I definitely fall into the 20% group. In this area, I am a chronic procrastinator. And I don’t really see it changing. Until, of course, I get a serious toothache!

Point #5: What’s the best way to avoid it? There is, as mentioned earlier, a lot of literature, and plenty of “experts” who suggest what to do. I like a solution mentioned by some, including a Harvard University study in 2006, that suggests reasonable and regular deadlines that are defined and recorded on a calendar. When it comes to writing, this works pretty well, even for a procrastinator like me.

Now then, I believe I’ve said enough for today, and will give myself permission to put off (procrastinate) writing about any of the other sins I consider deadly for a writer… until another time.

Caring For Aging Parents

Millions of Americans are now caring for their parents as we live longer with advances in modern medicine. When doing so, a new trend is emerging in the area of elder law planning, the “sister” of estate planning. Aging parents and their children alike recognize that helping the senior generation is being increasingly more difficult from a financial perspective in these tough economic times. As a result, some Americans are now entering into legal agreements, sometimes referred to as “caregiver agreements”, in order to compensate children who are providing care giving services.

In preparing these types of agreements, families should consider the following:

• What types of services are being performed? Clearly defining the duties and responsibilities of the caregiver in the beginning will benefit everyone in the long-run. This will also help legitimize the agreement if a parent needs government benefits in the future.

• What compensation will be paid? Whatever the services being performed, the compensation should be reasonable. This is especially true if parents have more than one child, but only one child is providing care giving. Do not forget, this is a job so being paid may be appropriate in certain instances.

• Have you engaged everyone in the family in this process? After a parent is gone, if one child receives a larger benefit than another, there will likely be family friction. This usually results from a lack of communication. If everyone understands that one child is performing some work for a parent, the funds received should not be viewed as an inheritance, but rather as compensation for services rendered.

As a final note, service agreements do not need to be in writing to be enforceable in the State of Florida. However, to avoid family conflict and confusion, spending the time and energy to memorialize the agreement in a clearly written legal document is certainly worthwhile.

Joshua T. Keleske, P.A. proudly serves families in the Tampa Bay area with their estate planning, estate and trust administration, and business planning needs. If you have questions regarding how we can be of assistance to you and your family, please contact us at anytime at 813-254-0044. We are happy to answer your questions and arrange for an appointment to speak with you.