Friday, 10 March 2017

Self-regulation and Procrastination

Inspired by my amazing colleagues, I decided to write a professional learning book based on a journal article I wrote last year and began the process with a book proposal to a publisher during Christmas Break.  This is part of my One Word Challenge - to stretch myself out of my comfort zone.

I submitted the proposal and the publisher was interested.  They requested a draft chapter by March 20.  I wrote the first draft by mid-February and sent it to two of my colleagues for their input. I respect both of them as educators and writers, and I knew they would give me the honest truth.  They sent me their suggestions and I got right to work on revisions.  Within a short time, I had revised everything except one section - about two paragraphs.

And that's when the procrastination started......

After a few days of diligently working away at revisions, I came to a screeching halt.  I moved my work down to the dining room table so I couldn't avoid seeing it all day, every day, but I kept avoiding those last two paragraphs.

Then I saw this on Twitter:

and I had an aha! moment.  How could I reframe my writing and more specifically my procrastination through a self-reg lens?  Why was I procrastinating?  It seemed to be causing stress but was it also a way of avoiding stress?

The last section I had to revise was about teacher self-efficacy.  One of my reviewers has just published a book on teacher self-efficacy.  So who am I to write about that when she's written a whole book?   I've read some articles and understand the theory behind it, but obviously she knows more than I do and I should probably just stop before I reveal my inferior knowledge to everyone.  I think there was a bit of imposter syndrome happening for me.

And secondly, once that section was done it would be time to submit this draft chapter to the publisher for peer review and committee consideration.  Maybe they'll say 'yes' and then I'll have to revise and revise again for this chapter PLUS I'll have to write the rest of the chapters.  Or, maybe they'll say 'no' and that will be so disappointing.  So by not finishing this draft chapter, I may have been trying to avoid the anxiety of clicking submit.

This self-reg lens helped me to understand why I was procrastinating. Instead of beating myself up for my lack of willpower and self-control, which I had been doing for days, I understood the reasons for the procrastination.  And once I did, I was able to finish the revisions in one night.

This morning, I mustered my courage and clicked send.  Draft chapter one is on it's way out into the publishing world for consideration and review, and hopefully, acceptance.  And best of all, I get my dining room table back!

I put the leaf in but still managed to cover the entire surface.
Luckily no one else was home this week.


  1. "Imposter syndrome" - I can relate to that! Never heard it put quite that way. Thanks for sharing your experience here, Lisa. You have once again taught me a little more about what self-reg is (and isn't). Can't wait to read your book! Are you sure you have enough things on the go, btw?

  2. Thanks Nancy. I was worried that I might be bored when I retired since John is so busy at work and the girls are both away at school. I think I may have overcompensated. There are so many exciting opportunities now that I have more time and I'm like a kid in a candy store - I want it all but too much is going to make me sick!