Archive for Procrastination Posts

published in Change, Dreams/Goals, Fear, Inspiration, Procrastination by Maryanne | February 12, 2017 | 2 Comments

Waffles Anyone – What Type of Decision Maker Are You?


“We don’t know if a choice is wise or wrong until we’ve lived it. We can’t ever really know where a choice will take us, though we may sense its direction.”

Sarah Ban Breathach, Something More; Excavating Your Authentic Self

When it comes to making big life decisions, I tend to waffle back and forth.

I’m the type of person who tries to look at ALL the angles. I write out all the pros and cons I can think of. I ask people for their advice. I do the research. I wrack my brain trying to think of all the things that could go wrong. But, of course, trying to determine all possible things that could go wrong – or right – is technically impossible…because we don’t know what we don’t know yet!

Sure, we can anticipate the obvious likely outcomes, if we chose a certain course of action. But there is simply no way we can anticipate all outcomes because there are, whether we like it or not, other variables that likely aren’t even on our radar yet.

In other words, we don’t live in a vacuum.

I’ve been waffling over a decision for quite some time now, so when I was reading the February 2017 edition of O Magazine the other day, an article caught my eye. It was about the different types of decision makers there are. So I did the little quiz and it turned out I am “The Waffler.” I laughed out loud…yup!

Here is the description of The Waffler:

“You’re a thoughtful person who considers all the angles…but now you’re overanalyzing, so busy looking you can’t leap. The more time you spend thinking about what you should do, the less able you are to do anything at all.”


Sometimes I think so much, I think myself right into a big fat corner, immobilized by indecision and terrified of making the WRONG decision. So I put off making ANY decision…which, of course, is still a decision – just not a particularly proactive one.

In terms of advising us Wafflers on how to flip ourselves out of the damn pan of indecision, O Magazine had this to suggest:

“Do a gut check. Write your choices on a separate piece of paper and fold them into squares, then throw them in the air and pick up the one that lands closest. When you read what’s inside, check your physical reaction. Are you holding your breath or sighing in relief? Do you feel lighter or heavier? Let your response be your guide.”

– O Magazine, February 2017

So that’s exactly what I did – and you know what? It kinda helped! And I think I know why.

This strategy is similar to a cute little coffee-table book I have, called The Book of Answers by Carol Bolt. It was given to me by a dear friend years ago. It is, literally, a book of answers, in that each page has a single “answer” on it.

So what you do is hold the book, close your eyes, ask yourself a close-ended question (e.g. “Is the job I am applying for the right one?”), then open the book up to whatever feels like the right page, open your eyes and ta da…there’s your answer!

Here are a few sample answers:

“That’s out of your control”

“Don’t ignore the obvious”

“Make a list of why not”

“You are too close to see”

“You will find out everything you need to know”

Kids love it!

Now, of course, the book doesn’t really have THE answer to our questions. It just has an answer – and it is up to us to see how that answer makes us feel. And that, I have found, can actually be very helpful – similar to the idea of tossing the pieces of paper in the air and randomly choosing one.

If I ask the book a question and I rather like the answer I get, then that tells me I might be on the right track. If I DON’T like the answer I get and am, in fact, a little miffed at the audacity of the Universe to suggest such a thing, then that is also revealing in terms of helping me figure out what I don’t want.

“There comes a time when we aren’t allowed to know.”

– Judith Viorst

In the end, a decision needs to be made – even if it is the decision to do nothing at all. But what I’ve also come to realize over the years is that, for me, waffling may actually be an important part of the decision-making process.

Maybe we waffle when we know we have to make a change – but aren’t quite sure what or when…possibly because there are other factors and forces at play that we have no control over?

Perhaps other things have to line up first and then when everything else is in place, the time comes for us to make our move – and, low and behold, we DO know what to do and when.

In other words, maybe the process of waffling has helped prepare us to be able to make the right decision when the right time comes to make it?

Food for thought 🙂

When it comes to making big life decisions, are you a Waffler? What is your decision-making process like? Do you trust your gut instinct?

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.

This is the first blog in the Life After Loss blog series:

 Awakening the Soul – Loss as a Wake-Up Call


“Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don’t know it, are asleep.”

 – Anthony de Mello, Awareness; the Perils and Opportunities of Reality

On the afternoon of Thursday September 28th, 2000, I had an argument with my husband, John, a police officer, about my habit of procrastinating on my writing.

We were at the dog park and I said to him, “I am so scared I am going to wake up twenty years from now and still not having finished writing a book.”

John turned to me and said, “You’re probably right about that…just as long as you know that will have been your choice.”


But by that point, we’d been together twelve years…that’s a long time to listen to someone talk about their dream of becoming a writer – yet doing very little in the way of actual writing.

After the dog park, we went home and John had a nap before going in to work for 9pm. Before going to bed, I promised myself, again, that I would wake up early the next morning and do an hour of writing before going into my regular job at 7am. In those days, I worked as a civilian for the same police service John did. I was a report processor and took incident reports from officers over the phone.

But when my alarm clock went off at 5:00am the next morning, I reached over and pushed the snooze button. I don’t want to wake up. I don’t feel like writing. I don’t want to go back to my job either. Why do I have to type police reports for a living?

Ten minutes later, the alarm went off again. I pushed snooze. I don’t want to get up. I can’t write today. I’m too tired.

Ten minutes later, the alarm went off; snooze was hit. I am SO anxious! I don’t like my job. I don’t want to go back there.

And nor would I. For during that exact same time-frame of me pushing snooze, John was lying on the lunchroom floor of a warehouse, dying of a brain injury. He had responded to a break and enter complaint at a warehouse and was searching the mezzanine level for an intruder, when he stepped through an unmarked false ceiling and fell nine feet into the lunchroom below. There had been no safety railing in place to warn him – or anyone else – of the danger.

The complaint turned out to be a false alarm; there was no intruder in the building. My wake-up call, however, was devastatingly real.

My soul had been awakened to a new reality. I was a thirty-two-year old widow entitled to receive my husband’s paycheque for the rest of my life. As a wanna-be writer, this was a dream come true. As a woman in love, it was a nightmare from which I could not awake.

Death took my soul-mate; life got my attention.

Two weeks later, I started writing what would become my book, A Widow’s Awakening. It took me 8 years, a dozen rewrites and an ocean of tears to get it (and me) where it needed to be for publication. But I did it. And quite frankly, the process of writing the damn thing probably not only saved me, it showed me the path out of grief.

John’s sudden and easily preventable death made me realize just how precious life is – and how fast it can end. We may think we have all the time in the world to do what we are here to do…but we might not.

Losing John just about killed me. There were days I wished it would. But it didn’t. In fact, his death gave me a beautiful new life – just not the one I’d planned on. And yet, right from the moment I was first told about his fall, along with the hurt, shock and fear, there was also a powerful sense of inevitability about all that was unfolding…as if a tiny voice inside me whispered, “And away we go.”

Perhaps because:

 “Your soul knows the geography of your destiny.”

– John O’Donohue, Anam Cara; A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Thankfully, loss isn’t the only way to awaken one’s soul to the reality that our time here is finite, so we’d best be making the most of our lives – but it is certainly an effective one. Or rather, it can be.

For at the end of the day (or a life, a relationship, a career, a dream), choosing how to move forward after a loss is always a choice.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.


For further info about the Life After Loss blog series, please click here.

Here is the link to subscribe to receive the Life After Loss blogs.

Let’s Make Using Reusable Hot Beverage Mugs COOL (Again)


 pile of coffee cups

 “Canadians use 1.6 billion disposable hot beverage cups each year.”

– Environment Canada

Yes, you read correctly: Canadians use more than 1.6 billion paper and polystyrene cups every year. That is the equivalent of half a million trees. Yikes! And all those cups – after being used once – have to end up somewhere.

And where the vast majority of those cups ARE ending up is the landfill.

How does your coffee habit

114.5 million kilograms of paper cup waste—the equivalent of 22,900 elephants—is dumped into Canadian landfills each year (Alive website).

In Toronto alone, 1 million paper cups are thrown away every day.

In the U.S., an estimated 25 billion paper coffee cups are used annually.

What it takes to produce a disposable hot beverage paper cup

To produce those 25 billion paper coffee cups in the States every year, an estimated 9.4 million trees have to be cut down, 7 trillion BTUs of energy are needed, and 21.6 billion litres of water are required.

As for Canada? Here are the numbers:

1.6 billion cups in Canada per year

Plus, according to a study conducted by Starbucks and the Alliance for the Environmental Innovation (April 2000), each paper cup manufactured is responsible for 0.24 lbs of CO2 emissions (Carry Your Cup).

In other words, the production of disposable cups is very resource-intensive. It takes a lot of wood, a lot of water, and a lot of energy to put that cup of java in your hand…in a cup that is only going to be used once.

It makes much more sense to purchase a reusable coffee mug and use it over and over again. The only way to reduce the amount of disposable coffee cups we send to landfills is stop using them in the first place. Simple, yes. But apparently not easy.

Tim Hortons and Starbucks have been somewhat proactive in addressing the problem by offering discounts to those who use their own cups, as well as introducing recycling programs. However, a recent CBC Investigates article (“Tim Hortons, Starbucks recycling claims may be garbage,” Oct 30, 2015) revealed the actual destination of cups placed in the recycled containers…and let’s just say it wasn’t the recycling plant 🙁

Disposable cups are difficult to recycle

Disposable coffee cups aren’t like other recyclable materials. Most paper cups are made from only a small amount of recycled materials because recycled paper products aren’t capable of holding hot liquids. In fact, disposable cups really can’t be made from recycled paper because according to Environment Canada, it fails to meet health standards and is not sturdy enough to support liquid.

Plus, in order to prevent the cups from leaking, they are coated with a plastic that can prevent them from being properly recycled. While many people think that paper coffee cups are recyclable, most facilities do not accept them because of their inner plastic lining.

So while the paper coffee cup may seem like an eco-friendly alternative, the lining not only makes the cups difficult to recycle, it also prevents them from breaking down easily in the landfill – and when they do, the lining turns into tiny particles that can end up in the food chain.

Habits are tough to break

Producing and disposing of billions of single-use disposable hot beverage cups is not only over-the-top wasteful, it is a massive use of resources – and could be significantly reduced if more people simply got in the habit of drinking from reusable mugs.

Ahhh…but therein lies the problem: when it comes to human behavior and trying to get people to change their personal habits for the sake of the greater good, that’s where things get tricky.

Because let’s face it, in this day and age, you would pretty much have to have been hiding under a rock (with no internet access) for the past decade not to have heard of the idea of using a reusable coffee mug. It’s not exactly new. Heck, I was using a reusable coffee mug back in my University days in the early 1990’s.

But back then, it was kinda cool to carry a reusable coffee mug. It showed you cared about the planet and, perhaps most importantly, believed that small actions – taken by many – do make a difference.

Today, this is what’s hip:

coffee cup and cell phone

Get this: according to a study done by the Sightline Institute, fewer than two percent of coffee lovers bring their own mugs to Starbucks (“Why You’re Still Not Using that Reusable Coffee Mug,” by Margaret Morales, Apr 7, 2016, The Tyee).

Based on my personal observation at Starbuck’s, Tim Hortons and walking about the streets, this stat, sadly, sounds about right.

So why don’t more people use reuseable coffee cups?

Is it that people don’t care? Or is that people don’t think that, at this point, one less disposable cup is going to make any sort of difference to the landfill? Because if so, technically, this IS true. But if thousands of people made the switch to using a reusable mug for their daily cup/s of take-out coffee, then this would start to make a difference.

Alas, getting people to look beyond their own selves and the small impact that their individual actions have on the bigger picture is not easy to do. But I do know people who think like this…who actually consider the cumulative effect of millions of people’s actions, including their own. So it is possible.

“Several other obstacles stand in the way of a reusable-mug renaissance,” explains Margaret Morales in The Tyee article on Apr 7, 2016. “Carrying around a tumbler is inconvenient; unique travel-mug sizes can give baristas trouble; and, interestingly, the paper coffee cup has also become a status symbol, a signal of wealth and a busy schedule, and consumers are loathe to give that up.”

Interesting. I suspect Morales may be on to something there.

“For coffee lovers,” Morales continues, “there’s the missed chance to show off your cosmopolitan lifestyle by slinging around a fresh paper cup. There’s just something about that crisp white cylinder that’s hard to let go of.”

Personally, I don’t get this – because it’s not how I think. But considering only two percent of the coffee drinkers purchasing their drinks from a coffee shop are actually bothering to use a reusable coffee cup, I can’t help but wonder if somehow, over the past decade, there really has been some sort of cultural shift away from caring enough about the environment to at least try and lessen one’s impact in some small way.

Are we giving up on believing that no matter what we do, it isn’t going to make any difference anyway, so why bother?

There are, of course, many other reasons why people don’t use a reusable coffee cup: maybe they are not aware of the fact that billions of disposable cups are heading to the landfill each year, or perhaps they simply don’t care?

Or maybe some people believe that disposable paper coffee cups are okay because they’ll get recycled (not necessarily). I certainly thought this – when I didn’t have my reusable cup with me but still wanted a coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

Or maybe people are just busy? Or perhaps they forgot to bring it with them…and so on. At the end of the day – or the beginning, as is often the case when it comes to coffee – I suppose it comes down to priorities.

If a person genuinely believes that their tiny act of using a reusable coffee cup will make any sort of difference (if for no other reason than at least they are not contributing to the problem), then they may make it a priority to get a reusable mug, remember to bring it with them – and then actually use it.

And maybe if more people start using reusable hot beverage cups, doing so will become cool…again 🙂

What can you do?

If you’re not already, you could consider making a reusable mug a part of your daily routine:

– Buy a reusable mug you really like

– Keep a reusable cup in your vehicle and/or bag

– Use your mug for tea, coffee, water, pop, and other beverages

– Wash your cup out at the end of the day and use it again the next day

– Use reusable mugs at your place of work

– If you’re drinking a beverage in a coffee shop and don’t have a reusable cup with you, ask for a to-stay mug

– Share this blog with others

If you are using – or are going to start using – a reusable coffee mug

If you have a plastic reusable mug, be sure to check the recyclable number on the bottom. According to National Geographic’s Green Guide, those with the numbers 2, 4, and 5 will not release substances into your food and can be recycled in most municipalities.

If you prefer metal, choose one without a liner, since some epoxy liners contain the unhealthy chemical bisphenol A.

Thank you for reading and I would love to hear any feedback you may have – either on your thoughts on reusable coffee mugs or on Face the Future in general.


Face the Future is an on-line environmental awareness campaign that raises awareness about how and why individuals can lessen their environmental footprint one step at a time. The 2016 blog series runs from Apr 22 to Jun 24. To receive the blogs via e-mail, here is the link to subscribe . Face the Future is an initiative of Pink Gazelle Productions Inc.