First Published: February 17, 2020  | Last Updated:

It took me five years to spend an hour at the DMV.

That’s how long I’ve lived in NYC with a Maryland license. To make it worse, I actually haven’t lived in Maryland since at least 2011 (depending on how you count it). So I’ve had an out of date license even longer than that.

I knew it was important, even though I don’t drive here.

I knew it would save me money here and there to have a local ID.

I knew it would get me a library card…a LIBRARY CARD! 😍

But every time I went to the DMV website to figure out a transfer, I got scared away in a bout of errand paralysis.

If you’ve never been on a DMV website, know that they’re about as organized, clear, and user friendly as the actual DMV is. 🙄

So every time I made an attempt, I wouldn’t be able to find what I needed, get overwhelmed, and eventually retreat.

The mental paralysis hit.

And I use my ID so rarely, it was so easy to just let it.

Enter…the power of a deadline

It wasn’t until I got a letter that Maryland was switching to a new ID type and my current one would be expiring that I got my ass into gear.

Once I had a deadline (the expiration date) and couldn’t procrastinate anymore, I made the appointment.

At first I was annoyed that the soonest one was a month away, the day before a holiday no less, but it turns out I needed that much time.

Because thennnn came the proofs of identity.

Oy, the proofs of identity. 🙄

You have to bring at least five with you, from a specified list with all these confusing stipulations.

Like, both your birth certificate and social security card are options on their own, but you can’t use both. And you can use a credit card statement or a credit card, but they can’t be from the same card. And yada, yada, yada…

So glad I had that whole month now.

Because it really did turn into a BIG project that involved:

  • A trip home to my parents (in Maryland, from New York City) to get personal documents I didn’t have here
  • Turning off paperless billing on my bank accounts and a credit card long enough to start getting postmarked mail and bank statements to use as proof
  • Climbing up onto my kitchen counter to reach the box of stuff that had my social security card (which Alex could have reached with no climbing, had I remembered to ask him before he left that day…that one’s on me)

So now there was a healthy sprinkling of scope creep on top of the errand paralysis.

Once I realized it was scope creep, I realized this wasn’t just an annoying adulting errand. I realized…

I was a PROJECT.

I can MANAGE projects! 🤓

Errands might not be my jam, but project management and organization are.

And that’s when I started getting things done. 🙌

Releasing the weight of an unfinished project

I started writing this letter in the cab on the way home from the DMV, and I cannot tell you how much lighter I felt in that moment.

I didn’t care that I had to turn in my old license, with one of the best pictures I’ve ever taken on it. 🤣

I didn’t care that I didn’t actually have my new license yet, so technically the project wasn’t finished yet.

I didn’t care that the cab smelled like 6 different room/air deodorizers mixed together.

I had just moved a MAJOR project off my plate.

I mean, I had planned it all out in Notion* (of course 🤓) and it ended up requiring a more complicated dashboard and project plan than any of my ACTUAL work.

And I wanted to share this story to remind you of a few things:

  • Errand paralysis is freaking real, and it’s okay if you have a metaphorical junk drawer of chores and errands you’ve been hiding from your brain. Unfortunately…
  • Those things still have to be dealt with eventually. Fortunately…
  • Having a deadline and breaking things down into steps always helps. Aaaand…
  • Once you take even one small step towards getting it done, you’ll feel a huge weight off your shoulders.

Hopefully this encourages you to start chipping away at your backlogged pile of personal to-dos this week. 🙌

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