When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that in itself is a choice. - William James
Oh the sweet, twisted torment of procrastination.
In my personal life, I'm good at it. Like, reeeally good at it. I'm the total opposite when I'm working - then, I'm quick, efficient, disciplined. Which makes it all the more confusing to me when I'm trying to figure out how the heck to NOT be so damn good at this twisted skill. Why am I sabotaging myself?
I've come to realize that my particular brand of procrastination comes in 3 phases.
It all starts with knowing what I have to do. And away I go!! I see how much time I have to do it. I don't worry. I got this! I'm good! I'm smart, I'm hard working, I know what I'm doing, what needs to be done, how long it will take. Would it feel good to decide now, to have it done now? Sure! But I don't reeeally wanna deal with it now...I want to do this know...or that...or binge watch Netflix...or snuggle with my love...or who knows what I just don't want to do it right now, ok?! Ok so maybe deep down I am a little worried. That I'll not do it perfectly. That I actually don't know what I'm doing. That I'll fail at this - at everything - at all the things. I know I need to start now to get it done but I just can't. It's too boring. It's too hard. It's too whatever. I'm not sure I can nail this. No, no. Shh, mean voices in my head. You're good!!! Go make a cocktail and chill!! Relax! Relaxing feels so good...
If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first. - Mark Twain
And then...now this is the bad part...the stuck-in-the-mud/quicksand/whirlpool of despair. I realize I'm running out of time. Oh balls. I'm gonna have to do this thing. Eat the proverbial frog. I should have eaten the big frog first. I should have done it this morning. Yesterday. Last week. Oh god. I don't know what to do. I'm never going to get this done. I'm terrible and horrible and I should quit now. And those thoughts get dark, get deep, and down I go like Artax in the Swamp of Sadness.
You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic. - Bill Watterson
And THEN...the sweet, sweet rush of clarity, adrenaline, power. The gears kick in, the clouds part, I stand up straight, and I charge forward. And I Get. It. DONE. Perfectly. On time. Better than I ever imagined. Power through!
...and because of that sweet rush of phase 3, because of the squishy luxury of phase 1, I come back again and again. But the Swamp of Sadness, dude. It's too much. It's dark and it's exhausting. And I've had enough of it. I don't want to go back there. So what now? Is it possible to actually dry the swamp out? (I just couldn't bring myself to say "drain the swamp". Sad!)
I think my particular brand of procrastination is based on fear of failure and the repercussions of that. But here's the rub. I've worked in the arts for my entire life - I value failure! You learn so much from doing it wrong, from falling on your face, from the glorious moments of "strong but wrong". So my fear comes not from the lack of knowledge that failure is good. Maybe it comes from a lack of faith that those around me will see and believe the same thing? Or my inability to apply the belief in the power of failure on a macro level of my life as opposed to the micro level of steps in my life. ...or maybe I'm just over thinking this and Netflix and cuddling with my boo is a-ok and that stack of papers can really wait until tomorrow. I'll go with that for right now. I can think about this more tomorrow! Peace.