Most people are not like me. Most people are responsible, upright, law-abiding citizens. I’m very jealous of you. You seem to have things much more put together than I.
I, on the other hand, put things off.
If it can be done tomorrow, I do it tomorrow.
Or the next day.
I am the procrastination QUEEN.
But not about what you think.
I love my job. I love helping authors write incredible books. I love talking to creatives about their art, about how they can put their biggest dreams to work for them. How they can make their impossible todo lists actionable.
I just tend to put off haircuts.
Checking my PO Box regularly.
Cleaning off my TiVo.
Watching the Netflix dvds (yes, I’m old school; I love dvds still).
I never can find the container for the collection of orphan lids I have in my cupboard. Organizing plastic is so not interesting to me.
I buy too many books. But I don’t read them right away; I savor them. I love knowing I have any number of new books waiting for me.
I have discovered something. Procrastination is my friend in many situations.
Because I am ACTIVELY choosing the things I am spending my time on. I can put my hair in a ponytail. I don’t need to stress about it.
From my research with creatives, I think there’s a lot of us out there who prefer doing creative stuff rather than keeping up to date on things that may or may not mean anything. I can go a year without going to my hairdresser. She likes me to come at least twice a year, so I’m trying, but I can’t bear any more than that. I don’t see the point. Because it DOES NOT MATTER that much to me.
It can matter to others. I’m sorta jealous it does, actually. But it does not matter to me.
Procrastination is a signal to you about what MATTERS.
What do you do first thing when you settle down to your work? Check Facebook?
We need to be honest with ourselves. Facebook matters to us. If you don’t check it, good for you!
If I don’t write something each day, I feel lost. I feel empty. I feel as if there’s too much building up inside and I am going to burst. I MUST WRITE. It MATTERS to me.
If I really cared about my hair, I would go bananas knowing it was growing while I was sleeping.
Maybe that will be me when I’m 89. I have no idea what I’m going to grow up to be quite yet.
PS I cannot wait.
So, if you’re procrastinating on something, does it mean you just don’t care about it yet?
Or, you’re not quite ready.
What is the one thing you’re procrastinating about TODAY?
(If it’s getting a haircut, call me. We’ll be BFFs.)
Is it the book you’ve been telling yourself you want to write?
Is it trying for a new job that would mean more money?
Is it a new creative venture that just seems out of reach?
Does it feel clumsy?
Does it feel awkward?
Is it easier to just wait?
OR . . .
Are you scared?
Are you anxious?
Are you listening to the wrong voices? (aka, people who have no bearing on your efforts or results)
I call FULL STOP on the dithering.
If you are procrastinating, what exactly is it for? What purpose does it serve?
Let’s unpack it some more.
We procrastinate because we’re afraid or we’re anxious.
Because we’re not sure about this direction, we’re not sure it will work, we’re not sure we can do it. Those are all valid reasons for FEELINGS, but not valid reasons for WAITING aka PROCRASTINATION.
We procrastinate because were clumsy or we’re awkward and we want more information.
Now we’re getting somewhere. Procrastination = MORE INFORMATION NEEDED. Still not a reason to stall. Go find the info.
We procrastinate because we’re not ready, we don’t think we can afford it, we don’t have time for it.
Again, THERE WE ARE. The truth. What is next? What will we need to feel ready? How can we afford it? How to find the time for it? Does it align with your goals? If not, maybe procrastination is telling you you’re onto the wrong SOLUTION. If it does, what can you do in the next 30 days to MAKE IT HAPPEN?
We procrastinate because we just don’t care.
THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER. I don’t get more than two haircuts a year (if that!) because I just don’t care that much about my hair. I wish I did. I wish I lived in Milan and walked around all Italian and gorgeous on runways. Then I would care about my hair. It’s just not my focus.
And because I have to have an odd number of bullets in all my lists (yes, I’m weird; look what DOES matter to me!), we procrastinate because we are on Facebook too much. When I want to clear my brain, I look on social media. I do not look at social media when I’m just settling down to focus. Well, I SHOULDN’T.
Time for a story: I, as a wordy person, tend to procrastinate when dealing with numbers, my taxes, accounting, etc. My default is to let my lovely CPA handle it. My default is to only think about it when I have to.
This is NOT a wise use of procrastination. This is me confessing to the Internets that I have to quit doing this sort of procrastination. C’mon! I should be gazing lovingly at my bank accounts. I should be talking sweet nothings to my check book and debit card.
Get the difference? When you procrastinate on something that really doesn’t matter to you, you’re good. Procrastination is helping you focus.
But if you’re NOT dealing with what really has to be something important to you, this is when procrastination is biting you in the . . . rear.
I am always taking measures to improve my interactions with my money, taxes, accounts, bank statements, even my bankers. They give me lollipops. I should love them more.
Because EXTRA EFFORT is required for me to keep at it. And because it surely matters. What good is a business owner who really hates the numbers part of her business? I have a CPA, sure, but I also have to educate myself, pay attention to tax law changes, be strategic. Being a procrastinator doesn’t get me anywhere. And when I procrastinate with my numbers, it’s usually because of #2.