Day 91: Procrastination

Another confession: I’m a serial procrastinator. To the point where I know it’s a problem that has started to get in the way of life. And I need to fix this. A pointed me to this video the other day and it is really so on point and, as you will realise when you watch it, true for every one of us. Except, I’m a serial procrastinator, in that I cannot just get down to anything right at the very minute that I decide to or need to do it. I get to most things eventually, but not without creating an obstacle course between me and my goal, first.

Somedays the procrastination really peaks and it takes getting to a point of extreme disgust and self-loathing to eventually get cracking. Other days I dilly-dally a little and have the sense to slap myself out of it and get on with it sooner than later, but it is never without that little bit of procrastination that is enough to derail the original plan.

There are the rare days when I am so sorted and put-together in my head, motivation and plan of action in-sync, that I cannot believe it is the same person who just the other day disappeared into an abyss of buzzfeed articles, only to emerge on the other side four hours later, ready to give up and call it a day without submitting the article that was mostly done and just needed some finishing touches before it was sent off.

Recently, I’ve tried really hard to cut distraction from my daily life. And I’ve realised it helps. It helps a lot. Not just to get more daily shit done, but to feel like I’m actually moving on the larger big-picture plans I endlessly make in my head, in my notebook, in lists on my phone.

Getting on with life-plans is a real and constant tussle for me. I am perpetually stuck in a wish-I-had-more-hours-for-every-day rut. Or the I’ll-get-to-that-once-X-Y-Z-is-done rut. The there’s-time-yet-for-that rut. And it’s crossed over from being cute harmless way to buy time, to now being a serious problem. The hugsband on the other hand is like an accomplishment ninja. Once he sets his mind on something he does not rest until he gets it done. Whether it’s cooking perfect scrambled eggs, buying that latest cycling accessory, cracking a concept for a project at work, he just. gets. on. with. it.

I watch, mildly in awe, and every now and then have elaborate discussions with him about how on earth I can kick myself into action. Some days it’s a Herculean task just moving through my work deliverables, so larger personal goals are perpetually languishing on the back burner, unattended.

Conversations with VC about this and most other things are hard, because he has a way of being brutally honest. The other day we talked about work and how I am hitting my stride in many ways, but not so much in the areas I really want to see progress. There’s success in getting stuff done, and then there’s the larger needle-moving stuff, the transformational change that takes a lot more perseverance, determination and self-motivation to get at. Fast.

The penny dropped when he put it plain and simply: “You procrastinate too much.”

And I had to finally swallow the bitter truth I have known but refused to acknowledge for a while now. I have also known fully well, for far too long now, that one can only be as accomplished and successful in achieving one’s goals as one wants to be. At least in my situation, it is entirely in my own hands. With so few demands on my time, and the flexibility to offload even what little I do have to manage, I really have little excuse to not be making larger strides of improvement in my work, chasing down my goals and making them happen sooner.

I thought about it deeply today, only to realise part of being a serial procrastinator is also being chicken shit. So maybe then I am only procrastinating because I am afraid to face the possible outcomes. Because being proactive, on top of things and going after them then means facing the possibility of not being good enough, sometimes not matching up to my own image of the future-me. Sometimes it is the crippling fear that I will just not be able to see a particular task through, so I stop right at the beginning, refrain form even making a move. Sometimes, I am just plain and simple afraid of failure, of having my work hated, or facing the music, owning up to criticism.

I am a serial procrastinator for all these reasons, and maybe so many more that I am yet to discover. But I hope this is the time in my life that I am able to work through it and not just stop at acknowledging it.

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7 Replies to “Day 91: Procrastination”

  1. Revathi, I’ve been going through the exact same things you e described. Watching the TED video yesterday and speaking to a friend about my procrastination I realized that I am the same – scared shitless of every project I undertake. I lose momentum so early in the game that I wonder what’s the point of going on if I keep giving up. This abject fear of failure has lost me so many things in the past. Now I’ve decided to see any project I take through the end and not give up half way. If I fail at the end I will atleast be satisfied I tried.

    1. I hear you! I also have a history of being mostly good at most things I took up. Right through school and college I got thru with stellar results (and I dont mean just academically) with very minimal effort. Now, the game has changed. Success takes a lot more effort, and there is competition, and there is the fear of being judged, and succeeded in the face of all that takes way more than just showing up and delivering.

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