Really, this post is about procrastination. I meant to write it weeks ago…
Ha! Just jokes. But the word “procrastination” puts people off doesn’t it? I am really good at procrastinating what I don’t want to do, but it is not generally thought to be a positive trait.
I think procrastination really means that we are waiting: waiting for the right time, waiting to have all the information, or waiting because of fear.
The right time. It is easy to think, while putting off a project at work or putting off the big thing I have been avoiding, that I will feel better about doing it a little later. “It’s not the right time,” if I don’t think I will have enough time to finish or if I am not in the right mood.
To have all the information. Sometimes it seems best to wait to start a project because I don’t really know how to do it. If it is new or requires research of some sort, and I don’t know how it will turn out, I want to wait until I have all the information.
Fear. Waiting for all the information can be an illustration of fear. Feeling afraid to start because I may be wrong, or seeing how unprepared I was to start can be strong motivators to wait. Fear of working hard and not succeeding makes us wait to start. And fear of actually succeeding, although it sounds counter-intuitive, is just as likely.
I put off work on my memoir for a long time, afraid of what would happen if I actually finished it. And I wasn’t sure I would finish it; I didn’t know if I could fill a whole book, whatever that means. I was fearful of it being boring, without any interest from publishers. And I was afraid of it being highly successful, getting published and being a best seller.
This fear made no logical sense but for some reason it seems a part of the process for many of us. I am conscious now of the ways I wait, the many projects I have procrastinated over. I try to figure out why I am putting something off; does it feel like not the right time, is it fear or is it simple laziness?
With my memoir I have passed over the hump of waiting and now believe it will be finished, and I will work to get it published. Boring or not, best seller or not, I’ll finish. If you too can be tempted to wait, I encourage you to think about what may be behind it and give yourself a little push if need be.
Make it a good week!