January 8, 2008

articles matra brathwaite 6 Comments

 Dealing With The I’ll Get To It Later Syndrome


                                   photo by megelizabeth on flickr

They say the only way to confront an issue is to come right out and talk about it – that the first step to recovery is admittance. So here goes…I have a problem.

No, it’s not alcohol and it’s not gambling and though I’ve never been to Atlantic City, I’ve seen pictures and I am mesmerized by how much gold-leaf Trump can cram into a square inch. It’s amazing and mathematically ingenious.

I did however, realize the other day that I have a problem with chocolate but a girl’s got to have some vices. No guys, my problem is much, much more sinister and dark. Very dark. Here goes…I’m a procrastinator! (waits for the shock to die down)

Yea, that’s right I said it. Procrastinator, that dirty, dirty word that most of us try to ignore. So, this procrastination label is not some new epiphany that I stumbled across last week. I’ve been toying with it for awhile, really trying to grasp the hidden message behind it and to locate the ‘fear”. Yes, I have watched Oprah once or twice in my life, I’m not ashamed. So, if you’re like me and find that you keep putting things off and are ready to make some changes, here are some tips that seem to work.

Step 1: I’ve identified the problem: procrastination! How do you deal with that?

Step 2: I bought a book, a shiny paperback with a great cover and cute illustrations. Surprise, surprise, it didn’t really help me, because it was reworked common sense and deep down I already knew what I had to do. Yet, it’s funny how I didn’t get right on that. So the book lay there for awhile collecting dust, silently mocking my procrastinating ass every time I glanced its way.

Step 3: Finally acknowledged that there were some issues about myself that I had to deal with. Why did I think that daydreaming on the future instead of doing something with the present was the better option?

Step 4: What was I really afraid of? In my case, it was failure. I can be a bit of a perfectionist in some cases, which if you knew me you’d be like I don’t believe you, liar, liar and checking to see if my pants were on fire.

I kid you not; I’m not the obvious, classic perfectionist because I’m internal with it all. Someone with a Martha Stewart complex may drive themselves crazy rearranging the same floral centerpiece whereas I’ll spend eons wrapped up in my own head imaging the outcome.

You see, if I didn’t think that I would be successful at it – I would take forever to do it, because I would trick myself into believing that the more I thought about it and corrected it mentally (before I attempted it) the better it would turn out.

Eventually, I realized that there is no such thing as failure and you can not, I repeat you can not be afraid of non-desired results because then you will not even try and that’s worse. Why? Well, because then you will never know what might have happened.
Perfectionism is NOT a quest for the best. It is the pursuit of the worst in

ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough – that we should try again.  – Julia Cameron

A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault with it -unknown

There are many different reasons why people procrastinate: fear of the unknown, fear of imperfection, fear of success, fear of change, fear of finishing, the list goes on and on. The most important to thing is to recognize why you are avoiding the task at hand. Once you understand that, it becomes easier to find ways to counteract it.

Step 5: How to successfully get it done. Well, while some people need to make a list, I prefer to have a set goal with a specific deadline in my mind that I can focus on. I also find that when you are enthusiastic about something that it makes it easier to get things done. Also, letting other people know about the deadline can be a perfect way to keep you motivated. Find what works best for you. At first, it may feel like you’re extracting your own wisdom teeth but the accomplished feeling is so much better.

So, okay you’ve identified both the problem and the cause, now what? Just keep working at it. It sounds so easy, yet it is something that you have to work at constantly. You’re not going to miraculously change overnight and you definitely shouldn’t beat yourself up if and/or when you backslide. Trust me, there’s no need for negative self-talk, it only makes you feel terrible and negates all the positive steps you have taken before the one that only (fingers-crossed) momentarily sets you back.

Another important reason as to why I’ve decided to confront my fears head on, is because I wasn’t just procrastinating about ideas, I was procrastinating about life. (cue sad, melodic music) Procrastination robs you of every precious moment that you have, every one. Time that you never get back. Once I realized that it really motivated me to step out of my head and into the now.

How do you deal with procrastination?

♥ the alchemist

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      asja Jan 11, 2008

      thank you for writing this article! it was nice to know i’m not the only one with procrastinating/being a perfectionist problem :)
      lately i’ve been carrying a card with me that says “do it now!!!” so whenever i feel like procrastinating i look at it. it’s a bit silly, but it works.

        Shobirin Dec 06, 2012

        I could not agree more. You would think procrastination WAS my job the way I hdlnae things. But you’re right – pressure seems to push out my best work.In the spirit of sharing the love, you’ve got a small award waiting for you :).Check my blog for details.

      headmistress Jan 13, 2008

      this is a fantastic post! I’ve never thought in depth about why I actually procrastinate, but the perfection issue certainly strikes a cord. I try to avoid it by setting small deadlines and tasks on a daily basis, do-able, acheivable targets, that make me feel I am actually making progress, rather than staring blankly at some huge, impossible project, that is always fading into the distance.

      thealchemist Jan 14, 2008

      asja: yea, another procrastinator/perfectionist! it took me awhile to figure it out but now i just have to keep working at it. i love the idea of having a visual reminder to “do it now!!!”

      headmistress: thanks! that is an excellent solution which is perfectly worded and it does help to make the task less intimidating…

      Veronica Mar 11, 2011

      Thank you for this! I dont feel alone and cwazzy anymore! LOL You hit the nail on the head.. I actually feel relieved! Dont let procrastination rob our time. Im instantly motivated cos i hate that batch! xxxx


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