I am a champion procrastinator.
Whoever first started writing about the deleterious effects of procrastinating must have been watching me at the time. When there’s some that I have to do and I don’t want to do it, I can argue with myself until my head explodes. I can find all sorts of things to do. A lot of the time, I’d rather do housework than some of the things I’m procrastinating about, and I never do house work. But I have found myself, at eleven o’clock at night, cleaning the kitchen because I’m trying to avoid doing something else.
I’m avoiding something right now.
You see, the thing I’ve learned about procrastinating, but conveniently ignore until I have no other choice, is that the arguing is much worse than the reality of the task. I remember once that I had to make a phone call to my insurance company, they’d sent me a letter after an accident that I needed to sort out with them. I dreaded it for days. I think I actually put it off for nearly two weeks. And then when I finally made the call, it was quick and easy to sort out ,and the girl on the phone was friendly and made it seem simple and then it was done. The procrastinating is always worse than the reality.
Knowing that doesn’t seem to help.
And the best way that I procrastinate is by learning. You see, I don’t really like doing new things. I don’t like not knowing how to do something properly and I don’t like being bad at something. So to get over that, I learn everything about a new activity before I try it, as if I can cram proficiency in through my eyeballs. Needless to say, that’s rarely ever effective. But it’s also a good procrastination tactic. When I have something new to do, something I’m dreading, I just keep learning about it. I tell myself that it’s going to help do the new thing properly, it’s all vital information, I need to know… whatever. The truth is, with any new activity, you can’t learn everything about it before you do it. Life doesn’t work that way. Humans don’t work that way. We learn best by doing, by experiencing and adjusting our performance by the world’s responses. I know all that.
And… I keep doing it.
I’m learning marketing. Just the word makes me cringe a little. I don’t like being the centre of attention and I don’t like drawing attention to myself and I don’t really like talking or interacting with people I don’t know really well. And now I’m telling myself to make contact with lots of strangers every day.
You see my problem here?
It’s a necessary thing if I want to succeed in what I’m doing at the moment, and I do want to succeed. I’ve had some early wins, but I want to go further and do more and do better and in order to do that… I need to market myself.
I’m learning about it as we speak, reading and studying and thinking and it takes the place of actual marketing that I should be doing. So tonight I told myself it was enough. You see, you can’t really argue yourself into believing you’re ready. There is never a point in your self-appointed studies where you will be able to tell yourself that you’ve learned enough and are ready to start doing, not when you’re procrastinating your way out of something. Instead you just have to move.
There’s a lot of information out there on how to beat procrastination, and some that says that procrastination can actually be a good thing, which I actually agree with. But the blunt truth is that if you want to get past it, you just have to make a move. Just the first move and then, once your brain realises yet again that the procrastinating is far worse than the actual action, the second move will be easier.
I wish my brain would just learn that lesson once and for all.
So I moved tonight. I took the first step. Hopefully, the second will be easier.