There I said it.
I’m an avid list maker and it’s rare I don’t cross off every task. If I make a plan to do something, it WILL get done. I’m dependable. I don’t think anyone who knows me would say otherwise. But the time frame in which the task actually gets done, had me questioning my motivation. Or lack there of.
I recently read a Fast Company article, “The Art of Letting Go: How I Learned to Stop Procrastinating” and came to the realization I don’t procrastinate because I’m lazy. It’s often the opposite. 1. I need time to plan things out in my head, then on paper and then I execute. Or 2. my standards are often set so high I scare myself into thinking I won’t meet the goal.
Or possibly both.
My job expects me to be available during typical office hours, 9a-5p, Monday-Friday. But social media is open 24/7. So I find myself monitoring platforms, updating reports or working on campaign strategies at 11:30p on Saturday night. Is it really procrastinating if I didn’t get the task at hand done by Friday and am doing it Saturday instead? I feel like it is. Technically I’m managing my time well enough to deliver results when expected. But the schedule in which I do it, probably doesn’t fit the average 9-to-5er. Isn’t that really what procrastinating is? Not doing something on someone else’s expected schedule?
Not according to David Mcraney. His post on procrastination says it’s a much bigger problem. That it can manifest itself in every part of your life. He starts out by saying:
The Misconception: You procrastinate because you are lazy and can’t manage your time well.
The Truth: Procrastination is fueled by weakness in the face of impulse and a failure to think about thinking.
I tend to agree…sort of.
I’m afraid my (sometimes) absurd expectations of myself and my work, might not be met. Like when I made a quilt for my husband for Christmas a few years back. I spent the entire week before Christmas in quilt hell. I looked at the fabric for almost 2 months in my living room. I had ideas of what I wanted it to look like, then I doubted my sewing ability. Then I doubted my color choices and bought new fabric. Still just stared at it for another month. But it was finished and wrapped under the tree on Christmas eve.
I, on some level, was afraid of failure. But I was thinking about it. I thought about it every.single.day.
There is a reason the gym is packed on January 2nd. There is a reason stores are open 24 hours the days before Christmas. There is a reason the post office is open late on April 15th. But the reason for each stems from something different inside of us. Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s laziness. Maybe it’s bad time management. Or maybe a sense of urgency isn’t created early on so the challenge of completing a meaningful task in a timely manner, doesn’t exist.
Whatever the reason, I do it. There are definitely some things I need to work on when it comes to procrastination. But one thing is certain, I’ll check that box on the to-do list. It might be at the next to the last minute, but it will be done. And on time.