Have you ever procrastinated? Like really, really procrastinated? The kind of procrastination that seduces you into thinking that cleaning your toilet, organizing your garage, or doing your taxes sounds... um... fun?
Well, maybe not fun... but better than that Thing that you're avoiding.
And have you ever procrastinated so much that you're not only avoiding that Thing, but now you're losing sleep because you're so afraid of waking up in the middle of the night trying to not think about that Thing.⠀
And so maybe then you drink extra coffee, which of course makes you sleep less.
Which also makes you want to clean the lint out of the bottom of the refrigerator. And while you're at it, maybe scrub the baseboards.
Wash the windows? Organize your toiletries. Iron the shirts in your closet.
Oh... and put the sheets in the wash.
Whhhhyyyyyyyy do we do this? It's almost like the more meaningful the Thing, the more important the Thing, the bigger the procrastination gets.
I caught myself doing this yesterday. I finally had to just look myself in the eye (picture me in the bathroom mirror- sponge in one hand, spray bottle full of cleaner in the other) and say: Enough.
Because I'm onto myself these days...
When I'm procrastinating, I now know that I'm trying to control something. I'm trying to control how hard I fail. I'm trying to control how helpless I feel. I'm trying to control how lost I am. I'm trying to control the way you see me, the way my friends see me. I'm trying to hide a flaw or deficit from you, from myself.
If I can distract you with my shiny-ness...
Look at my perfectly organized sock drawer... aren't you dazzled?
...then maybe you won't see how lost I feel, how scared I feel, how inept I feel. Maybe I won't see it either.
Procrastination is always about control. It's a reaction to fear. It's an attempt to avoid uncertainty.
And the only way forward is to relinquish your need for control, to surrender to reality, to accept your limitations.
Yes, you might fail.
And yes, you might not be good enough.
And yes, you might make a bunch of mistakes.
And yes, this Thing that you've been avoiding will be hard.
And that even if you completely screw up--it'll be ok.
It's supposed to be hard.
Do it anyway.
So this is what I told myself in the mirror yesterday. And then, I put down the spray bottle and the sponge. And then I opened a glaringly blank document. Word count = 0.
And then I started to write.
Because I didn't have to be good anymore.
And I remembered that I'm allowed to fail.
And I remembered that I'm allowed to write and delete.
And I remembered that don't have to be better than I am.
And this is what I want you to tell yourself too. Anytime you catch yourself procrastinating or avoiding.
Tell yourself that you don't have to be good.
Tell yourself that you're allowed to screw it up.
Tell yourself that it'll be ok.
And then do it anyway.