I, Antagonist, part 1: The Procrastination

Yesterday I said we were going to talk more about this procrastination issue.

Here’s how I got here. I can’t get anything done. I feel like I’m busy, but nothing gets done. I’m constantly stressed. I must be disorganized. I need to learn how to buckle down and get things down.

I’ve read Eat That Frog! Twice. Makes sense, I guess. But I can’t prioritize. I go to make a list and I can’t discern what the important things are. No matter what I decide to call the “important” things, I feel tremendous guilt over what was labeled “less important” thereby.

And yes, I know I think like a crackheaded idgit.

So I read Brian Tracy, David Allen, Julie Morgenstern, and somewhere in the quest to organize my shit to get it done, I realized–wait, I don’t think I’m really trying to get this done.

Because I’m not actually mentally impaired. If I had been trying to get stuff done, stuff would be a hell of a lot doner than it is. I’m flat not doing the stuff. I mean, I’m stressed out all the time like I was when I had jobs and was busy, I feel busy, I’m doing something, but I’m not really doing anything. If you follow. I’m doing a lot of purposely avoiding that which I mean to be doing.

So I go to Amazon and I put in “overcoming laziness.” And out pops “procrastination,” because Amazon loves me and doesn’t want to agree with me about the laziness to my face.

Now I don’t know why I keep wanting to reassure you that I’m not actually stupid, but it’s what I keep feeling like saying here. I’m not stupid. I know I procrastinate. I know it’s a problem. A big one. I lack discipline, I lack motivation, I lack organization.

I am the biggest lacker this side of Mississppi.

And I read and read about discipline, motivation, organization, and it’s like…I keep missing something. I don’t understand how to do what they’re telling me to do. I try, but I don’t get it. And, I repeat, not stupid. Pretty sure. Have test scores. But I feel stupid because I don’t get it. It’s like the books are written for people who somehow, somewhere, have discipline, motivation, and organization, and just need this book to bring it out. But I look and I don’t have it. Does. Not. Compute.

So on this particular day I grabbed the sample for Procrastination: Why You Do It, What To Do About It Now, and then I bought the book.

Ho-lee Shit. How fucked over am I by this procrastination crap?

Very.

You know, it’s like you think you’ve got a cold and you go to the doctor and find out you have some kind cancer that’s been there for freaking ever and it’s grown into all your parts. This avoidance crap is everywhere! I do it all the time!

Aaah! Make it stop! Well, the book just goes on and on and on. Lots of psychology. Very interesting. And lots of new stuff since I was in school.

And the reason the productivity books don’t work for me is apparently that if I’m disorganized, it’s at least partly on purpose. Because what I really am is afraid of failure, afraid of judgment, afraid of putting forth quality effort and having it not be enough, afraid of doing well and having that lead to more pressure and responsibility and losing my choices…and a whole host of other things that are much harder to ignore when someone spells them out at you for a couple hundred pages.

So I procrastinate to avoid all these things that I’m afraid of. And I’m afraid of a lot. It’s been my way of life. I hardly realize when I’m doing it. I stress about the things that are scary, so I don’t do them, and then I stress about how they’re not done. And I can’t think for all the stress-headedness.

In the writing, I’ve done a lot waiting for the inspiration. Waiting until I’m “in the right place” when I can really think. But honestly, that “right place” is usually just the state at which I can’t stand the pressure and guilt of not having done what I ought to be doing anymore and I have to do something so that my head doesn’t explode. And then I feel marginally better, having righteously accomplished something, and then start to stress about having moved forward toward judgment, and then have to avoid it again.

Anyway, it sucks. I’m working on the problem. If what I’ve said sounds familiar, check out the book’s sample, see if you want to read more.

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5 Comments

Filed under insecurities, writing

5 responses to “I, Antagonist, part 1: The Procrastination

  1. I, on the other hand, procrastinate because I AM lazy. I want to do all the fun stuff and put off the stuff that isn’t as fun. You know me well enough to know I don’t procrastinate out of fear. I’m trying very hard to understand how you’re feeling. The reason I’m having a problem with it is because I think you’re awesome. You’re a great writer, a kind person, a very smart person, great fun to be with, and I don’t understand why you’re afraid. But there are things deep down inside of us that others don’t see. There are REASONS we feel the way we do. Something makes people afraid. There ARE things I’m afraid of, but they aren’t always the obvious things. Things happen in our lives that help shape who we are. I would love to see you take big, fearless leaps because I know you can DO things. But you have to find that fearless place, and I hope you do.

    Maybe this book will really help you understand things and help you know what to do about them. You know I love you, and I’m here to help if you ever need me. I’ll always think you rock.

    I used the word “things” about half a dozen times in this post. Awesome.

  2. “. . . afraid of putting forth quality effort and having it not be enough . . .”
    Crap. That is me.

  3. denizb33

    Mine’s not so much a fear of failure – I know I can get stuff done – it’s a fear of judgement. What if I get this far and then still am rejecting by all the agents (yes I’m still angling for traditional publishing)?
    What if I find out that I’ve reached the limit of what I can do??? So I edit slowly, work on multiple projects, put off finishing short stories, and only query two agents a month…
    You know what might help you and me (and others, I guess) – attending more conferences. I haven’t been to single one but they seem to be hotbeds of inspiration and excitement and meeting writers facing similar dilemmas. I need that energy!

  4. I have OCD, and I very much understand and identify with the fear cycle. It seems fear paralyzes you, whereas it compels me to do things in repetitive cycles. I wonder if some of the things I do to try to do inoculate myself against fear would help you? I have, for instance, a set of index cards on my desk with all my fears written out on them. Things like, “I am big, fat failure,” and “I will never write anything I’m proud of ever again,” etc. I read through these cards randomly, whenever I think of them. The more my brain sees the fear, the less power it has over me.

    Anyway, hugs. I hope you feel better soon. In all honesty (as I’m sure you know) it’s more important that you don’t feel guilty over not getting things done than it is that you get things done. Be happy, chica. You deserve it.

  5. Pingback: This Is It . . . Ground Zero | I Love These Stupid Words

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