Confessions of a Serial Procrastinator
I’m a writer. Somedays I’m not really sure, because from my understanding, writers actually write. If only I could make a living off talking about writing or reading articles about writing. Now cut me some slack, I’m very busy, ok. First off, I’m trying to make it to the next level of Diner Dash . I’m currently two episodes behind on Married at First Sight, plus my closet isn’t going to reorganize itself. Every time I sit down and pull out my laptop, I stare at a blank screen. After a while, I have an urge to check Instagram. Instagram, of course, leads me to Twitter and somehow an hour later, I’m scrolling through Fashion Nova because of the 70% off sale on their entire inventory. Through my procrastination, I’ve managed to write a few words down a day. I write topics I would like to research one day. I write a list of books about writing that I promise I will read. I write down how many words I plan on writing tomorrow, and I wrap it up by calculating how many words I need to write to complete a book in a month. As you can see, it’s a process folks.
You get the picture I’m trying to paint here. I’m a serial procrastinator, especially when it comes to writing. My procrastination is a serious issue that manifests itself in different areas of my life, most notably, my writing. Stalling, avoiding, ignoring, or putting off writing projects that I’ve dreamed about writing, feels like someone breaking their promise to me over and over again. This year, my New Year’s resolution (I know it’s cliché, don’t judge) was to take myself seriously as a writer. Putting my writer big girl panties on included finishing my second book, introducing myself to the world as a freelance writer, and sharing some of my other writings. We’re six months in and let’s see here… My second book is at the same word count as it was in 2018, so I’m gonna start right there. I haven’t introduced myself as a freelancer to anybody but Jesus, and I would have to create writings in order to share them, you know what I’m saying? This is a cry for help people. I’m focusing on procrastination in my writing, but my procrastination spreads to other areas of my life. Being a habitual procrastinator has done more than just stalled my writing career, it’s created a cycle of unhappiness and unfulfillment.
For most of my adult life, I’ve been battling with what I’ve self-diagnosis as internal sadness. I don’t like to use the word depression anymore for two reasons: The first reason being that I don’t want to claim that over my life. The second reason; I would hate to marginalize a group of people who actually battle with serious mental and medical conditions and who are diagnosed as clinically depressed. No, what I have is a deep sadness that comes from disappointment, regret, frustration, and lower self-esteem/worth. I decided to see a therapist, but she’s not accepting new clients until next month, so I’m kind of winging it. This self-reflection you’re getting is coming straight from a few Google searches, Wikipedia, and a few Ted Talks; therefore you should feel comfortable that my analytical research is pretty legit. When I look back at my short life, my sadness doesn’t come from not having the life that I always dreamed of. It comes from the regret of missed opportunities, not starting or not finishing, the thought of where I would be if I committed to going after the things I wanted, and having the discipline to at the very minimum see my plan through. Those thoughts of regret and disappointment continue an internal vicious cycle within me.
My day job is managing a store for an operations and logistics company, and one of the processes they use to protect the brand is a process called Quality Driven Management (QDM). Now that I think about it, QDM may be trademarked. I probably should delete this paragraph. Oh well, too late, I’m already invested. Anyway, QDM deals with a lot of ideas, principles, and philosophies, but through all my training on this process, one thing stood out to me. The idea of when problems arise, you keep drilling down to the root cause until you determine the true essence of what actually caused the problem. It’s the thought of asking yourself “but why”, until you pull back all the layers and expose the core of the issue. I have long ago determined that my long-term procrastination has been a big reason for my unhappiness and my struggles as a writer. But why?
Why am I unhappy?
I feel unfulfilled.
But why do I feel unfulfilled?
I’m not where I want to be. But why am I not where I want to be? I’m not doing what I should be doing. What should I be doing? I should be writing, reading, going after my dreams, executing my plan, eating right, exercising, drinking more water, studying God’s word, and being a blessing to others.
But why am I not doing those things?
I don’t feel like it.
But why don’t I feel like it?
I’m afraid to commit to those things?
But why am I afraid to commit to those things?
It’s too hard. It’s too time-consuming. What if I fail? What if people don’t like what I put out? What if no one shows up? What if I give it my all and my all isn’t good enough? What if I don’t see the results I want? What if I succeed?
The core could be summed up to one word; “FEAR”, or some would say that there is still another layer under the fear that needs to be pulled back. I’m not really sure. The moral of the story is that procrastination is not my problem, it’s a symptom, a symptom of baggage that I’ve accumulated, of negative thoughts and ideas that I began to believe many years ago. Now that I have the diagnosis, what’s the cure? Oh, honey, I don’t know, this is the extent of training I received from Google Wikipedia University. Today I’m not here as an expert, sorry to disappoint. This is a journey I’m on, a journey of discovering and uncovering in hopes of getting out of my own way. There are a lot of things for me to unpack about myself. I’ll get right on that tomorrow, next week, one day.