Okay, so on Day 3 of this blog, I wrote about “Feeling Too Good”, and I ended that post with a preview of coming attractions. I promised: Stay Tuned For More About This Tomorrow!
And then I wrote about something else the next day. However, this wasn’t a clean break of pure avoidance. Oh, no. Day 4’s writing included my writing about the fact that I wasn’t writing about what I had said I was going to write about. (Yes, these things can get convoluted.)
Since then, I’ve continued following my muses-in-the-moment here. That is, I’ve written in this blog each day about something that has seemed more important and present. However, this avoidance of my previous promise has not been free and blissful, either. My awareness of not having written that follow-up piece has crept into most of the entries I’ve written since.
So this is making me think about the P-word.
Procrastination is definitely a judgmental word, isn’t it? Is it a useful one?
I know it’s an old one for me. Family members would sometimes describe me as a procrastinator. I wonder why? Maybe it’s because I’d wait until the last minute to do some things (usually things I didn’t want to do).
And I’m still guilty of that, plenty of times.
However, if I AM going to wait until the last minute to do something, I wish to heaven I could block that procrastinated task totally out of my mind. But that’s not how it works for me. Usually, I’m exquisitely and uncomfortably aware of what I’m avoiding. Geesh. There’s got to be a way for procrastination to be more fun.
As I’ve gotten older, I have become more forgiving about my procrastinating tendencies. I’ve also realized that procrastination for me often has to do with insecurity. For example, I almost always wait until the last minute to do something that I think I might conceivably suck at doing — or, at least, where I might fall short of my own expectations and wishes.
One thing I’ve historically procrastinated about is …….. writing.
I was an English major in college, and I hated writing assignments, because I knew what the process was going to be. No matter what my intentions or attempts were to change my pattern, I WOULD wait until the last minute. I would consider writing something ahead of time, start it, find it too hard, and get discouraged. I would find my paltry beginning attempts to write any paper too awkward, too trite, too obvious, and always too distant from what I wanted to express. And I would stop. Put it off. Until the last minute.
And then, I would have no choice. I would pull an all-nighter, struggling just to put coherent sentences together. It was a miserable experience. It was like psychological blackmail. But that was the only way I could bring myself to write anything then. I had to back myself into a corner where I had no time, no wiggle room to judge. It was like dulling the pain of insecurity with the drug of necessity. Write it, even if it blows, because TIME IS UP!
As I got older, I stopped pulling all-nighters, but I still struggled with that almost unavoidable judgment of my writing, which made procrastination irresistible. Even though I’ve always liked a lot about writing and even sometimes believed I was pretty good at it, when it came time for the rubber to hit the road — for the words to hit the writing surface — judgment and self-criticism would prevail. And procrastinate I would, again.
So here’s another example where judgment hasn’t served me well.
And I find as I try to let go of judgment, I tend to procrastinate less. As I’ve striven towards a non-judgmental stance, I’ve even reduced my use of the word Procrastination. Instead, I seem to be using a different P-word instead.
I’ve tried to have faith in my own process.
And if I do seem to be avoiding something, it can actually help to tell myself this:
You have all the time you need.
Instead of telling myself I have to hurry up, that I better stop procrastinating, I tell myself the above phrase, instead. And, somehow, that helps me move ahead.
That’s quite a concept, isn’t it, dear reader?
And you know what? I’m not procrastinating writing for this blog. I’m writing it at all times of the day. I’m not waiting until the last minute. And I’m enjoying the Process. As a matter of fact, I wrote this post THE DAY BEFORE IT WAS DUE!
Here’s another P-word: