Today I repaired 3 items of clothing. I mended. This is something to write home about. I have successfully, artfully, procrastinated this task for months. The whole process, which included locating a missing item, took approximately 23 minutes. The number of minutes I have burdened my mind with this task and the guilt of not doing it; those minutes are immeasurable. I mean, why in the world would I put off something so simple and doable? Especially when the reward is such a feeling of relief and accomplishment.
Perfectionists are skilled procrastinators. People like me tend to have a low tolerance for frustration and failure. We often wait for that elusive moment when the stage or workspace is set perfectly for the task at hand. It has been said that perfectionism is the highest form of self-abuse because perfection is not achievable. Rather, we need to seek excellence. We perfectionists are often too concerned about expectations of others. Currently, I’m attempting to silence the thoughts about what others may think, and be true to my passion and calling. This is especially pertinent in the scary writing of blog posts!
There is a great essay on www.webstandardsherpa.com, by Denise Jacobs, entitled Breaking the Perfectionism – Procrastination Infinite Loop. She states some of the reasons we procrastinate.
- complicated task anxiety
- fear of imperfection
- lack of self-confidence
- priority confusion
- lack of focus
- boredom from minutae
I can relate to all of these points. For me, it all comes down to what do I really want. Is defaulting to Facebook or IG a good choice when I could be making progress on an important goal? Will I put aside the time-wasters, the mindless curiosities, and tackle the first step of a valuable piece of work? All it takes, I have found, is to take that first step. The hardest step! Setting up the sewing machine, sitting down with my laptop, or picking up the phone to call that client. That’s what it takes. The first step can magically move me into the heart of the project and I amazingly see progress where I doubted I would. For me, it’s a step of faith. Knowing that God will assist me to do what He has put in my heart to do.
Now, may I encourage you my friends? What is that one thing that looms in your mind, relentlessly interrupting your thoughts. Please, don’t put it off – begin today. It may take only minutes. If it’s a larger project, take the first step today. Then, divide the project into doable chunks of time and schedule those sessions! Put them on your calendar like an appointment you’d make with someone else. The satisfaction you will feel during the process and at the completion of the project will be so worth your investment. You can do it!
“Putting it off doesn’t make it go away. Getting it done does.’
Ned Hollowell, Driven to Distraction