My biggest procrastination struggles often involve my own creative projects, passions, and self-care. Like many people, when it comes to worldly expectations (going to school as a student, having a career with deadlines, paying bills, etc.), I’m often diligent.
Sometimes too diligent.
What I mean by this is I am driven by an anxious motor that always wishes to be ten steps ahead with the false belief that early closure will ease my anxious mind.
I’m always working just as hard as anyone who runs behind, because the self-imposed expectation since I was 10 years old is that I would be ahead.
Around mid-March, I was finishing up some extensive paperwork for part-time summer employment and I was even six weeks ahead on the blog! I derived a minute sense of accomplishment from these small personal feats.
We all know what happened next.
The World Shut Down
It’s never happened to such an extent before, but this situation made me realize I often have a genuine problem with being too early. My paperwork? Completely irrelevant now. Basically a waste of several hours.
The blog? Well, I had six weeks of posts that were completely irrelevant to most people’s lives. I even had one about taxes when tax day was moved.
Like back in high school, (when I would work ahead but then suddenly the teacher would make the assignment easier), I stood looking around kind of shocked.
Quite frankly, I was stunned and frozen for several weeks, wondering who or what I was trying to please by being “ahead” all the time.
A Lesson in Flexibility
I doubt my personal trait of ultra-eagerness will change, but it was worth noticing the downsides to it this time around.
Seeking closure is something our minds love to do. (This article by Bree Rody tackles the topic well.) However, research shows early closure doesn’t usually assist creativity. And if it doesn’t assist creative projects, it probably doesn’t assist overall creative living.
As researcher Adam Grant notes - sometimes procrastination can even be a good thing.
Most of all, working too far ahead means you are out of step with the world. It means you are in a fictional land where systems, routines, and daily sanity barrel along as they always have.
My imagination (even with all of its mind-bending power for worry) never saw this crisis coming. My imagination was only locked into the way things were, projecting that old version into a future where I could be “ahead.”
And a lot of my work was just a waste of time because everything changed underneath my feet.
On that note, I’m glad to be back in present time with you (only a few weeks ahead on the blog).
I didn’t write anything creative for the past six weeks. I’m not sure if I will keep up a weekly writing schedule now to be honest?
I’m not planning to be an amazing person through all of this. I’m just hoping to survive, teach my online students well, cultivate empathy, read a lot, and love my family. (While I read, it will definitely be history focused and seeking more stories for the First Creative Dollar series.)
Until next time, thanks for reading and stay safe.
“Life going nowhere
Someone help me
Someone help me - yeah
I’m staying alive”
- Bee Gees