Admittedly, I procrastinated on writing this blog. I had the “aha!” moment, but for some reason I just couldn’t sit down and write it out. I’ve been doing that a lot recently. Especially with my blog writing. I think I may have finally come to a place of being so overwhelmed with life and commitments that I just freeze. People have always asked, “Oh Kaitlyn! How do you keep it all up?” Well, here’s your answer. I don’t know. It takes motivation and feeling like I have control of my life. I’ve felt very out of control of life recently so I’ve started to lose grip on things I love—like blog writing.
And in another tidbit of truth, once I started writing, I felt immensely better. I like blog writing even if it sometimes feels like a chore the last few weeks—one that I’ve purposefully procrastinated about until I had to give up on it altogether.
But this blog isn’t about blog writing procrastination, although it certainly applies. It’s about procrastination in general.
Are you a procrastinator? If you talked to me in high school, I would have answered that with a strong “NO! Never!” I’ve never been the type of person to start my term paper the night before or pull an all-nighter to study for an exam. In fact, as a teenager, I tended to view my peers who would wait until the last second with a bit of disdain. Having experienced the type of heart-clenchingly debilitating fear of failure that has resulted in extreme procrastination about important life things, I’m rather embarrassed about my ignorance toward the plight of procrastinators.
Because procrastination sucks. And if you’re procrastinating, you know it sucks. And you don’t want to be procrastinating, but it feels like the only way for you to handle the onslaught of confusing emotions that whatever you need to be doing is causing you.
People telling you to stop procrastinating doesn’t help. Telling yourself there’s no reason to procrastinate doesn’t help. Being reprimanded or punished or experiencing the lack of sleep that comes with procrastinating to the last minute doesn’t have any bearing on your ability to stop procrastinating in the future. As far as I’ve been able to learn, the only way to stop procrastinating is to prove to yourself that you can do whatever it is that you’re procrastinating about. This is a slow process. You have to take one tiny step at a time, find some success, and then take a slightly bigger step and so forth. Fortunately, it tends to work exponentially as one success leads to another and your fear dissipates until you’ve completed the task that you were so overwhelmed with.
For me, my most recent procrastination triumph is an updated demo reel. I’ve literally been trying to create a new one for a year with no success. I’d take a half step forward and then stop because I’d hit a wall of fear and self-doubt (which sometimes turned into self-loathing). But last week, I NEEDED to create a demo reel. I’m going to be a making a lot of life changes this September, and to prepare for that, I need to get my act together! That starts with a new job and a new city and putting my best foot forward to accomplish these things. So how could I create something in one week that up to that point had been a yearlong black hole of anxiety?
In this case, I combined determination and taking a new approach. One of the reasons I kept getting stuck was because I was always starting with the hardest part. Honestly, I thought it should be easy and was how I HAD to start; therefore, derailing myself as I agonized over its need for perfection. So this time, I left the hard part for last and found I could accomplish the important 90% of the project much quicker than I thought! That unexpected accomplishment boosted my confidence so that I went into the notoriously hard and agonizing part with excitement to finish it.
What’s scary is that I don’t know if this success will necessarily help me stop future procrastination. I can certainly look back and see that circumventing the parts that cause me anxiety can help me, but I still feel like there are going to be situations where the fear and the self-doubt want to take over. We all have that, don’t we? The key is to always try looking at it from new angles and be our own cheerleaders. Because look how much stuff we CAN get done if we don’t procrastinate! If we don’t give in to the mean little voices in the back of our heads, there’s no telling what we’ll be able to accomplish.
If you want to check it out, here’s my new demo reel:
And for reference, here’s my previous demo reel:
A lot has changed, hasn’t it? Definitely worth the upgrade, I just wish I could have done it sooner! But I’m celebrating that it is now accomplished and the confidence it gives me to not wait so long to update it in the future.