Friend: *sends me a meme about procrastination because he found it funny*
Me: I keep meaning to write a blog post about procrastination, but I keep putting it off.
Me: Quite really.
It’s true. It’s altogether too true. I’m a procrastinator, and a perfectionist. And I think I’m a procrastinator because I am a perfectionist. After all, why would you do something if you can’t do it perfectly?
Problem is… if you aren’t willing to be really bad at something for a while, you’ll never progress to be good at it. No one woke up one morning a master at their craft. The most talented artist and musician have spent countless hours making mistakes and practicing before they got to the level that you admire now.
Are you comparing your first day with someone else’s 20th year? Are you comparing your fifth attempt (or twentieth or thirtieth) with someone else’s work that they’ve been practicing every day for half their life?
The practice isn’t glamorous. You won’t see a million likes on Facebook or two thousand repins on Pinterest for your everyday work. You just won’t. Not now. Not yet.
And, by the way, if you’re trying to perfect your craft just so you can get those likes and pins and accolades, I’d recommend you quit right now and go do something useful with your life.
But for those of you who are serious– I’m writing to you. Right now you need to stop procrastinating. Prioritize your schedule. What on your to-do list is really important right now? Sure, it’s probably useful. But is it useful for your goals right now? Can you put that on your ‘to tackle later’ list?
It’s not that you don’t have time. That’s not why you’re procrastinating. You’re procrastinating because you are afraid that you won’t be perfect right away.
A friend said something to me once, that has stuck with me over the years. I was talking about why I didn’t want to work on a particular project, and he said to me “So you’re too proud to be bad at this for a while in order to get good at it.”
Um. Well, I wouldn’t have put it that way. But….yeah, you’re right.
” ‘Talent’ is too often a myth invented by lazy men,” he continued later.
Too lazy, and too proud. Maybe you’re too proud to let anyone see your imperfection. You want to hide away from the world, to one day burst upon it in a blaze of bright color and perfection. Perfection! Nothing but perfection. And we will die with that dream, because it has never, is never, will never be reality.
This is why I rarely blog. It’s too much work: and even when I do put my mind to the task to do it, I am always disheartened. I come up with a billion criticisms for why I should never hit ‘post’. I compare myself to the eloquent and inspiring authors I see around the internet and book world.
It’s not comfortable. I like to be secure. I like to be happy and confident in where I am, and when I do new things and practice that which I’m not a master of, I don’t have that confidence. I feel unstable. I don’t like that. So I give myself excuses to not do it.
I’m guessing you’re not so different from me.
He was going to be all that a mortal should be
No one should be kinder or braver than he
A friend who was troubled and weary he knew,
Who’d be glad of a lift and who needed it, too;
On him he would call and see what he could do
Each morning he stacked up the letters he’d write
And thought of the folks he would fill with delight
It was too bad, indeed, he was busy today,
And hadn’t a minute to stop on his way;
More time he would have to give others, he’d say
The greatest of workers this man would have been
The world would have known him, had he ever seen
But the fact is he died and he faded from view,
And all that he left here when living was through
Was a mountain of things he intended to do
So I’m going to work on this. One of my areas of procrastination is writing. Now– it’s on my daily to-do list to write for ten minutes every day. Just ten minutes. It seems like a lot, but once you sit down and start writing, it’s not. Especially when you aren’t being hyper critical of your work.
Just do it.