I have been a procrastinator for as long as I can remember. Why put something off until tomorrow if you can put if off for a week? I remember being assigned term papers and research projects in school. If the assignment was due at the end of the term, I usually would start thinking about it sometime after the midterm. Most likely, I would have no idea what to do or how to do it. Then, when I would start feeling the time pressure, ideas would come to me and I would get it done. I prided myself on working well under time pressure but what a stressful way to live.
I recently began following Tim Urban’s Wait But Why Facebook page. He has the following to say about procrastination:
“No one ‘builds a house. They lay one brick again and again and the end result is a house. Procrastinators are great visionaries — they love to fantasize about the beautiful mansion they will one day have built — but what they need to be are gritty construction workers, who methodically lay one brick after the other, day after day, without giving up, until a house is built.”
I understand that I procrastinate out of fear that whatever I do won’t be good enough or I don’t know what to do and am scared to admit it. But I don’t think I ever considered being a visionary and fantasizing about the future. Now that I think about it, this makes a lot of sense. I started writing a book about my mental health issues and recovery quite a while ago. Rather than finish it and get it published, I picture myself at book signings, being interviewed, and going viral on social media. I have an idea for a piece of music for concert band. Rather than sit down and work on it, whether I feel it or not, I picture myself on the conductor’s podium, rehearsing the band who will play my piece in concert, and making sure that they understand the emotions of the piece.
One day I will be an author, I will be a composer. Word by word, note by note. Without giving up. Until my works are complete. I don’t have to be in the mood. I just have to do it.