If people were paid to procrastinate, I think I would be a retired billionaire.
Okay fine, I am admitting it today. I have a serious problem. (insert: Hello, I am Paula and I am a procrastinator. (Everyone together) — HELLO PAULA.).
I tend to put things off until the very last minute; when I am ready to tear my hair out, migraine and sometimes, kidney stones in tow, which then will bring me to some zen like state (more catatonia actually) so that I can get the effing job done – whatever it is — OR end up in the ER (read: the wisdom of the human body telling us to stop our destructive ways). I know, it’s not good. But I have romanticized the vicious cycle in my head so much that here we are…pang AA meeting na itey.
Unfortunately, so many lies protect this condition’s existence: my skewed sense of time (read: that I have a lot or too little of it), the sudden need to re-arrange my MUJI pens or my ring collection right before crunch time, and the illusion that I will only blog/watch TV/write/nap/do an errand/see a friend for an hour before I do the actual thing I need to do. It’s a complicated matrix of illusions and the intense need or entitlement to rest or shop (amidst deadlines) because of the burn out. Like I said, vicious cycle, that really only makes sense in my head.
Until I found the procrastination book (refer to previous entry). Six months ago.
Yes, six months ago, to help my condition, I bought the
book, “Procrastination” by Dr. Jane Burka and Dr. Lenora M Yuen. And last night, six months later, spoken like the textbook procrastinator, I finally opened its pages. LOL.
Apparently, the condition goes beyond a dysfunctional relationship with time and/or merely being “lazy” (which is actually the last word I would describe my ADHD self). The book says it is connected to a need to be perfect or a need for perfection (ergo: fear of failure), the need to be fundamentally accepted (because procrastinators doubt they are),and the need to avoid feeling vulnerable or exposed. There is also a neurological slant ( I haven’t reached the chapter that explains that yet) and that procrastinators’ self esteem are completely informed by their abilities and their performance*. It describes a vicious cycle (similar to the one I described) which (hilariously) goes something like this:
- “I’ll start early this time.”
- “I’ve got to start soon.”
- “What if I don’t start?” (which includes: “I should have started sooner”, “I’m doing everything but…”, “I can’t enjoy anything”, and ” I hope no one finds out.” )
- “There’s still time.”
- “There’s something wrong with me.”
- The final choice: To do it or not to do it?
- Path one takes you to: loserville or why botherville
- Path two takes you to:
- “I can’t wait any longer.”
- “This isn’t so bad. Why didn’t I start sooner?”
- “Just get it done!”
9. I’ll never procrastinate again. (aka burn out mode)
But, despite the sincerity, determination and zeal for change, procrastinators tend to repeat the cycle over and over again. Sigh.
The book then says that we will deny and reject all of this and that we will not open the book until the very last minute. Many reviewers agree.
Anyway, more on this later. I need to read the next few chapters to see if I will agree or deny (am leaning toward agree, actually). And um, I need to get back to work. Gulp.
grateful slice: awareness and admitting the problem (no matter how long it takes)
p.s. if you have your own procrastinator’s story, drop me a line/comment. I’d love to hear about it. 🙂
p.p.s. [*Ah, performance. Such a dangerous and addicting word. (Remind me to tell you about a conversation I had with Sacha about this. I think it was what lead me to finally open the book.)]