I wish I could tell you there is some magic formula to always produce good content and always be on time. That there is a tool that works without fail. Something that helps me write my texts without it being a chaotic last-minute task. But I have to be honest. For me there isn’t. So if you are like me, maybe this short text – which was written last-last minute – will help give you some insight.
But the truth is: I am chaotic. I am a procrastinator. Time management is one of my biggest problems and obsessive hyperfixation is a thing. It’s not like I do not have ideas or that I do not know how to realize them – I just don’t do it.
I would read and watch videos on how not to procrastinate, I would look on social media to see what helped others. There were tips like “Commit to the task. Focus on doing, not avoiding. Write down the tasks that you need to complete, and specify a time for doing them.” or “Rephrase your internal dialog. The phrases “need to” and “have to,” for example, imply that you have no choice in what you do.”
Someone surely meant well and I am sure there are people out there who really got over their procrastination with guides like that. Oh how many times did I start elaborate To-do lists, just to abandon them shortly after.
For me these things never helped. I procrastinate the things I have to do with projects for my hobbies and when I do not have any tasks and have enough time for my hobbies I will procrastinate them with housework. You might think:”But Carina, that doesn’t make any sense – why would you do boring house chores over your hobbies?”
There is this theory that procrastination can be a sign of perfectionism. For me that might be true for some part. Because if you don’t start with something you can’t do it badly, right? Nobody will judge your work, and see all the imperfections if you never produce it. Because for some people producing things that do not match their inner (often ridiculous) standards is the same as failing an assignment, same as producing a cheap carnival costume when the goal was to create something haute couture. So not even trying will save you that shame, right? Wrong because when it’s linked to work assignments or academia you will have to produce that piece of work, no matter what. The results are often things like this one: Hastily written pieces of text, that never got the time or love that might have made them really good pieces of work.
Of course I could just settle with something I heard my whole childhood: “You are just lazy. We know that you can do it, but you don’t. You just have to be less lazy.”
Well, I am not so sure how true that is in my case. Also I am not so sure about how much paedagogic value scoldings like that have. But, after all, what if I am just that – lazy.
Guides on how to stop being lazy read basically the same as anti-procrastination-guides.The only thing is: I know that. I know everything that is written in these guides and I have tried it and it has failed me. Or have I failed? Am I just that garbage human piece of shit, my mind tries to convince me of? Am I just incapable of following simple step-by-step guidelines?
I try to battle such thoughts as well as I can, because I also know the imposter-syndrome way too well. I know what I can and what my accomplishments are but I still look at myself in the mirror and tell myself that there must be a different reason why I got this far. That none of that has anything to do with myself and only with coincidences. Which of course is bullshit but your mind be like that sometimes, amirite?
Of course procrastination, the inability to finish virtually anything and hyperfixation can be symptoms of ADHD or Autism. Which is an often misunderstood condition – especially in women which often go their whole life without being diagnosed.
While I am not diagnosed with ADHD and do not think that I do have it, I would advise you to consult a mental health professional of your trust, if you suspect that you might show symptoms of it.
So after that whole rant and excuses on why I always finish tasks last minute – how do I finish my tasks?
The biggest motivator is social pressure. Most of the time a simple study date will let me keep my deadlines. The person doesn’t even need to do the same as me, but only them being present and therefore holding me accountable for my actions really helps. Only yesterday I asked my mum to come over to just be there while I work on my wedding invitations. And that’s something I really enjoy and I was procrastinating on that task for a few months by now. My creativity flows more freely when I have a person that reflects my ideas back to me.
And how do I produce blog articles? The same way: Either doing them last minute and let my deepest, most personal emotions rage free on my keyboard – or sit down with a trusted person and simply talk to them. In my experience that always produces the best pieces of work. Be it for my studies, work or hobbies.
In the end that is what works for me. It’s still not a clean and easy process that makes up a good help guide for my blog and it certainly will not produce as many clicks as something different might do, but it’s the truth. The whole messy truth. But that’s life and that’s what I have to work with. And in the end I am quite happy with it. Even if it’s not perfect. It won’t produce an A in my blog writing course but I am ok with that. That’s how I am. And I won’t change, because some teacher told me I was lazy when I was seven, or because some guide tells me how easy it is to never procrastinate again. Because I will. But I am a grown up and in the end I know how to live with the consequences of my so called laziness. And in the end I always managed to be ok, so I must be doing something right, right?
Do you have thoughts or even tips on what helped you? Let me know!
Picture by Annie Spratt via unsplash.com