Today’s art: Golden, 24″ x 18″, Oil on Canvas, Available
Today’s Soundtrack: Take Five, Dave Brubeck
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
“You may delay, but time will not.”~ Benjamin Franklin
“Procrastinate now. Don’t put it off.”~ Ellen Degeneres
Mark Twain also had a good “tongue in cheek” one:
“Never put off tomorrow that which can be done the day after tomorrow just as well.”
Procrastination. It has been my enemy. Truly. But after pondering it, it’s like any other dilemma. It can be managed pragmatically. But first, let’s look at the root of it.
It has a root?
Why, yes! It indeed does! It’s not just about being lazy.
By the way, I don’t believe in lazy. I believe in rebellion. I believe in resistance. I believe in a lack of motivation. I believe in a lack of education. I believe in a lack of specific instruction on how to complete a task. I believe in a lack of confidence. I believe depression disables.
So does perfectionism.
It is perfectionism that I believe to be the root of all procrastination. The idea that something has to be done wholly, completely and without flaw. Of course logically, we all know that perfect is not achievable, and yet many of us demand this of ourselves.
Don’t mistake this statement to suggest that we not have a strong work ethic, a demand for quality, or a want for fair value in trade. I wish more people did believe in this. What I am suggesting that is not realistic, is the idea that one must never fail.
It’s pretty difficult to be an entrepreneur and be a perfectionist. The entrepreneur will do some failing. When an infant is learning to walk, no one shames the baby for falling. (Bad Baby!) Instead, we encourage the effort and are near by to encourage the baby to get back up once down. If we looked at all our endeavors with a similar patience and encouragement, success would be inevitable.
Perfectionism can prevent one from even beginning a project. That’s because the task looks like it can’t be done perfectly within the confines of the current amount of allotted time or energy available. If one is a perfectionist, there’s never enough time or energy. So it gets put off. Making the task more and more overwhelming. What finally motivates the procrastinator to action, perfect or not?
God bless deadlines. Ready or not, here I come!
The deadline is the end point. The deadline looms, the perfectionist panics, rushes, creates chaos, a whirlwind of activity and then, with a sigh of resignation, the final delivery.
And often it is good enough. And is almost always better than the perfectionist thinks it is.
If you are unfamiliar with Leo Babauta of ZenHabits, allow me to suggest this article he wrote on getting started:
The Habit of Starting. He sites the example of getting into the habit of routine exercise, but the principles can be applied to any task that you are having a difficult time starting.
Give this go…
- Be realistic about what really needs to be accomplished.
- Briefly make a plan of action. But don’t linger here.
- Start. Even you don’t have enough time to complete the task. Especially if you don’t. Progress begets progress.
- Create a deadline
It’s your day. Go get it.
I am grateful today for the music I have heard this morning, my clarity of mind, my friends, the awesome soup I made, and for the love that rumbles around in me.