You're a human. I'm a human.
Sometimes we have to do things.
You decide to go on a trip in June. You are filled with motivation and momentum for the trip. You write up a todo list. At the very top you write "Renew passport ASAP".
You ambitiously decide to do it by the end of January. You assign a date in your task management software.
7 times during the month, you say you're going to do it at lunch or tomorrow but then don't do it. You feel kinda bad but you know there's plenty of time.
You decide this is the month that it happens. You even take a day off work to get caught up on personal stuff.
When the day comes, you do a few things around the house and the sink into the couch and play video games.
You really needed the time off and to feel truly relaxed. In the back of your mind, you're think "there's still time, I'll do it Monday".
Again, you tell yourself many times that you'll do it and there's plenty of time.
There's actually not too much time left. If there are issues with your application or something gets lost in the mail, you'll be waiting anxiously for it to come or trying to get a meeting at the passport office.
You need to buckle down and do it. You decide you'll leave work at 4, get it done, then reward yourself with a latte at a cafe near the post office.
When 4 comes around, you have 409 emails you need to get through before you leave work. You push it off.
Your friend texts you to make sure you did it. You tell them you're going to do it ASAP. You feel shame and guilt.
.... you know the story.
Now you're beating yourself up. You procrastinated so long. You're filled with shame. You eventually block off 2 hours on a Monday morning and go to the post office before reading any of your emails so you won't get distracted. You are filled with panic that it might not come in time.
why am i like this?
Please don't feel like I'm calling you out or roasting you with this story. This describes me at many different times in my life.
I currently have a project that's been outstanding with Charter (internet provider) for over 2 years. They're the worst and I've spent hours on the phone and it kills my spirit every time so I kick the can down the road, eventually call them, it's a disaster then we do it again.
You see, completing a task isn't just about time and motivation. There are a lot of other factors, maybe:
- you're emotionally exhausted from a stressful event in your life
- you used up all your spoons during the day and you can't muster any more at the end of the day
- you just don't want to do it
- it's hard to get started on it because you have some mental blocker
- there's something difficult attached to it like calling someone you have conflict with or delivering bad news so you avoid it
- you got invited to go to a restaurant so you do that instead
- you're distracted
- you procrastinate because you know it's not actually due on the artificial due date you set up
- the task is really annoying
- you're anticipating someone's reaction to the task
- ..... a million other reasons
what do i do?
BE KIND TO YOURSELF.
It's okay that you bought stuff for a hobby and didn't use it.
It's okay that you made a huge to do list and only did half.
It's okay that you bought another book even though you have a huge stack already.
Think about why you're putting it off. If you're assigning an artificially early deadline, maybe you're adding a bunch of unnecessary stress when you should really schedule it in 1 week before the "drop dead" deadline.
Journal about it.
Talk to a friend about it.
DON'T LET IT EAT AT YOU
Say you need to submit your college application.
You don't want to do it. You're not quite sure why. Every time you go to relax after you finish your homework, you sit down to watch TV but deep down you're thinking about the application. You're not really relaxing. You're uneasy.
You need to either give yourself permission to not do it that day so you can truly relax or start working on a plan for "shoveling yourself out of the shit" (this is an obscure twin peaks reference).
Please, ask for help. Talk it through with someone. Reflect on it. Most importantly, be kind to yourself.
Thanks for reading!
- Molly at Goblin