I am a procrastinator. But not always. Well, mostly.
I procrastinated when I was a child. I procrastinated in college. I procrastinate still. But not always. Just, mostly.
I have actually spent the last two weeks berating myself and my apparent inability to tackle things. And these things can be anything – cleaning, finishing a spreadsheet, beginning a painting, going to bed. You name it, I can delay it.
But this morning I had a battle of selves – one that began the procrastinating, and the other who began berating the procrastinator. And I imagine it went something like this:
“Oh there you go again, procrastinating. No wonder you never get anything done.”
“Excuse me? Are you talking to me? I get things done.”
“Yeah, but it only takes you forever. Just jump in and do it.”
“You know, I’d appreciate a bit of understanding, if you please. I’m doing the best I can. I have my reasons for procrastinating, thank you very much.”
“Oh, I didn’t realize. I thought I was helping.”
“Ok, what are your reasons then?”
“Well, sometimes, I feel that some things steal away from my time to do what I love.”
“Oh. So, perhaps I should just hold your hand during the more mundane chores to help you push through it?”
“Yes. And sometimes, I procrastinate because I am afraid. I’m afraid I won’t be any good, or afraid that what I love to do is silly, so I give up. Then I get really sad. And when you start in with your judging, I feel even worse.”
“Oh. I don’t want you to be sad. I love it when you’re happy. Do you want me to encourage you and whisper strength into your heart? I believe in you, you know.”
“You do? Oh, that would be lovely. You know I sometimes procrastinate too because I’m tired, or not feeling good. Sometimes, I guess I should say “no” to things, but instead I take on too many “yes’s” and it seems overwhelming.”
“You know, I can help you to say no more often. So that you have more energy for yourself. Anything else?”
“There is one more thing … it’s silly.”
“No, it’s not silly. I’m listening, really.”
“Oh, ok… I procrastinate because I’m afraid that if I do what I really want to do, that it’s not important. I don’t want to waste time painting, or writing, or, oh all of the other ideas which dance in my mind, if it won’t make a difference. I mean, what if it doesn’t make money? What if no one cares?”
“Does it make a difference to you, your art, your dreams?”
“Oh yes, of course.”
“Then it’s not a waste of time.”
“Oh, thank you. I feel a little better now. Maybe I will paint a little this morning, instead of cleaning? Oh, but there’s that spreadsheet… Oh, see just thinking of it makes my stomach hurt.”
“Why don’t you paint a little? I’ll sit next to you later and we can do the spreadsheet and cleaning together. I promise.”
“Ok! Oh that makes me so happy! Thank you so much for listening to me.”
“I’m so glad I did.”
So there you have it – from the mouths of, er, the well-meaning but strict task master and the sweet sensitive procrastinator. Perhaps they’re good for each other, and for you….
Hugs, always –