Your Fear is feeding your procrastination
Updated: Apr 11
"You always wait until the last minute to do stuff!" My mother would fuss at me as I spent years of school waiting until the very last second to complete projects and turn in countless assignments. I became the self-proclaimed Queen of Procrastination-- I walked upright with my metaphorical crown sitting on top of my head as if it was a badge of honor, grace, and sophistication. This proud, upright walk slowly led me into a cycle of stumbling over my feet as I accepted that being a procrastinator was just a piece in the puzzle of my personality because “that’s just how I am.”
Procrastination is an all too relatable trait for a large majority of people. However, there are those that procrastinate and then there are those that are procrastinators. We, the procrastinators, exist in the nightmares of those that can’t imagine the overwhelming tendency to put things off and revel under the weight of the pressure. We use procrastination as a crutch that we will gracefully lean on at any given moment-- it’s almost as if we’re constantly chasing a high.
As we get older and spoon more responsibilities onto the platter we call adult-ing, procrastination begins to take on a whole new world-- what once was a middle school science fair project is now an important business proposal or in-depth marketing plan. And just as I came to this realization two years ago, I again face the same truth: procrastination isn’t an actual part of your personality, it’s the thing that you use to hide behind your fears and shield yourself from facing the things that make you uncomfortable.
Maybe there's an endless trail of ideas nestled on the pages of journals and loose papers that you tell yourself you'll get back to, only to be left alone and never come to fruition. Or maybe you self-sabotage by waiting until the last minute and eventually the excitement or zeal for the brilliant thing that you wanted to do dissipates. Procrastination is the persuasive whisper in our ears that tells us that we possess immeasurable time-- therefore, we're allowed to continue the cycle of intentionally and habitually putting things off.
As many times as I’ve chased after feeling the euphoric rush that comes with procrastinating, that feeling means nothing when I think about how much time I’ve wasted, the increased stress/anxiety that comes with it, and how often I’ve hindered myself from getting things done that could have gotten me closer to meeting a goal, completing a creative projective or simply perfecting my craft.
Ironically, I believe procrastination can push you to be useful with the time you’re wasting if you take a moment for deep introspection. Once you sit in something long enough you may eventually realize that the thing you were trying to push yourself to do doesn’t align with the person you are and that’s okay.
What’s not okay is choosing procrastination because fear tells you to-- whether it's fear of failure, success, not being good enough, no one seeing your value, hearing "no's" or push back, not measuring up to the likes of others... all of these fears can feed your procrastination in some way. The natural feeling of fear that will show up in us when doing something new or uncomfortable is inevitable. And prolonging the process because we’re afraid we won’t “get it right” the first time is ludicrous. Nothing we do is going to be 100% right the first time.
As someone who spends most of my time taking refuge in my mind, frequenting thoughts that take me away from the reality of life right in front of me, I've always been able to find a string of reasons as to why I can't do something.... instead of just doing it. Procrastination has made me miss out on opportunities, stifled my ability to create, and kept me stuck in an endless cycle of fear. We have so many ideas and want to do so many things, but what if we fail? Do it anyway! But what if no one acknowledges our work? Do it anyway and do it for yourself!
DO IT ANYWAY.
Procrastination isn't a part of your personality. Procrastination isn't "just a part of who you are". You've just been scared. Your fear of failure or even succeeding has placed you in a constant loop of putting things off or distracting yourself from creating the things that keep you up at night with excitement.
To the creatives, innovators, business mavens and so much more that have worn the title of a procrastinator for as long as I have: keep going and pushing past fear. Don't beat yourself up when you let procrastination get the best of you because it inevitably will. Let the ideas that have sat on those pages bloom into something real. How long will you let procrastination continue to hold you back?
Thanks for reading, and don't forget... be great! xoxo.