Monday, July 18, 2016

Procrastination, Our Terrible Friend

An interesting theory on Procrastination and How To Stop it From Killing Our Goals

So I was procrastinating all week when it came to figuring out what subject I was going to write about this week and while trying to avoid brainstorming I came up with a brilliant topic: procrastination!

While mindlessly scrolling my Facebook feed--my go-to procrastination tool in my unproductivity utility belt--I saw an article post entitled,  "9 ways to stop Procrastinating on Your Screenplay". Interestingly enough, that is exactly what I've been doing! 

Seeing as how the article was relevant to my exact situation, I gave it a quick look-see and was fascinated by an insight about procrastination that was articulated in a way that I have never heard before: 
"Procrastination is ultimately a fear of being judged".
Suffice to say, I was intrigued.

Now to clarify, this isn't the kind of procrastination that you would typically think of, y'know, the sort of unpleasant mundane crap that comes with being an adult: doing your taxes, renewing your drivers license, getting an oil change, going to the doctor for an annual check-up, taking out the garbage, paying bills etc. We don't avoid those chores because of "fear of being judged". We avoid it because all of that stuff sucks. It's no surprise people hold it off until they absolutely have to.

The article was talking more about personal goals though like a writing project such as a screenplay or novel (or a blog post on PhilAsify 101 :p), studying for an exam, starting a business, changing careers or some artistic or creative endeavor. People ultimately procrastinate because they fear being judged. I'd go even further than that and say that people procrastinate on creative goals because they fear sucking. We're all perfectionists in a way and so if we work and put effort into something and the entire world isn't gushing over it, than we're failures who just invested in a colossal waste of time.

The articles goes on to say that rather than obsessing over it that we should write about procrastination, as if we are writing a letter to ourselves or having an internal dialogue with ourselves and our reasons for procrastination.
"Ironically, often just writing about procrastination gets a writer writing, and, this is in itself a cure."
As you can see, that's what I'm doing right now and hence the cheap blog post! (tee hee )

So yeah procrastination is often a stress reliever, but it's often a placebo that heightens stress when we realize we aren't meeting goals and deadlines. I get the fear that whatever we do is going to stink and it has many a time kept me stagnant. But a lot of peoples attempts at creativity stink. Famous screenwriting doctor Dov Simens as humorously stated that, "You may be worried that what you write is going to stink, well let me break it to you gently. It WILL STINK." It will be TERRIBLE but artistic masterpieces, scripts, novels, successful businesses or any type of content creation doesn't strike gold the first time around; they are worked on repeatedly and tweaked. You have to go back to the drawing board and revise and work out the kinks until it's just right.

I described procrastination as being a "terrible friend" in that in a way procrastination helps us like a friend would, but the terrible part about it is that they are doing more harm than good. Procrastination is a friend because in a way procrastination is helping us by protecting us from the fear of rejection and criticism, so it's shielding us from pain we may feel. But as the saying goes, "no pain, no gain". 

You can't progress in life or with your dreams and ideas if you don't go through growing pains in the development stage. Imagine procrastination as a terrible friend who tells you to stay home and watch TV when you'd rather go to the gym and get in shape. Procrastination's reasoning is that being sweaty and stinky sucks and you don't want to tear something. Listening to procrastination may prevent you from being all sweaty, but it's not going to get rid of man-boobs and love handles.

So I'm telling myself this before any of you readers out there, don't let procrastination hold you back from changing your life and reaching your dreams. We have to kill the perfectionist mindset of wanting to hit the jackpot in one fell swoop or else not bother even trying. It's unrealistic. 

In reality, it takes a lot of work to reach success and procrastination avoids having to put in work to attain desired results. We want to do the least amount of work possible and get full results and reap in the benefits and the world just doesn't work that way. So with that being said, let's get to work.

And yeah, I'll try to actually come up with another topic next week and not procrastinate again which will result in writing about procrastination, hence another procrastination blog, rinse and repeat. Blah. 


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