Procrastination Pt 2

Life Balance Coaching Newsletter 3rd July 2022

Life Balance Coaching Newsletter

Procrastination – part two – Time is too Precious

I talked before about how procrastination can show up in all sorts of guises.
I want to get personal now and describemy particular manifestation of procrastination.
It takes the form of not finishing something.

It’s a hot topic for me because this is the year I’ve taken on the big task of finishing several outstanding projects.
The big ones are: a novel, a very complicated quilt, and also a writing project I started in autumn 2021, which is under wraps for now…(more soon…)

What happens to me is this…
I start something with relative ease, I usually have a multitude of creative ideas and a sort of energetic excitement and positive anticipation about it.
For example, as I started the novel, the first few chapters flowed smoothly and effortlessly. Every time I thought I might run out of ideas the next chapter unfolded in my mind, and it felt so good. I was loving the writing process!

The same with the quilt. I chose the colours, the style of patchwork and I took great delight in piecing it all together, panel by panel.
The big writing project is very dear to my heart. This too has unfolded both in draft form in my journal, and then as I write it in detail, the next section appears in a natural and inspired way.

So what happens?
The procrastination usually begins about two thirds of the way through, and this is how it creeps in.

First of all…I start to see the flaws in any given undertaking.
For example:
Some part of the novel doesn’t read very well.
As I sew the first panels of the quilt together they don’t quite match up.

As I progress my writing project I start to worry about the formatting and the digital skills I need to get it ready for publishing.

The second thing that happens is: I get distracted.
Something comes up that I need to do, everyday life presents a few challenges, and one way or another, my attention is drawn away from my project in ways that appear very reasonable and logical.

Returning to the project becomes harder because I start to lose momentum.
The creative fire starts to go out.

And that’s when my harsh inner critic sees it’s chance.
And it doesn’t hold back.
Believe me, my harsh inner critic has a number of trusted and well-oiled thought processes which it stirs into action.
These are its main themes…
‘Well, it’s not good enough anyway. There are too many mistakes, too many imperfections and too many errors.’
‘Who do you think you are? Who would….read your book, buy your quilt, value what you’ve done?’

And this inner voice will seamlessly up the ante….
‘Nothing you’ve ever done has been of any value.’
‘If you put this project out there, it will be rejected. Can you handle that? I don’t think so.’

‘This is destined to fail. So what’s the point in finishing it?’
‘What were you thinking? Let’s face it, you have nothing of value to offer.’

And the saddest one: ‘It’s me. There’s something wrong with me. I will never live up to my dreams.’

And my harsh inner critic has a relentless crushing energy, and will not give up.

Finally, I begin to fall in with it because attempts to oppose it just end up in defeat.
This negative inner voice becomes an impassable obstacle.

And the outcome is that I quietly abandon the project.
The novel has remained buried on my computer for several years now.
The quilt has hung unfinished on my workshop wall for over two years.

My big project is stalling for various good reasons…
And yes, I feel dismay to say the least, but the energy needed to finish continues to elude me.

Until recently….
Because I decided I had to take this on.
I began to realise that it really is an inside job, and I had to dive deep, and I had to ask for help.

I uncovered unconscious beliefs that date back to my early childhood, where negative episodes in my childhood took their toll on my self-worth, and on my ability to value and nurture myself as someone with unique talents to offer the world during my time on this planet.

I slowly worked through certain therapeutic processes that delved deep into these aspects of procrastination.
In particular….

‘Fear of ‘Being Seen’. This was huge for me. The fear of being seen (and rejected or ignored) will always hold you back.

‘Striving for perfection’. This has been a constant for me, because my belief system has it that the only way I can be accepted and approved of is if I’m perfect…
…so I go on striving, but will therefore always end failing, because, guess what, there’s no such thing as perfect.

This need for perfection will always cause you to stumble, because it has an air of the truth about it.
It’s true to say that there’s always room for improvement. However, the dark side of this is the inability to recognise that what you do, and who you are, is good enough.
You are intrinsically and unconditionally good enough, even as you push yourself to do a little better.
There is a world of difference between not achieving perfection and believing you’re not good enough.

And then there’s how to avoid the Downward Spiral…
… so you don’t give up …

And …. guess what, I’m on the move.

The inner work I’ve done has shifted some of the most stubborn negative beliefs I’ve lived with for so very long.
How do I know that?
Because, for a start, the quilt is finished. YAY!!
It’s not perfect, there are all sorts of little imperfections, but it’s actually very beautiful. A unique, creative, quirky piece that’s full of magic!!

And …. I’m preparing my novel by formatting it for kindle.
And no, I’m not the next Jane Austen, but the story I’ve told is a roller coaster story full of hope.

And …my big project is on the final straight, regarding the writing. And I’m even considering writing to a few publishers to see if they would be interested. Proper publishers, not vanity publishers. (No I can’t believe it either!)

And as I write all this I can honestly say, hand on heart, this is the unfolding of a personal mini miracle.

This is a huge change in my psychological make-up. And I know it will last, I can feel it.

So how does your procrastination show up?

For some it’s getting started, for some the candle burns quickly out, and there are others like me who never finish.
And if you know you procrastinate, just reflect on the power that your inner critic has over you to slow you down, divert your attention, and if really necessary, bring you down completely. And all the while it sounds convincing and rational. Probably because it’s been practicing for a lifetime.

If you feel like something’s missing, that there should be more to life, and that there’s stuff you’d really like to do….

….don’t waste any more time. Time is too precious.

Move beyond your procrastination, overcome your harsh inner critic and know that you are, and always have been … good enough.

Debs xx

Below is a pic. of the provisional book cover I’ve designed for my novel…
and also the finished quilt xx
What do you think?

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