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Procrastination

Procrastination. Let’s talk about our fabulous procrastinators. Our driven, “I work best under pressure”, excuse telling, procrastinators. I was one of them. I still might be one of them. But I really want to talk about that today. So, procrastination is when you leave whatever needs to be done for the very last minute. A lot of people that I know, including myself, say that we work best under pressure and that we give off our best work when we are crunched from time. We thrive off of the “high” that comes from being able to accomplish something in spite of the time crunch or things not going well. I want to challenge that today. I want to ask you, why is it that you’re chasing that high? If that high is coming from achievement, why isnt that met by being yourself. If something is due tomorrow, and we wait until tonight to do it, the end result is still the same. We’ve given out this paper that needs to be done, or this activity that needs to be completed, or my last chapter edits from the book I’m writing. Why wait until the last moment, if it is just the high? If it is just “look at what I’ve accomplished”, because regardless if you started it a month ago or the day before it’s due, you’ve finished it. The product is in your hands no matter what. Why wait for the pressure to build up, the anxiety to skyrocket, the nervousness, the sleepless nights, the sinking feeling in your chest? Why continue to put yourself in these situations, to feel that way? It’s not those feelings that you’re chasing. Nobody likes to feel that way, it doesn’t feel good. But, that’s what we tell ourselves, that we work best under that pressure. Logically, that doesn’t make any sense, because you’re using the little energy that you have to stress over these things. Why create these extra obstacles that are self imposed, when the end result is still the same? Cognitively, we know that makes no sense. I think everyone can allot to saying “yeah it’s better if I do it ahead of time”. But as you already know, I’m not here to talk logic. I want to focus on the why. Not from judgement, not “you should know better”, but to understand why. If you really stop and think about it, ask yourself “why am I putting myself through this mess of anxiety and stress, when the anxiety could’ve been avoided if it was done sooner”? It’s not the high of the pressure of getting it done, but something much deeper than that. The high comes from the validation that we receive, that we have attained and overcome this in less time than other people would have, and in spite of all the challenges that we faced. It’s that validation that we’re looking for. Stop and let that sink in for a moment. Validation. What kind of validation? Well, what is that validation? Why does it feel more worthy of your effort or intelligence or even your self-worth by obtaining something through all of these obstacles instead of just attaining them through work? I had a client tell me today “well because otherwise it’s just handed to you. It’s the easy way, you just got handed the success. You didn’t have to fight for it”. That’s a struggle that a lot of people I’ve come across with have, as well as myself. Where we feel a sense of pride by achieving something when everything else was against us. That sense of pride is a validation of worth, of being competent, capable, intelligent, of being strong, all of these wonderful things that it reinforces in us because we “overcame the odds”. The issue is when it becomes an addiction, and that’s what procrastination is. You become addicted to that sense of “high” of being validated as being worthy. A lot of times, in order to achieve that sense of worth, instead of having it be from within us, from this sense of self. When you don’t have that intrinsically, you seek it from validation from others, and a lot of times we fall into the trap of creating self-imposed obstacles that we then have to overcome to feel that validation and worth. If you dissect it, the end result is still the same, the chapter was finished, the project got done, the paper was still written. We didn’t need to go through the rest of the pressure, the anxiety, the stress of obstacles and time constraints to have the end result. If you look a little bit deeper, your work is still your work. Why is it that your work is valued more when there are obstacles, with the flip side being that it was “handed to you”. Well no, if you’re looking at that term paper for example, you still had to write that term paper, they are still your words and your effort and your thoughts. It’s like, in session, if I have someone draw something on paper, and I sit there and watch them, and they draw a flower. And then I tell them (this is a real story) that “okay move on to another side of the same piece of paper and draw something else”. They start drawing and then I start throwing random stuff at them, wadded up pieces of paper, empty cups, etc to cause distractions. It was completely unnecessary, although comical, and she looked at me like “what the hell are you doing”. But that’s what it is, right? The end result was still that she drew 2 pictures. That’s still her drawing, still her ability, still her talent and work that went into it, it’s just that for the second drawing, she was bombarded with a bunch of unnecessary obstacles. The point of it was, she still had to work for those pictures, the outside story, while hilarious and absurd, doesn’t matter because the end result was still the same. The point is the picture, not how she GOT TO the picture, but the picture ITSELF. It got done. That was her effort, her own skill, her talent, and her own thoughts that manifested onto the paper. So why not give credit for just that? That is enough. We are enough. YOU ARE ENOUGH. What you have to offer is enough. Who you are is enough. We don’t have to prove our worth to anyone, even through overcoming those unnecessary obstacles, because there is no comparison. There is no comparison to you, there is no comparison to me. I am who I am, you are who you are, and there is not one else out there like us, good or bad. So we get so wrapped up in trying to prove our worth that sometimes we create a reality that is self sabotaging. Where we unknowingly, and sometimes knowingly, put these obstacles in our own path and all it does is rob us of the peace in the moment. Whatever little peace we could have, because we’re fighting these battles that we’ve set in front of us that didn’t need to be. Life is hard enough as it is, there are going to be obstacles that come from just living. We don’t need to help it out and create more self-imposed obstacles. So the next time that you feel yourself possibly creating an obstacle, and one of the examples of creating these obstacles is procrastinating, ask yourself “what am I really looking for? Is it validation? Is it pride? Is it self worth? Is it acknowledgment? What’s really the force that’s driving me?”

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