A Procrastinator’s Guide From A to Z
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
― Dr. Seuss
Procrastinators aren’t lazy. They aren’t stupid. They think about things. They worry about things. They don’t wander through life expecting everyone else to take care of them and their problems. Oh no! Quite the contrary. They don’t live a simple life, putting things off until the last possible minute. It may seem like they don’t care, but they do, In fact, I would wager that they care more than most people. That’s the problem. They care too much!
I’ve said this before in previous posts, but I’ll say it again; most procrastinators are perfectionist at heart. It’s all or nothing. Do it the right way, or don’t bother trying. They’re afraid of not being enough. Not good enough. Not smart enough. Never enough! Fear keeps the perfectionist from moving forward. Perfectionism and Fear are MAJOR players in Depression.
The Procrastinator wants to move forward with their life, but they can’t. They’re afraid that they’ll make the wrong choices. They question things. They question EVERYTHING.
They question the little stuff:
What should I wear this morning?
What are we eating for dinner?
What color should I paint this room?
Should I get a haircut?
What are we doing this weekend?
They question the BIG stuff:
What am I supposed to be doing with my life?
Where am I supposed to be?
Should I work at this job or that one?
Should I live in this city or another one?
Is there a God out there?
What happens when we die?
I’d venture to say that EVERYONE has asked these questions at some time or other. But not everyone is paralyzed with trying to come up with an answer. Procrastinators have a difficult time answering the simple questions in life. What if they’re wrong? What if they make a mistake? What if they make a bad choice? A wrong choice! Their perfectionism keeps them from seeing past what’s in front of them. Think about it. So what if you’re wrong? You paint your room a hideous color…then what? Does the world come to an end? The fate of the universe rests on your entree decision? Or do you you make another choice and move on? Move forward. Most people realize they can make new decisions, that they can change their minds. Most people realize that nothing is written in stone. The Procrastinator…yeah, they’re not so sure. They want to make ONE decision, the right one, and never have to do it again. One and done!
If a simple decision is enough to derail a Procrastinator, then a BIG choice is near impossible! If Perfectionism makes it difficult to decide on what side dish to get with a meal, how in the world are they supposed to pick the “right” major in college. What if they pick the wrong career? What if they ruin their life? They see the world in black and white, a million questions with only ONE right answer. They can’t fathom multiple paths…all of them “right.” They can’t understand living in a world where they could become a nurse OR a teacher, and be happy in either career! That either choice might work out okay, or not. That everything is fluid. That you might have more than one career in your life, or the same career—straight out of school until retirement—and BOTH scenarios are okay! It boggles the mind of a Procrastinator. Their Perfectionism blinds them from the truth. Fear clouds their judgement.
Sometimes, it seems like it’s easier to let go, to let the outside world make the decisions for us. Procrastinators like this. It works! ALL out of fries? I’ll order the mashed potatoes. WHEW!!!! That was easy. Classes are full? YAY!!! It’s not my fault. I guess I’ll have to pick a different major. A loved one dies? I guess it must have been “God’s plan.” Never mind that they did NOTHING to take responsibility for their health over the course of their life. If the situation is obviously out of the Procrastinator’s hands, they can let it go. They can move forward. They can move on.
If a Procrastinator can find a way to move past their Fear and Perfectionism, there’s space for other possibilities, proactive ones. They can follow their dreams. Make plans. Screw up. Make new choices. Lather, rinse, and repeat. If they can’t? They’re forced to live reactively, allowing others to make the choices for them. I’ve done both, probably more years reacting than making my own choices. Both cases are scary! But…I think I’d rather make my own mistakes than live in the shadows of others and their choices. I can screw up just as easily as anyone else. I don’t need someone else to do my thinking for me.
Take care and live your dreams! xo Juli