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
8 thoughts on “Q is for Question #atozchallenge”
Juli, Thanks for another great post! Reminds me of a book “Who Moved My Cheese” about Hem, Haw, Sniff and Scurry. Most of us find that at one time or another we have been most of those characters. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
Ooooh… Umm… Yeah… My former employer ruined this book for me. They gave us a copy of Who Moved My Cheese to read, part of a mandatory meeting, then moved our cheese! As in they moved locations and didn’t give everyone the option of changing job locations to go along with them. I lost my job, after fifteen years working for the same company. I probably should have seen the writing on wall, but I was SURE I was going to continue have a place within my former company. There were PLENTY of hints from upper management that I was going to keep a job within the company. I was a hard worker and a member of management. I was one of the people you’d call if you had an obscure question. People used to joke that I was the oracle. I was the keeper of the knowledge. I’d trained MANY people within our company, people who went up the corporate food-chain. As it turned out, they were only stringing me along to facilitate the transition before they dumped me. They kept the lesser paid employees, but couldn’t find homes for the higher paid ones. Didn’t matter that we had more experience and good reviews under our belts. I believe it all came down to numbers. The company I worked for would never have said it, but we all knew they could hire two, possibly three “kids” off the street for the price of one of me. I received a severance package, a few kind words thanking me for my years of loyalty, and a pin to wear on my lapel…for my years of service. (You can probably image where I wanted to stick that pin! LOL)
I saw that my former employer was making changes, but I thought that my hard work was enough. I thought that if I put in enough hours and did my job really well, that I would be rewarded. Unfortunately, things don’t work that way. Maybe they should, but they don’t. Corporate downsizing happens. You can work so hard that you feel as though you’re irreplaceable, but you can be replaced. I was one cog. There are other cogs out there. They may not have the experience, but if a company can hire two or three younger cogs for the price of their former cog…a lot of companies will do it. A couple of years before this happened to me, I noticed quite a few “experienced” employees were being released for various reasons. But rather than becoming proactive, I was reactive. I was nervous about the changes I was seeing, but I thought that if I worked hard and was able to prove how valuable I was, it would be enough.
Looking back, I now realize that instead of focusing on helping my former employer improve their business, I should have been focused on me, on improving my skills so that I’d be more marketable to other companies in the future. I invested time and energy helping other people gain wealth, but here I am, 15 years older, with little to show for it. I did learn this, always, always ALWAYS invest in yourself first. Companies go bankrupt or they downsize. You are just a number to them. You can’t control that. You CAN take steps to improve yourself and your own skills.
Also, NEVER put your job before your family. It sickens me when I think of all the times I put my career ahead of my family. I missed soooo many important events and holidays because of corporate loyalty. I thought I HAD to work all of the crazy hours dictated to me or I wasn’t a good employee. I was in management. That’s what a good manager does. It’s like that song, Cat’s in the Cradle. I missed out on time with my hubby and son for a company who left me like a bad break-up. I can never get that time back. I can only learn from my experience. It’s a HARD lesson.
Juli, I reblogged this post yesterday. Thanks!
Thank you so much!
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The same thing happened to me 20 years ago. But actually it turned out to be the best thing. Employer wanted me to put work above family. The company actually imploded and I was one of the lucky 1st round layoffs. Life has been so much better ever since.
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If I hadn’t been “released,” I’m afraid I’d still be putting work above family, I’m sorry to say. But thanks to my circumstances, I feel like I was given a second chance. I’m not working the hours I was before, I see my family more, and while it hasn’t been easy adjusting to the change in income, we’ve adjusted. 🙂
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Sounds like you have realized the most important things are not things. Good for you.
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