Just keep starting
Why am I here?
Because I have had enough. Because I do not want to procrastinate any more. Because everything else I've tried has not worked. Because I want to change.
Because I will not give up.
I've been a procrastinator all my life. I don't know what the reason is. Is it ADHD? Is it avoidance of anxiety? Is impulsiveness? Is it perfectionism? Is it all of the above or none of the above?
I dont' know. I don't care.
I just want it to stop.
At an intellectual level, I know the issues. I've read 'the now habit', 'the procrastination equation' and 15 other books on how to stop procrastinate (probably while I should have been working on something more important). Each has its own theory, each its own reason and each its own suggestions.
I know I'm supposed to make lists. Lists of priorities. Priorites derived from goals... from dreams.I know I'm supposed to break these dreams into small little pieces that make them manageable. Small enough that they are no longer intimidating. Ironically, perhaps small enough that are not longer even distant reminders of the dreams in the first place (I know, I'm exagerating).
I know... and yet I don't know. I try. Believe me I try. I have lists. I go to bed praying that armed with my lists and positive visualization and self-hypnosis scripts, tomorrow will be different. But it never is.
So I am here. Perhaps writing about and sharing my experience will help take me in a new direction.
As some background... by any stretch of the imagination, I'm quite succesful. Work at a very presitgious firm, have a great family. went to some of the best schools in the country. Yet, I know that my procrastination has held me back. Has caused pain to those I love.
As an example, in school, I had semesters where I had a 4.0 and top grades in each class. I had other quarters where I did not show up to class for half the semester.
I have been so late on turning in my expenses at work (literally just needed to hand them over to my assistant) that I've literally shredded the receipts in fear of my wife finding out that thick stack that could no longer be submitted.
That is why I am here.
I am here because I know all the answers, yet I have none.
That is why I am here.
I am here with hoping that at least one piece of advice i read will help. In 'the now habit', at one point the author essentially says don't worry about finishing... just keep starting.
So I am here. I am here to start... Once again :)
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the weight of failure
Well, your post was certainly what I needed to read today. I'm "starting" again today, trying to put one foot in front of the other in a directed, deliberate way instead of running away.
A month ago, I lost another important client — the best opportunity to come my way in four years — due to my continued inability to deliver work on time and within scope. It took maybe a week for it to sink in, and then I felt pretty depressed and hopeless for a couple weeks. Today I'm back from a nice vacation with my family. No real hopefulness in me, but at least I'm clear that running is just going to make things worse and worse.
I relate so much to your post, NoMore. I'm 45, a creative professional with some impressive work behind me. But I too have been crippled by this affliction my whole life. I've created so much pain through procrastination and perfectionism that I've turned to all sorts of drugs/behaviors to self-medicate. That's how I got into the 12 Steps nine years ago. But I've learned that those things are just superficial manifestations of the affliction — it's my desperate need to be beyond criticism and judgment from others that's at the core of everything. And the procrastination/perfectionism have always been the core expression of the affliction.
Your post brought to mind something from a book called Turning It Over; in a section called "A Pattern of Failure," the author writes:
First time I read this, years ago, I felt like I'd been tacked out like a frog on the dissection table. It's only become more true as the years have gone by; I'm not out of control any more with booze, drugs or compulsive behaviors but I can't seem to fix the stuff that is interfering with my career and my ability to make a living.
The author goes on to describe how the paradoxical promise of the 12 Steps is that the admission of total defeat — in my case, that I, on my own steam, will never be able to control my procrastination, perfectionism, and obsession with finding my self-worth in others' opinions of me — is the key that makes it possible to let go of managing my own decisions a single day at a time.
And when I do that, when I surrender say-so over what I do, then things do tend to get better. Slowly and painfully, maybe, but they do improve.
I've been here a couple of weeks and find it very helpful. congrats on what you've accomplished already in your decision to be here and in your life.
great article: http://zenhabits.net/perfect/
I've been here about 3 weeks and I've got more help and support than anywhere else ever.
I too have a successful career, yet I've regularly been in trouble for failing to get work done in time, and my financial life is a bit of a disaster. But checking in regularly here and using the chatroom when necessary has given me a real practical boost. I still don't know why I procrastinate, but reporting here in this non-judgemental environment has already had massive benefits in my work.
Glad you have joined us - I hope you enjoy the benefits as much as I do
Dear Nomore, Thank
Thank you for sharing. I completely empathise with everything you say. I've read the books too -- also when I should be doing something more important, and I've thought of all of those reasons from ADHD to perfectionism to avoidance addiction. I still don't know what I'm supposed to do, and I realize that my life is ticking away.
Someone here on this website said to me once, "You can't stop procrastinating. You can only do someting." That sounds like your final line of just keeping starting.
Good luck, don't give up, and even when you are struggling, may you find happiness along your journey.