I'm 22 and procrastination is ruining my life.
Today I was on facebook (procrastinating) looking at the university graduation statuses and pictures of everyone i went to school with and felt like crap. They're all graduating this year and I'm still plodding along in the same supermarket job I had at high school.
I was an over-achiever at school until I was about 15 and got the internet. It became a constant time-consuming obsession for me at a time when I didn't have many friends. I stopped studying and started falling behind in my classes. This persisted throughout high school, and procrastinating had become such a deeply ingrained habit that I didn't need the internet to do it anymore. I'd write lists.. watch rubbish tv.. do nothing. I messed up my final exams and then went to college (community college for Americans) to resit them and get back on track. By now I was sabotaging everything I tried with procrastination and failed that too. Then I realised my true calling was fashion design.. say 3 years ago now? I did a year of that at college and then dropped out as I was falling behind again. I am still a novice at sewing and sketching.
The most painful part is that I am the most ambitious person I know, desperate to be creative and productive. I spend my time reading pointless bs on the net or watching tv. Sometimes just laying in bed. Like a true procrastinator, I take great joy in writing extensive and detailed lists/life plans! My sewing machine sits on my desk getting dusty, as does my sketchpad. I have to lie to friends and family that I'm on track for applying to art school. I have just missed the deadline for a second year and my portfolio remains undone.. haven't even started! Its not just my creative ambitions suffering..
It has reeked havoc and misery on every area of my life. Financially - I procrastinate leaving the house so miss the train and get a taxi to work. I procrastinate paying off store cards and ruin my credit score. Socially - I procrastinate buying christmas gifts and never get round to it, harming friendships. Constantly letting people down. Health - Still haven't booked my smear test.. sorry if thats TMI! Everything is a last minute stressful rush - getting ready to meet friends, moving flats etc..
I have become very socially anxious and consider myself to be uninteresting. I take my analysis-paralysis mindset to conversations and find myself grasping for things to say instead of being relaxed and natural. I know this is a different problem but I believe it to be linked - because I don't spend my time doing anything interesting, I feel I have nothing to talk about. Don't even read books anymore. I feel I can't engage with people and participate in social situations fully because I'm not participating/engaging with the world properly. Does that make sense? It makes me feel like I'm on a different playing field from everyone else and so I can't forge real connections with them because i feel too inadequate to just relax and enjoy other people's company.
I've analysed why I procrastinate and I think at this point its mostly habit by this point but partly because I feel so discouraged at how behind I am in life. I start sketching, realise I suck at it, think how good I would be if I had spent the last 3 years doing it and get depressed. Then I don't feel like doing anything but fall back into my displacement activities - eat food and go online. The scary part is the extent of my inactivity. I would truthfully estimate that I've spent less than 24 hours doing things that matter in the past year.
I'm an attractive and intelligent 22 yearold with the potential to be very happy. Instead, I'm ashamed of myself. I'm absoloutely terrified that I'll continue wasting my life until I'm 30 with the same problems, plus the weight of even more regret. I'm also sick of dissapointing my mother. I've read all the procrastination articles and books and nothing can alter the nueral pathways/my behaviour. I occasionally have little bursts of action but they never last more than a few hours. I want to start manifesting and reaching my potential. Thats why I signed up. (A year ago and have only just made my first post! Ha!) I think it might be good for me to give and get support from others like me. Hopefully this forum will be a step in the right direction. Thanks for reading.