Well, I suppose that title would have more effect had it been posted during the past two weeks. But if I finally wrote my second blog post when I PLANNED to write my second blog post, then it wouldn’t be procrastinating.
I’ve certainly had ideas for blog posts, but for some reason the longer I went without writing something, the harder it was to write it. Initially, this caused a lot of anxiety and each day my “To Do List” had “Finish blog post” written in big, frantic, highlighted letters on it (see ‘Exhibit A’). But then, I became immune to my incessant self-nagging (see ‘Exhibit B’). So this post is dedicated to why and how I procrastinate.
One common theme with the activities and tasks I’ve procrastinated the past few months is that they are relatively “new.” What I mean by that is that they chart unfamiliar territory and I either I don’t know what I’m doing, or I’m worried I won’t be good at it. Or, I’m worried about how long it might take me to finish it. Blogging for GradLife is a good example. I haven’t ever pursued any writing endeavors outside of academia, let alone publish anything on the internet!
Another example is an experiment that was on my to-do list for most of the fall semester, and I only just wrapped it up before the end of last year. It involved several techniques that I wasn’t familiar with, and the result was a critical piece of information for my project. Again, fear of failure seemed to play a major role in my putting this off until the last minute.
Also contributing to my procrastination is my limited ability to stick to my own deadlines. These deadlines are typically not reinforced by supervisors, funding agencies or other higher powers. It’s an important skill that I’m working to improve.
Unfortunately, with these factors in mind, I missed the perfect opportunity to finally catch up on writing blog posts (and that paper I was supposed to finish a long time ago). That opportunity was the holidays, and since I didn’t go home to visit my family, I had plenty of time to finish any leftovers on my to-do list. And suddenly, mundane tasks become a lot more appealing; such as cleaning my apartment. I even picked up some old, dust-ridden hobbies that hadn’t seen the light of day in many years. See Exhibits C and D.
At last I finally did face my fears and write this post. Don’t worry; I’m taking IMMEDIATE steps to make sure that my next blog post does not experience such extreme procrastination. The following are some things I plan to do in order to accomplish this goal.
• First, break up the blog post into small pieces that I can finish individually and then reward myself
by doing my favorite mundane task and/or hobby (e.g. baking cookies).
• Next, remind myself of my new motto (circa 2014): “Done is better than perfect!”
• And finally, because I am thus far not good at reinforcing my own deadlines, I have written this post
about my procrastination – which will serve as a reminder to hold myself accountable to my fellow
bloggers and the GradLife community.