As I have recently mentioned in my rather spontaneous Tumblr post, my approach to everything in life can be described in three simple words: Feel. Think. Do. I’ve also mentioned that occasionally I skip a step or two before getting to step 3. Which is why I’m writing this post. At first, I felt like writing it, and without giving it much of a thought, jumped to the final step. Then the thinking part of me woke up and yelled, Whoa!! Are you nuts?? And so the writing process got stopped before it had a chance to begin.
Why? Because unlike other posts it wasn’t going to paint a pretty picture of me. Pretty ugly, maybe, but certainly not pretty. I’m hardly a narcissist, but usuallyI prefer to project an image of someone strong, smart and decisive. This post would do exactly the opposite. So I almost decided to label the whole idea as stupid, when it suddenly hit me. Wait a second, I thought, have I just turned writing as Unmaskd into a PR exercise? Have I just decided not to write a post just because it would make me look bad? The very point of going Unmaskd was to be completely open. Plus, something useful may come out of it. Actually, that’s I wanted to write it in the first place. So here I am, writing this post.
We are all familiar with the dreaded P-word. Procrastination is like sex: even if you have never had it, you have heard about it. So let me share another secret of mine: when it comes to procrastination, I’m not an expert. I’m The Expert. There are so many people who would procrastinate over little things, clean up their desks frantically every time they need to write something simple, postpone chores and do other stuff like that. Amateurs. The real procrastinator is above these petty attempts. I can go on for weeks or months plowing through unpleasant tasks like a bulldozer. The real procrastination is about something else. It’s about hitting the bottom. And a rock bottom it is. I can go on for a very long time. But then one day, one moment I face something I just don’t want to do. It could be the same task I’ve done before, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I just don’t feel like doing it. And then it happens. All it takes is a single moment of weakness. A single let-me-do-this-thing-first action. And the next moment I’m gliding down the slippery path to hell.
One by one useless accomplishments fill the time. They take the same time it would’ve taken me to accomplish that task I didn’t feel like doing. Then they take more. Then much more. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is with every minute I feel my will being taking away from me. It’s like watching sand flowing down the hourglass hole. I can feel it. That sensation is almost physical. It’s almost like feeling your brain being slowly wrapped in soft cotton wool. Round and round. Layer by layer. Until even thinking itself becomes a serious effort. And I although I know I can stop this, in fact I really can’t. It just goes on and on, leaving me with less and less willpower.
Of course, as it happens I’m still functioning. Of course, I can have a conversation and I appear to others just like my normal self. But deep inside I know that my will is almost gone. There’s just small part of it left somewhere in a dark corner of my brain, while it goes on its autopilot. And I let it go. Sometimes for hours. Sometimes for days. And I tell you, I hate these moments.
You already know when happens next. Yes, I find strength to stop this. I always find enough will to get me out of that mental swamp. And I get out it, and I accomplish that stupid task that had sent me into that procrasti-state, and I do whatever I decide to do. Once I hit the bottom and I actually jump pretty high out of the water. But I know that one day, it will hit me again.
The saddest part of all this is that once I find strength to fight off the p-bug, I am really good at whatever I do. I accomplish things that are pretty much off limits for many less fortunate people. And people look at my accomplishments and go, “Wow! This is great, how did you do that?” But I’m hardly proud. I know that had it not been for these moments I could have accomplished things that would make whole world go “Wow!” I’ve known this for a fact since I was a kid. But this doesn’t change anything. Because one way or another I always find way to that swamp. It’s like trying to become the running champion of the world while having concrete blocks chained to your feet.
So that’s my procrastination story. Now if you excuse me I have to get back to a little task I have to accomplish…
Oh, and one last thing. In case you have ever experienced procrastination yourself, here’s a question for you. A question that probably will send an icy chill down your spine, especially if you really think about. When you find yourself procrastinating it’s not you anymore who controls your actions. Right? At least it’s not your consciousness, not what you associate yourself with. Yet, you still take some actions.
So if it’s not you who is in control, then who is it?