Procrastination and I are very old friends. Years of school and homework avoided as long as possible. Followed by massive regret, miserable hours spent trying to catch up, and the usual lower performance or quality of work. I have gotten better over the years and generally consider myself to be a decent worker, although I’m often anxious about whether I’m working hard enough. I often attempt to work at the most hated tasks first to get them out of the way. Sometimes I think I do this more to avoid feeling miserable than the desire to get something finished. Though the task gets done I’m still avoiding something. I’m handling the symptom but not rooting out the cause. This begs the questions: Am I going to live my life constantly trying to avoid things? When will I just live and not care about such petty stuff?
Now that I’ve pushed myself into starting a knitwear design business and publish patterns, I’m faced with new procrastinations in my life. Don’t know how to write a pattern? Read all the books. Knit the hat and reknit the hat, then take forever to write the instructions. I was lucky with my first pattern, I had a deadline to publish by. I had to finished, format, and figure out all the web publishing stuff in a week. It wasn’t pretty but it happened. With my upcoming sock pattern, writing was more intense but I didn’t procrastinate the process until it came to finding a tech editor and test knitters. I realized I’m probably avoiding a task if its something I’ve never experienced or done before. The new thing that I’m dragging my heels on will get pushed aside by tasks I previously avoided but suddenly have no problem doing. Its all about the thing I ‘should’ be doing, I’ll almost always avoid it and do anything else.
This could be a pretty depressing realization and if I’m honest I do feel bummed and concerned about being motivated enough to realize my dreams. But something has been happening since I started my design business. When I’m working on something I haven’t figured out yet and feel stuck, I walk away and take a break. When I come back the path to the solution is usually there right in front of me. Its amazing and humbling every time. Its the kind of experience that I can use and recall when I’m avoiding work or new ‘scary’ things. The idea that I have to figure out everything in one go, without failure, always freaks me out and causes me to avoid the work. But if I can remember that its actually just about giving it a try, than I can handle the pressure. At least most of the time.
Note to self: If I have faith that my problem will work out eventually than the pressure lessens. I just have to show up and do the work. Everything else unfolds from there.
I have been able to slowly coax myself into getting lists completed, projects finished. I’ve been giving myself courage to continue going rather than listen to the doubts and fears. Well, I still listen to them and sometimes they take me over. But I’m still here, still working. I’ll probably, no, I’ll definitely loose battles but I think I’m winning the war.
(pictured is my first sweater. It took 4 years to get it knit.)