I Finally Figured Out Why I Procrastinate
By gracefulmess on February 19, 2014
Featured Member Post
Have you ever had one of those moments when an epiphany just hits you out of nowhere? That moment when something that may have eluded you your entire life is just so obvious, and once you realize it you can't get it out of your mind?
When these moments hit me (and I am able), I like to grab a pen and paper and write down what is going through my head, because as soon as it appears, chances are, it will be gone and I'll be struggling to remember the amazing thing that I just figured out. So when I can, I write.
But Eureka moments don't usually happen to me in normal places, and I can never seem to find a pen. These moments always seem to happen when I’m riding down the road. In the shower. Running. You get the point.
Well my most recent and startling revelation came to me when I was folding clothes. So I was able to grab a half-colored page from one of the kids' coloring books and a broken crayon and scribble the gist of my epiphany down for further reflection.
I PROCRASTINATE BECAUSE I AM A PERFECTIONIST.
What?? And all this time I thought I just worked "best under pressure"??
This came to me, as I stated earlier, while I was folding clothes. Doing laundry… a task that is NEVER done. I was happily folding with Little Man, my three-year-old son. One of his little jobs around the house is to fold washcloths and dish towels. And he does it perfectly and with joy. He doesn't get rattled when he knocks the pile over. He sees that as an opportunity for more practice. "Mommy, look how good I can fold these into a square!!" He is so proud of the neat stack that he makes every single time.
As I'm folding clothes (I am a absolutely a perfectionist about how clothes are folded! I even re-fold clothes that other people fold because I like them a certain way), my husband is grabbing up the piles of sorted and stacked and perfectly folded clothes and a protest begins to come out of my mouth, "but I’m not finished!" Because to me, you simply can't put clothes away until everything is folded. The entire stack of unfolded laundry must absolutely be folded first. Well, hidden in my room upstairs are 3-4 laundry baskets full of clothes that I haven't had a chance to put away yet because I want to do it "just right." When I have "enough time."
And that's when the aforementioned thought hit me between the eyes.
I look around my home and see unfinished projects and messes and stacks that need my attention and until I had this epiphany I would get frustrated when I would see anyone else tackling these jobs. As though their effort was an insult to me because they perceived that I was slipping in my duties or something.
This isn't just affecting me at home. It carries over to work. It even carries over to my self image and lack of a consistent exercise routine.
Since my realization, I have finally been able to relax. And even be a bit more productive:
I've let my kids do more to help around the house. They do it in typical kid-fashion, and it is far from perfect. But they are learning so much in the process, and they are so proud!
I don't get offended any more when I come home and see my husband using his off time to help out around the house –- because I am finally "getting" that we are a team and he doesn’t expect me to do it all alone.
We finally had a yard sale and NOTHING was priced or organized and we still got rid of things that we didn't need or want any longer. We even sold the Big Mouth Billy Bass that has been moved at least four times over the span of our marriage.
I'm thinking that I'll still have relapses of perfectionism (is that even a word?) from time to time. Actually, I know I will. Heck, it even took me a week to sit down and write this post because I was "waiting for the perfect time."
I'm also hoping that someone else will take on the task of sorting the socks that have been in a laundry basket for months. I am completely OK with letting go of that job…
Jennifer Collins is a Graceful Mess.
Living a messy life, full of grace.