Are you always on time? Early? Do you turn in your projects weeks before deadline? Are you the person who has their Christmas shopping done with the presents wrapped by October? Do you plan meals out for months in advance? Do you follow your budget? Are you disciplined?
Then this post is NOT for you. It’s for the procrastinators such as myself. But if you’re orderly, we still love you. In fact, us procrastinators need you in our lives.
Hello, my name is Raegan Mathis and I am President and Founder of the Negro Procrastination Society for Colored Folk.
I accepted this position last week after God and I had a talk. Actually, we were boxing – I box with Him a lot. I lose all the time, but I’m like Jacob in that way. We have regular talks about blessings. This time was no different – I still lost. I win, because I lost.
Mostly because I felt convicted about the areas of my life where I’m slacking. There was this realization I’m giving too much attention to the wrong areas of my life. It’s more so that the priorities I have are being set out in the wrong order. Period. I have priorities. However all of them aren’t in first place for attention. Not only that, but I’m not working at my best possible potential and I need to figure out why. Is it fear? If so, of what?
Really, it comes down to compartmentalizing and focusing respectively on things in a more efficient and satisfying way than I have been.
In other words, it’s time to go hard or go home. It basically comes down to the fact that I need to stop that shit. At this point in my life, there is too much at stake to lose something because I sit on the opportunity until the last minute, then want to cry and lay out because I missed out. I have control over seizing those opportunities or not.
What’s interesting is I don’t know where I get this procrastination gene from. Both of my parents are mad organized and in fact have OCD to a certain extent about how they want things, about being on time, about planning early to the best of their abilities. I am really crazy about certain things – like the bathroom and kitchen being clean, my bedroom being clean, no dishes in the sink, whether or not I turned the stove off (I’ve been known to come back home and check it), I check for my phone, keys and wallet all the time. I know. But when it comes down to work – job, blog, book, apps for opportunities, business things for life, I clock out sometimes. I wait until the very last minute to make things happen.
I think it’s because I’ve gotten away with it too many times. There have been so many times, I’ve been able to “pull it off” so to speak that I’m exhilarated by the rush I get when make things happen. But why do I have to be like that? That whole – let me leave at 3pm when I know I have a flight at 5pm and it might take 45 minutes to get to the airport, but I’ll make it business…is not the business. It’s almost like I’m daring myself to see if I can do it.
It’s the wrong attitude.
I don’t want to keep testing the waters on things. I just need to get busy and at the very least, do the work I need to do. Be on time, be early. Get the work done I’ve set out to do or have on my plate.
I mean, how else do you succeed? Sure there are people who receive everything just handed to them – but there’s a cost. There’s always a cost. Procrastination has a cost too. And I can definitely say I’ve paid the price for it over the years. I was thinking about two things – Marianne Williamson said, if I may paraphrase it to read as I understand it – that God basically holds your blessings for you. They are yours. So it’s not like He’s out here giving away your book deal or that house you have your eyes on. Then there is the other side – how many times was God ready to give me something but I wasn’t ready? I hadn’t done the necessary work to even handle what He was going to put on the table. So I’m the one who’s holding God up? How is He going to give me anything else when I’m not properly caring for what He’s given me now?
Yeah, I need to get myself together.
As we watch people succeed and get the things they want out of life, it’s not that they’re smarter or better. Maybe they are better at what they’re doing than others, but mostly it’s because they are working. And they’re working hard. They’re working when we’re procrastinating. They’re up making designs and plans. In other words, excuse my french, they’re not fucking around all the time.
Procrastinators are a unique group. I’ve read something to the tune of us being perfectionists. We wait until the last minute because we know we won’t get it just the way we want it. Again, my theory is that I’m bored and not using my gifts in the right way – mostly why I started this blog. This for sure happens at work where I have a project that has 7568 parts to it or more and I’m like ohhh, lemme just wait one week until it’s due and I have to stay up all night, all week, in order to get it done. Who does that? I do.
I also believe many procrastinators are at damn near genius level. Like how else, besides for the grace of God do we manage to pull things off? That’s a blessing. That’s ingenuity. But we’re using that power in the wrong way.
It should be used to get ahead – not keep up.
I know if I stopped procrastinating, I’d win more. I wouldn’t have room to be upset. I’d know I had put forth my best effort. Procrastination is self-sabotage in it’s worst form. Mostly because it’s a silent, slow way to sabotage our own success.
Fact: Did you know that ONE(1) hour of proper planning will save you 200 hours of correction?
I want you to think about it. How many hours have I spent chasing my tail all because I was too lazy, too afraid, too nervous, too whatever to do the one hour of work I needed to do that would change my life?
Look, planning and preparation and the non-slack for whatever it is I want to do will not only bless and honor my life, but it gives me the chance to bless and honor the lives of my family and friends. I get to help them when I have time and money. I love my life and I love myself. When I’m procrastinating all of the time, it doesn’t show the love. When I procrastinate, I’m saying things aren’t important enough, I’m not important enough, to handle these things in advance.
I call foolishness and bullshit. Because we know better. I’ve been out here doing what I want to do, when I should be doing what I’m supposed to do.
Sidenote: I started reading Judy Smith’s Good Self, Bad Self and it’s about managing your good and bad qualities (self) to avoid crisis. She says the very qualities that make us successful are the same ones that can take us down. The quality in itself has both a good property when managed correctly and a bad one when not – opposite sides of the coin. That thing right there sat me down and made me think. I’m still reading and still thinking. Like – if I know by waiting until the last minute will produce nothing but a headache and possible failure, why do I do it? Is that a quality I can turn on it’s head? What’s the opposite side of this and how do I get to it? When I get the answers – because I will – I will report back. Wayment – do you know the answer to this? Leave me a comment below.
One other thing, sometimes, procrastinating makes us feel better. Having to actually DO something may mean it’s not something we hate or dread. In fact, maybe we know it’s going to be painful. Hence why we’re ignoring it. Hmmmm….but maybe it still needs to be done. There’s too much to list on all of the things I don’t want to do, but I will say when I do the things I’ve been avoiding, I feel better about myself and it causes less worry. Avoidance doesn’t make the matter go away. It’s like hiding under the covers as a child from the monsters in your closet. If they really are in there do the covers save us?
So today, if there’s something you’ve been putting off that you know will benefit your life, let’s stop right now and spend one uninterrupted hour just doing that thing. It may be research, a phone call, looking for something you’ve lost, prepping your family for something, putting in that job application, going to the doctor, searching for new opportunities or brainstorming. It could also mean, just cleaning your house so you can see the floor and actually use your kitchen. I’m just saying.
What’s been your experience procrastinating? Any recovering procrastinators out there? Any advice on how you managed to change? Comment below or tweet me @fromraewithlove. If you’d like to join the Negro Procrastination Society, just tweet me and let me know. We’ll have to keep an eye on each other.
I’m going to do better. We’re going to do better.
- Why We Procrastinate, And How To Stop It (lifehacker.com.au)
- Five Counterintuitive Ways to Use Procrastination and Become Productive (lifehacker.com)
- Why We Procrastinate, and How to Stop It (lifehacker.com)