Saturday, March 29, 2014

Procrastination and Perfectionism

So first of all, this blog post could probably be improved just by telling you to go here to read this other article that sums up my situation fairly accurately.

But to sum it all up, the basic point is this: Procrastinators put things off not because they're lazy, but because they feel the need to do things perfectly. And when they aren't able to do things perfectly, or fear failure, they wind up putting off that thing they're supposed to do, until they literally can't put it off any longer.

I'm using the word 'they,' but let's be honest. You all know that I am a major perpetrator of this.

Whenever I have the most work to do, I always wind up getting sucked back into other interests. The thought of agonizing over papers and projects is instantly repulsive. I get things done eventually, and I'd like to think I get them done well, but I never get them done early.

This past week I have:
  •  Organized the mega-list of manga that I'm reading by genre
  • Organized my playlists of Japanese music on Spotify by mood
  • Continued introducing a wingmate to anime a la Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (which she is now obsessed with--we've received noise warnings on several occasions).
  • Spontaneously done my laundry mostly to put off hanging posters for my job as a Teacher's Assistant
  • Gone to a battle-of-the-bands type thing on campus
  • Gone to a dance show thing on campus
  • Gone to get ice cream with friends on campus
  • Done a vast amount of other random crap to avoid what I should really be doing, namely homework and writing and preparing for my trip to Greece in the summer

Obviously manga and anime are major culprits, but not the sole distraction at my disposal. I have been using workouts to avoid homework. EXERCISE. This doesn't happen. I put off inter-library loaning books for weeks when it would have taken approximately two seconds to do.

I'm still doing better than I was last semester. But procrastination is a major bad habit of mine. And in a lot of ways I've been finding it necessary (though totally unwise) for a lot of the reasons given in that article I linked to at the start of this post.

If I feel super-stressed and panicked and busy working all the time, I don't work as well. Allowing myself fun-time keeps me relaxed...up until that moment where I finally have to buckle down and get stuff done.

The main way I've tried counteracting this habit lately is just by trying to put things off by doing other productive things (doing laundry or working out, for example). But that's not always effective.

This site that turns good habits into an rpg game has been more helpful than you might think (and just as nerdy) but I still find myself being lax at times, letting myself off for something or fudging how well I really got a task done. Still, I'd recommend it.

I guess for now, I'll just be content that I managed to blog two weeks in a row.

If you've got procrastination tips, heap them upon me. Please.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

It's Hard to Be Happy

In my last blog post, back in January, I summed up how the fall semester had gone by saying that I let things slip. I felt behind. I wasn't making as much progress as I wanted to.

Three months later, I'm doing better.

More obligations = more motivation, and I've been keeping busy with assorted lit courses, preparations for my trip to Greece this summer, and working as copy-editor on our campus literary journal. I've been working out regularly, writing something [almost] every day, remembering to call my family more, and just in general I have been more on top of things.

This culminated in a night about a week ago where I felt cautiously optimistic about myself as an individual, about my prospects as a writer, and about life in general. "I'm not perfect, but I'm doing ok."

Of course, I was tackled the following day with anxiety about all my insecurities, particularly worries about the future, my career, etc.

I started my workout planning to think about my WIP, and instead my brain hit me with all those stupid questions: "Why don't you have a polished manuscript yet? What the heck are you going to do for a living? What are you freaking doing with your life?"

Suddenly, reminders of those worries started popping up everywhere--in the books I read for class, in an essay I needed to copy-edit, in Tumblr posts that crop up, everywhere.

I still feel like I'm currently in a better state than last semester, but that doesn't eliminate the absolute suckishness of having doubts about the future, and my self-worth, and everything else.

Trying to hang onto the positives. Stay optimistic. But it can be so hard to be happy sometimes.