Procrastination and Perfectionism

I haven’t written anything in my blog for months, partly through a lack of inspiration, partly through being incredible busy, and partly just down to who I am as a person. More recently I’ve had plenty of inspiration and time to write but I’ve still been putting it off, finding other things to do instead. Anything I have written has remained incomplete, and anything that has made it to completion has yet to be posted.

I know why I’ve been putting it off. It’s down to my own insecurities, my own constant fear of not being good enough. It’s why there’s pages and pages of scribbled out writings in my notebook. It’s why I have innumerous incomplete blog-posts in old notebooks, snapshots of who I was at the time, rough drafts that have never made it to the light of day. Even blog posts that make it out into the world have been through edits, revisions, whole chunks that have been scrapped, moved, altered time and time again. And I know even when I do post something that it’s unlikely I’ll be truly happy with it.

I do it with every aspect of my life though, not just my blog writing. This fear of not being good enough takes over almost all aspects of my life, and usually it leads to me putting off doing stuff until the last possible minute, from job applications, to study abroad, to university coursework. I’ve become an expert in finding excuses as to why I can’t start something just yet; I don’t have all the paperwork I need, I don’t have the right notebook, the right folder, I don’t have the right pen, or it’s out of ink and I don’t have the right colour, I have eight other things I maybe need to do first, I don’t have the comfortable clothes on, I’m not in the right place, the moon isn’t in the right phase. Okay, so maybe not the last one, but all the others are excuses I’ve used before.

Often when I do start something with plenty of time before the deadline I’ll spend more time faffing around with different things until the deadline is on top of me and I still end up submitting it at the last minute. Sometimes this habit works for me, often when it comes to assignments I like being able to sit down all in one go and get the majority of it done whilst I’m in that frame of mind. Sometimes this doesn’t work quite so well, especially when I have a bunch of deadlines all at once. This is where the perfectionist side of me struggles, when I want to put 110% in and yet I’ve run out of time.

For me if what I’ve done isn’t the absolute best I could have done, then it’s not good enough. It doesn’t matter to me that, so far, the lowest mark I’ve got is a 2:1. I try to remind myself that it’s a good mark, I should be pleased with it. But the louder voice in my head is telling me that it should be better, I can do better, and if maybe I’d put more effort in and spent less time dicking about I’d have managed to get a 1:1. Which is definitely not helped by those times I have put the effort in and got a better grade. I am my own biggest critic, I know when I’m not doing something well and will continually beat myself up about it until I get it right.

Sometimes I think “hey, maybe this is a dyspraxia thing and you should maybe give yourself more slack about the fact you take more time,” and then the other voice in my head goes “you can’t always use your dyspraxia as an excuse, you’ve been living with it for almost 25 years by now, you should have learnt how to deal with it.” It especially doesn’t help when people continually remind me of what I’m doing wrong, when the external voices are agreeing with my internal voices and reminding me of what a failure I am, that I’m slow, and stupid, and just not good enough.

The pressure I put on myself is intense, and my fear of failure sometimes gets so bad it’s almost crippling, and sometimes I’ll simply give up before I even try. You can’t fail something that you never attempted in the first place, right? Though recently I’ve been learning that sometimes you have to try, you have to be bold, because when you are that’s when good things happen, it doesn’t matter if you fail a few times along the way (I’m still trying to tell myself that that’s okay). That I don’t have to be perfect at everything right away, and that people do things at their own pace. That maybe I should stop trying so hard to get everything right the first time, and accept that it’s okay to work at my own pace. Maybe I should see what can happen when I fight my own fears.

Sophie x


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