3 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Can't Stop ProcrastinatingNone By Homaira Kabir
My big project is due next week. It sits in my planner—in red, bolded letters—haunting me.
It’s been there for over a month now. I remind myself every day that I'll get to it tomorrow. The next day, it mocks me like the Nike ad: "Yesterday you said tomorrow." Why oh why can't I "just do it"?
I've tried every procrastination hack out there. I've tried to break the project down into mini steps, but the number of steps only makes it look even more daunting. A journey of a thousand miles may begin with a single step, but boy, at my height, that adds up to more than 2 million steps!
I've tried posting "I can do it" notes on my computer. Apparently that gets the adrenaline flowing. I've even tried a couple of the power poses that psychologist Amy Cuddy talks about. They've certainly made me feel powerful—to do something totally unrelated!
I've even tried commitment devices. I told my husband to not fix dinner unless I finished a chunk of my project. I spent the afternoon going over pictures from our Croatia trip two summers ago, and we ended up ordering in instead.
And then something happened. In a semi-reverie of sorts, a result of overeating at lunch (yes, a feeble attempt to avoid the dreaded project), I seemed to mentally doze off into my childhood. There I was, working madly at my project in the hopes that I'd bring home a gold star that would place me on the same revered pedestal as my brothers. There I was at my school desk, fearfully awaiting my mark because it would determine whether I was worthy of my parents' approval. There I was with my star, yet feeling that the praise I received was neither genuine nor deserved.
I could suddenly see the 8-year-old in my present self. Here I was, setting the bars so high that the mere prospect of working toward them brought up the same dread and trepidation. Here I was second-guessing my value, beating myself up, and talking myself down to make sure I didn't reveal my perceived incompetence. And as this realization dawned on me, a wiser me seemed to reach out to the little girl in pigtails: "You have so many strengths. You don't have to prove yourself."
I think I needed to hear that. From myself. And once I did, my entire perspective on the project changed. I began to view it as something to enjoy, to grow through, and to learn from, rather