It might look like something else, but procrastination is fear dressed up. It might be disguised as something exotic or as something very interesting, but it is still our old friend fear.
We may dress up fear in colorful clothing, when we procrastinate, by offering ourselves various interesting, or even ‘urgent’, distractions. These are just our excuses for not doing what we know we really want to do. Whether we are distracted by frippery and gaudiness, or by subtlety and quality, we are still in a distracted state. These all just ways of avoiding doing that which we fear.
Our many complex and sophisticated answers, for not taking action, are fear as a dancer. We go here and go there, all the time avoiding where we really ought to go. Our odd illness and quirky ailments may well be half-baked attempts at making something – anything – happen.
But is fear really so bad? Maybe it is not trying to stop us. It could be just trying to get us to clarify and qualify a situation before going ahead. Maybe it just wants us to make better plans – or at least some plans.
Or maybe we are stuck on making plans and need to take action. Maybe then it is in fear that we can find courage. Allow the fear, and the courage will appear. Run from fear and procrastination is here.
We allow the fear, AND if it seems right to go ahead anyway, we take action.
I have a friend who says she wants to get a home recording setup to do some music. She procrastinates. “Should I use a Mac or a Windows computer?”, she asks. She has asked me the same question every so often for the last 3 years. Either option will get her there. Using either will end up with her having her music recorded. So will spending her money on going to a recording studio (or use a friends home recording equipment and pay the friend to help).
She has many options. Perhaps too many options. Her only real option is to do something. She could be on her third or fourth album by now if she had just got started on the first one. Her problem is not the choice of equipment; her problem is fear. She is afraid of making a mistake, not being good enough, or whatever.
She feels safer procrastinating than taking action. The safety is an illusion as her time and opportuntities are wasting away. She could have made many really good mistakes by now and have learned something useful. Instead she dresses up her fear as a complicated decision about technology. She dresses her fear up in fancy dress and procrastinates.