I have been working a lot lately. Working on a brand new website. A redesign has been due for years but was not a priority. We had other things on our plate. Things like buying a house, raising a baby and recovering from major surgery.
In spring of this year, a friend, whose website we really like, insisted we get started on our own. We agreed it was time. To show him that we were serious, we even made a bet: jkdunlimited.com would sport a brand new look by 12/31/2016 or we would fly him and his family from Seattle to Hawaii (a total of 4 plane tickets). Needless to say this was serious motivation.
We hired a “techy” and made plans. And then…nothing much happened.
Everyday I would think about THE WEBSITE and then proceed to get busy with something else. Summer came and went. Fall saw us traveling to Japan and Los Angeles. Mid-November, I officially started to freak out. Less than two months to our deadline and I had made no progress.
Finally the fear of not getting it done at all was greater than the fear of not doing it perfectly.
The first time I went into my office to go over the plan with my husband, I had cold sweats and almost threw up. The project seemed too big, too important and I was so afraid to mess up. The only way I knew not to make a mistake was not to do anything. And that’s exactly what I had done for months. Nothing.
No more! The website redesign was now a priority.
My husband and I got organized. He would take care of our daughter and the home front and I would get to work. I happen to be a self taught geek when it comes to computers and this fell into my area of expertise. I started the only way I could: with one thing. And then I tackled the next and the next. It wasn’t as hard as I had imagined it would be. Yes there were glitches but I generally figured things out on my own and when I couldn’t, my “techy” was there to help. It only took a week to get to the halfway mark. I was enthusiastic, energized and motivated. I felt amazing and as a welcomed bonus I looked ten years younger. That’s when we realized how much this had been weighing on me. Thinking about doing it had been stressful. Doing it was easy.
Procrastination is fear’s biggest weapon and once again procrastination had deceived me.
It tied me up with invisible strings to keep me at a standstill.
It transformed the ground I was standing on into quicksand to slow me down.
It surrounded me with fog to dim my vision.
It wanted me to stay right where I was and believe that as long as I did nothing, I was safe.
Procrastination is a masterful liar and I let myself be fooled.
Luckily I wasn’t alone.
I had someone on the outside. Someone who stood on solid ground, had a clear mind and was willing to help me. That someone was my husband. He recognized that I was frozen by fear so he just grabbed my hand and started walking. I took one step. The next was easier and soon I was running.
Free at last.
Free of worry.
Free of the fear of failing.
Free from the venom of perfectionism.
Procrastination is a disease and momentum its cure.
I just needed to keep moving. Keep doing the next thing. Everyday I did a little and you know what? It was fun. Fun to be creative. Fun to learn new skills. Fun to be productive.
For almost six months, I fretted about this project and it only took two weeks of dedicated effort to get to good enough. I could have spared myself some much turmoil, if only I had understood this earlier: good enough is better than perfect because good enough is achievable. Perfect is an illusion.
From now on, I will recognize procrastination as the mirage it is. A projection of my imagined fears on a big smoke screen. And then I will put one foot in front of the other and start moving.
Mirages reveal themselves as such when you get closer to them. A blanket of fog will transform even the most beautiful surroundings into a bleak, bare and desolate gray landscape, but you can step right through into sunshine and clear blue skies.
That’s where you’ll find me.
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