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Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Emotions Behind Procrastination

Procrastination is rooted in emotion. It is really a fear of some other emotion. You don't want to confront the emotion that you will feel upon beginning a certain task. Will it make you feel unorganized, inadequate, guilty, foolish. You might fear the shame of having procrastinated in the first place. Maybe you dread the frustration of doing something tedious and dull. Maybe the reactions of someone else when you do something that needs to be done.

So it might work to give a  name to the emotion you are afraid of facing.  Maybe you don't want to face resuming a project you began and left in a chaotic state. Once you know what emotion you are dreading, then you can ask yourself whether it is worth it to face the emotion in question.  You might decide that no, this emotion is to scary to face.


profacero said...

Well, hm: originally, my procrastination started with 3 things:

1. A project I knew was impossible to do in the time given, but told myself, as my dissertation director would have, that I had no authority to estimate how long something would take and how could I be so arrogant. So, I could not make a rational plan. What I could not face: asking whether the time constraint were real. Why: fear the abuse for asking this question might be bad enough to cause permanent, serious disability or disfigurement.

2. The same project: disagreement with what I was supposed to write to sell it. But that was not supposed to matter; you were to say what was fashionable, what you actually might have to say was not the point. It wasn't what I couldn't face, it was what I couldn't do: assemble enough ego. With less ego, I could have just ghost written for the editors and the outside readers. To do something else, I'd have needed more.

3. Related: reeducation. Because of this I did not feel I deserved to exist, so there was just not enough of me present.

Nowadays, I also procrastinate because of ego loss (somehow). I am only interested in doing things that do not require self-destruction. I see many things as requiring it and do not want to do those things. I don't procrastinate if I have any idea that I will be allowed to simply work, bring enough ego to the project to simply work.

profacero said...

So, yes (I am having a rough day in this regard). It is about turning off the incredibly negative recriminations, about not being authorized to do this. This is a waste of time, it is not good, because you are not a person able to do this, should not be, etc.; your attention is needed elsewhere.

Bringing more ego to the table would perhaps be an antidote -- I am thinking that I see why people do Aderall (for "focus"). I am only able to bring sufficient ego to the table for activities I have not been intimidated about.

I am also just now seeing that I am usually dragging someone else with me, literally or metaphorically. Someone whose ideas are less true and important than I think, to whom I owe less than I think.