Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tricked my Perfectionism with Some Procrastination

Points to the wife for having the patience to deal with me over the last 24 hours. My behavior had befit an artistế. And sadly, my behavior had its benefits.

Last week, I posted a great article about procrastination. It addressed how perfectionism can lead to procrastination. I easily fit into that category of procrastination even if I work all the darn time on my project. Maybe it’s my way of procrastinating on emotional issues.

I have these big goals, but getting to them requires a lot of steps. I’m a dreamer who has trouble mapping out the route to the final destination. Or I was when I got out college ten or more years ago. Crap, has it been that long?

The above article made a great point about reality in terms of the perfectionist procrastinator. They’ll set their goals so high that they can’t be reached or takes superhuman effort to reach. Respectable enough to muster that much strength, but is it really worth it?

A lot of the times, no, it’s not. The perfectionist may feel like a cop out or failure by settling for a lesser goal. That smaller goal, a lot of people would probably find respectable enough or possibly just as superhuman as the huge goal.

And it’s not really worth your while to work the rest of your life on something you can’t finish in one big leap. Better to take smaller steps, get more rewards that will probably have a sum of more staying power than just accomplishing one big thing and even. . .oh, I don’t know. . .enjoy life.

I did some serious thinking after reading that article. Maybe I should just screw that project and go back to school. Thought about it. I bargained it down to maybe taking a class that might help the project, then I bartered the idea down further to finishing up some books that I was reading at the time. The one I had started reading soon before seeing the procrastination article felt like it had some potential.

Finished the book, Money, Morals and Politics: Massachusetts in the Age of the Boston Associates by William Hartford, last night. It provided some good information in an easy read.

I found it so gripping that I read ¾ of the book last night. Accidently stayed up until about 2 AM reading it. That, in itself, signals a hyperfocused moment.

The information still felt lacking, though, so I skimmed it, looking for something I missed. Realized that I didn’t miss anything in the book, even though a lot of the political quotes and back and forth went in one eye then out an ear. Still have a hard time remembering any of the details at the end.

I still had gaps in my knowledge about the topic of my project. Figured I should stick to the bargain I made with myself. The books filled in some bit of information but not enough to let me plow through the paper writing process.

Went to bed telling myself that I’m done with it. I’ll start looking into options for taking a class or going back to school. The thought continued from the moment I fell asleep to the second I awoke, almost like time didn’t pass. One moment, dark with the floodlight from our neighbors blinding us in bed then the sun blinded me.

Looked at a couple college Websites. Costs scared me. Decided not to worry about that part yet. Figured I needed to find somewhere to address the course of study that I want to follow. Don’t even really know what course of study to follow. Realize that I need to chop things down into smaller steps and take them one at a time. It would prove difficult, but I had to learn humbleness and patience.

Ran into an article this morning about our unconsciousness making decisions better than our conscious, especially during sleep. I kinda knew the jist of this article, having read about something similar in Rollo May’s The Courage to Create. Never had it work as well as it did for me today. . .well, kinda work, I guess.

Spent the morning brainstorming my interests and likes for fields and subjects, not censoring myself for practicality, whether I really like it or not, whether I was good at it or not or whatever. I just wrote down whatever came to mind. Came up with so many ideas that the wife had to tell me to calm down, and I had to remind her it was a brainstorming exercise.

At lunchtime came the game changers. The case in my current paper is actually fairly arbitrary. Yeah, it’s a utopian community, but there’s tons of them that have existed from the beginning of civilization. Even better, a huge explosion of them occurred at the same time as the one I’m writing about existed.

I could just stop researching and writing about the one community then move to one more local. I wouldn’t have to go back to Massachusetts or have friends go to the Boston Public Library, the Massachusetts Historical Society or wherever else to get primary sources.

I could just pick a community in Illinois and go to places in Illinois for primary sources. Oh heck, I could probably do just as well picking a community in Wisconsin, Michigan or Indiana.

So all is well. I’m all happy and feeling care free. Then I get an idea. Why don’t I put a couple search terms about the holes in my knowledge after reading Mr. Hartford’s book into Google? At the very least, it’ll provide me a couple minutes of entertainment and enlightenment.

Then oh crap, guess what I find? The fill for the holes in my knowledge.

Back to the research and writing desks, I guess. This damned albatross around my neck. . .it just abuses me to no end, and I keep coming back, begging for more. Why do I do it?


Links of Interest: article about procrastination, Money, Morals and Politics: Massachusetts in the Age of the Boston Associates by William Hartford, article this morning about our unconsciousness making decisions better than our conscious, especially during sleep, Rollo May’s, The Courage to Create, utopian, Boston Public Library, Massachusetts Historical Society.

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