• Jina Etienne

Procrastination

There is emotional cost of putting off things that are important to you.


There are two sides to ADHD: you get distracted by shiny things, or you fall deep into a rabbit hole to the exclusion of all else. Well, at least those are the two things that I suffer from. Usually, it is the former. The constant distraction for some can be debilitating. For me, I handle multitasking fairly well. Of course, it’s always better when you can focus your time, but the realities of the working world today usually require you to juggle a few things at the same time, most of the time. Layer in the complexities of Covid-19, and multitasking has taken on an entirely new dimension. Most of us are multitasking work stuff, personal stuff, home stuff and relationship stuff at the same time.

I’ve worked from home most of the time for almost 10 years, so I’ve learned to separate my work life and home life. But things feel different now. I’m shopping from home, “dating” from home, cooking most nights (sidebar: wow, we really did order in or eat out more than I realized), exercising more (that’s a rare #UpSide) and trying to stay connected with everyone I used to see, talk to and hang out with from home. It’s a lot of juggling. I compensate by checking out at the end of the day. By ‘end of day’ I don’t just mean after work. I mean after everything: work, exercise, cooking, dinner & clean-up.

I’ll do it tomorrow

Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in. ~Napoleon Bonaparte

This blog means a lot to me. I really wanted a space where I could openly, candidly and unapologetically share experiences – good or bad, public or private, smart or stupid, past or present, hurtful or joyful – that let me to where I am today, living comfortably, happily and confidently in my own skin. I have so many stories and experiences on my list, and I have at least 15 posts in progress (15! Seems my ADHD is showing again, oops). They all mean something to me. They all share a moment, an experience, a mistake. So, I didn’t want to rush them. I’d start a draft then set it aside to finish “tomorrow” and give it time to come together.

Then tomorrow would come and …nothing. I’d get distracted by a new shiny thing. I was too tired. I had a big deliverable that needed my attention. I’d get a new client and fall into a rabbit hole with the excitement of starting a new project. Or I’d actually make the time. I’d open a draft post then stare at the page, get discouraged when it didn’t organically come together as I had hoped, then close up shop. Once again, my writing would stall and end with “I’ll finish it tomorrow.”

Embarrassing

Turns out, planning to finish “tomorrow” hasn’t been a great strategy. It isn’t lost on me that my last post was just before Thanksgiving. I launched the blog with the plan of posting 2 or 3 times a month. I shared that goal with my family, friends and colleagues, genuinely believing I’d hit, maybe even exceed, that goal. As the days and weeks ticked by without another post, I started feeling embarrassed. I felt pressure to post something. It felt conspicuous that my blog went quiet. I worried that everyone would notice. I just knew some might even be laughing at me.

I debated whether I’d even admit feeling this way in this post. Embarrassment isn’t uncommon, but we work hard to keep it private. Everyone else laughs at something but I don’t get the joke – I’m privately embarrassed but I play it off, ‘I was just distracted’ I say to myself. A client asks a question and it’s something I feel I should know, but I’m 100% sure. I tell them I want to double-check before I respond, which is entirely appropriate and usually appreciated. Yet, I still feel embarrassed because I feel I should’ve been able to answer off the top of my head. Someone shares an update on Facebook and I struggle to find the right response, so I ignore the post. I’m embarrassed because I don’t know how to express the compassion I am feeling.

Get Over It

Today, I had both the time and the inspiration to write. I opened my drafts folder so see which post was calling me. And it happened again. I was feeling privately embarrassed that I haven’t posted anything in such a long time. The way it sounds in my head, you’d think I haven’t posted in over a year!

Private embarrassment is one thing, but public embarrassment is an entirely different feeling. It’s more like shame, which is often toxic and sometimes debilitating. For me, procrastinating started out as a time management thing, then progressed to embarrassment and was dangerously close to turning into shame. Worse, it would feel public because I hadn’t posted on my blog for a while.

Stop Before You Hurt Yourself

Then it happened! I realized that the stories in my head were getting in the way. Again! The only person putting pressure on me was me. Our family motto is “Stop Before You Hurt Yourself” which, I’ve found, applies to almost any situation. It definitely applied here. So, I said out loud to myself: “Oh, get over it already.” And it worked.

Instead of finishing one of my drafts, I was inspired to share the feelings that were swirling through my head as I started writing today. Not only was I able to identify what was holding me back, I was able to express those feelings. Today was a great reminder of why I started this blog, which is all about the journey, not the destination.


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