Monday, May 11, 2015

What took me so long?! (Procrastination Analysis, Part 3)

I have this little problem where I tend to put things off.  Take, for instance, that I started writing this "Procrastination Analysis" series last February.  As in, the one in 2014.

As I discussed in Part 1, sometimes the procrastination is not so much me putting things off as my inability to set reasonable expectations (i.e., there are only 24 hours in a day, and there are certain things that just can't be accomplished while serving as the primary caregiver to two small children).

And then there was Part 2, the lamentation/confession of the ridiculous amount of productivity the Internet sucks from our lives.

But there are other reasons that projects sit on the back burner for *ahem* months - and I thought that identifying why I put things off might help me tackle the lingering to-dos in a more reasonable timeline.  Some of these are probably somewhat universal, while others might be weird Emily-quirks.  Regardless, I hope that reading this you get some inspiration to tackle some of the things you've been meaning to do :)  Photo documentation provided by my hall-of-fame of projects that I spent exponentially more time wanting to do than actually just getting 'em done.

Barrier #1: I have to make a decision

Big picture, I am a very decisive person (some, ahem, may call that "opinionated"). 
College, job searches, which house to buy...I knew what I wanted.

But which 18 spices were going to get a permanent location on my rack, that held me up for months.

Free printable labels!
Barrier #2: I am afraid I'll ruin it
(or that it won't turn out how I envision)

An extraneous nail hole isn't exactly "ruining" the wall, but analysis paralysis on exactly where to hang a something resulted in me having pictures leaning against the walls (under where they were meant to hang) for weeks on end.

(Let's not talk about how long it took me to decide WHICH waterfall pictures to print.  And which size.  Before we got to the where-to-hang dilemma).
Barrier #3: I'm afraid to waste materials

e.g., I want to make a dress for Anna, but the fabric I have in mind is one of my favorites from my stash.  That's gonna add a few months to the process, because what if I make a mistake and the fabric is wasted?!

Bought that fabric for the bathroom before we closed on the house.  Became the shower curtain 18 months later.
Barrier #4: I have to make trips up/downstairs

File this under perhaps the most ridiculous of the reasons, but I have noticed that if materials I need for something are on different floors of the house, that's going to hold up progress significantly.  And if a 2nd floor project needs something from the basement?  Yeah, just forget it.

And, that is why this empty electric box was without a cover for 6+ months after Justin moved the switch to the other side of the door)
Barrier #5: I'm not sure exactly how to do it
(or it's something I haven't done before)

I suppose this is really a permutation of #1 (decisions).  It comes into play most often when I'm sewing something that doesn't have a pattern, or if I'm planning to modify an idea I've seen.  If I have to put pencil to paper and figure something out, I'll stay away for far longer than if the steps are all spelled out for me.

I've decided it's a family tradition to have a stocking for your SECOND Christmas (even though I had the fabric for the entire family before Anna's first.  Julia's still needs done).
What's the real issue?  Aside from a little bit of laziness in #4 (although in my defense, if the girls are both awake, going up and downstairs for things is a legitimate procrastination reason, as there's no such thing as "just running down to grab something quick)" I think mostly I'm afraid - afraid of failure, afraid of the unknown, afraid of unsatisfactory results.

The kicker, though, is that in all of these examples (and many, many more that I was finding in my photo archives) I was over-the-moon with the results and kicking myself for not just doing it sooner. In some cases, things turned out better than I even imagined.  Sometimes, they turned out worse than I imagined.  But you know what?  Even if it wasn't perfect, I was happier with it done than on my to-do list.

What is holding you back?

I was inspired to finally polish off this post today after I {is it superfluous to say, FINALLY!} spent, oh, less than an hour making a little zippered bag to store one of Anna's little puzzle toys.  I bought the fabric in August.  I have been constantly annoyed by the migration of the pieces since then.  But, see numbers 1, 2, 3, and 5.

That little success (coupled with the amazing AMAZING fact that Julia now goes to bed at the same time as Anna) has lit a fire under me for completing some more projects!  And, therefore I'm just going to go ahead and *ahem* procrastinate on the painting post I promised...but it's coming, Kathy!  ;)

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