It is the end of the semester and I am swamped! This is partly because everything is due by the end of the semester, but it is also due to my chronic procrastination. I have noticed a pattern for myself, I wait until the last two weeks of the semester to start all my major projects and papers. Every year I kill myself in these last two weeks. Every year I have a mini-meltdown mid way through the two weeks. AND, every year I tell myself that I am never doing this to myself again.
To my surprise, I have done it again! As I have been scrambling to finish all my school work by this Saturday, I have been asking myself, why? Why do I procrastinate?
Internal Family Systems is a theory that my supervisor at school often refers to. It is a model of the internal Self; a person’s true Self is hidden behind different parts of the self. These parts are there to protect the Self but can sometimes hijack the whole system and things become unbalanced. When a particular part hijacks the whole system, it normally has something that it is trying to communicate to the whole Self, or the system. I have found it very helpful to better understand my pattern of procrastination by this model.
One of my parts is perfectionism. My perfectionist part gets activated when I feel I have to perform. Under performance pressure, my perfectionist self gets so afraid of the prospect of failing that it shuts down my other parts that could help me in completing the task at hand; like my creative part, my critical thinking part, and my explorative part. In a way, my perfectionist part is protecting me from failure by preventing me from performing at all.
I have a tendency to be very hard on this part. In an attempt to push it away I assault it and punish it for making my life more difficult. I have found that this does not work. I have tried something new this year. Instead, I have asked myself, what is my perfectionism and procrastination telling me? There is an imbalance in my life, perhaps there are some changes I need to make that have nothing to do with school work.
As I continue to explore this issue for myself, I have tried to be kind to myself by balancing work and play. This has been scary since I am in such a time crunch, between school, nannying, and my internship at The Center for Christian Life Enrichment, but I have found that I get so much more done when my life is balanced, I even found time to blog!
So, for all other procrastinators out there, be kind to yourself, listen to what your procrastination might be telling you, and lets hope not to EVER do it again 😉