We all have things we are good at, skills that over time have bubbled to the top of the champagne glass that is life. For example, I’m pretty good at creative thinking; I’m an idea man (if you will). I’m also good at organizing (events, meetings, papers, rooms, etc). And I when I finally sit down to write my posts, I occasionally turn a phrase that makes people smile (on a good day giggle and on a great day guffaw). But in order for me to tip my glass enough for these skills to flow out, one thing must happen.
Follow-through. Execution. Delivery. Call it what you will, this is not my strong suit because I can put stuff off like nobody’s business.*
Case in point, I have just burned I-don’t-know-how-many-minutes amusing myself by singing Carly Simon’s “Anticipation” (warning: video link) while substituting the key word with “procrastination.” Surprisingly, it fits pretty well. And that got me thinking about ketchup (warning: video link), which I don’t like. I don’t like any condiments, actually. And so forth and so on…
[You’re singing that song now, aren’t you?]
But the most recent serious case of procrastination I dealt with (or didn’t, rather) was related to a recent performance. Last Saturday was the Austin Bellydance Association’s biannual Jukebox Bellydance Show. A very popular event for dancers and audience alike where bellydancers perform to non-traditional music (non-Middle Eastern music). Performances ranged from rock and pop to classical and musical. I opened the show with a performance to a high energy pop song.
I’d known about the possibility of this performance since early last fall. I knew of the certainty of this performance since early last December. But still, I didn’t prepare with the depth I had intended. And for no other reason than I let myself procrastinate. I visualized what I might do for a long time, and that was really helpful, but it I didn’t start working on movement until maybe a week out. I didn’t start really rehearsing until a few days before and even then I didn’t dedicate the time or energy I needed to get what I wanted out of my performance. I mean, I really wanted to kick ass, not fall on my ass (literally or figuratively).** And that means I needed to work. But I didn’t. Not like I wanted to. *head. desk.*
[Is that song still in your head?]
Why did I (why do I) let my potential drip out of my champagne glass instead of gulping all the bubbles? Why do I let myself, my creativity, be paralyzed by this horrible four-letter word? Okay, procrastination is not actually four letters — it is (4×3)+3 letters — but it might as well be. Because it makes me feel like $@%&!
One of the most attractive tenets of Paganism (for me) is the idea that you control what you do, aka personal spiritual authority. Your actions are a result of your decisions and your fate is heavily tied to those decisions. This tenet allows me to bubble with pride when I make decisions I’m proud of. It also makes me gag on my bad decisions or my inability to make a decision at all. Because the power to do right by myself is all mine and when I make bad decisions (like not rehearsing), I’m blowing it big time. There’s no one to blame but me. Damn.
[You’re welcome. =P]
In the end, I was pleased with my performance.*** I wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t fall on my ass, so cheers to that. I challenged myself in a few ways, like dancing in three-inch heels (bellydance is usually performed barefooted) and experimenting with movement I usually wouldn’t attempt (for fear of falling on my aforementioned arse). I wanted to convey a bad-ass attitude infused with technique so I looked like a professional. But because I didn’t invest the time and effort I should have, I managed to convey a bad-ass attitude with only enough technique that I didn’t look like a poser. So, I ended up with a performance that was good, but not great. And that is really frustrating. I could have created something that left me with pride. Instead, I created something that left me satisfied. And there’s a pretty big gap between those two feelings. Double damn.
Procrastination is a real problem for me creatively and sometimes professionally (and almost always personally). What about you, Royal Readers? Do you procrastinate? What’s your more recent (or most flagrant) case of procrastination? If you have any advice for overcoming procrastination (aside from “get off your arse and do it!”), I’d be much obliged.
* As Jax can attest. I turn in my posts for editorial review woefully late nearly every week.
** I sometimes do literally fall on my arse. Usually when I am in a new place. Hey, some people use the bathroom to get to know a new space, I fall on my ass. Well, I use the bathroom, too, but I feel we are teetering on TMI at this point.
*** I don’t have video yet, since the performance just happened, but I will add my performance once I get it. That may be awhile.
+ Photos courtesy of Franko Aguirre.