By: Kathy Shalhoub
What is the major thing that holds so many freelancers back from running full speed ahead? Is it lack of skill, talent, ideas and opportunity? Maybe a little, but I think that the greatest barrier of all is being a Procrastination Professional. Somehow you keep wishing you had a job to work on, you hope a project will come through, you network, you market and sell yourselves, and suddenly, finally, when you have a job, you just can’t seem to get around to doing it!
Procrastination is the leash around our necks, choking us and holding us back from being as productive as we would like to be. Do you find yourself sitting down to write, illustrate, edit, make something or research something and all of a sudden there are so many MORE important things you should be doing, like checking email and Facebook, cleaning the scum off the bathtub, taking the laundry for dry cleaning or cutting the cat’s claws? Do you feel that you have to get into the right mood, you need to make that cup of coffee or tea, that snack or that desert so that you have energy, you need to get into your comfy chair or your special spot , you must have the lighting and mood just right for your genius to flow?
Well here’s some interesting news for you. According to Rachel Ballon, a well-known therapist and author, the leading reasons for procrastination are psychological and unconscious. You want to sit down and get stuff done, you really do! But at the same exact time, you just don’t. Go figure!
It seems that this split in what we really want to be doing and not doing it is usually caused by some fear deep down inside that we aren’t quite aware of. The two main fears most people struggle with are fear of rejection and fear of failure. If you never submit any work, you never risk either. Problem solved. J In the short term!
In the long term though, if you plan to be taken seriously as a freelancer, procrastination ultimately not only prevents you from completing your project, but it stops you from ever reaching your goals. If that was the worst of it, big deal but there’s more. Procrastination affects your self-image negatively. When you don’t complete your project you feel guilty, and ashamed, and the more you feel like that the more you procrastinate so then you feel even more guilt and shame. It just keeps getting worse and worse until it damages your self-esteem and your self-worth so much that you simply talk yourself out of the idea that you could or should ever have thought about freelancing in the first place. And you’re worse off than when you started.
Another leading reason for procrastination is making your work the absolute last thing ‘to do’ on your list. Everything must be clean, cooked, returned, prepared etc… before you can sit down and focus on your work, and by the time all the other stuff is done, damn!, the day is over and you have no time left!
If you find that you are a Procrastination Professional, take some time to explore your self, your fears and your unconscious. What is holding you back and why? Were you discouraged by friends or family? Do you think what you’re doing is not important or silly? Do you worry you’ll be bad at it? Figuring out the reason gets you half way to the solution. And learning how to overcome procrastination and create in the middle of life’s to-do list ultimately will be what sets you apart from people who have always dreamt about freelancing but have never gotten around to doing it.
Blogger’s Bio: Kathy studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has a PhD in Marine Sciences from the University of Paris. She is also a writer and published her first book, Life as a Leb-neh Lover, in 2010. Kathy is fascinated by matters of the mind, self discovery, self acceptance and personal development and is currently researching these topics. Check out her blog, ‘like’ her on Facebook or follow her on twitter @Lebneh_Lover.