- I wrote it (which you could have guessed).
- I read it over and edited it and added photos and read it seven more times (pretty standard).
- I hovered my mouse over the "publish" button and worried about all the things that, if I had more time or was more skilled, I could make better.
- I just did it. I pressed "publish," slammed my laptop shut, and I walked away.
For me, I've always felt that way about blogging. And social media. And performing onstage. And when, at age fourteen, little-introverted-me did a phone interview every night. These things were important to me and deep down, under a couple layers of puffy, protective fear, I knew I wanted to do them. But it's not a fun, impulsive, excited kind of 'want'. It's a slow, annoying, "why-am-I-doing-this-to-myself" kind.
Sometimes there's a tug-of-war between the "I should do this" and the hesitation, whether it's based in fear or pain or downright annoyance. And in those moments, when you don't have all that much strength left to pull in the right direction, you just have to drop the rope and do it. You just have to stop the fight all together, stop worrying, and get it done.
"Just doing it" for me, is that moment when I'm sitting in front of a finished blog, staring at it on my laptop. Ten-to-twenty reasons why I shouldn't publish it run through my head:
Is this genuine? Is this my best writing? Am I trying too hard? Why do my photos suck?
Or when I have to do some annoying adult thing like meeting with a professor, or traveling alone, or making big decisions I think:
I could do this later. Some other time would work better. I could be more prepared. I need somebody else's approval.
And suddenly, before my brain has time to come up with another excuse, I press the "publish blog" button, slam my laptop shut, and move on to the net task before I have time to second-guess.
If you're a worrier and perfectionist like I am, it often feels like "the right time" will never arrive. You'll never be prepared enough. Because honestly, for people like us, "enough" doesn't exist. So at some point you've got to stop preparing, stop planning out the perfect scenario, and just get it done.
Here are my strategies for doing just that:
Let yourself prepare (if that makes you feel better), but only so much.Tell yourself, "okay I'll spend ten minutes writing this really important email, but then I'll just send it." Or "I'll practice my dance choreography twice before the show, but that's all I need." Or, "I'll publish my blog by tomorrow, even if it doesn't feel 100% perfect by then." Being prepared is (really) great, but it's also sort of an overachiever's procrastination. You're already ready, girl. I know it.
Schedule it.If there's something really hard that you're hesitant to get done, give it a time. Say, "I'm going to make this phone call at 1 pm on Wednesday." Pencil it into your planner, put an alarm on your phone, write it on your arms in marker (however you keep track of your life). That way you'll be reminded of it every day, and it will just become a part of your schedule. It'll just be something annoying that you have to deal with, that you just can't avoid. Like a math test.
This is my blog-writing strategy. See, blogging can be hard because it involves putting a little piece of yourself out in the open. And sometimes, if you're like me and like to write deep and philosophical explorations of life, it can be a sort of big piece. But even if I'm feeling hesitant, I have this strategy: after reading the last word of my final read-through, I quickly scroll up, press "publish" and close my laptop before I can think of another excuse. This brings me to the next tip...
Do it fast.
Leave it.If you're a person who likes to worry, you'll know that the just doing it part is only half the battle. After that comes the aftermath (which, honestly, is sometimes worse). That's when you're lying in bed, or standing in the shower, or trying to pay attention in class, and all you can think about is the things you did wrong, or the things that could have been better. And while it can feel impossible to "just stop thinking about it" as some advice-geniuses tend to recommend, it can be helpful to find physical ways to literally leave, shut down, or change the subject to something else. Shut your laptop and walk away. Put your phone in a different room. Go for a walk through the woods and leave all your books and studying behind. Go out with your friends who aren't associated with the worrying thing; you're non-dance friends or non-work friends or non-class friends.
Anyways, that's my attempt at giving advice for the day. I hope it gave you something to think about, and maybe inspired you to get some stuff done. Let me know some things you're struggling to just get done, and how you get yourself to do them!