March 30, 2011

A Story About Procrastination


Only the people who know me best know a dirty little secret I’ve been harboring since, well, birth. 

It’s something I’m not proud of. And it’s something I’ve been working hard to mitigate for years now, and something I know I will continue to deal with for the rest of my life.

Friends, I am a master of procrastination. 

Now, don’t think this means I am a slacker, because I am far from it. In fact, another one of my character flaws is a compulsion to only produce the most perfect, immaculate results. When I see my 5-year-old son make a mistake when he’s practicing his letters, and his first instinct is the crumple the paper up and toss it into the recycling bin, I cringe: he got that from me. I’m not proud of that.

Come to find out, perfectionist-procrastinators aren’t that uncommon. Because we only want to produce the best possible results, we are immobilized when the constraints of time, money, or other factors prevent us from doing so. We put things off until we can do them just right. 

You’ve probably heard the saying, “If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” It was somewhat of a mantra in my family growing up, and it does bear saying that giving 100% effort to the task at hand is always important. But, for me, that saying has recently morphed into something like this:

“If you can’t do the job right, don’t do it at all.”

This applied to the family photos that were piled next to the couch for literally two months, needing to be hung over the stairs.

 I wanted to paint the frames a variety of bright colors to revive them a bit before I started. 
And get the kids’ portraits retaken so they could be placed in the frames beforehand.

I wanted the wall to turn out as perfectly in real life as it looked when I pictured it in my mind. And because that wasn’t possible, I stalled. 

So where am I going with this tale of procrastination? Well, I’m going to give any fellow procrastinators out there some hope!

I am so thankful to have a husband who has taught me happiness in life does not consist of perfection. That our efforts don’t have to be impeccable to be appreciated and valued. Matt gingerly broached the subject of the photos piled up next to the couch a couple of weekends ago.

“Um, Tootie? (Another confession: my nickname is Tootie.) Why don’t we hang these pictures?”

And, in spite of my misgivings about it not being perfect, you know what I did? I hung those puppies! The cheap frames have yet to be repainted. The photos need to be replaced with some that are more up-to-date. But by golly, those photos are now proudly hung above our stairway!


By the way, if you are looking for a marvelous method for hanging gallery-style photo collections without wanting to pull your hair out, I highly recommend using this photo-hanging method shared on The Creative Mama.

All you need in Kraft paper, painter’s tape and your typical picture-hanging accouterments (nails, hammer, etc.), and you are well on your way to achieving the look you want – without having to destroy your walls with misplaced nail-holes in the process! I will be doing this for every photo wall display I hang from here on out!

Friends, we don’t have to be perfect, and neither do the fruits of our labor. A project doesn’t have to be impeccable to be beautiful or valuable. 

Whatever is holding you back today – fear of failure, fear of less-than-perfect results, fear of rejection – let it go! Set out to do something that’s been on your to-do list for eons, whether it be sewing, or exercising or hanging a collection of family photos. It really is a marvelous feeling! 

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Amy @ Positively Splendid

Amy @ Positively Splendid

Having grown up in a home brimming with sewing notions and paintbrushes, Amy has a deep love for all things creative. On any given day, you'll find her knee-deep in her latest creative endeavor, with projects ranging from sewing and crafts to home decor and kid-friendly ideas. Amy believes that everyone, regardless of skill level or experience, possesses the ability to create something beautiful, and Positively Splendid was born of her passion for helping others harness their innate creative potential.
Amy @ Positively Splendid

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28 Responses to A Story About Procrastination

  1. Calamity J March 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    I too am a perfectionist-procrastinator. Good to know I’m not alone :) Thanks for sharing! And the photos look FAB-ulous :)

  2. Jenni Renee March 30, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    I am the same way. things have been taking me longer to finish but its because I want them to look amazing.

  3. Laura @ ON{thelaundry}LINE March 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    Perfectionist Procrastinators Unite! Maybe tomorrow. After we clean our homes to immaculate perfection before the meeting. Probably in the last two hours before the meeting starts.

    My hubby and I are BOTH that way. I’ve learned that nothing gets a project done like inviting somebody over. Like my kitchen had some cupboards removed due to mold (bye, built in pantry. sigh.) and my hubby had got up to primering and then stopped. I have his best friend coming over for supper tonight, so last night at 8pm he started repainting that sucker, hahaha.

    I made a wedding cake for my BIL/SIL and I sat there with the tiers all iced having an anxiety attack for like an hour until I just HAD to finish it or I would run out of time. I was so scared there’d be a disaster when I tried to stack it! ;p

  4. Kelli @ RTSM March 30, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    I can totally relate! I think I have been a perfectionist procrastinator since birth too:) The funny thing is I usually make a project quickly because I have procrastinated so long and then the fact that it isn’t perfect doesn’t bother me as much because I know I did it quickly. Okay so maybe that’s a little crazy, but it works for me!

  5. Samantha March 30, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    I am right there with you! Procrastinate until I absolutely can’t any more *sigh*

    I love love love the family pictures over the stair case. that’s what I want to do when we move to our new home.

  6. Grabbing My Happy March 30, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    Cripes. I am soooooo there with you. Is there a cure for this? You know… besides messing with the configuration of my DNA?

  7. Michelle March 30, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    The best quote I’ve ever heard on the topic is this..

    “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly”… Don’t worry that it won’t be perfect, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing regardless of the outcome!

  8. Kristina @ A Home Made by Kiki March 30, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    I’m the same way!! I didn’t really “realize” it until recently though. I have always been a perfectionist…but then I would look around and wonder why it didn’t probably look that way to everyone else. I put things off if I haven’t figured out the perfect way to do it! Great post!!

  9. Erica @ Acire Adventures March 30, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    The wall looks great! It’s so funny, I almost fell off my chair scrolling through my blog reading list this morning when I saw the title of your post. I just posted my own little confession about a procrastinating problem yesterday! Haha, it’s good to know I’m not the only one! :)

  10. Kathy ~ Cackles and Berries March 30, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    I’m just a procrastinator. I haven’t had my youngest picture taken professionally since she was 6 months old. ( she is soon to be 4) and my youngest son- it has been 8 years since his last photo shoot. I am bound and determined to get them done this year around their birthdays. But alas- I say this every year and their birthdays sneak up on me and are then gone before I can say “cheese”.

  11. Heather March 30, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    Wow, it felt like I was reading about myself! LOL! Nice to know I am not the only one :)

  12. Nicole March 30, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    Your photo collage layout looks great, I can’t wait to see it when they’re all painted! BTW, I have another method for arranging/hanging a photo collage on my blog (different than the one you linked to), at http://www.wannabecrafty.com/2011/03/hang-photo-collage-tutorial.html. Love your blog!

  13. Kara @ Nest Candy March 30, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    Thanks for the cheering! I needed to hear it. It is difficult to stay positive when you are a new blogger. As a newbie, I am constantly looking at other blogs and envying them. I have been down on myself recently for projects that didn’t turn out “blog worthy” but now I know I should just post them anyways. What matters most is that I tried and was being creative. Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. Katherines Corner March 30, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    What a wonderful post! I enjoyed my visit to your lovely blog. Wishing you happiness, Katherine

  15. Amanda @ Serenity Now March 30, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    Amy, I knew we were kindred spirits. ;) If you keep posting great stuff like this, I’m going to have to keep linking to you. ;) I hold off on a lot of projects b/c I worry about them not being what I envisioned in my head. I’ve been a little better about since I started blogging, but it’s still an issue. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

  16. Heather@The Black's Best March 30, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    I don’t know if I’m a perfectionist procrastinor, maybe just the regular kind. That’s what I love about blogging, it forces me to do thinks that might never get done so I have fun things to talk about! I love your gallery wall even without painted frames.

  17. Sky @ Capital B March 31, 2011 at 4:33 am #

    Amy, I LOVE this post. Rings a bell with me as well. And I’ve long thought your projects really were PERFECT! Nice to know that you are like us too. Thanks for the reassurance and encouragement :) Your stairway looks great!

  18. roweaglejacket March 31, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Boy does this hit me between the eyes! This describes me to a “t”. I have been going through something -emotionally, mentally, spiritually, organizationally, or some combination lately that has me frozen in my tracks. There is SO MUCH I want to do, and yet, I have yet to put much effort into any of it. Instead I wander aimlessly through the house and my day doing the same ole same ole mundane tasks but never getting to the things I’ve been dreaming of. Thanks for a fabulous post! I hope to get the “big one” checked off my list soon. I am starting a blog- finally!

  19. Tashena March 31, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    Did the Lord tell you to speak to me today? I mean, to really speak to TASHENA WRIGHT today?!?!?! WOW!
    I cannot believe this is so common… Here I thought I was such a failure, and all alone, in this mixed up, backwards, unexplainable place in my life. Children and perfection don’t mix, then try to top that with SO many projects… WHEW!
    Let me just say THANKS and a HUGE HUG to you for your post today!
    I feel relieved and refreshed just knowing that I am not by myself in this trap.
    Here’s to getting something done – even if it’s not “Tashena perfect.”
    In Christ’s never ending love,
    Tahena

  20. Practically Spent March 31, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    Raising my hand. Yup. MASSIVE perfectionist. In fact, procrastinating perfectionist. And I never even knew that ’til I started blogging.
    It’s like I get stuck in cement when it comes to moving forward on some things. And I don’t want to be interrupted once I start. Enter children. The bane of perfection and uninterrupted time. {sigh}

  21. Holly April 1, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

    I followed Amanda’s link over here, because I too can relate! And, oh boy, did my oldest inherit it as well. I know what you mean about cringing when I see myself reflected in him.
    Thanks for coming clean and letting me know I’m not the only one!

  22. Dawn April 1, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    and your staircase looks great!!

    this is so me too! boy, do i relate. i have nothing on my walls. thanks for the inspiration.

  23. My Beautiful Life April 1, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    What a great post, and I think it is great that you got them up. The main thing (the photos) are what will make you smile every time you pass them.

    Thanks for sharing, Tootie. ;)

    (I love that you included that, because I could almost hear him telling you that)

  24. Amanda @ Serenity Now April 1, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    Just wanted to come back and let you know that I featured your post today, Amy. :) I know it rang true with at least one of my readers. :)

  25. Laura@livingabigstory April 3, 2011 at 3:02 am #

    Wow! These ideas have been rumbling in my head, but I think you encapsulated what I hadn’t completed even figured out. I heard somebody say, “Anything worth doing is worth doing wrong.” Of course, I want to do my best, but I can’t let my fear of doing it wrong prevent me from doing *anything*. My goal this year is to “live a big story” — or to live outside of my fears and insecurities so I can try to maybe do big things.

    Again, thank you!

  26. Cara January 22, 2012 at 4:59 am #

    So this is the name for myself that I am just now learning after 30 odd years: I am a perfectionist-procrastinator!! And I love the picture gallery. :)

  27. Cara January 22, 2012 at 4:59 am #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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