My war with procrastination and perfectionism. Chapter 1

I feel like it is pretty common nowadays to see people who are just burning their time away, mention something about not being productive, procrastinating etc in Twitch chat and you will farm sames, Sadges and truers.

My fight with that started long ago, probably as soon as I finished my education, actual education not counting my in absentia university adventure, so since I was done with college in 2009. So one can say I’m a war veteran at this point and seen what havoc it can wreak in your life, not to mention that my war is not even over yet, but I feel like it’s finally getting somewhere after all those years. This is going to be a philosophical post with my experiences, which aren’t universal of course and not everything works the same for others, but at least I hope my perspective and experience will be at least interesting or maybe help you to start thinking about it faster without waiting for life to slap you in the face, especially since some of those slap marks are irreversible or really hard to get rid of. Obviously I’m not a psychologists or any kind of professional in the topic, so I can’t help you myself, but at least I hope it can make you think. Kinda spontaneous and not super well planned post, so it’s not a full and complete story/thought, it’s still in progress and I will post more, feel free to discuss stuff like this on stream anytime too. Let’s go…

So what exactly is the problem for me? Killing time and procrastinating without doing anything useful and then complaining about lack of time, trying to do things last moment etc. Perfectionism induced procrastination and anxiety, which basically means that I’m always not confident that whatever I’m doing is good enough, so instead of doing it I’m just procrastinating and end up doing something rushed in the end or not doing anything if it’s possible. Part about anxiety there is usually when it comes to some plans that I have myself or with others and again think that I won’t do good enough, so until that plan time comes and I do the thing I’ll be very nervous and anxious (like for example baking stream we did last August or out talk shows at Dreamhack, something that is out of my established routine basically). Fun part is that when you actually get to do the thing it ends up going well and even if it wasn’t perfect – no one cared/cares, so you feel good while doing it and after… until it’s time for it to kick in again for some other upcoming project/plan/whatever.

Why did it start after college? Thing about me is that when I need to do something – teacher said so for example, or client said so when I was working with websites, then I am doing it, I always was a good student with almost perfect attendance and only time I missed some deadlines big time was when I spent few weeks in a hospital, so kinda understandable. Same funnily enough works with streaming, because I stream not for myself, but for my viewers, my community, so I am very consistent with streaming through all almost 3 years of experience. But problem is, as soon as I finished college I lost that motivating factor for myself, there was no teacher anymore, only me and that was not good enough to force me to do anything. When I ended up self-employed I also managed to get my friend on board, so basically I was doing things for our joint “company”, not just for myself. But even that got kinda ruined by work itself ruining motivation, because we weren’t making a lot of client websites and more websites for ourselves and then monetizing them, so there was no deadlines, no responsibilities and that coupled with perfectionism made my productivity drop. Which in turn made my friend start his own independent business, because he didn’t want to do all the work himself for us both and slowly we just parted ways in terms of work (still great friends). That’s when I was left completely alone with my work, plans, procrastination and perfectionism for a few years that were the worst years of my life ever.

So how exactly did it affect me? I get the website idea, when we worked in duo I’d say part about finding niches, analysing etc was my strong thing, so I had a whole notebook with ideas that was constantly getting some new stuff written down. A lot of ideas required quite a lot of work, so I was either just looking at all that big picture of things that I need to do and losing motivation without knowing where and how to start or I was just never doing anything with it, because I thought that I will never make it good. For example if it’s a site that required articles and I couldn’t write enough, because I was always trying to write them like I’m applying for Pulitzer prize, when I just needed to write some half-decent watery text and shove keywords in.

All that time I was also living with my grandma, because her apartment is pretty big and renting is way too expensive in Moscow, so I basically had where to live with no rent, food on my table and all income from websites was my own (we had some good projects together with my friend that were bringing some profit for years even after we split, so we were splitting that money too). That ended up with me pretty much doing nothing in terms of websites and making money while also not doing anything really with my life. My day was starting with me getting out of bed around afternoon, sometimes later and never earlier, turning PC on and spending all day and night there with food breaks until you crawl back in bed at like 4am or later. After some time Twitch was discovered by me and I pretty much even stopped playing games, I was just watching streams from the moment I wake up and until I go to sleep. Obviously grandma was also feeding me like I’m on some insane neverending bulking as grandmas frequently do and I was barely even moving outside of visits to toilet/shower/kitchen sometimes, was going outside like once a week to buy some heavy stuff in terms of groceries so grandma doesn’t need to drag it herself. Didn’t work well for my weight and health as you can guess.

Funny part is that I don’t even watch youtube or shows/movies, bet shit could get even worse, but I still was wasting all my time online. I’m also happy that I don’t really care about my relationships status, having gf and all that shizz, otherwise I probably would also end up in some insane depression during that time. Which maybe I still had to some extent, maybe even for a long while and have some leftovers to this day? Might be, but that’s already another topic.

So what did that leave me with? 25yo with 140kg weight (that will be part of my next chapter) obtained through doing nothing and not controlling my diet, potential health issues related to such lifestyle (I think some of my joints weren’t really thankful for such low mobility life and send me reminders still), bank account with some money and little income thanks to at least some work I did back in a day, but no new working projects for years and income slowly dropping, not very great mental state due to realization that killing time all day every day won’t lead me anywhere, wasted time of my youth that brought absolutely no satisfaction or progress, just down the drain with no memories, one long cycle of PC and sleeping. Was that just procrastination and perfectionism? Maybe it’s more complicated, but main thing is that if I would be working more I wouldn’t fall that deep into the pit and could probably remain working with my friend motivating each other and improving overall situation. Would that fix other potential issues? Maybe not, but at least I would have a high ground in that fight.

And journey wasn’t over there, Chapter 2 will be about some major changes, but things were still fucked up for a while and unfucking them is an ongoing process that is far from over, but next chapter will already have some of the things that helped me. For me this story is just a part of life experience and I’m not really sad about what happened, well I guess a little, because I could just use some of those years for something better, even though thanks to my friends it wasn’t too bad, so it’s not a sob story, but just my hard earned experience. If you recognized yourself there and got sad, then overall this story catches up to real time that is quite happy in future chapters, so chin up and try starting to think how to achieve your happy chapters faster.

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