Are You An Anxious Creative? How To Unstuck Yourself & Get More Work Done
By Kadia Francis | October 13, 2019 | 5 Min Read
Who remembers the Ted Talk by that psychologist guy who said procrastinators are more intelligent? Like tech genius Steve Jobs who was purportedly a super procrastinator
“The time Steve Jobs was putting things off and noodling on possibilities was time well spent in letting more divergent ideas come to the table, as opposed to diving right in with the most conventional, the most obvious, the most familiar.” – Adam Grant
Yeah, no, I’m not that. I’m not, one of those at all.
The truth is my procrastination isn’t a genius move to ponder divergent ideas, NOPE! My procrastination is more tragic than that, it’s a mix of anxiety, indiscipline and being wholly unfocused and unfortunately for me it’s a struggle I’ve had my whole life.
I’m a last minuter, I’d literally get so anxious about doing whatever that thing is (writing a post, editing a podcast, planning a workshop, leaving my house) that I’ll delay the hell out of it til crunch time.
I realized (more like acknowledged) the pathology in college because it damned near killed me, that’s what it felt like anyway.
I had a bad habit of waiting until two or three papers are due then forego sleep for a couple days and crank them out. Afterwards I’d collapse into a great big heap of ‘pop dung’.
This as you can imagine IS NOT HEALTHY but it’s something I do EVERYTIME, and the bitch about it is, I know I’m doing it too. Hell, I even panic about my procrastinating, while procrastinating.
“That self-awareness is a key part of why procrastinating makes us feel so rotten. When we procrastinate, we’re not only aware that we’re avoiding the task in question, but also that doing so is probably a bad idea. And yet, we do it anyway.” – Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control)
So What’s Causing Me To Do This?
I remember Gary Vaynerchuk saying that laziness around a task is probably a sign that you’re bored or unfulfilled or not doing what you should or want to be doing.
If this was 5 years ago I’d agree with this 1000%, but how do I account for that same behaviour creeping back in now? This blogging, podcasting, brand developing thing is what I really want to do, it’s my passion.
Or maybe I’m just awful at managing my time, or worse maybe I’m incompetent because if I was any good at this thing I wouldn’t be hemming and hawing right? Is it really that simple? I’ve got questions sir/ma’am.
I think my procrastination is trying to tell me something. So, I do what I always do when I need answers, I turned to the all knowing oracle that is Google and started doing my own research. And, what I have found out about procrastination and the link to depression has completed shifted my perspective.
Depression & Anxiety = Procrastination
“Procrastination isn’t a unique character flaw or a mysterious curse on your ability to manage time, but a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods induced by certain tasks — boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond.”
Well that’s interesting, Its funny how a lot of what I thought/think are my ‘bad habits’ turn out to be linked in one way or another to me being a depressive. Since that’s the case, I figured that if I can get this imbalance under control i’d be fine.
Spoiler alert, there is no magic cure, in fact there is no cure at all that doesn’t include drugs or expensive therapy (both of which are definite options if you can afford to).
What was left was for me to do was hard and involved serious introspection and painful admissions like acknowledging that I had this problem.
Once I did that the shame gave way to hope and I started doing the work to understand the triggers, recognise the symptoms and find ways to manage and work through them.
This folks is not a one time deal, depression is a ride or die chick, very loyal and very toxic. I have had very dark days even weeks. But, in the last year or, so I have devised a coping system that has really helped me to unstuck myself and start producing consistently (at least 95% of the time).
My 95% Fool Proof Coping System
This coping ‘system’ is a mental hijacking strategy I have devised which includes conventional and unconventional tools I use to trick my brain into functioning just long enough to get important tasks completed. Here are just a few of the core components of that system.
About two weeks ago I felt I was going over the edge, I mean I was having a really bad go at it to the point where I would’ve done irreparable harm if someone a.k.a Anika Repole-Wilson didn’t pull me out of that very dark hole.
It was she who recommended I try a combination of CBD oil for relaxation and Indica (weed) to take the edge off. She also pointed me in the direction of Sensi and Itopia two reputable Kingston dispensaries.
Plan ahead, I know it’s such a cliche piece of advice but babaaaayyy let me tell you it works. If your brain is anything like mine it doesn’t function very well without organization and structure. Pre planning helps you with both. I find that It also stimulates idea generation and creativity.
CONTENT TASK SCHEDULER
Get a content calendar (plan ahead) sounds cliche but babaaaayyy let me tell you it works. If your brain is anything like mine it doesn’t function very well without organization and structure. Pre planning helps you with both.
I find too that it also stimulates idea generation and creativity.
Content creation can feel overwhelming sometimes, especially for personal brands who need to be constantly producing.
I use the Digital Jamaica Content Planner and the Digital Jamaica Content Task Breakdown Scheduler to plan and schedule out each piece of content for the month (I can’t do a yearly planner, that’d stress me out).
After planning and scheduling I try to complete or at the very least start as many of the identified tasks as possible in one sitting.
I’ll spread these binge content creation sessions out over a week and sometimes on weekends I’ll do marathon sessions until most of the tasks are completed.
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
Apps are like nectar from the Digital God’s a.k.a app and software developers. I have found that incorporating apps into my routine simplifies some tasks and or make them easier to complete.
In fact about 85% of my content is created on my mobile phone so I depend heavily on mobile applications. Here are just a few of my day-to-day task busters..
THE MEL ROBBINS 5 SECOND RULE
Listen I was never one for self-help books much less gurus, and this 5 second rule certainly isn”t unique to the goodly Ms Robbins. In fact when I was younger I had a 1-2-3 trick which is very similar to this.
But, I have never really thought about why this worked and I never really took ti seriously until I saw this video and the light bulb went off.
Before using the CBD oil this was my secret weapon for those dark days when nothing else worked. This is a neat little trick that momentarily disrupts and resets your brain pattern for a quick boost.
There seem to be a growing awareness and chatter around the issue of mental health lately and out of that several groups have sprung up. Groups like Safe Spaces Jamaica and the Jamaica Mental Health Network have been very actively leading the conversation and creating forums where people can feel safe sharing their stories and getting the help they need.
There is also GOJ led initiatives like Jamaica Moves and organizations like the Bellevue Hospital that has been working real hard of late to shake the ‘mad house’ stigma and shift the conversation to something more meaningful.
Creating Your Own Coping Mechanisms
These are all tried and tested methods that has really helped me become more productive. I do recommend you try them, especially the CBD Oil and perhaps the spliff if you can tolerate it.
However, I believe these methods work because I have done the work to understand, acknowledge and figure it out and that really and truly is the biggest ‘trick’ to unstucking yourself.
You also have to understand that this is a war you’ll likely be fighting until the day you die, there is no one time fix. It does however get easier once you start doing the work on yourself. It can be done and you can do it, so let’s go.
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