Blog, Journalism, Reflecting, Teaching

Procrastination Kills Confidence

Two weeks ago, I bought a gallon of light brown paint with every intention to paint one living room wall. I had an 100_0708entire week without distractions; the kids were gone, the dog was taken care of, and my workload was minimal.

 However, two weeks later, the paint sits staring at me, patiently, alongside its tray, brush, roller, and tape. Every so often, I glance at it, tucked away in the corner and think, “Yeah, I should really finish what I started,” but I don’t. It sits still, forming clumps in formation, waiting for me to stop procrastinating and give it a little stir.

 As a journalist, procrastination is an evil trait. Once the excitement of gathering facts, interviews, notes, and observations dwindles, procrastination often sets in. The only thing left to do? Write the damn story. But, the notes sit, the voice recordings sit, and my potential lead and nut graph float in my brain for a few days. I rationalize this by telling myself that I’m just “developing the angle” or “perfecting the outline in my mind,” but I’m lying to myself – I’m just procrastinating.

 More important tasks seem to magically appear. Even though laundry has piled up long before the story assignment was given, it MUST be done before the story is written. I MUST wash the car at this very moment or call a friend I haven’t talked to in months. Facebook, Twitter – Everything imaginable takes precedence.


 FEAR. I fear that the story won’t be my best. I fear that the angle won’t do the subjects justice. I fear that no one will read the story. I fear that the editors will shake their heads in disgust and send it back. Silly fears. Silly internal confidence blockers.

 Fear promotes procrastination and procrastination promotes lazy habits. Breaking the cycle requires a significant boost in confidence – something that self-help books and motivational speakers can only try to do. Confidence – I have it but need more, especially when a big task is looming.

 So, today, full of confidence, I’m painting that wall. I don’t care if the color doesn’t work well with the lighting or if my guests don’t like it. I don’t care if I slop paint all over the hardwood floors or if I miss a spot here or there. I will relish in the fact that procrastination didn’t stop me to attempt to achieve a goal, a dream, or more importantly, a storytelling adventure.

– Shannon Philpott
Blog Entry: July 17, 2009

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© Shannon Philpott, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shannon Philpott and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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