Monday, 21 November 2011


Dear readers! Last week I had an enlightening moment. One than initially filled me with dread, shock and horror but have come to accept. I have discovered I am a procrastinator! I am, indeed, a total utter procrastinator! The first reaction of shock and horror was due to my assumption that procrastinators are horrible people who are lazy and don't bother or care about doing things. And that is simple not me. I am not lazy and I do care about things.

As you might already know, I am taking a short course on Pattern Making at the London College of Fashion. I'll be finishing off in two weeks and already a bit sad to see the end of it. I am loving it so, so much and there is so much more to be learned (I would probably give an arm and a leg to be able to do a full time course). My main motivation to do this course is the zillion ideas for designs in my head that I simply cannot put on paper. I am terrible at drawing, even though I am trying!
I want to be able to design my own clothes but I would also love to share these designs with other people. How exactly, I do not know yet but I have a few possible ideas kicking about in my head.

And this is how I realised I am a procrastinator!! I have ideas, I somewhat know what I want to do but I fail to do it. I know what little steps (some, at least) I need to take to reach my goal but I end up doing other stuff. I delay, delay, delay and then get frustrated because I haven't done what I want.

Google is my friend and I found out a bit more about procrastinators that I have identified with myself (and that made me accept the fact a bit better):

  • Procrastinators get overwhelmed when the task ahead is too big. Well, that's me! When there's so many things to do and so many things to find out and things that I don't know about, things to consider....ahhhh! I am like this at work actually and thought it was because I didn't love the task ahead but it's not. It's the complexity and enormity of the task.
  • Procrastinators can be so because they are perfectionists. We'll, that's me too! I want to make sure everything is just right and all the conditions met. I know in real life this is not possible and mistakes and errors are the best way of learning, but I want to have it as good as I can. This happens in my day job too. I usually tweak an action plan for ages until someone asks me when am I going to implement it.
  • Finally, and this is the crunch one with my current objective. I am so afraid of being a utter failure and not being able to hack it. And actually on my day job I don't have this problem mostly because it's not just my project (I might lead but there are hundreds of active partners whom success depends on too).
So what are your thoughts on this? Are you a procrastinator? Do you have any tips in how to deal with it? As always, I would love to read your thoughts. (and honestly, if you know of any great self help book to deal with it, I am that desperate ;)

Photos taken with phone and compact camera using Instagram or edited in Picnik.


  1. Suzy, I am right there with you. I just have so many things that I want to do and not enough time/ money/ knowledge to do them and it's all so incredibly frustrating that I end up doing none of it! If you ever come up with a 'cure' please let us know!

  2. Oh, I feel your pain! I've only just realised this but breaking big projects or ideas down into little to do lists really does help. And then you get the lovely feeling of being able to tick items off your list. It also means that your ideas and thoughts are down on paper and not cluttering up your head so you can get on with thinking about how to achieve things! Probably easier said than done though...

  3. I think I might be a procrastinator, since I spend more time browsing sewing blogs than actually sewing ;)

  4. Suzy how wonderful that you are a perfectionist and have so many ideas! I'm thinking all you need is some coaching , or if willing to try work it out on your own, the nlp for dummies workbook might help you visualise things differently. ?? ( by the way, I know why I think your so called flaws are something to shout about, but can you see why they might be an asset to you?) ;-)

  5. I turned procastination into an artform. But I've got to say that it affects my paid employment more than my leisure tasks.

  6. What a gorgeous photo that top one is. I am not a procrastinator. I am the inverse - probably because I'm petrified that if I don't do everything the instant I think of it, that I'll turn into a procrastinator and never get another thing done. It's probably just as emotionally counterproductive, for what it's worth. But I do have lots of knitting to show for it :-)

  7. My name is Lizzet and I am a procastinator.
    I was in the same boat than you, I thought procastinators where lazy and irresponsible people and well, I am not perfect but I am not lazy nor irresponsible. But I want everything perfect.
    I am afraid I don't know of any self-help books, I can't even dare to read any of those books, but I have started to come to terms and accepting that not everything has to be perfect to get things started, i.e. I don't have to have the perfect sewing room to sew, or I don't have to have every single tool and gadget to make a more complicated garment, you can do wonders with a french ruler, charl and a straight stitch!

    You know what have helped me a bit?? This quote "All glory comes from daring to begin" I think by Eugene F. Ware but don't quote me on that.

    All the best!

    PS Lovely pics ;)

  8. I am also a procrastinator and I beat myself up about it everyday! I actually have the pattern cutting and sewing skills I need to realise my designs, I have made a million things and am told I should sell them but I just don't. I write myself off as lazy which I know deep down I'm not(I have 2 small children) but what other reason is there for not just getting on with it and making clothes? I don't know any books but one thing that as helped me sometimes is to write a to do list in the morning, small things like design bodice for dress or finish lining dress and tick them off when I have done them seeing things in black and white seems to help.

  9. I am so there with you! I procrastinate a lot because I am so insecure! I actually don't trust people's opinion and my own perfectionism has actually kept me from being more creative.
    So here is what I tried to do to beat this (consider me a recovering procrastination addict). It's starting to work.
    I started blogging which created a virtual obligation to finish stuff, good and bad.
    I started making a list of projects which I don't quite follow as I do a lot of stuff on a whim.
    I learned to break up the work in small tasks, so if I have a half hour, I will be able to either draft or sew or iron or cut or whatever.
    It's somewhat working, but the more creative I am, the more creative I get, so more ideas pile up. I try to give those away to someone who can implement them : "yes, it'll make a great lamp! But I rather focus on sewing!"

  10. I understand that feeling of being overwhelmed by large or difficult tasks, but I also feel depressed if I put things off. I try to break things down into chuncks I can mangage and do just one of them - usually just getting started can break the paralysis! Also, (you won't like this) sometimes you have to say 'good enough' even if its not perfect. And move on.

    Bossy today, aren't I? LOL! Love your bodice there, and your hair looks so beautiful in the picture of you working! lots of love, xxx

  11. You just described me - although I knew I was a procrastinator. ;)

    I want everything to be perfect before I dive in. If I were to learn how to swim, for example, I would want to learn how to swim before I set foot in water to guarantee that everything goes... swimmingly.

    My second problem, linked to the first, is a massive fear of failure. It was once huge and crippling (in retrospect, I probably should've been in therapy and prescribed anti-depressants), but now I've taught myself to handle it before it builds up.

    The key, at least for me, is to make it about stepping out of my comfort zone. I tell myself that there is nothing that develops us more as people and teaches us to be better than stepping out of our comfort zones, and then that's exactly what I do... fear of failure be damned. I still feel the fear, but I get to congratulate myself and find that I won at something regardless of how it turns out.

  12. Ooh, I have exactly the right book for you. I'm reading it right now! It's called 'The Now Habit'. It's been really helpful in making me understand why I procrastinate and how to change ingrained habits. One really key thing is changing the way you think and speak about tasks that you've been putting off. Fear of failure, and desire to be perfect, is a huge contributor as well. I definitely recommend this book, get onto Amazon right now and have a look!

  13. Oh yes, I am a procrastinator. Sometimes it's a big deal (that half-written project) but most of the time I finish. I am currently reading blogs instead of working on a skirt for a friend because I'm afraid to cut into her special silk from India! :)

  14. I'm the same way! Especially in being overwhelmed by a large task or idea, and worrying my idea will flop. But I'm getting better. I think the best thing to fight this is forward momentum. I had to fight my instinct and fully focus and act on just one idea. Then the next time it's a bit easier, then you start to work on different ideas simultaneously, etc.

    I think that lists make a big difference, but not if it's just a huge list that feels insurmountable. I started doing two things: using my mac calendar app to actually schedule my daily tasks smartly. I try never to pile all my icky tasks (whatever is icky to you) on one day, but spread them out whenever possible. Nothing is more frustrating then getting to the end of the day and realizing you got nothing done but icky stuff, and nothing you actually *want* to do, you know? I like using the calendar app because I can shift things and re-prioritize as I go without making a scribbly mess in a paper planner (which also just makes you feel like you failed somehow).

    The other list I made is a larger scale goal list. This one is on paper, so I can keep an eye on it. One side is for embroidery plans, the other for knitting, and I simply just wrote down the ideas I want to develop. Essentially one line for every pattern I wanted to work on and I tried to keep it specific and realistic: it only goes on the list if I had a real idea or plan for it, and from then on I have only been 'allowed' to add something if something else comes off. So maybe I have a new idea that's amazing - I can bump something not as good from the Goal List or wait for something to be finished, but that's it. Otherwise lists become so long and intense that you need a list just to deal with them! :) It was so simple but has really helped me keep focused and keep my mind clear to think about the actual ideas, not waste my energy on remembering them and always trying to mentally organize them.

    Sorry to babble away, but you never know where you'll pick up the tip that helps. :)

  15. Thank you so much everyone for your tips and recommendations on procrastination! It's good (or better reassuring) to know I'm not the only one who struggles with this. Your tips are fantastic and I will take them on board.

    I think the big one for me is the size and uncertainly of task ahead. It doesn't really happen with things like sewing. When I sew I know (sort of) what i'm getting by the end of it and I have detailed small steps available to reach that. And if fact, sewing (alongside blog reading) is one of the things I tend to do when procrastinating.

    After reading your comments I know I will get some books and write some manageable to do list. I might also come out with my definite big ambition and make it public.

  16. Hey Suzy, I'm the Queen of Self-Help Books! I'll talk you through a few of them at our next pattern making class to see which should be prescribed.

    This week I've taken a slightly different perspective on my procrastination. I put too much pressure on myself to achieve, to get loads of things done, and to do them all well. But it doesn't always work out like that and I get really stressed out. So I've made some decisions that will take the pressure off, one of them being to take a bit of a step back from the blogosphere so I can focus more on enjoying making things and other real life projects that make me happy.

    Another thing I've done is to start noting down what I've achieved at the end of each day. If you try this, you might come to realise that you do actually get loads of things done and should be proud of that :)

  17. I was really excited to read a fellow procrastinator is stepping beyond their comfort zone and has enrolled in a class to enrich their creative database and discover where to focus their energy!

    My reason for taking a class for me was not to be able to put my ideas down in an organized manner; I'm not a designer. In the class I discovered I have no such design inclination. On the other hand, I am a patternmaker. The class I took helped me to perfect how to better construct the garments (as best I can, that is.) That's not to say one motivation is better than the other, just different.

    Just remember, you are moving toward discovering more about your creative energy--no longer mired in your thoughts and fears. I encourage you to keep going! (BTW...your muslin looks pretty fabulous to me!)

    Thanks for sharing...



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