Procrastination: outsmarting the nirvana fallacy

“Welcome to Chicago Now’s Blogapalooza Hour!  Your challenge is to write a post in one hour about: ‘what, why and how you procrastinate,’” she reads as she looks up to the corners of her apartment for the hidden cameras.  “Did someone pick this topic specifically for ME?  Am I being filmed for something--like the Truman Show?”

Okay, so I had already made up my mind and even made special arrangements to participate in Blogapalooza tonight because I haven’t posted in a long while and I wanted to just throw myself into the deep end of the pool.  So, when I read the topic it kind of made me chuckle.  Well, nervously.

I am your typical, garden-variety creative avoider/perfectionist procrastinator.  I put off doing things because I’m always worried about whether I can meet my own standards.  I never know if my supercalafragalisticexpialadoshus imaginings will match up to the physical manifestation that I’ll need to share with “the world.”  Which is a grandiose way of saying my siblings, my friends, my co-workers and the people who live on my block.  Let’s face it: for most of us, that’s what “the world” really means.

So instead of working on project at hand, I creatively avoid it and I start working on something else.  Even if the “distraction project” might appear to be tougher than the primary project.  Here’s the nutty part:  I focus so much effort and attention on the second project in order to justify avoiding the first that the second project ends up turning out pretty well.

So it’s like if you ask me balance the federal budget I can’t do it because it feels too overwhelming.  So let me just go over here and work on curing cancer… But then if you ask me to cure cancer then that becomes too overwhelming so let me just go over here and work establishing world peace.  But if you ask me to establish world peace then that becomes too overwhelming.  So let me go over here and work on understanding the justification for Trump’s Muslim travel ban.

I think I might have just talked myself into a solution: if I can always trick my mind into thinking I have a bigger, tougher project looming over me than the real primary project then maybe I can convince myself to just settle down and get to work on what’s at hand.  Or maybe I’ll stop buying into the nirvana fallacy altogether.  After all, to loosely quote Voltaire, “the perfect is the enemy of the good.”
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