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  • danielaesp

THRIVE & Procrastination

I’m the queen of procrastination. In fact, I procrastinated on this blog post. I kept saying, I’ll work on it today and today would turn into tomorrow- and then after a couple of days in a row and then I would give up and try to leave it for the weekend. Days would turn into weeks.

And what’s ironic is that this blog post was supposed to be about procrastination and the lessons I learned during my time in the THRIVE program. But oh my God, I could not get myself to sit down and write until today. Something about sitting down and actually doing the work was just not the vibe for me.

Now, I know deep down I procrastinate not just out of laziness, but also because it’s easier to never start something and fail that way then to start and realize I failed despite putting in effort. Let me say this upfront: I HATE being wrong, and I especially hate realizing I didn’t live up to someone’s expectations. Unfortunately, I never live up to my own expectations, because in my head I should be perfect, I should have The Job, and be super talented and be making all the money.

Again, this is my head. This is my imposter syndrome and superiority complex chilling together and throwing me in a loop. What makes it difficult is when those feelings are pitted against what I love to do.

My time in the THRIVE program, was fantastic. I will put it up there: my mentor was absolutely fantastic. He was super helpful and thoughtful with the whole process of walking me through his own career trajectory, interviewing and portfolio work, as well as helping me flesh out a project to work on.

But the issue was me. After coming up with a project, I felt the worst creative block I’ve had since forever. I could not, for the life of me, get myself to pick up a camera and actually get to shooting. And once I actually was able to shoot, I could not hype myself up to edit the footage. It felt physically painful to do so; nothing in me wanted to do the project.

It wasn’t like I was forced to do it either; I chose the brand I was going to shoot and make a commercial ad for. Trust me, I love Hello Fresh, and the footage I got was pretty great quality.

But it wasn’t clicking for me. And I had to force myself over about three weeks to edit that footage, and then rush into a second project. And oh my God, did the second project feel like a burst of fresh air.

I suddenly was passionate about what I was doing- even just setting up my little fake set had me excited. I had a ton of friends coming in and out of the house for shooting, and I edited together a piece I actually really loved in the end.

So, what was it in the end that really made all the difference?

Well, we can start off with talking about purpose. Both videos I made with the purpose of having something to add to my portfolio. But it was in the actual process of filming and editing that I realized the first project, my heart wasn’t in it. I had a better connection to what I was trying to accomplish and set up with the second project, making it a better experience overall.

I also had a circle of people involved in the second project, compared to the first one. So, with more people involved, I had to hold myself accountable because I couldn’t play with other people’s time and energy. I had friends that dropped their own free time just to help me out, so I had a reason to get work done. But more importantly, I also had a group of people that were motivating me to get the video done because they cared and supported my work.

I’ll also admit that knowing I had a bit more of a deadline coming up for the second project made me work a lot quicker and efficiently. I’ll chalk it up to the fact that having an outlined plan for completing a project makes it a lot easier to prioritize how and when you’ll get things completed. My second ad was a whole lot easier to complete when I realized I could comfortably set apart days for when I would finish certain tasks- so again, time management and prioritizing tasks is key.

Lastly, I was in a better state of mind for the Levi ad I created. Forcing myself to finish Hello Fresh, I was coming into it stressed from work, things going on in my personal life and being stuck inside due to quarantine tings. After getting that project done, I felt like I genuinely had one less thing to stress about and was able to get started on the second project on a much lighter and happier note.

So, in the end, what I can say is procrastination can be beat with a change in perspective. But I recognize that it can take a lot to be able to do that in the first place, so always, always, always: remember to never beat yourself up. Even if you mess up today, beating yourself up will not prepare you in any way or change the fact that you need to get back on it tomorrow. You can get your next project done- it’s just a matter of whether you’re in the right mindset to do it that matters.