I used to think these two things were unrelated but I now know without a doubt that procrastination and perfectionism are best friends. Unfortunately they want to be my friends once again. I thought I shook loose these time-stealing suckers five years ago when I graduated from seminary. From time to time they've made brief appearances and held some of my ministry projects (and sermons) hostage, but generally I've been able wrestle free. Lately however, I've noticed that it is taking me longer and longer post to class forums. The thought of the mind-bending word-smithing I put myself through to formulate a succinct yet intelligent thought in 200 words or less makes me want to cry. (Now y'all know I need way more than 200 words to express any thought.) Thank God the online portion of this semester is over, not that I didn't love every minute of the discussions with my colleagues.
Now that I have exactly two weeks to produce a thoughtful, insightful, and if possible brilliant 15-18 page writing project, my two besties have taken up residence in my home once again. I was so excited to have my topic approved after turning it over in my head for weeks and immediately perfectionism started talking. After a few moments of celebration my first thought was "suppose I'm not a brilliant writer anymore." In seminary and grad school I couldn't take a test to save my life, but I could write my way to an A in just about any class. That tiny moment of doubt made way for perfectionism as I tried to envision my paper from beginning to end with all the possible twists and turns. Upon realizing my roadmap to completion is not a straight line, I immediately pushed my project to the back burner. I convinced myself that it would be better to finish the online phase before starting my writing. That thinking cost me about four days that I could have been pulling together my research. Hello procrastination!
I have no doubt that I will get my writing project completed, prayerfully with excellence. I just regret not starting earlier and I'm not looking forward to the mental gymnastics that comes with completing a massive undertaking in a short amount of time. Quite frankly I don't think I know another way. I wrote a thesis in each one of my masters programs and wrote the bulk of each one in about thirty days (the thirty days right before the deadline). While the results were stellar, the mental aftermath was not pretty. I hope during the course of this doctoral program I can establish better discipline and yield the same (if not better) results.