writing & productivity

It’s Okay to Be Tired, It’s Not Okay to Give Up

I started writing this post more than a month ago as a pep talk to myself. Then I got tired, and for a while, I did give up. The blog is a thing I would get back to later, I thought. After all those other things that I would also get to later that were more pressing than the blog. After I got some sleep, and let my brain rest, and, and, and.

For me, procrastination is both easy and hard. Easy because even if I didn’t wholly grow up in the world of the immediate gratification of the internet, I certainly live in it now, and there are an endless number of endless rabbit holes to stray down even if I’m in one of those antsy moods where I can’t quite focus on things that I actually like to do. But hard because the looming specter of things to do causes me anxiety that distracts from the distraction, whether it’s a rabbit hole or a video game or some other consumptive experience. I can’t full enjoy it, therefore the procrastination becomes much less fun, because the thing that I am procrastinating on looms threateningly in my future.

I’m not sure if this is the reason, but my best guess is that the looming future thing occurs to me and not other procrastinators is because I always have this keen sense of the finiteness of the future. Not as much in a big existential way, like I’m mortal and will die some day and no one knows when that will be (though that’s true, too) but more in a I’m going to have to go to work, go to sleep, do this thing or that thing later no matter what, and if the thing I want to do isn’t done by then then I won’t be able to get to it, I’ll be late, it’ll suck, etc, etc, etc.

I think it’s a fair and real thing to just be too goddamn tired to deal with something in the immediate moment. To need sleep, or to be burnt out, or to just not have the brain space for it for whatever reason. The thing I’ve been catching myself on, though, is being too broad with that “whatever.” Do I really need to stay in bed and get another hour of sleep (sometimes yes) or do I need to get my ass up (also sometimes yes)? Do I need to wind down after work (often yes) right up until I go to bed thus spending my whole evening as a vegetable (no)? But brains are funny, especially our own, and I’m still working on the not-really-logical struggle of gauging my own need for rest vs kicking my ass to do the things I want and promise to do.

If I figure out the secret, to shifting from consumption to creation, to knowing when it’s fair to push myself and when I need to acknowledge my human limitations before I crash and burn, I’ll be sure to let you know. For now it’s pretty up in the air.