About Me!

This blog is about my musings and thoughts. I hope you find it useful, at most, and entertaining, at least.

Résumé [PDF]

Other Pages



Presence Elsewhere




Telling yourself "No" is extremely difficult

Date: 2013-01-23
Tags: procrastination decisions

Today is a Wednesday after a 4-day weekend (I have no class on Fridays and Monday, but additionally, Monday was MLK Jr. day). All of last week I resigned myself to using the weekend to finish up this contract project. Now, I’ve unscheduled the weekend so I knew that over the 4 days I only had about 24 hours of time I could even think of devoting to the contract project, in addition to a friend’s birthday on Sat and brunch Sunday morning. I included cooking and spending time with Anne, as well as going to the gym. I wasn’t diluted into thinking I had more time than I otherwise would, but when I sat down, a horrible feeling came over me. I just sat and looked at the computer screen and went on Hacker News and Reddit.

Just thinking about this project makes me anxious: my chest tightens up, my blood pressure skyrockets, my breathing changes and a pall feels like it’s falling over my life. The project isn’t taking over my day-to-day life anymore, but it still feels as if it is taking over my long term plans. I look back at this contract project being over a year overdue and I can’t help but think I’m a failure. I can’t help but think that if I don’t do well on this project then I won’t feel valuable; I won’t feel capable. I’m tying my self-worth intimately into this project and I know that I need to stop, but I just don’t know how. This project stands between me and my dreams. This project represents how capable I am. I need to figure out how to stop intertwining this, and any project, so deeply with how I view myself. I need to have a view and sense of worth of myself that is decoupled from anything else.

I’ve been finding every excuse not to finish this project: cleaning, “relaxing,” reading, other small projects. It all is just putting of the inevitable need to work on this project. This entry was started as a diversion, and I’m only finishing it so that I can share my feelings in the moment and maybe get advice; an excuse, perhaps?

The thing I’m learning to do is telling myself “No.” Not “No” in a manner that limits my options, but “No” in manner that reflects that I have the choice to do something or not. I am making a choice to not goof off. Hopefully I can build up enough courage to tell myself “Yes” to something I don’t want to do, like this contact. It will take time because of the habitual running I’ve done from it, but I believe it can be done.

With that, I will finish this post, willingly and because I have a choice to, as opposed to continuing it, and not because I have to stop in order to work on this contact project, which will never reflect the totality, or even majority, of my abilities. I’m choosing to stop, and I hope I choose to work: the adjacent terminal is already logged in and set up.