I don’t work as well under pressure as I thought. Or maybe I do, but only when it’s imminent, when I have to complete something and there’s no room for error. Or maybe I used to, and I’m slowly getting worse.

It’s crazy how much I used pressure to dictate my entire life in high school, university, even beyond. A serial procrastinator, I started most major assignments at school the night before they were due. Sometimes I’d be so stressed out I’d go to sleep early, wake up at 2am or 3am, and do it all the morning of. My college applications, my Nanowrimos, even clearing my house to move across the country–I did them all under intense pressure, often totally self-inflicted.

Why? Why did I always use pressure as a motivator? Why did I let myself succumb to intense stress and agonizing anxiety instead of just getting stuff out of the way ahead of time?

I faced that many times in my life, and never did I feel good about it later.

That’s a little bit how I’ve run into creative burnout the last few years.

Always, I’ll throw my hat into the ring for some contest, to face some deadline. And with my time management skills poor and my procrastination high, I’ll end up feeling the pressure. End up locking up, delivering something subpar, and losing out on the whole purpose.

What I’ve learned in recent years is to avoid the high-pressure nonsense. Stop joining in projects with quick deadlines, with heavy workloads. Just… take it a little easier on myself. I’m not procrastinating because I’m lazy… Usually. I’m procrastinating because the pressure overwhelms me.

Let’s work on the pressure first and the procrastination will fall.

Here’s a nice essay about the idea of laziness running up against other issues. In simple terms, let’s be more empathetic with each other.

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