Procrastination vs. Purposeful Pressure

by candy barone Mar 01, 2022

I don’t know about you, but I love the feeling of things coming down to the wire. You know, that adrenaline rush of trying to bring something in at the 11th hour … that feeling of energy that builds up as you think about how much time you have left. 


There is something about that buildup that opens up huge creative portals for me. Perhaps for you, too. You thrive on it, and sometimes even find yourself jonesing for it. 


Now, you also may be someone from the other camp … you know, the camp where just the mere thought of waiting to do something, having multiple things pushing at you and piling up on your plate with pressing deadlines, actually gives you great anxiety.


It’s all a matter of how you are wired and your basic human design. 


Because depending on whether you have a defined or undefined root center (don’t worry, I’m not going down a rabbit hole around human design today … I’ll save that for another post), you either like the anticipated adrenalized pressure or you absolutely do not. 


For me, I have a defined root center, meaning … I love having a healthy balance of adrenalized pressure … aka, lots going on, multiple plates spinning, and pressing deadlines.


Note I said “healthy balance” — because when it’s not healthy, this is the fastest way to tax out your adrenals and burnt them out. And, trust me, I have know that space far too many times in my earlier years (still have a moment or two now, if I’m being honest with myself, as it’s easy to fall into that trap). 


That level of deep exhaustion and burnout that overwhelms you and takes over, all because that adrenalized pressure took a turn into a very unhealthy space. Often times, it comes from trying to prove ourselves, feeling like we have to take on the weight of the world, or comparing ourselves to others “success” and trying to keep up.


It’s one of the biggest reasons people feel tired, stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, and exhausted. They are not fully aligned to using their energy in a way that is correct for their design, thus they end up putting an additional load on their system. 


This level of burn out sucks. It can completely shut our bodies down. We then are no longer able to discern between healthy pressure (the kind we thrive on … again, if you have a defined root center) and just being busy for the sake of being busy. 


This is where procrastination creeps in, or takes over like a Mack truck. 


You see procrastination is connected to fear, anticipation of the future, and the narrative we create that fuels our stress and worry. Procrastination is delaying the inevitable, it’s pushing off the very thing that needs to be done in order to move forward. 


Procrastination is the mind’s way of trying to control the outcome. 


It’s the tendency to play the debilitating what if game and continue to push the frogs to the side, instead of eating them (if you’ve ever read the book by Brian Tracy, “Eat the Frogs,” you know what I am talking about). 


We end up telling ourselves a story, convincing ourselves as to why something can wait, why it doesn’t matter. And, often times, it leads us to playing small. For the only way we can move forward is to stretch past our comfort zone, to essentially eat the frogs. 


So, how do we discern whether the pressure is purposeful, and something that truly lights our fire and gives us juice? Or, if we ultimately are playing the procrastination game?


We begin by listening to our body, the ultimate truth-teller. 


We get to ask ourselves: 

  •  When the idea of something shows up does it feel expansive or contractive in my body? 
  •  Do I feel butterflies in the anticipation of something that is challenging (and rewarding)?
  •  Do I feel a surge of energy around an impending timeline or expectation? 
  •  Do I feel anxious and as if I want / need to get all the pressure off me as soon as possible? 
  •  Does the idea of the impending deadline make me feel tired, sluggish, and like I’m dreading the actual work required to complete the task? 


Note the difference in these questions. 


One generates energy to activate creativity, the other one stifles it.


Purposeful pressure feels exciting, almost as if there is a game you get to play, where you feel alive, awake, and energized. Procrastination feels as if something is being imposed on you, where you feel as if the energy is heavy, dense, and sluggish. 


And, if you are not someone who likes pressure to begin with (open or undefined root center), the idea of the build-up in pressure, the juggling of various timelines and expectations, can be daunting and tough no matter what. For you, the best strategy is the discipline to eat the frogs first and to tackle one thing at a time. 


For those of you like me, who thrive on the healthy build-up, it’s all about balance. It’s about knowing yourself well enough to know what leads to your creativity, and what leads to your demise. Be careful of the stories you tell yourself, be mindful of how the energy feels in your body, and be honest about whether it’s bringing you energy or depleting it. 


Protect how and where you choose to expend your energy. 


Whether you are someone who thrives on a little chaos and a lot of plates spinning at one time, or you are someone who avoids the chaos at all costs, know that how we choose to use our energy is everything. 


Either way, when we are aligned to what is most meaningful for us, when we are aligned to how we are wired and our basic human design, when we listen to how our body responds, we will then know how to lead from a place of authenticity, energy, and purpose. 


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