Did you ever have the thought that there is something you should be doing and you always seem to have an excuse to keep you from doing it? The word describing this behavior is “procrastination.” Wikipedia says this about procrastination, “Psychologists often cite such as a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting and/or completing any task or decision.” And it says, “Procrastination may result in a sense of guilt and crisis severe loss of personal productivity, as well as disapproval by others for not meeting responsibilities or commitments.”
Over three years ago I agreed to (practically insisted on) making a quilt for an extended family member. They would pay for the materials and I would make the quilt. He admired a quilt I made for my brother and really wanted one of his own. I realize now that there was a lot of anxiety floating in me about this quilt. Would it be good enough?
On and off over the 3 years, I worked on parts of the quilt. Fabric was purchased (without a design in mind). Photos were sent to me, I cropped out the backgrounds, and then printed the images on fabric. I started designs and became frustrated and halted the process and later started it again.
About 6 weeks ago, I was ready to call it quits. Something really was holding me back on this project. When I thought of it, I was anxious. I knew those involved were probably getting frustrating with the time it was taking me. Other family members reminded me that I should finish.
Then 4 weeks ago, I was invited to a family party and I found out this person who wanted this quilt would be there. How could I face them in person with no quilt in hand. The feelings of angst would be more than I could bare.
So…the last 2 weeks (after finishing the Dresden Plate Quilt), I hunkered down and put all my time into completing this long standing mental challenge.
When the quilt was finished last week, many asked me did I finally feel relieved? No, it wasn’t until I “knew” the recipient loved it that I would feel the relief. So, last Friday, without him knowing it was coming. The recipient found the long awaited motorcycle quilt finished and laying on his bed. I never saw anyone so excited to receive one of my quilts. I had succeeded!
So what did I learn? 1) I’m not good at commission work. Don’t Ask me and I won’t volunteer. If you want a quilt, you can tell me your ideas and maybe I’ll get the inspiration to make one for you. 2) I need deadlines. Open ended obligations usually get put off quite frequently on my “to-do” list. 3) And finally, never give up. Sometimes it just takes me awhile to get a round to it. If it means enough to me…it will get done.
With that said, I must accept these realities about myself and get back to work. This wasn’t the only thing on my “to-do” list.