What stops you from getting things done?

What stops you from getting things done?

Did you ever notice that there are always roadblocks to getting things done? Always something to distract you? Life is full of shiny objects all vying for your attention. And don’t even get me started about how you can lose yourself on the Internet. YouTube alone is probably responsible for more lost time than Marty McFly and Doc Brown.

It’s easy to understand how you can be distracted when you’re bored or when you’re working on something that you’re not all that excited about. When that happens to me, I can get down on myself for not taking care of business. In the end, I probably have to do it anyway–procrastinating just prolongs the agony. But what about those times when you procrastinate about doing things you are passionate about? How can you let that happen? It doesn’t make sense. And yet, if you’re anything like me, it does happen. And that’s when I really get annoyed with myself. Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out the psychology behind that.

No matter how rustic or inviting it looks, it still blocks the path to progress
So many things blocking the path.

Here’s the perfect example for you. I’ve mentioned my project to remix my entire catalog a couple of times before, the first time in my post, Just like starting over–new mixes for old recordings. It’s been a big project–there are nearly 50 recordings in my catalog. And it’s a really important project to me. For one thing, I want my best work on display, and the old mixes were not up to my own standards now that I know more about mixing. Beyond that, if I’m going to make a true play at music placements, those recordings and mixes have to be the best I can deliver.

I’ve been working hard on getting that project done. Of course, I’ve also been working hard on getting this site off the ground. And I’ve got other stuff going on too, like getting ready for my first live show in two years, as I talked about in Arranging music for live performance. So, I decided I finally had to organize my time, or I’d never accomplish any of this stuff properly. To that end, I’ve filled out my daily calendar from waking to retiring each day, and blocked out the exact times that I am scheduled to work on these various tasks. That’s a big step–I haven’t traditionally been the most organized guy in the world–and I’m sticking to it fairly well, all in all.

But for the past week or more, I keep finding ways to avoid sitting down to my mixing task. And I’m so close to being finished. I probably only have 12 or so recordings to mix. So why, when I’m so close, and it’s so important, am I procrastinating on that job? It’s not as if I’ve been wasting the time–I really haven’t been. I’ve been reading, working on music, writing articles, and other important stuff. I haven’t been sitting around watching TV or getting lost down the YouTube rabbit hole. I’m not wasting time, I’m just not doing that mixing task I need to be doing.

So what’s stopping me? What weird psychology is responsible for this? I really don’t know. Maybe it’s as simple as I just need a break from it. I’ve been working on it very hard for weeks, and maybe I’m just a little burned out on it. On the other hand, maybe there’s some deep psychological roadblock. Maybe I don’t really want to accomplish the task badly enough. Maybe if I don’t finish it I won’t have to face the rejection of music supervisors and publishers rejecting my music as not good enough. Paralyzed by fear. It wouldn’t be the first time in my life for that.

I could be proving that one semester of Psychology 101 and a few self-help books can be dangerous things. Could it be just a matter of a schedule that I’ve packed too full of time-consuming activities? It sure wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done that to myself either. Sabotaging myself with ambition. But is it really ambition, or is that just a smokescreen for my fear of failure or rejection? Argh! I’m caught in the vortex of an endless, unsolvable riddle!

I can’t possibly be the only person to ever deal with this dilemma, can I?

Oh well, I’ll break through it. One day soon, I’ll get back to the studio and mix another song. Then I’ll feel good about it. I’ll be back on track. If I can get a couple more mixes done per week, I’ll be done by May. I still haven’t figured out the psychology, but that’s OK. I know I’ll get it taken care of.

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