6   +   2   =  

I am constantly overestimating myself. Everybody does, right? We all think that we’re more productive–and more brilliant–than we actually are. For a deep exploration of this topic, read Mindwise. Author Nicholas Epley explains the psychology of assumptions, how we often feel convinced of rightness even though our basic ideas are false. Here’s the short version: humans are remarkably bad at judging whether our perceptions are accurate.

Luckily, our inflated egos are usually harmless, or only mildly harmful. For example, I always pretend to myself that I’m going to be responsible and stay on top of things, dammit. Then I end up writing essays (and, ahem, this article) right before they’re due. Is it okay as long as I consistently finish on time, and don’t make Ravneet want to bang her head on her desk?

guide to procrastination zine

Buy me this cute little procrastination zine; it’s $2.21 on Etsy.

Yes and no. On the one hand, it’s not something that I’m going to beat myself up about. I don’t even feel guilty, despite being a guilt-prone person. Everything is fine as long as my shoddy time-management skills don’t mess up someone else’s deal. But on the other hand, adjusting my habits would reduce my own stress-load.

I know this. I’ve known this for years. And yet I keep overestimating myself, committing to more than I can comfortably accomplish, and having to renegotiate my responsibilities. I procrastinate again and again, even though I realize that doing so makes my schedule more hectic. As I said in the first paragraph, that’s just life; it’s totally normal.


This isn’t me. I have acne. Photo by Daniela Vladimirova.

Teaching myself to be healthier and more functional has been a long, arduous process; I’m still workin’ on it. Ironically, part of bettering myself is accepting that I’m a flawed human being like every other dang person. That’s okay. I am okay! (See also: Allie Brosh’s blog and book. Buy the book as a holiday gift for literally all the people you know, PLEASE!)

There is a bright side to my habit of thinking that I’m more professional and awesome than I actually am. Frequently I manage to surprise myself by being mediocre–“What, am I not the Goddess of To-Do Lists?!”–but once in a while I surprise myself by being fantastic. As I keep exercising my organizational muscles, my capacity for work and stress increases without me even noticing it. Eventually I discover that I can handle tasks that would have provoked an anxiety attack in the past. When that happens, it feels so good! Thanks to therapy and medication, these days it happens often enough that I can feel optimistic about new endeavors.

Speaking of which–brace yourself for the upcoming blatant plug–I just started Balm Digest and you should check it out!

Guest blogger Sonya Mann is an erstwhile student and reliable bunny-enthusiast, living with her parents in the East Bay. She writes a bunch of stuff, so check out her website.