I procrastinate every day. The most basic is: “return so-and-so’s email”. A simple thing. I could write back “Hey” and that would satisfy the project. But I don’t do it. I go online.
I look at my Twitter feed. My Facebook feed. My Instagram. My old pictures. Listen to podcasts. So I am admittedly human.
My name is Logan Tyler Nelson and I’m a procrastinator.
My goal for this article is to point out how you can stop procrastination and how it can actually make you a badass. No exercising or sweating required in this article.
Here’s some knowledge bombs in name of procrastination: There’s always a reason as to why you’re procrastinating. Sometimes you need to be patient and wait and other times there’s a call for immediate action. What often ends up happening is the events you put off until later you never actually get to. Now never seems like a good time, so you comfortably push events off into the future.
How can you determine whether you are putting something off because of legitimate reasons or are just procrastinating until the fourth of never? Since our own fears and emotions are often carefully disguised through logic and rationality, it can be difficult to make intelligent decisions about whether that procrastination is actually justified.
One of the problems that occurs with procrastinating is that it is very comfortable to push a deadline into the future, but eventually that future date must come. You can never do something in the future, only in the now. So all those events you’ve put off, eventually must come into the present.
Duh, Captain obvious. Hey now, I’m only here to try and help.
The “Divided Self” – The notion put forward by Schelling et al that we do not possess a single unitary self but actually a collection of disparate selves which are competing with each other for attention and control at any given time.
The Divided Self Theory offers a radical solution to why we procrastinate: the ‘me’ that makes plans for the future is not the same ‘me’ that fails to execute them in the present. There is in fact a rational future-focused self and a present-focused self which are two antagonistic aspects of the divided self that constitutes us.
It solves at a stroke the philosophical conundrum of procrastination – why we do something which is inimical to our interests even when we “know” that it will ultimately make us worse off.
It also suggests that beating yourself over the head with the injunciton to ‘try harder’ is not a smart way of dealing with the issue.
How about some practical advice?
First, let’s do some exercise!
NO?!?!? You said no exercise…..
Okay okay. I lied. How about some mental exercise?
Get in a quiet room. Sit back and close your eyes and visualize what it is that you need to do. Set a 5 minute timer. If you don’t have five minutes then do four. Okay? Cool. Let’s continue.
Make the visualization as vivid as possible, and make no attempts to censor your inner emotions. If it feels lousy, scary or painful to do this activity, then visualize that too.
So what are we doing here Logan?
What you are trying to do is determine what it would feel like to be in the position of your future self doing the very thing you are putting off. Although it only exists in your head, you are imagining that instead of procrastinating, you are actually doing it.
Since it may be impossible to take action right now, either because of a real, physical limitation or simply an emotional block that your willpower can’t overcome, you need to take steps to ensure that when the future date arrives, you won’t procrastinate further.
A good way to look at your problem is like a roadblock is stopping your path. Some of these roadblocks will be physical limitations (you can’t ask your boss for a raise because she isn’t there). Other times your roadblocks will be mental (I should start working on my project now, but you know the weather is just so bad right now…)
If you currently lack the willpower to jump over your roadblock, your next step is to try and minimize the size of the roadblocks so they don’t impede your success. Physical roadblocks can’t be removed, but most of your mental roadblocks can be.
Ready for some procrastination voo do??
Procrastination voo doo
Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all. After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done? One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list! That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.
Here’s the magical part about procrastination
The magic part comes in when, for example you’ve been procrastinating that decluttering of your attic project for months. One day you listen to Tony Robbins lecture on “Freedom” and how you can start your freedom “TODAY.” No strings attached. All you have to do is take the first step. And that’s to take action. In your head your “action” is to start a website based business and work from home. So you get on the World Wide Web. 14 minutes and 37 seconds passes by and what happens? You guessed it. That old decluttering of the attic project comes in to your focus and you FINALLY start cleaning that dusty, dark and spider infested attic out.
My final thoughts: procrastination is always happening. You can’t be doing more then one or two things at a time. You’ll always be procrastinating something. With this in my. Don’t let procrastination get the best of you. Don’t let procrastination kill your passion for at least trying to get started on your next project.
Comment below about something you’re currently procrastinating