Today is going to be another ‘talk’, and probably a really, really long one 🙂 .
There are some days, where productivity flows in my veins instead of blood. I have goals, and I know exactly what I have to do and how far I have to go to achieve them. Nothing can take my eyes off the prize, and I don’t stop working until the task is COMPLETE. Not half done, not half-heartedly done, but fully and utterly done, to the absolute best of my abilities. The feeling after it’s done? Like nothing else in the whole world. That sense of accomplishment is absolutely invaluable, and it is better than any other reward in existence.
Too bad these days are so rare.
To be fair, they’re not that rare. In fact, they’ve been making an appearance quite often lately, what with the start of a new term and the vision of accomplished missions for the school year. These days are inconveniently rare. Just when you need them, they’ll blow you a kiss and leave through the front door, like time, or good luck. You’ll be left in the dust, staring at your pile of homework and convincing yourself that you will spontaneously combust unless you watch Netflix at this very moment.
There is a demon behind this all. A demon who hates you and wants to morph your could-be successes into whopping failures, a demon who is not scary but sneaky, a demon who manages to leave you thinking up is down and right is wrong and that you should throw all your priorities out the window, because why not?
This demon is, of course, procrastination.
I think what we hate most about procrastination, is that it makes us feel like we’re not in control of ourselves. Let me explain: when we know that we have to complete a task, especially if it’s something not very interesting, our brain starts making everything else around us super fascinating. There is always that little voice inside us, even after we’ve put off the task, that’s reminding us of how important the job is, and that it needs to be done. The problem arises when our brain is shouting “NO! NOT THAT! ANYTHING BUT THAT! DON’T YOU DARE BE PRODUCTIVE! YOU’LL FIND TIME LATER! TILL THEN, WHY NOT SOME NETFLIX AND CHILL? OR HECK, I DON’T CARE IF YOU STARE OUT YOUR WINDOW OBSESSIVELY, JUST ANYTHING BUT WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE!”, and the little voice inside us is drowned out. To me, it feels kind of like our thoughts are at war with themselves, which is pretty weird.
As a result, we let our minds control us, and not the other way around like it should be.
Personally, I am always being attacked by procrastination. I have recognised it as one of my biggest problems, because I am always putting things off. This is especially irritating because I am one of those people who makes schedules and to-do lists for everything, and an unchecked box literally eats away at me.
- Recognition – you’ve probably heard this a bajillion gazillion times, but here it is once more: denial is your worst enemy. I ALWAYS used to delay something important, and convince myself that I was doing nothing wrong. See, you can’t heal a wound if you don’t address it. Once I consciously became aware that this is the worst habit that I could have, and it reflected in my work, I could start trying to get rid of it.
- Visualize – there is always something wonderful waiting for you when you get a chore done. Whether it’s pocket money, some praise, or just the satisfaction of getting to tick something off your to-do list. The thing is, we can’t always see this. Distractions cloud our thinking, and suddenly anything else is more appealing than the task at hand. This is where we have to visualize what is waiting for us after we complete this task. I’m not saying it’s easy, hell no. I should know, I have to deal with homework. But it helps so much. If you’re feeling lazy, take a second to imagine what it will be like after you’re done: hours of coke and chips in front of the TV with an up-to-date homework book, reading a book in front of the fireplace after attending all your meetings. I have found that just imagining the intense, and irreplaceable satisfaction that comes with a completed task, helps me to get off my butt and into go-mode.
- Baby Steps – if everyone could decide one day that they will stop procrastinating, then the world would be full of super-productive work animals and sloths would be extinct. No, it’s not that easy. There is a way to make it easier though, and that’s by starting out small. If you’re dreading writing that 1000 word essay, write 400 of them and take a small break. If you’re too lazy to start yoga class, begin with a few simple stretches at home every morning. Of course, you can’t get complacent. Don’t throw a big party for yourself after finishing those first 400 words, and then make empty promises to get to the remaining 600 later. Start small, but don’t lose sight of the big picture.
- Inspiration Cocoons – picture a world with no motivation. People bustling around, doing their jobs just for the sake of it and without any real interest. Eventually, they would stop doing their jobs because they have no reason to continue. Sounds pretty dull, right? This is what you might feel like if you don’t encase yourself in what I like to call an ‘inspiration cocoon’. It’s just as it sounds, you build an environment for yourself where you are constantly surrounded, wrapped even, by inspiration. Therefore, it’s a cocoon. If you don’t have a motive to do whatever it is that you have to do, your brain will have yet another reason to convince you delay it. You let procrastination win. But, you can’t do that. Whether it’s by writing your goals down and putting them somewhere for you to see, or listening to empowering music, you must always surround yourself with inspiration. My girl Lilly Singh’s book ‘How To Be A Bawse’ is the most inspiring thing on this entire planet and I will be talking about it in detail very soon. She has been one of my idols for years, and it’s important to have people you look upto or quotes that mean something to you, around you, so that you can get all the vibes to hustle harder (iiSuperwomanii, I gotcha girl. I gotcha.)
Now you might be reading this and thinking, “Well that’s easier said than done, girl!”, and I completely agree. If I read this somewhere, I would take time to actually believe it. It’s not easy to battle procrastination, and I know it.
But nothing worth doing is ever easy.
Think of it this way, I am choosing to type this huge long post for you to read. Why? Because I have nothing better to do? No. But because I understand how frustrating procrastination can be, and I now know to fight it. And I want to share it with you!
It’s going to be hard. It was for me too. I procrastinate so much that I started typing out this very post at 8 in the morning. Then I decided taking a shower was a more pressing issue. I binge watched ‘Dance Academy’, wrote a few more paragraphs, then chose to go out to play football with the gang. Now, as I am typing this out on my phone from the WordPress app, under the covers, I know that I will sleep so peacefully today. Why? Because I pushed on. I decided that I WILL post this before it’s 12:00 am, before it’s Sunday, because I committed to a post schedule and I will stick to it. I persevered through sleepiness and that horrible feeling that I’d rather be doing anything else.
Never do something tomorrow if you can do it today.
You’re a boss. Not even a regular boss, but a BAWSE (I told you @lillysingh I gotchya girl). And you’re gonna take that to do list and SHOW IT WHO CALLS THE SHOTS!
One huge post? Typed.
Procrastination? Battled and conquered.
ThePastryPoet, signing off.