Not until recently, I had been wondering what exactly is my favourite pass-time activity, – well except eating. Then finally it dawned on me, procrastination.
As Tim Urban would say, procrastination has birthed me an instant gratification monkey that I can’t seem to get away from nor do without. I think I like it because keeps me stress-free, I get to catch up on unimportant things I procrastinated about in the past and most importantly, I never run out of activities… until deadlines come. I am always busy.
Now I was never going to expose myself like this until a friend told me that sharing is caring. Hence, before we get into the gist of this topic, know that I am currently contemplating whether I should finish this post today or someday when I’m mentally prepared. How to stop procrastinating.
Okay, let me get on with it.
Procrastination has taught me there exist a difference between thinking and doing. Promising and fulfilling. Hobbies and addictions and to understand this better, I will give you three scenarios.
One. I have always fancied a healthy body with toned muscles and just enough fat to keep me alive. For this reason, I decided to get a workout plan which could take me closer to my long term desire. I have it in terms of folders titled full-body workout, arm day, back day, glutes/leg day and dancing. Recently, I added yoga to capture all these good benefits of a 30-minute workout sesh, in a total of 6 days. According to my plan, I should rest on Sundays. On this day, I should also change up my exercises, read a book and plan my schedule for the following week.
The problem is, I have had these folders for about six years now. I only open them to see the tutorials – for motivation, study the instructors’ performances carefully (we don’t want to end up with bad form when we start now, do we?), I delete the outdated exercises, then update them with workouts from instructors, who seem more aligned with my current body goals.
I am so motivated by just watching the instructors that I decide come Monday I would begin working out. For real this time.
Monday came. The instant gratification monkey thought about the pain that would follow after the first workout. We decided that Tuesday was also a worthy day. 6 ways to stop procrastinating.
Tuesday never came.
This takes us to our next problem which is waking up at 5. See my workout sessions should begin at 5 am so that by 5:30 I can prepare to leave for work. For this, my alarm is set at intervals of 30 minutes with the first ding going off at exactly 4 o’clock.
When my rational mind is in control, I believe that in this 1 hour, that is between 4 and 5 am, I could actually wake up and get ready to break a sweat. Fortunately, waking up immediately the alarm goes off is not a problem. Benefits of waking up early.
Just that sleeps ensues in the same swipe I dismiss the alarm. In essence, 5 am is more of a figure of speech – no pun intended – and it always catches me at a bad time.
So normally after that final dismissal, I sleep consciously at intervals of 15 minutes (while telling myself that I would wake up in the next quarter) only to wake up at 7 am. This leaves me just 2 hours to prepare myself and journey to my place of work which almost takes the same amount of hours due to traffic.
But as I would know, nothing surpasses the rush of beating odds and in this case, getting to work on time. That feeling of “making it” almost taste like success and that’s the gratification I can’t do without, especially on a Monday morning. I like mornings successful.
Fashionably late is a term I picked up as a procrastination hazard. The only time I feel very guilty is when I happen to bump into my boss who arrives an hour earlier. That walk of shame always leads me to a decision that, the following day I will wake up early (5 am) and get to work even earlier than he does.
It’s been a year since I decided not worth to compete with my boss. I figured he has a lot of experience when it comes to arriving early and that is something I’d like to try later when I grow up. 8 ways to become a better morning person. After all, good things come to those who wait.
Our final scenario comes from my passion. I love books. From novels to biographies and everything in between. Words to me are a stimulant that I have fed off since I was 4 years old. However, its been many years since then and over time, procrastination has taught me that buying books alone can also be a hobby. In other words, I’m a reformed reader who only collects covers and titles.
Like I do with the workout videos, whenever I feel guilty for not finishing a reading list, I review the books one by one, yes I often judge them by their cover, and if the blurb doesn’t come off as interesting I get the book exchanged for another one. CBD book vendors know me as that ‘mutura’ guy knows you. I’m always there for more.
In the same beat, we should not forget that it’s not me. It’s the monkey within that fancies an easy time, fun and short-lived activities. Which implies that even though the above activities are not hard to do getting to start is the actual problem.
My monkey’s quality advice is, “We can always do that later. For now, let’s just spiral down YouTube’s rabbit hole or do any other thing just not what we’re supposed to.”
This is how I once encountered a video of the evil books that are too cursed to read. But since no one would believe that, I figured the best thing would be to search for the print versions instead of listening to audio files. This particular one I had found was never to be read out loud.
But before I could find out why YouTube recommended another one on exploring the dark web. As this was even more interesting and hands-on, I joined the bandwagon. The last thing I recall from that day is getting off work exhausted but with no success in my attempt to access the dark web nor reading the deadly books.
Fast forward to today, I am still in the rat race of life. The first ring goes off too soon. I notice it’s already at 4 a.m. Faithful to my routine, I dismiss it again until 5. Like always, I miss my workout session (but to be fair, its a priority on the following day), I get to work fashionably late and on top of that, I’m still yet to finish up on some reports, which will never involve cursed books and the dark web – subjects I’m proficient about.
I still have my monkey though. The one who’s addicted to deadline induced panic. “We can still make it even if you watch an episode of handmaid’s tale,” monkey says. “After all, what is a deadline if not a negative inspiration that’s meant to fly by?” This sage advice doesn’t work this time.
Instead, I make a decision to watch a TED Talk on procrastination. Today I must drop this vice, I convince myself. Then an epiphany. As monkey comes back to rub it in.
Aren’t you watching a video on procrastination as a way to procrastinate on your past procrastination? Next on the playlist is a video on how to be productive. I feel like I need that too.
What could possibly go wrong?