The Thief of Time

How-To-Stop-ProcrastinatingProcrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases, and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.  – Wayne Gretsky

 

Imagine the following scenario: Your alarm goes off at 6am so you have enough time to get up out of bed, get ready and look less like the dawning of a zombie apocalypse;  but instead of rolling your butt out of bed, welcoming the day with a glum expression at this hour of the morning, you hit the snooze button. Five minutes pass, and you hit the snooze button again. And again. And again. Until 45 minutes has passed; there is now officially no time for you to look anything less like a homeless cat lady, or even prepare something nutritious to eat. Instead you jolt out of bed, splash some water on your face and sprint – and i do mean sprint – in the hope that you wont’ be late for the 3rd time this month.

Sound familiar?

Procrastination. Everybody does it. To the girl in your class that always looks like a bag lady (i.e. me); to the guy at the coffee hut who puts off his assignments to the last-minute, hands in a sub-par effort and then complains that he will never go anywhere in life. No human can resist the urge to procrastinate, from small menial tasks like washing (come on, who wants to come home from work or spend their only day off doing chores!), to bigger life events like parties, study, work and paying bills (reminder: open the letter from the electricity company… maybe…). But why do we do it?

As humans, we are naturally drawn to novelty; new and interesting activities and objects stimulate our pleasure centers, while routine and mundane tasks have just the opposite effect, hence the eagerness to ignore washing those dishes and eat off this sort of clean, week old pizza box… it’s still good right?

Some people find that they are chronic procrastinators, unable to complete any mundane task no matter how vital it may be to their daily functioning. Their idea of “self-care” may include a new membership to the climbing gym, but at the same time they might neglect items like laundry, grocery shopping, bill paying, and household chores.  Psychology today suggests that there are other emotions and/or mental states that accompany chronic procrastination. The most common ones are sad, angry, or depressed about various aspects of their lives. These different moods and emotions interfere with our concentration and focus and therefore, hello Facebook!

Procrastinate-feature_0But is it just that we procrastinators are bored. Is it that we are putting off certain tasks because we don’t’ want to identify with what real meaning those tasks have – a conventional, mundane, unexciting life. We wake, we eat, we work, we sleep….. We don’t want to morph into REAL adults. Which, realistically, isn’t as amazing as our youthful vibrant selves imaging (prove me wrong). Are we trying desperately to hold onto spontaneity, freedom from responsibility… youth?

I think so, and so does Maggie Heath from Lifehack who suggests there are 9 different reasons why we procrastinate. Daydreaming over your TV heart throb is unfortunately not one of them. But wanting to maintain control, being a perfectionist, fear of failing, and laziness are.

Aside from sitting here and running a microscope over my personality flaws (I did that on Sunday), is there a way to cure ones procrastinatory ways? I know, when i have to, I’ll get in there and get the job done, but can i do it without the feeling of urgency? Can i do it without that deadline looming over my head like a puppet master, and I’m the puppet!

Is there a way to put off putting off?

procrastinationYES! Apparently its a very simplistic answer, which i will share with you all. Put down your cell phones; close Facebook; stop tweeting on Twitter; turn off or hide away all distractions and just get started. That’s it. Just do it.

When we put off today what we can do tomorrow, we’re setting an intention based on the idea that a task will be more appealing or feel more do-able at some time in the future than it is right now. But it turns out that tomorrow is actually a lot more like today than we think.  It’s a combination of “It just feels better not to do this right now” and the often misguided “I’m going to (want to) do it tomorrow” that can lead many of us to put off tasks again and again.

So to stop procrastinating from life, we need to start living it. Perform the mundane and routine tasks of washing, cleaning, working and gyming. Participate in the horrid office meetings, monthly lunches and bi-yearly weekend picnics. Set time for ourselves, whether it be for university studies, a day of shopping or an Xbox marathon with the boys. We can’t procrastinate our lives away… although i think i have given it one hell of a go.

No excuses. No step-by-step guide. Just do it.

 

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About laurenbradshaw1990

Lauren Bradshaw was born in Liverpool, England in 1990, before migrating with her family to Cairns, Australia. Growing up in Cairns, Lauren spent her time between friends, family and working her way up the primordial food chain. Graduating in 2007, Lauren was accepted into University and moved to Brisbane, Australia to start her adult life. She worked hard, studying a Bachelor of Nursing, and a Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, eventually deciding that she would continue her studying and make a dent in her dream career - a Forensic Pathologist. Lauren's first book published in 2014, Daddy's Girl, is a heart stopping crime thriller that encompasses her love of crime, medicine and the things that go bump in the night.
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2 Responses to The Thief of Time

  1. iggy23 says:

    Great insight on procrastination! It’s one of the things I’ve worked very hard to prevent from happening to me and I think that everyone should try it sometime. It’s right to say that we should start living life instead of putting things off because soon there’ll be no tomorrow to put things off for 🙂

    Like

  2. Thanks Iggy23 🙂 I’m a terrible procrastinator, but I’m trying to stop… honest! I agree. Life is too short to procrastinate! Get in, get it done. Might be easier said than done but I’ll see what happens 🙂

    Like

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