"Just one more episode, then I'll start working on it," says you, two episodes ago.
Do you procrastinate? Of course, you do. At least most of us do! (If you’re not a procrastinator, you must be a pre-crastinator)
We consider procrastination as our enemy. When we procrastinate, we feel guilty. We question our self-worth. We blame ourselves or other people for our lack of productivity.
Sometimes we hide our procrastination by doing busywork. Admitting that you're putting off tasks is like wearing a cone of shame in public.
Poor procrastination, always the bad guy. But the truth is, it can be a useful tool to have. First, you have to admit that you're a procrastinator. Second, stop punishing yourself for it.
Not convinced? Research shows that creative people tend to procrastinate more. When they put off finishing their work, the better their ideas become.
Let's define procrastination as the layer between your comfort zone and action zone. It's not our enemy who wants to sabotage you from doing what you want. Instead of wasting our energy feeling bad, let's use procrastination as a data point.
Inspired by Lev Vygotsky's Learning Zone Model, I give you the Procrastination Layer Model:
When we're in our comfort zone, there's no looming deadline to think about. There are some tasks on your to-do lists that you're able to do right away - because it's already a habit or you enjoy it.
Then it hits you, you find yourself phubbing on your phone or doing an unscheduled errand. You're now in the midst of the Procrastination Layer.
Instead of fighting it, look into the tasks that you're putting off. List them one-by-one. Ask yourself why you're resisting each of them.
Give yourself a specific amount of time for active procrastination. This is when you're doing it on purpose. Hopefully, there's enough time before the due date.
You can first look at two aspects: the difficulty of the task and your emotional attachment to the task.
Is the task intimidating? Procrastinate by talking about it with your peers. Or take your mind off it for a set period so you can tackle it with a new can-do attitude.
Is the task too easy, too simple? Ask yourself why you haven't done it. Has it become too routine? Is it something you can delegate?
Do you find the task exciting? The avoidance might be coming from feeling incapable or fear of the unknown. Instead of wallowing, distract yourself first or talk it over with a trusted person.
Does the task hold no meaning or purpose in your life right now? Revisit your values, goals, and purpose. If it's a part of something bigger, then do it anyway. If it impacts your life negatively, then find a way to get rid of it in the future.
When we see procrastination as a barrier or hurdle, we can inspect it objectively. It's no longer a reflection of our ineptness. It's a tool that can help you conquer your fears and boost your confidence.
When you find yourself procrastinating, set a specific start and end time for it. Own your procrastination! (Related: Procrasti-learning)
See procrastination as part of your workflow and not something that's out of your control.
Got more time? Here are this week’s curated links!
🦌The Dark Forest and the Cozy Web | Maggie Appleton | 🕰 2 minutes
An illustrated diagram of the current Social Internet Situation
👤Head Self, Heart Self | Will Mannon | 🕰 2 minutes
Embrace both your head self and heart self.
👅The Taste Gap: Ira Glass on the Secret of Creative Success, Animated in Living Typography | Maria Popova | 🕰 8 minutes
Taste gap is the distance between what you know is good and where you are right now. The short film is a must-watch!
Til next week,