Procrastination, a topic I haven’t written on yet but sure have thought a lot about. I find myself feeling lazy from time to time, some days avoiding everything and everyone but other days not so much. I find that it comes in micro doses and when it arrives it tends to get very comfortable, almost snug in its seat.
So, you ask what exactly is procrastination? Explained in a modern fashion, it’s the act of delaying or postponing your to-do list. This can be a set of tasks or what most of us refer to as our responsibilities, things we ‘need’ to get done basically. Procrastination is the hand that stops you from doing what you’ve set out to do.
We all engage in it for various reasons. For example, I find that the main reason I do it is due to the discomfort that comes with the thought of not carrying out the task to my full potential at the time. I find that this usually happens when I already feel a certain way, mood-wise. For instance, I’ve noticed that when I’ve had a sleepless night of overthinking or am genuinely stressed out, I procrastinate a lot more.
The most common reasons behind human procrastination consist of holding abstract goals, rewards that seem too far away, feeling overwhelmed, perfectionism and task aversion. These reasons have been narrowed down into sections to fit the types of procrastinators among us. You get the anxious procrastinator, the ‘fun’ procrastinator, the “loads of time” one and the perfectionist of course.
I definitely feel like for me, once I’m entirely engulfed in procrastination mode, I tend to linger there for quite some time. However, once I snap out of it, I can find myself more productively engaged than ever. It’s very strange how it works, almost like a snake slithering in and out through the frame of your mind. Sometimes it visits and stays for longer periods, sometimes it only passes by. I think it’s important to acknowledge when we find ourselves in the pit of it and actively work on a structure to combat procrastination when necessary.
In my past blogs I’ve talked a lot about staying afloat, finding balance in things as well as mental health hygiene in particular. That being said, it’s key to recognise the minor differences in these things such as:
- Letting yourself breathe is always a priority BUT letting yourself lurk in that space of breathing for too long is not.
- Notice how you feel when you’ve completed most of your work or chores and compare it to how you feel when you’ve avoided them.
- Try to develop a daily routine or schedule when it comes to work AND stick within those lines BUT do not come up with an immensely packed schedule for yourself that drains you just by looking at it.
- Knowing yourself and how your mind works is difficult but definitely worth it.
- Harnessing balance between time for yourself and getting things out of the way is something to endlessly ‘work’ on.
- Delving into ergophobia isn’t healthy, however, it’s acceptable from time to time.
- We’re all human, we all have flaws, we all have choices… something to remember.
- Do not be too hard on yourself AND try not to let yourself fall off too often.
- Refer to my Give me Spacetime blog on pointers of how to switch off other people’s voices AND still be in touch with them.
- Remember to express gratitude towards yourself when you achieve things BUT do not overindulge.
- Being humble is a good trait to keep.
So, let this list sink in first…
There is no ideal way of handling procrastination
It varies from person to person and some find themselves deeper in it than others. Unless you are superhuman I’m pretty certain you’ve experienced procrastination in one way or the other. The tricky task is keeping it under control and not falling behind.
See how something as simple as making your bed in the morning has the potential of changing your whole day!
If I wake up one day feeling particularly lazy, tired or perhaps low in mood, I set myself at least one task to complete, just one, don’t look at the rest for now. This method works for me as I still get satisfaction of actually doing something but don’t experience feeling overwhelmed. Even if it’s just one task, big or small, it still requires you to be proactive and concentrate. I find that when I let it drag on, I lose too much focus and often find it difficult to reengage in it all together, hence why I cannot stress the above enough. This is not a blueprint of how or how not to deal with procrastination but more a set of my own personal guidelines that I want to share with you today.
Carrots, not sticks
Another tactic of mine to overcome a lack of motivation or will to do things, is rewarding myself (maybe more than I should sometimes) with snacks, regular tea breaks or a bubble bath drenched in essential oils. You can curate your own reward system and treat yourself accordingly. I feel this employs discipline and provides (more or less) instant gratification, all for doing what you should be doing in the first place! Sometimes, I even buy myself specific meals to have for when I’ve finished my work. That way I use energy being productive (working) and get super hungry by the end of it. It feels so much more rewarding when you’ve got the appetite as well.
Mental preparation can be really hard, especially if you’re not up for doing something in the first place. Thus, it’s so important to work in harmony with yourself. Don’t just force yourself to do things, but approach them strategically; drink loads of water; pace yourself. I’ve never yielded brilliant results from rushing and getting distressed, nor when I’ve burnt myself out from trying too hard.
I still lack on some days and get into a state here and there which is fine. Rather than viewing procrastination as a flaw, I choose to see it as one of the many psychological friends I have alongside anxiety, trauma and anger. I started labelling these as friends from an early age, in hopes of making peace with them rather than fighting them continuously. As weird as it may seem to you, this way of dealing with my personal issues is what works for me, and it might work for others as well. The important thing is that you find your own personal way of coping, whether you take tips from me or you blend your own, I strongly urge you to pick yourself up and piece the pretentious puzzle together. Just like everything else, this is a process that will take time, but in the end, it will be worth it.
The bigger picture
Lately, I’ve realised that things are not so much about collateral results but more about solidarity, with others and yourself too. Be aware and conscious of others and the world around you right now. There is a lot going on, a lot of negative and injustice floating about. The least you can do is be peaceful and mindful towards yourself and those in your environment, even if others mistreat you. Be the positivity you want to grasp, send the love you long for every night before you go to sleep, spread the kindness you’d like for yourself and speak things into existence. We are strong and powerful. YOU are strong and powerful, do not forget that when the tide turns in. Sending you love and light this week.