THE PRO OF PROCRASTINATION

A short thought dump on procrastination

  • kentona
  • 07/03/2019 08:03 PM
  • 1004 views
Why are you procrastinating?

(Why am I procrastinating?)


Hypothetically, let's say you have an important task to do. You know that it is important. You know it has to get done to move your work forward. But instead you take the time you had earmarked for it to instead clean out your gutters. Sure, they were clogged and overdue for a cleaning, and besides that task was important, too, and had to get done, so no one can fault you for that. And yet... your important task remains not done. And your dread towards doing it grew just that little bit more...

Does this hypothetical situation sound at all familiar?

So now you feel guilty for not doing the task you had intended to do - and you really did intend to this time! - and so you blame yourself. You believe yourself to be lazy. You think that you are terrible at time management. You're unreliable.

HOGWASH!

This isn't laziness or bad time management. This is P R O C R A S T I N A T I O N.

Procrastination isn't about "being lazy". Procrastination isn't about "being flakey".

Getting up on your roof to scoop dead leaves and muck out of gutters on a hot summer's evening after a long day at work isn't the hallmark of laziness. It is not an indictment of your ability to manage your time.


Just ask this scientician:


Dr. Fuschia Sirois, professor of psychology at the University of Sheffield.



She'll tell you that procrastination is "the primacy of short-term mood repair ... over the longer-term pursuit of intended actions."

Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem. Let's say that one more time, with emphasis:
Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem.

Yes, you read that right. Negative emotions are at the root cause of your decision to procrastinate. Procrastination is a reflexive coping mechanism for challenging emotions and negative moods induced by the thoughts of certain tasks. In my experience, the typical heavy-hitters were anxiety, insecurity, frustration, boredom, guilt, and self-doubt. On that hypothetical day (yesterday) where I did that arduous task (cleaning the gutters) instead of my important task (cataloging my battle animations for the Hero's Realm remaster), I was doing so to avoid feeling the negative emotions that have built up over my stalled project.

You know what's worse? Being aware that you are purposely putting something off makes you feel worse. It can spiral into a vicious cycle. So... why? Why are we being irrational?



I don't say 'Evasion', I say 'Avoision'


You have to be honest with yourself in your self-assessment as to why you are avoiding the task.

Here's what you need to do. Take some time to self-assess and reflect on WHY and WHAT NEGATIVE FEELINGS are causing your to choose to procrastinate. Is it anxiety? Self-doubt? Anticipated distaste of a tedious task? Boredom? Self-hatred?

Being honest with yourself is the best path forward. This is not about you being lazy or disorganized. This is something else. But only you can determine what that is, through self-reflection.

Once you have a good handle on why and what your are feeling, then you can go about tackling them.



B I G M O O D

Here's what you can do about it:
  • Forgive yourself.
  • Keep the positive emotions at the forefront of your thoughts. (aka, the trite "stay positive!" mantra)
  • Get extra energy with pizza. (alter your mood in other ways - caffeinate, inebriate if you have to - just don't make it a habit! Just be aware that it is an option)
  • End any session - however small - on a high note. (to keep those positive vibes fresh)
  • Get organized & keep organized
  • Get over yourself! (hey, some of you need to hear this. I know I do!)
  • Be disciplined. Setting a schedule, remaining committed to it, and following through and forcing it to be habit can be an effective tactic for overcoming procrastination.
  • Practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding in the face of mistakes and failures.




"To the Positive Vibes Mobile!"
"You mean your Chevy?"
"...yes."



Some final braindump thoughts, quotes, and whatever:

In boredom there's a sense that you've expended the obvious capacities of your situation. Boredom isn't a symptom - it's a sign that you need to push the boundaries of your comfort zone. It means you're ready to tackle something new or more challenging. It's an accomplishment! Think of it as such. Boredom gives you two choices: One is to seek something else out. And the other is to go deeper.

Contentment speaks in the present tense, but something more - pride - comes only in reflection on past accomplishments.

You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

Wherever you are, make sure you're there. Focus on the task at hand.

Culpability and responsibility are not the same thing. You can't help your innate feelings or preferences, but you're damn well responsible for doing something about it!

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.

NewYorkTimes
In fact, several studies show that self-compassion supports motivation and personal growth. Not only does it decrease psychological distress, which we now know is a primary culprit for procrastination, it also actively boosts motivation, enhances feelings of self-worth and fosters positive emotions like optimism, wisdom, curiosity and personal initiative. Best of all, self-compassion doesn't require anything external — just a commitment to meeting your challenges with greater acceptance and kindness rather than rumination and regret.


"To truly succeed at something is to devote yourself to what you love, and to allow that devotion to bring out the best and most admirable qualities inside of you, so that in the end, you ultimately succeed at the only effort that really matters: becoming a better person than you were."
~Andrew W.K.



Thanks for reading, and best of luck to you!

...and yes, writing this article has also been a form of 'avoision' for me,
but it has also been cathartic,
and my hope is that by writing it and recognizing my procrastination for what it is,
it will help me to move forward.
*crosses fingers*

Posts

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I don't normally post on stuff like this, but I thought I'd share some thoughts:

The biggest motivator for me, was working on the archive and then realizing there would eventually be a point where I'd no longer have the opportunity to work on the games I wanted to make. Someone loses a job, a family member dies, a fire happens, your laptop and all your equipment gets stolen, etc - So now I just do everything I can with the time that I have because, this might be the only opportunity you will have.

Every step matters, even if it means cleaning out your gutters for one day. It just means one day less, away from what you really want to do.

Good Article!
kentona
only 90s kids will like this admin
20491
Fear is a great motivator!
Red_Nova
The all around prick
7471
Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem.


Never had procrastination described like this before, but reading this now is causing "no shit, Sherlock" levels of revelations in my brain. Also, every single bullet point in that list of things you can do about procrastination can have an entire article devoted to it.

Thanks for writing this!
kentona
only 90s kids will like this admin
20491
tbh same. I read it in a recent-ish New York Times article (this article I wrote is basically a synopsis of it, with a few extra points, some Simpsons screencaps, and a personal anecdote, really).

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/25/smarter-living/why-you-procrastinate-it-has-nothing-to-do-with-self-control.html

If you want to read the full article from a competent writer, here it is.

And yes, I was brief with the bulleted list. They all could be greatly expanded on in further articles.

E:
once I figure out some strategies to overcoming procrastination, I'll probably write about it. Don't wait for me, though.
I'm thinking of writing an article called "The pro of dying". If you're interested: The pro of dying is being relieved from the burden of living. Still, it's the same for both procrastination and dying, despite their "advantages": If there's any way to avoid it, avoid it at all costs. :P
unity
You're magical to me.
11129
This article is amazing, and really made me think about procrastination in a new light. And I absolutely love that Andrew W.K. quote! Thanks, kentona :DDD
kentona
only 90s kids will like this admin
20491
author=KyleLascar
I'm thinking of writing an article called "The pro of dying". If you're interested: The pro of dying is being relieved from the burden of living. Still, it's the same for both procrastination and dying, despite their "advantages": If there's any way to avoid it, avoid it at all costs. :P

it's PRO as in PROFESSIONAL

author=unity
This article is amazing, and really made me think about procrastination in a new light. And I absolutely love that Andrew W.K. quote! Thanks, kentona :DDD


I copied it YEARS ago from some article I read... I don't have the source saved, but a quick Google showed me several articles that reprinted it. Here is the full response:


"Dear Andrew,

Since I was very young, I’ve always wanted to be a successful musician. I have practiced and played in many bands and done everything I can to get my music out there, but the dream of making it big just seems to get further away and more impossible. I feel like I should just give up, but I love music so much and want to succeed at it. How can I get there? How can I be a really successful musician?

Thanks,
Striving For Success



Dear Striving For Success,

This is an excellent question and I'm going to answer it as simply and as directly as I can, with the hopes that it makes the point as clear and as helpful as possible.

The traditional modern concept of success — being the measurement of monetary income as the primary indicator of effort and mastery in a certain field — is essentially a scam, a con, and a lie. To equate success with an amount of money earned, or an amount of fame achieved, is at best an unfortunate miscomprehension of the very nature of success. At worst, it's a malicious distortion.

To truly succeed at something is to devote yourself to what you love, and to allow that devotion to bring out the best and most admirable qualities inside of you, so that in the end, you ultimately succeed at the only effort that really matters: becoming a better person than you were.

The musician whose efforts in music only add to the size of their bank account is really just a businessperson — a successful banker, not necessarily a successful musician. If music is the means to an end, and that end is money, the music might as well be real estate investment, or commodity trading. Individuals whose primary interest in music is positioning themselves to impress others with their style and wealth may be successful marketers and salesmen, but they're not successful musicians, or even successful human beings. They're just rich.

The idea that making money is the best indication of success is fundamentally flawed. Far too often the individuals who make the most money are the biggest failures in every other area of life, most notably those related to personal integrity, kindhearted values, and quality of character. Many people think that achieving material success is worth total sacrifice in every other part of their life — but it couldn't be further from the truth. Success in one area of life should enable further and more meaningful success in all the other areas, too. Success materially and failure spiritually is no success at all.

Furthermore, success is not power over others, but discipline over oneself. Success is not doing whatever one wants, but doing what one is truly meant to do. Success is not fulfilling one's most immediate desires, but fulfilling one's true purpose — and fulfilling it despite obstacles, inconvenience, or how much it differs from what one otherwise feels like doing.

At best, the typical material conception of success inspires the shallowest and most superficial type of selfish ambition, and at worst, it keeps one hopelessly locked in a cycle of perceived failure, vicious competition, and unfulfilled lustful desire. It's set up from the start as a losing game, so that no one can ever really succeed, because in the contest to see who is "biggest" or "richest," no one ever really wins. You just keep scheming and clawing and battling, getting closer to emptiness and further from the truly worthwhile things in life.

Music, like all the arts, is a sacred pursuit. It is an end in itself. The reward of playing music is in the joy of experiencing it, and a successful musician is the person who becomes so connected with that spirit of music that he or she becomes inseparable from it. The successful musician aspires to be music itself.

So, for you to be a successful musician, all you have to do is really, really love playing music. Really, really, really love it. Worship it and adore it and turn yourself over to it. And then allow the music to make you a better person from the inside out, not just a richer person or a more famous person, but a more valuable person to the people around you and to the world, and to yourself.

Now go put all the energy you've spent worrying that you're not successful enough into just playing and loving your instrument. If you can say that you're in love with playing it, you can say that you're successful. Never give up on what you love. It's what makes life worth living.


Andrew W.K."
kentona
only 90s kids will like this admin
20491
and of course
Cap_H
DIGITAL IDENTITY CRISIS
6288
I read this to avoid working on my thesis.
CashmereCat
Self-proclaimed Puzzle Snob
10170
Love this, kentona <3
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