Last week we talked about laziness, some characteristics of it, shared a little bit about myself and also the main symptoms of laziness, because it’s definitely a disease that can lead to poverty, low self-esteem, becoming a wasteman (loser) etc. One of the main symptoms is procrastination so today we’re gonna delve into it. Let’s goo!
Ahh we all know this guy, he’s aka the THIEF OF TIME and let me add killer of ideas and momentum. In my opinion he is the greatest and most successful thief ever! His skills are unmatched but he’s not undefeatable. He has robbed so much but is NEVER SATISFIED, his GREED is a voracious one. He consumes and consumes, once he’s got you, it’s hard to shake him off…he’s always lurking around the corner of difficult or unpleasant tasks. He tells you it’s okay to take a break and more often than not the average man (including me) listens to him, just hoping and wishing the task will take care of itself but we know that ain’t gonna happen. It’s funny how he makes you late but he's never late! He’s always on time like Ashanti. He’s like the poison apple in Snow White (lol Disney don’t sue me please), juicy on the outside but deadly or destructive inside. Basically, he works by deceiving you that you have more time to do a task which is untrue because time cannot be reclaimed you’re not Maxine Waters (Black American politician). Even the richest of men can’t buy time this ain’t In Time (movie where you stop aging at 25 and then you must buy time on a yearly basis to stay alive). Well that went a bit morbid lol; but it shows how precious time is.
Procrastination has cost me a lot but it’s still hard to repent from and because it’s a bad habit sometimes we get irrational and the cost doesn’t always cause repentance. For example, when I was in uni I missed 2 job opportunities one at JD Sports (UK retail chain store) because I had my CV but dressing up, taking the bus to town and walking for a bit didn’t appeal to me for a couple of days and on the Friday when I went to submit my CV, applications were closed. Months later, the same thing happened. I went to Co-op (UK convenience chain store) to buy small groceries and I saw a job vacancy, I took a picture of it cos obviously, that lasts longer and I took the application form, I filled in the bits I understood when I got home and then took it to my ex-employers days later (you see!) to get their details and went to submit it and boom! Just like before I missed it but this time someone had already gotten the job. I didn’t wanna tell my boy because I’d look unserious cos I told him I’m broke, I also told him about the job vacancy and he told me to do it quickly but because I didn’t strike when the iron was hot, I missed the opportunity! My advice is when the thought to TAKE ACTION crosses your mind JUST DO IT (Nike, fight me, nah I’m joking please) immediately and get it over with but if you’re doing something more important at that moment put a reminder to do it later.
Procrastination tells you that you’ll be in the mood later because it’s usually based on how you’re feeling. How many times did you feel like doing something tomorrow when you put it off today? Probably not as much as you’d hoped. There’s this quote from Anik Singal (successful online entrepreneur); If you do today what you’re supposed to do yesterday, your tomorrow will look the same. There’s no time like the present!
PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS TO PROCRASTINATION
Decide to change: In this anime I was watching, xxxHOLIC (aggressive name but get your mind out the gutter it’s not what it seems) when you have a bad habit a black smoke starts to surround you and the more you do it the bigger and thicker it gets till it fully possesses you and leaves you incapacitated. The helper advised one of her client who wanted to quit the internet to decide for herself to change and not for her family, work etc. that’s the only way to really reconcile the habit. This applies here, decide to stop procrastinating for your sake.
Stay Focused: According to Tai Lopez (a very successful online entrepreneur), procrastination occurs because subconsciously there’s an imbalance in the pain and reward ratio in relation to the task, i.e. you feel more pain than reward when you think about the task. So, when you can flip this to feel more reward than pain you’re more likely to do the task. Basically, keep your eyes and feelings on the prize. For example, if you wanna lose weight having a poster on your wall or wallpaper on your phone of your ideal weight can help you when you don’t feel like doing it. The key is to just do it, if you talk about it or think too much you’ll keep putting it off, capiche?
Start small: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How many drops of water can be found in an ocean? A gazillion and one. Just like the human body is made up of small cells that come together so are great things made up of small parts. When you feel the task is too much or overwhelmed do it small small. For example, you have an essay to do and there’s a lot of research to be done, you don’t understand the question etc. Well you can start by asking your classmates and/or lecturer to explain to you. If you still don’t get it, use the internet, then later you can combine both suggestions and little by little your essay will start coming together and before you know it’s done on time!
Man on the moon: Think about one of the greatest achievements of humans which is putting the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong. I watched Hidden Figures (movie about 3 black women in NASA in the 60s) so I kinda have a glimpse about how hectic it was just putting a man into orbit not to talk of the moon. According to Tai Lopez you can use the man on the moon test to measure your current task. Ask yourself is it harder than putting a man on the moon? Most likely your answer is no so you can do it as long as it can be broken down into small manageable bits.
Clarity: This is really one of the best intangibles one can possess, it will help navigate you through life because when things are clear you get less doubts, worries or concerns. Imagine really knowing your purpose or being able to paint clear pictures to other people and to yourself based on what you want. When you’re clear on why you procrastinate and what possible SOLUTION-BASED ACTIONS you can take when the temptation pops up then you’re half-way there. The other half will be to TEST it out and if it doesn’t work TRY something else.
Understand it’s a changeable bad habit: In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg lays out the composition of a habit which is a cue, routine and reward but the fuel or driving force is a craving. He also says that a bad habit can’t be exterminated just simply replaced. So when the urge to procrastinate comes up, find a reason not to and when you put the reason to action repeatedly, after enough times it will become a habit which will make you more productive. Apparently, it takes 66 days for a habit to solidify but I find after a month it’s pretty solid. Tbh though it takes more willpower and effort to maintain a good habit than a bad one and since your brain can’t differentiate them it lets you go ahead anyways. To sum it all up, good things take more effort but bad things not necessarily. It’s easier to destroy than to create. THE KEY IS EFFORT.
Accountability: This is one sure fire way of getting things done. Ask someone preferably someone you have sorta semi-formal relationship with like a mentor or other alternatives to keep you accountable in your tasks. The key is to make the pain of ignoring the task greater than the reward. Such as paying someone if you don’t do your task.
Prioritise: It’s easier to procrastinate on things that are important to you but have no real deadline like wealth creation, etc. What to do when you have several tasks and you wanna procrastinate is to make sure you do the most important tasks before the smaller one which might not be so important. Some things are big, some are lesser or even inconsequential, deal with the former first.
On another note, think back to the last thing you procrastinated, why did you do it? For me I was supposed to exercise but it’s 4 sets of burpees 30 reps each, and that’s hard, I know no pain no gain but damn I’m afraid of burpees and I doubt I can do the 120 reps for now. So, I’m gonna ease into it until I get there. This should be interesting.
Quote of the day (QOTD): "No food for a lazy man and there’s always time till there’s no time for a procrastinator." - Ofai Edori (Yes I totally made the procrastinator bit up).
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My name is Ofai and I'm passionate about blogging and it gives me fulfillment that I can help you out so sit back, relax and enjoy your weekly carats of #SelfImprovementGems with me!