We’ve all been there. Faced with a task you want nothing to do with, at a time where you want to do exactly nothing. So, what do you do? You spend precious seconds, minutes, maybe even hours battling with yourself:
“I don’t have to do this [thing] right now… I can do it after this meeting, or right when I get home from work, yeah, that’s when I’ll do it…”
But then what happens? You get back from work, you’re tired & you forgot there’s no dinner in the fridge (and food definitely takes priority, am I right?). So, you cook, you clean, you eat (not necessarily in that order) and by the time you’re all done there’s no way in hell you’re going to do that [thing] today… so maybe tomorrow…. And on and on it goes.
This type of behavior is all too common, and all too crippling.
We’ve all heard of procrastinating, but self-perpetuated procrastination based on the lie that the future version of yourself is going to want to do an unfavorable task any more than the present version of you does, is a dangerous habit to fall into.
The more conscious you are about what your mind is trying to do, the easier moments like this can be overcome.
Now, to be fair, I’m not really talking about you being a lazy person. What I’m talking about is everyone’s inevitable internal battle with procrastination.
Such a beautiful feeling in the moment.
The idea that the infinite future will continue to provide opportunities for us to get that [thing] done. We’ve got all the time in the world! Why on earth do we need to do anything right now when we can always do it just a little bit later?
Well, the problem is, the idea of an infinitely available future and our current reality don’t mix well. Often we find that we put [things] off because we poorly prioritize them in our minds. They’re always playing second fiddle to [that other thing] we need to do that day and when they show up again in our to-do list, they play second fiddle once again.
On and on it goes, the task at hand gets pushed to the back of the list each, and every day. Ultimately, we ourselves are responsible for turning something that might only take 15-20 minutes into something that took 15-20 days to get to.
So why the hell does this happen?
Because our own brains allow it to.
Our own minds (not the weather, not how tired we are, not anything else in the world) are solely responsible for allowing us to rely so heavily on our future selves.
It’s so easy to convince yourself that you’ll be more motivated later. Why? Because we all want to believe in a better version of ourselves. A version that isn’t tired, that isn’t lazy and a version that’s going to be so damn productive that of course we should wait to do this [thing] till later! It’ll be so much easier to do when that version of ourselves shows up.
It sounds great, doesn’t it? This super version of yourself comes swooping in when you least expect it & completes your entire to-do list with a smile on their face, whistling a happy tune all along the way.
Though, unless you’re rich enough to hire such a person, this version of yourself rarely (if ever) shows up all by itself. You have to force them to show up. You have to decide, in the moment, that you’re going to take ownership over that [thing] and knock it out.
We’ve all heard “eat the frog” and “toughest task first”, etc. but unless we can learn to control the voice saying “Well, I could do it now… or… I could binge watch Netflix and do it next weekend instead”, then we’re doomed to repeat the procrastination cycle.
The first step in beginning to take control and eliminating self-perpetuating procrastination, is to start to realize when your mind is feeding you the story about the future ‘super you’. Self-realization of such an instance, gives you back the control you’ll need to act, because in the end, action is all that matters.
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