Ever missed a deadline for something silly and annoying, bundled with catastrophic ramifications when not done?
Right. We all have had one of those moments, no matter how short our lives might have been. When we wished we had not hit the mental snooze button for the annoying to-do-lists on our smartphones and woken up with the jarring realization that we just missed the bus to some important destination.
Postponing has now become close to a second nature to most human beings.
In the words of Bill Watterson,
“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing we want.”
Most of the times, what we want to do is precisely that – nothing. We are quite habituated to postponing. Need to call that guy to fix something? Yeah, maybe later. Send that file? After my coffee gets over. So and so forth. When the coffee gets over, there are other things to reckon, ofcourse.
The daunting news is that postponing kills the budding ideas and doesn’t let too many ideas sprout up after that. It is like a weed that brings down the flowering plants and then leaves the soil infertile. The soil here is our minds.
I have observed the process of postponement very closely. Observed myself for hours, watching me postpone one thing after another. It seems like a fun thing to do (at first). Yet, my mind dint feel very happy and innovative at the end of the observation process. It felt rather dull, dreary, guilty and lazy. It appeared that fulfilling the tasks I just postponed was an omitted step 1. I could not move on to and focus on other tasks, namely step 2, 3, 4 and so on, unless I first brought closure to step 1.
Procrastination eats into the empty spaces in the mind which are responsible for focus, clear thinking and creativity.
Here is an easy solution for all the procrastinators out there who are struggling to come out of this addiction; something akin to a nicotine patch, here is my procrastination patch!
The Procrastination Patch
1) Get a small notebook or a paper which you can carry with you everywhere. Yes, every where. A smartphone will do, but having something where you can jot things down will work far far better. Get a pen too.
2) Every time you mentally postpone something, jot it down. Yes, every time. Note down the rough time at which you postpone it. Which means, if you postpone something five times in the day, you should have five entries with five timings in your notebook. Do this very, very honestly.
3) Let the magic (or horror) unfold. At the end of the day, check how many things you postponed and how many times.
4) Keep doing this until you get fed up of making entries and are too dismayed at the piling entries in your notebook and take a fierce decision to bring that number down by not postponing anymore.
5) Continue doing this till your entries start showing a sharp decline, reducing to maximum of 2-3 per day.
6) Enjoy the peace of mind 🙂