How To Flip Procrastination on Its Head
I’ve had a lifelong struggle with procrastination.
I’ve completed projects in 48 hours when I had 6 weeks to complete them, given myself 10 minutes to get ready (even though I really need at least 30), lost sleep trying to hit a deadline, and (shockingly) only had one all-nighter to write a paper in college.
I’ve tried multiple strategies to combat procrastinating – like this and this. And at certain points, I’ve let procrastination define who I am, rather than let it be something that I do. (There’s a big difference, trust me.)
After listening to Jen Sincero’s “You Are a Badass,” however, I’ve decided to change my outlook.
One of the most resonating takeaways from this book (and trust me, there were a ton), was the chapter on procrastination. Specifically, this thought from Jen called to me.
Own it and work with it.
If you’re the kind of person who blows everything off until the last minute, and you know this about yourself, why waste your time freaking out while you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing? Go to the damn beach, have a cocktail, and when the pressure’s on, get down to business. There’s nothing worse than time wasted pretending to work or stressing out while trying to have fun – no work gets done and no fun is had. It’s the worst of both worlds. Figure out how much time you truly need to get the job done, and go do something until the clock starts ticking.
– Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass
I’ve literally never heard or read anything that was so profoundly resounding to my overwhelming pressure promptness.
I can’t even begin to describe the countless hours I’ve sat at my desk trying to get out the next blogpost or next project for a client but feeling totally uninspired. Instead of going off and being productive in another way (switching projects, doing something around the house, running an errand), I’ll sit there miserably and essentially punish myself for not accomplishing it.
Palm to forehead!
By procrastinating what I should be doing, choosing to do something else in the meantime, and only taking one step back; I’m in essence choosing to take several steps back by accomplishing nothing.
And for what? To prove to myself that it’s wrong and I should be better? Punishing myself by staring at a pulsing cursor on my screen? Or saying “I’ll just take a break on Pinterest or Facebook for a few minutes while the creative juices start flowing”? Then feeling like shit about myself because I just wasted 20 minutes on social media?
Like many things in life, sometimes it takes someone saying just the right thing – or in this case, hearing the right thing in an audiobook – to snap yourself into that aha! moment.
So what now?
This new idea that I don’t have to feel guilty for procrastinating has been mind blowing for me.
The reality is that, much as I try to come up with strategies to stop procrastinating, I’m pressure prompted. That, in and of itself, is a very deep-seeded and difficult thing to change about myself and it will take time to improve on.
What I can change, however, is the way I deal with it.
I can stop feeling guilty for procrastinating, own it, and accomplish other things in the meantime. I can stop feeling like shit and punishing myself – accomplishing nothing – and get up to get something else done (or to Jen’s point – have fun) instead.
Who’s with me?