Hello procrastinators! I’m feeling inspired at the moment, so I thought I’d write a short piece on procrastination and how I tackle it day to day.
I was actually inspired by this video from Ali Abdaal:
I’ve come across many explanations for why people procrastinate, like perfectionism, where we are worried about the quality of the work we will produce, so we skip doing it all together. Another example comes from this article, which explains that we do it to avoid negative emotions that arise from doing the work we are avoiding, like stress and boredom.
I however, quite like the theory that Ali explains in his video, which looks at procrastination from an evolutionary standpoint. He says that procrastination was useful for the caveman because it traded off long-term plans for more short-term benefits, which was more important for survival. Simply put, we did things that had immediate benefit because we needed to survive, and to reserve energy and resources for things to help us survive, rather than for uncertain things in the future.
Nowadays, we don’t have the same pressures on us to physically survive, but rather we are under pressure to prepare for our future. This all means that this inherited way of thinking is quite literally counter-productive, and our awareness of it makes it all the more worse. We know that procrastinating has consequences for us, and yet we still choose to do it.
In reality, I’m sure that procrastination is the result of a combination of these theories. And because I feel that we generally do not fully understand it, the really effective solutions to completely get rid of it are few and far between.
Just do it
There are so many things you can do to combat procrastination. I wrote a whole post about how to get out of a slump, which is very applicable here. As much as I think the tips I wrote in it can help you build routine and consistency with doing tasks, I believe there is no better advice than to just tell you to do whatever it is you’re avoiding. Yes, by all means, make a calendar, stay in shape, create to-do lists, reward yourself. But what truly is the hardest part of combatting procrastination is making a start.
So just stop what you’re doing, get up and make a start. No excuses, no nothing. It’s completely fine that you were avoiding it before this, but now’s the time to start. You can tell yourself that every time you want to get something done, and I’m sure if you do make that start, you’ll be set for that task.
And that’s all from me. I hope you’re doing what you have been avoiding right now. Let me know if you have any tips for beating procrastination in the comments below. Till next time.