Penning down my thoughts and getting them read has always been an intriguing fulfilling task. But guess that is exactly the most procrastinated task in my life – Actually writing stuff down. Turns out that I always practiced the mental form of thought collection in my head or at the most, talking to myself to give my voice some real space. Some intangible mental traps are holding us back & I hope you find the below shared traps relatable.
1. Taking another step into this pattern of behaviour I find safely escaping some tasks in the illusion of multitasking. Historically humans have always been busy with repetitive activities consuming most if not all the time to in order to ‘execute’ our lives.
Minutes back I was listening to music while working on the spreadsheet of numbers while a mail pops up & garners by attention to be replied. Something reminds me of a pending online purchase & then I need to go to kitchen for more water & after 20 minutes I am back at the spreadsheet only to know my work did not get saved. Am I using my devices or are my devices using me instead?
The Toxic multitasking culture unknowingly sets us to do-it-all-together. Reality being there is no such thing as multitasking. The simultaneous processing of data from all directions is rarely done by brain in the timely fashion of our speed. People who claim to practice this are actually people doing a good job at switching between tasks in a swift manner. It is indeed powerful to concentrate at one task at the given time.
Turns out that the spreadsheet would have been completed (and saved properly) in just 30 mins of undivided attention.
2. The world can be laid on a map offering multitude of paths while we need more concrete ways to really find “the path” to start the journey to progress. In order to find the right path, we are guilty of obsessive planning, trying to find every detail & hear every opinion out there. In reality it is the confirmation bias at play. The common tendency to gather information that support our conclusions and existing ideas.Perhaps validation makes us feel secure in decision making. Too much planning hurts & paves clear way to categorization of people in planners vs. doer’s category. No wonder planning is exhausting us more often than we realise. Reflect on all the near past situations when you felt ‘tired enough to do it right away’. Bottomline, planning is exhaustive too, just as exhaustive as effort is, if not less or more.
“Never did I imagine luck as something I could create with my own effort. But it made sense.”– Anthony Frasier
3. Human is a creature of habit. Also, a pretty smart creature knowing what it is ‘supposed’ to do. The procrastinator in us makes us wait for deadlines, gifting us time & freedom to avoid ‘effort’.
As Hedonic principle says ‘We gravitate towards ‘feel good’ & repel the uncomfortable ones. Yet we know good things don’t come easily. Hard actions reap the seeds to long term benefits & take us closer to our dreams & goals. Attach incentives. Notice & break patterns’.
Meanwhile we turn attention to noises around us – distractions.
Human attention is being chased at all times. In order to save our attention for more rewarding & satisfying tasks, the best manner is to make distractions as hard as effort. Conscious efforts such as Disconnecting internet when you sit to study for an hour or allocating your 5th OTT subscription money for a gift to your loved one would give you the time & space to think better. Lesser virtual social influence means less time spent on reacting (emails, memes, messages, etc)
“It takes superhuman effort to focus on a task when you’re surrounded by distractions. But when you remove distractions in advance, no such effort is required: concentration flows.”– Nick Winter
For the ambitious productive part of us who loves challenging the mind over heart, lets add a layer of rationality.
Action is the antidote to despair.Do what you should do before you need to do it. You don’t have to put what’s important on hold until it turns into a full-blown crisis. At the same time, you don’t have to revamp your life to focus on what’s important. Breaking down complex seemingly humongous tasks into smaller parts will always help progress.
“Do. Or do not. There is no snoozing”– Yoda
When it is time to execute any action , at the planned time, we should set binary choices for ourselves
- Don’t act, but accept that we are violating our commitment & plan.
If we give ourselves the choice to ‘snooze’ i.e. do it after 10 min or 1 hour, we are falling for procrastination. It is better to honest & transparent to mentally accept that we missed acting as intended. Atleast we will feel the pressure to change something. Which turns out be a good catalyst for fresh start. Ultimately it comes down to manifesting progress in doing & creating rituals to live the journey in your own unique way.
“Once we learn how to decide and act, we’ll become efficient and productive with far less effort.”– Jeremy Lubremeyer