Procrastination: How To Pay Double Interest For Your Time

Procrastination is what happens when intention and ordered meaning is obscured by immediate feeling.
But you already know this, right?
On an intellectual level you understand that there is something you have to finish, and your feelings are like tiny howler monkeys, screaming in your ear and pointing you in the direction of something else.

You can’t pull yourself into the thing you’re supposed to be doing.
You’re meh on that.

These emotions of the moment take your time away from you, and stop you from getting things done that will help you. It’s like there’s a swelling pressure in your head that directs your attention and impulses to other things.

In the long run, when you indulge your feelings now you stress out — and pay for it again in exhaustion, squandered options and missed opportunities afterward.

  • You worry about the stuff you’re supposed to be paying attention to.
  • You worry about not having done it yet.
  • You worry about the after-effects — of work you haven’t done and still aren’t doing.
  • You worry about all the hard work you have to rush to get it done.
  • And in the meantime, you see other opportunities that you can’t take because you’re so busy trying to not-deal with whatever it is you’re putting off.

Result: you’re driven into deeper dithering. You pay for it now (in stress and time) and you pay for it later (in wasted opportunities).

That’s double interest. A credit card with rates like that would be dead in the water, but when it comes to time, your time, it’s okay?

You put things off until the opportunity expires. You don’t work. Things don’t get done. Nothing important for you happens. And for no good reason other than a massive cloud of meh obstructing your vision. Then what happens?

  • You forfeit long-term gains for short-term relief. Add the incidences up over time, the cost can be crushing, because you’ve paid in slices of your life that you can’t ever do over, but can regret plenty.

And it’s not just procrastinating on the little things that bite you in the ass. It’s pulling back on the big things because you’re scared and they matter to you too much. Small things lost may tick you off, but big things lost can break your heart.

You’re afraid you’ll never be able to measure up, or deserve it — why even try? — so you bury yourself in the small stuff to feel busy and accomplished.

Here are a few things I found over the years that helped me get in gear and beat this bad habit:

Projection – As stated earlier, you lose vision when you’re swamped with emotion. Projection helps you focus on what you want to see in front of you, not what you’re feeling right now. You project into the future, you visualize a time and a head-space where you have got what you were aiming for, and you feel really good about it.

  • Look at what’s been bugging your and what you need to do to address it. You know that thing you’ve been dragging your feet about, and then think how much better you’ll feel once you’re doing it? You’ll feel better when you’re doing it.
  • Think of how much time you’ll need having to do this things tomorrow, on top of all the other things you already intend to do.
  • Examine how you spend your regrets. ” If I had done this, started ____ ___ months ago I’d be ______ now.” Take small, deliberate steps every day and you’ll get there with fewer could-have-beens.

 

Progression – Keep a record of your activities, and have more than one iron in the fire. This way you have something to fall back on and keep momentum going. If Plan A gets sidelined because of unavoidable delays, you still have the rest of the alphabet to attend to, and you know where things left of and how much you’ve gotten done already.

 

Process – Having good routines in place helps make things move smoothly. If you can automate stuff that can stand it, it would help make the transition easier. You move away from putting things off, into the the habit of dealing with issues promptly. This is also called guided life-hacking. You don’t do things on a whim, you do them with an end-goal always in mind: Will this help me, y/n?

 

Think about all the times you let procrastination get the best of you. Since you’re still here, that means those events weren’t bad enough to kill you to death right? But you remember how stressed and raggedy they made you feel. Why keep doing the same thing that makes you go to that bad place again?

  • Make the strong choices so you don’t have to suffer the aftermath of weak ones –or clean up after them.
  • Identify the top three things you need to do today to make it count — then let the rest take care of itself.
  • Do what is necessary – no more, no less.

 

If all else fails: Set the bar low so you can use the least amount of effort to crawl under it. Then crawl on a consistent basis until it becomes your new normal. When you’ve grown acclimated, push the bar up just a bit higher, then get over it. Lather, rinse, repeat. By and by you’ll be making the best use of your time by making it pay for itself.

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