2017 Week 3 Challenge – Dealing with the Lizard Brain AKA Procrastination

My 3rd challenge for my 52 weekly 2017 challenges involves dealing with procrastination.

Procrastination

I suffer from massive procrastination. Take these clothespins and mark off five tasks you need to get done at home or at work. 

i.e. Hook onto laundry basket to remind you to do laundry. Hook onto papers at work for a project/task you’ve been avoiding. Try to get five things done this week that you would normally procrastinate! 

*Attached: Five clothespins*

Do you suffer from procrastination?

Well, good luck finding someone who does not! It comes in many forms.

In one of my favorite books, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield refers to it as “resistance”.

One of my favorite non-fiction writers, Seth Godin, calls it The Lizard Brain.

Wait but Why, one of my favorite blogs, had an excellent article on procrastination.

Whatever you want to call if, no doubt you’ve dealt with procrastination.

What’s ironic is that I dealt with bad procrastination while writing this.

Procrastination

Sometimes when I don’t get a good sleep (like I did last night), it gets hard to do something like this.

In fact, here I am, the day after, finishing off this article. I struggled like crazy the day before. Write a few words, then veer off to Reddit/Slack/Facebook/the window and so on. I was doing anything but write this.

So I just decided to let it go for the day.

Now? Way easier.

Anyways, let’s discuss ways of dealing with procrastination.

It’s funny how writing things down, whether on a calendar, on a white board, on a sticky note, or, in the case of this weeks challenge, on a sticky note attached to a clothespin, can make such a difference.

When you write something down, there’s just something much more to about actually doing it. When I say today I’m going to spend 90 minutes working on AngularJS programming or spend an hour at the gym, I’m way more likely to do so. In fact, it’s rarely been the case where I don’t. Even for my yoga classes, I sign up online at the studio I go to, so I don’t give myself the option of backing out. Now, I’ve not been one to back out 15 minutes before going to a yoga class because this book or chocolate almonds were just too good to get away from (although that has happened before), but simply dong that just gives me that much more incentive to get over procrastination. When it’s staring at your face, whether in a calendar or on a post it note, you’re way more likely to do it.

The funny thing is, despite the 324098039248093284093284098 “life hacks” that exist, simply writing something down in a calendar to spend time on it is simply unmatched in regards to “life hacks”.

Don’t get me wrong…some life hacks are great! However, some are simply just a distraction and end up being bullshit that pull you away from, you know, actually doing shit.

Of all the people who wanted to do something, like start a business, or learn programming, there’s FAR TOO MANY that will do anything but actually work on those.

Sure, they’ll read blog posts, they’ll watch cheesy inspirational videos on YouTube, they’ll look at those shitty motivational quotes with pretty backgrounds on Instagram, they’ll read 3242 books on how to start a business, but they’ll NEVER ACTUALLY DO SO.

Believe me, I’ve been down that road.

It’s one of the most subtle and disgusting forms of procrastination. You may be thinking you’re making progress, but you’re still just procrastinating.

It’s not until you actually get your hands dirty and tinker around that you’ll actually learn something.

So, what kind of things did I use the clothespins for?

Let’s see…

  • Getting back to people: Whether email or calling, sometimes, for whatever reason, I struggle to write back to them. When I actually sit down to do so, it takes two minutes tops.
  • Reaching out to people: This is for people I’ve not really gotten the chance to talk to before. Once again, I can struggle to put the words together, until I sit down and crank it out with a few minutes.
  • Going to the Gym: While lately I have had zero issues getting out to the gym to exercise, there was one day that I had it penciled in, but I had zero desire to do so. Dragging my feet out the door felt like I was dragging something heavy behind me. Once I got to the gym however, and started my routine, everything was fine. There’s a sign in the gym that says “The only bad workout is the one you didn’t do”, and I could not agree more.
  • Writing: Like this blog article. As mentioned early, this one was a pain to get going on, and I decided to come back the next day and was able to crank out the rest of this fairly easily.
  • Second meditation session: Doing my first meditation, in the morning after waking, is always super easy. It’s the second one that can feel like a chore to do, whether I do so before dinner, or before going to bed. Still, I pushed through, and after a couple of minutes, I’m fine.

Go back to the list of the 52 Weekly Challenges for 2017.