Have you ever wondered why you’re so shit at starting and so wonderfully talented at procrastinating? You know what’s important to you, you know what you’ve got to do, but for some reason, you keep putting it off.
Because some things just CAN’T wait…
Instead of opting for that which could potentially fulfill you, you might take a dip into your newsfeed, another glimpse on Instagram—just in case something of relevance has popped up in the last 20 mins. Maybe there’s one of those Snap things that needs checking before it fucks off into the Universe never to be seen again. Or you might shift your focus to Netflix. But the choice is too much.
Status update time…
Looking for some Netflix recommendations. Anyone?
Of course, they do, but you’ve seen them all and you sure as shit ain’t trusting the Zombie fans. And so the cycle of procrastination begins—yet again. Or maybe it’s just me!?
I think I just procrastinated on the point of this article!
Would you believe me if I told you one of the main reasons you procrastinate on doing that which is important to you lies in your phone? That little tool in your pocket, your personal merry-go-round is preventing you from getting the shit you need to get done—done.
BUT THAT’S JUST PART OF IT.
Your phone is a tool—consider it a powerful enabler for procrastinating in the modern era. The main reason you continuously procrastinate might surprise you. Or not. I know it resonated big time with me. Backed by science and several studies, my dear friend, the reason you procrastinate is because you’re stressed. And by not starting whatever it is you need to do, you only stand to exacerbate it.
Procrastinating is a critical part of the creative process
Procrastination isn’t all bad. There are two types: productive and destructive. Studies confirm procrastinating is a critical part of the creative process, which is nice, as it affords your mind the time required to work its magic. You still need to start though. But today, kids, we’re focusing solely on destructive procrastination.
How’s this for a mind-fuck: stress is preventing you from doing the work you need to do to free yourself from debilitating stress in your life — whatever that looks like for you — so in an attempt to hide from the stress, you procrastinate with some silly shit and endure way more stress as a result. And the less you have your shit together or the more stressed you are, the more likely you are to hop on your merry-go-round for that little hit of dopamine, instead of thinking long term, and hopping the fuck off!
Fundamentally, there is something important to you which you’re procrastinating on, and in doing so, you’re creating unnecessary stress in your life. My work ethic has shot up since learning this, and as a result, my stress levels have diminished. Do I still get stressed? Absolutely. But it’s good stress—the type of stress that drives me. Not that horrible shit that makes me want to become a Monk and meditate in the Himalayas till my time is up.
We have this crazy notion of entitlement that everything should just work out. NOW. Not only do we crave instant gratification. We demand it. And as a society — not just a digital nomad, entrepreneur or whatever you are — it’s an incredibly toxic belief. A belief forced upon us. Just think for a second how this is sold to you. Everyone sells results. Instant results. So, of course, you want it now. How could you not with motherfuckers everywhere insisting you can have it now? But how often does this actually happen?
We procrastinate on a spectacular spectrum
Nothing of significance is going to happen in your life without a little elbow grease. Doesn’t matter what it is. It spans way beyond business. As a species, our ability to digest our own bullshit is sensational, but we don’t digest it, we allow it to compound on the inside constipating us until we finally explode—unable to handle it anymore. We procrastinate on a spectacular spectrum. The only relevance that matters is its relevance to you. You’ll never have the support of the world when it comes to doing that which is meaningful to you. People will put you down. So what? Why should that stop you?
With two of our biggest fears being rejection and failure, it’s safe to say that which you procrastinate on carries significant weight for you. It’s also safe to say that others are too wrapped up in their own crap to really give a damn. You’re not getting any younger, and I’m pretty sure the only way to master the art of not giving a fuck is by experiencing what it’s like to do something you give a fuck about and actually fuck up from time to time. It’s not supposed to be easy. Most people won’t even try. Failing ain’t that big a deal. It often sets you up for triumph. And it’s way better than living in a constant state of wonder, anxiety, and potential misery.
Procrastination leads to bad stress. Action leads to good stress. I’m yet to figure out if it’s possible in this day and age to not experience stress. Believe me, I’m trying, although I’m pretty sure life would get boring if we weren’t challenged. Bad stress compounds over time causing all sorts of health problems. Good stress is motivating and provides you with the get up you need to do what you got to do.
There’s a chemical called dopamine — you might have heard me mention — we’re all pretty fond of. For every stupid app fighting for your attention and stripping you of the time required to do whatever it is you need to do to eradicate stress, there is roughly 1,000 behavioral psychologists and programmers ripping the absolute piss out of you because they’ve got you by the balls—and they know it. They’re providing you with that little hit of dopamine. Just enough to keep you coming back for more. Consider them your crack dealer. Are you going to keep snorting their coke, enabling their dreams and crushing your own?
Awareness is a beautiful thing. Don’t beat yourself up. We all procrastinate. Think about your destination — where you’re going and how you’ll feel when you get there — and use that to drive you. And just start. Doesn’t matter what it is. Keep pushing towards the life YOU want. Don’t let bad stress hinder you—embrace the good stress and use it to fuel you.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I posted a picture on Instagram and the time has come to see if anybody likes me. Thanks for reading.
This article was inspired by two books: The 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins, and Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology by and Adam Atler.