How To Overcome Procrastination and Be More Productive.

If you are familiar with the philosophy of this blog, or should we say methodology of #notgettingthingsdone, you might have noticed that I heavily push on the idea that no matter what your state of mind is, it is OK.  It is not OK to desire to have a different state of mind.  So let’s now talk about overcoming procrastination in the same perspective.  Is it productive to desire to overcome procrastination?

Before we go on, watch this amazing and fun ted talk, from TIM URBAN.  Here is his blog – what but why – about procrastination as well: http://waitbutwhy.com/

I have not read his blog yet, and I am going to look at it for sure, but I completely agree on the point he makes.  As procrastinator himself he knows and feels that he is who he is, and rather than desiring not to be who he is and wasting energy on it, he accepts the fact and looks at how his experience of procrastination works.

It’s very similar philosophy to not getting things done, except that we are talking here about being productive, and take it very seriously.  So now let me breath my perspective into what Tim is saying.

For me, the most important point is that no matter what, we all are procrastinators, and it is always about the deadline. And when there is no deadline, we have a problem.  Well Tim also points out that we do have a lifetime deadline, and it is good he does so, but I think that part does not solve the problem of not having deadlines causing procrastination. I mean, having THE Deadline, does not actually motivate us and make us more productive.

But what does?  I think Tim’s talk opens the worms, but… what then?

And let me try to take on from there.

What if we completely accepted the fact of procrastination.  I mean fully.  What if we did not look at it as a problem at all.  You can see in Tim’s tone of humor that he does accept it and enjoys it a lot, but then again he fights it with monkeys and monsters.  What if there was no resistance at all?

What if your instant gratification monkey found the gratification and without ever having to panic at all. What if there was no need for monsters.

You might say, this is too much what ifs.  And you would be right.  It is too much what ifs.  You don’t need what ifs, because there is no need of what if, as long as you accept procrastination as something that is part of you, and not feel guilty about it, or not stress about the deadlines at all, even when you fail your big exam, don’t blame it on your weakness of procrastination.  Instead embrace it.  Instead let it be there. Observe it.

You see, when TIM says that procrastination becomes a problem when there is no deadline, it is because he observed that when there is a deadline, procrastination as a problem seizes to be, since it is now powered by monster.  But I think when once says deadline solves the problem of procrastination, for your mind, a message of procrastination being a problem is more important.  Tim tells us to accept the procrastination, but to accept it as something that needs to be solved.  And it is solved by deadline.  But when there is no deadline, there is no salvation.  And thinking about life’s deadline is too far away and not top of mind as other specific deadlines.

But if procrastination was not a problem at all, it would need no deadline to be solved.  And maybe then and only then, you would find ways to procrastinate on the tasks on the things that you do not need to get done, as described in methodology of this blog.

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  • Ryan

    Hi Levan, your comment in the TED talk brought me here. First off, I am a “functioning procrastiholic” as I call it. I can say at first, I wasn’t totally getting what you were saying in this post. However, something rang true, so I read your blog from the beginning. Now it makes sense (counter-intuitive on the surface, but wholly correct and freeing).

    You mention the word ‘resistance’ in this post and in all my procrastination dealings I can say, the more I try to work, the more resistance I face. Something like Newton’s third law when it comes to interacting with the ground, the more force I apply to get things done the more there is an equal but opposite force against the work I want to do.

    I’m looking forward to more posts, so far this blog has been very enlightening. 🙂

    • Hi Ryan, welcome. I know that there are two problems, English is not my native language, that is one, and the topic that I try to cover in this post, even if it is about simple matter like ‘productivity’, it is a bit philosophical and is very much counterintuitive. But counterintuitive does not make it wrong.

      You are so right when you compare your resistance with a physics law. It is. Because you are born as procrastinator, that really what all of us want to do. There is no way to fight it, there is only way to embrace it. See it as a fact, and then after you embrace it just keep on procrastinating and maybe you will discover that you can procrastinate on anything as long as it is not a task that must be done. What if you procrastinated on a term paper instead of wikipedia or scrolling on google earth? Why can’t that be?

      Thanks for joining. I will keep writing. I know that what I say is absolutely true, even if it is hard to comprehend, it is what I believe can truly help, but only when it is understood to the bones. 🙂

  • http://www.ted.com/talks/adam_grant_the_surprising_habits_of_original_thinkers

    Here is one more talk that has to do with creative productivity and procrastination. You see in this talk you will understand that too much procrastination as well as too pre-crastination are both not effective. Being in the middle is. Well that is of course true, on everything. That’s what blog is about.