Thursday, August 19, 2010

Do you really understand procrastination?

It disappoints me how most people think about procrastination and the solutions to it. It also saddens me that I still cannot find a true answer to fight this thing anywhere on the web. A lot of tricks exist, some of which are clever and interesting but they are not the solution to the problem. First of all, in order to follow these advices one has to change his habits or to plan well. Which is one thing alone that we procrastinators won't do. So, we will procrastinate finally making a change in our life... forever.

Then everybody talks about tricks or prompt us to just do it because as they say it's the only solution at the end. Nobody understands there is a deeper problem, a repulsive force. I can feel it. I don't wake up in the morning these days because I know I'll have to do work and I avoid it. When I wake up I go outside to eat, because I say that I need to not have an empty stomach, I need carbs and proteins for my mind to work. But this is also a nice excuse to avoid work again. When I finish eating outside I feel the repulsion. As I am going back home I feel it more. I want to do anything else, to find an excuse to avoid sitting down and working on the thing that I avoid all these days. An article describes it very well as compulsive task avoidance.

It's very common to say that clever people are usually the ones that fall into this vicious cycle because they find the best excuses to procrastinate. I generally disagree with that notion. First of all, these excuses are not so hard or clever to imagine. Saying that you can't do the job because you don't "feel" like doing it or you don't have enough time isn't a thought of a genius (they are actually trying to describe their feelings). As a secondary notion I'd say that it's not clever but idiotic to not choose doing something when you can have an advantage from that. I mean, do we have the choice to either be productive in our lives or not and we voluntarily chose not to be? It doesn't make sense..

Finally, I think what people mean by saying this quote is that they see a lot of creative (that's what they mean by clever) people having a hard time with that. My current view is that many creative people are sensitive, more conscious, feelingful and passionate about everything. This includes their creative hobbies of course but not only. It might explain the great passion they have about creativity or ideas or whatever else they are involved into but also results in problems in real life. Maybe it's much harder for some people to simply shut down their personal feelings and just focus on real life obligations. Sometimes I see people who are successful and always do great work as robots who have somehow found the mechanism to control their feelings and be productive. I wouldn't like to say that all these people are robots, in fact there might be some who had the same problem in a lesser or greater degree and just found the means or decided one day to change this. But I think that is the connection between the problem of procrastination and creative passionate people. I am always making the rhetorical question to myself: How do they do it?

This is how I see procrastination based on my personal experience. Regarding all these popular tricks on how to cure/fight procrastination seems to me similar to suggesting fancy tricks and "simple" solutions to people who have serious problem with drugs or alcoholism. It's like suggesting someone that in order for him to stop smoking he has to stop smoking. But is there a real solution for procrastination?

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