Monday, March 28, 2011
Procrastination & Consequential Avoidance.
I would say good evening/afternoon, except the pleasantry may be lost due to A) It's shite weather or B) The majority of people reading this are most likely not living in Brisbane. If you are however living in Brisbane, and the weather is better where you live, don't feel bad, your day is nearly over so it can't be ruined. I hope.
Tonight I'd like to address the topic of procrastination. I happen to know for a fact that all of us here are extremely familiar with it. I know I am. Yes, the all too common "I'll do it later", "Just after this" "I CAN'T SAVE THE GAME, HANG ON!" (It's important to note that if you had never experienced the water temple in Legend of Zelda, you have no idea how applicable this is). Procrastination is simply delaying something you don't want to do, to continue something you do want to do. Put like that, it doesn't sound so bad, right? But I'm sure we're all aware it doesn't work like that. Procrastinating often leads to poor work output, poor quality of work, horrible time management and an overall lack of organization in ones life. (Noted in previous posts, I am not trying to say you should live by a schedule. Rather, I advocate the building of the self-discipline required to apply yourself to a schedule when needed. )
Separated from procrastination, is Consequential Avoidance. A fancy name I came up with that simply means avoiding something because it will suck. For the purpose of clarity, in the post, Consequential Avoidance falls under Procrastination, but Procrastination IS NOT Consequential Avoidance. If that makes sense. An example of consequential avoidance would be not going rock-climbing with your significant other because it makes you nervous. Not the best example, but my mind is rather cloudy today (ironic, right?). In total, CA is because there is a consequence affecting you, Proc. is because you just can't be bothered, or are enjoying what you're doing now.
I'll tell you later. (I would sincerely like to apologise for that joke, it was terrible taste and you didn't deserve that kind of treatment. Take me back, please?)
There is literally a never-ending list of tips & tricks to developing the motivation needed for getting up and doing something. The steps I will list are, as always, my opinion, and can be tinkered with as needed. The situation I will use as an example would be getting yourself to stop browsing/gaming/watching and to start studying/exercising/cooking.
When you walk through your bedroom/office/front door, what do you see? If you see any of these, you have laid traps for yourself to over-indulge and procrastinate.
- Unmade bed. We all know beds are most comfortable when they're a tangle of sheets and duvets, and it's a great sensation to get home and just crash on your bed. But often you'll find you may fall asleep, or simply spend too much time lying there, letting your thoughts wander. It's great on holidays, but not when you have tasks to do. Make your bed when you get up, not only is this better for keeping you focused, it's also more hygienic (I think) and keeps your room looking good.
- Musical Instruments. Easily accessible and incredibly entertaining. If you keep it out of sight (in the cupboard or somewhere, not shipped anonymously to your friend) you are far less likely to "jam".
- If you leave your computer/tv on during the day, and come through the door, guess what has your attention first? Turn it off, it saves your work and your power.
- Neat freak? Do you tidying in the morning, it will help stimulate brain activity for the rest of the day, and you'll get your tidying fix.
- If you plan to shower when you get home, make sure you keep it short, and not too warm. Blasting yourself with cold water snaps you awake, among other things.
- KEEP YOUR GAMES AND MOVIES IN A SEPERATE PLACE FROM YOUR COMPUTER. I can't stress this enough. Especially if you're male, we're biologically hardwired to fit stuff together. Not joking, why do you think you play minecraft.
Most procrastination is due to lack of motivation. Everyone has a vice, so if you know it, use it. Otherwise, here's a short list of things that might get you going.
- Reward yourself afterwards. I don't care how. A cookie, a car, time to read your favourite blog, it doesn't matter.
- Think about the repercussions. Your mind is a creative tool of unimaginable power. I'm sure it can put 2 and 2 together, get four, and then multiply that tenfold. Just think. If you don't cook that meal, you'll have to order pizza, which will then cost money, which comes out of your saving for the new special edition Gibson ES with the faded finish, which leaves you feeling guilty, which leads you to remember other times. So on so forth. Exaggeration is not a crime.
- Plan out your work during the day. If you have a rough idea of what you're doing, you'll obviously do it better, and with more enthusiasm.
And lastly, don't be a child about things. Life is hard, arduous, and plain boring at some times. But if we went skydiving all day every day, it wouldn't be the shriek-inducing adrena-fest it is. (My friends and I are going skydiving for my birthday this year. I'm terrified. If anyone's skydived before, let me know what it's like, I'll be jumping at 10 000ft.)
Tip. Once you've started working, it is much easier to continue it. If you just give yourself the necessary push to start, you'll find it's easy from there.
Truth be told, there isn't much you can do about this. But I will say this.
If you're going to hate doing something, but you do it anyway, make damn sure you do it right. You don't want to have to repeat things that can be avoided.
I know that response is short, but I really don't have the answers for that one. I would just like to acknowledge it in this post because it is somewhat different to plain old procrastination.
To finish up, it's important to know what needs to be done and what can wait. If you're on top and efficient with your tasks, you'll find that the more time you spend on them, the more time you open up for indulging activities.
I would also like to leave you with this quote. I can't remember where I saw it, but I'm sure I'll see it tomorrow. It's a little strong, but the principle is still there.
"Life's a bitch. Make it your bitch."