Is there Any Positives in Being a Procrastinator? Mindset Dev

Procrastinationism

Procrastination is generally seen as a negative habit. However, there are a group of individuals that embrace it. Commonly referred to as “Procrastinationism”, these are those who are proud in their ability to leave thing to the last minute, yet be able to reach high levels of performance and focus under pressure. High pressure builds diamonds if you will. And meanwhile during the procrastination they would put their idea in a mental pressure cooker which as a result in a superior output. But because they are not forced to take action during these periods, they can get mental relaxations which can lead to better mental health.

Careful Consideration vs Reality Avoidance

From my prospective is very different from what is considered procrastination. When I procrastinate there is no consideration for better ideas or getting a mental break. Procrastination is reality avoidance, I would force myself to come up with some excuse not to work. Once it’s gets really close to the deadline I would sleep every night wishing it was a dream and when I wake up everything will be gone. So while I procrastinate the last thing is thinking about the work, and even though your trying to ignore it, you know that your fucking up so slowly it chips away your mental health too.

Pressure as a Performance Enhancer

Now it doesn’t mean that careful brain storming and putting yourself under pressure doesn’t work. Especially if your like a artist where your success is solely dependent on your individual output. And if your were to fail to meet the deadline, the only person you are hurting is yourself. Pressure can also help with perfectionists who never be quite ok with their work.

However, in reality, most jobs and projects are a collaborative effort. You work as a team and your have to be accountable to do your part. Therefore, your procrastination puts everyone under pressure, and it is much more common for people to perform worse under pressure than those who do well under pressure. Different from school, when your risking people’s livelihood, you will endanger yourself from being blamed.

From my experience, to have urgency is important in any work. It doesn’t mean that the work is “rushed”, but in the end what matters it execution rather than having a world changing idea. People will have no trust on people you can’t walk the walk.

To Procrastinate or Not To Procrastinate

So as aggregate, there are very limited positives to procrastinating. And I think it is important to clearly separate “deliberation” (careful consideration) and “procrastination” (reality avoidance). Using physical pressures such as time can be used to enhance performance. However, as you self develop, you must be able to use internal pressures such as ambition, discipline and accountability. When developed properly these can be as powerful tool as external pressures, without jeopardising your relationships.

Stop finding excuses to procrastinate, it has caused great pain to myself and others surrounding me. Don’t let it happen to you.

 

The Tomato Timer: The Pomodoro Method Cures Procratination

Procrastination is usually come from the  overwhelming feeling you get when you see the enormity of the task ahead. Because you so far away from the finish line, you can’t muster up the motivation to start. In numerous occasions, I have left massive school projects stewing right up to the deadline. And many times as the clock ticks down, I gave up and start making some creative excuse on why I couldn’t send the work on time. Then i will I feel like a fraud and a failure. This destructive habit has led me to drop out of university my first time around. I let down my family, my teachers and my relationship. At that time I felt that I was completely useless, and all I would do is day dream a parallel universe where I was successful, rich and respected.

After few more life failures, I was desperate for change. One day looking for any answers, I came across the “pomodoro method”. And it has saved my life from the grip of procrastination.

The pomodoro method is a simple technique where you work for 25 minutes and take a 5 minute break between each session. How it works is that by breaking down a large task into small goals. Because working for 25 minutes isn’t a daunting task, you start working and by doing so it gets the ball rolling by being able to work for multiple sessions. Also it also takes into account that human can only truly focus on a task for no more than 25 minutes at a time.

How I personally use this method is a slightly modified version. The traditional pomodoro session will be four 25 minutes session with 5 minutes breaks in between sessions, and a long 10 minute break at the end. As a procrastinator, committing myself to work for 2 hours was too much, as I was afraid of feeling like a failure if I couldn’t complete the pomodoro session. So rather than committing to a entire session, I only commit to a single, 25 minute session.

For example, if I have a school project due in 2 weeks, I will set a daily goal everyday; “Work on school project for one 25 minute session”. I will set the pomdoro timer and work until the timer is up. Once I complete the 25 minute session, I will set the timer for 5 minute and do something totally unrelated (for me is to watch random Youtube videos). After the break, I will ask to myself, “do I want to do another session?”. If the answer is no, I cross off my daily goal and stop working. If I feel like I can commit another session, I will set my timer and work for another session. Then I repeat this loop until my answer is no.

thomas miller

This worked for me because every time I completed a session I was able to check off my daily goals that I set. That feeling of satisfaction and success breeds consistency. At the beginning, you might be able to do only one session, and that’s ok. The most important thing is that every day you will work for 25 minutes, thats progress. And somedays you will have the motivation to do multiple sessions, but that is not sustainable which can make you feel like your failing again. So only commit yourself for a single session.

Since I started implementing this technique with together with daily task planners , my grades has improved significantly (I’m back in university to get a bachelor degree in Finance), I have learnt how to code a simple website and I have started this blog. Even though I am still a natural procrastinator, I am proud of my slow but consistent progress.

So next time try this method, write down your daily task, set up your pomodoro session and complete a single 25 minutes session. Once you do that cross it out from your list of daily tasks and stop working. Next day, do the same thing until you start getting into the groove of things and start being able to sit through multiple sessions.

Start getting productive 25 minutes at a time.

My first step: Procrastinator to Productive

For my first post of the blog, I thought it will be fitting to tell you the story of what inspired my journey of micro self development. The first thing you need to know about me is that I’m a Youtube addict. Youtube has always been my drug of choice. It is a buffet for procrastinators, every time you tell yourself; “this is the last one!” then you see something mildly interesting then you immediately give in; “just one more clip”. I am Alice and Youtube is the Wonder Land. I have fallen into countless rabbit holes and 99% of the time it’s cat videos, but sometimes, you find a gem.

In the suggestion feed, there was man in the thumbnail dressed in a white military uniform. It was titled: If You Want to Change the World, Start Off by Making Your Bed – William McRaven, US Navy Admiral. Now I encourage you to watch this video, as it touches multiple topics that had been valuable for me, but lets focus his main case: “start of your day by making your bed”. He claims that by making your bed every morning, you have accomplished a task. And by doing so, you will be able to accomplish other tasks as it has a domino effect. Initially the make-your-bed part wasn’t particularly life changing, but I was mesmerised by McRaven and drunk from motivation. So I made my bed purely because McRaven told me to do so.

And that was it.

Honestly I did not know what I was hoping to feel. But the clouds did not open up or my consciousness did not reach enlightenment. It felt like nothing has changed. I was still me. Once the high had worn off, I went about my normal unproductive day and fell asleep. I woke up next morning as usual and went straight into the shower. Once I got out of the shower, I saw my bed, unmade. It was a weird feeling because I noticed that the bed was “unmade”. I never made my bed before and that “unmade” state was normal. Now it was …. not normal. So I made my bed for the second time. And the third time. And I continued to make my bed. McRaven talks about how making your bed is a visual representation of completing a task. Every time you come back home you see that you have accomplished something and that drives a positive reinforcement. And I believe it did jump start my productivity. After making the bed became my habit I moved on to laundry, then to cleaning the floor every 2 days and so on. It cascaded into series of habits that became essential tools for my productivity.

Im sure most of you guys have messy rooms, and you don’t give a shit if you room is clean or not. But when you are welcomed to a clean room after a long day there is something incredibly satisfying and rewarding. Even more so as you know that it was you that made the bed, did the laundry and cleaned the floors.

As procrastinators (PCTs) we try so hard to better ourselves, but we fail because we try to prove ourselves by aiming big. To write 5000 words on our essay, to go to the gym everyday for 1 month, learn how to code a website in 1 week. These goals if you achieve them will give you great sense of pride. But like mountain climbing, if you never climbed a mountain before and you see mount Everest in front of you, your not leaving base camp where theres warm food and a comfy bed. As any endeavour we have to progressive build our strength, endurance and technique to take on these big climbs.  And unfortunately for us PCTs, we lack all of it. So let start from treadmills out from other people’s sight. Making your bed is your first 10 minutes on the treadmill.

So go make your bed now.