How I Cured My Procrastination Problem
It’s a bit embarrassing to admit it but there’s a certain project that I’ve been procrastinating for over three years.
It’s an important project and every morning it goes on my to do list. And at the end of each day I find myself feeling horrible about myself for not working on it.
With the exception of a few days or weeks here and there, this pattern plays everyday. I promise myself I’ll work on it. I don’t. Then I feel guilt and anxiety all day.
No matter what I’m doing, I always feel like I should be working. In many ways ways, my life is pretty amazing, perhaps even enviable. But I haven’t really enjoyed it in years because this project hung over everything like a thunderhead at a picnic.
A couple of week ago, when planning the day, I deliberately decided not to work on this project. It was obvious I wouldn’t work on it, so why pretend? I was just setting myself up to feel bad by putting it on the to do list. So I put “don’t work, enjoy yourself today” on the list instead.
I had no expectations from making this change.The idea just popped into to my head that morning and I figured “why not try it?” That first night, I went to bed feeling happy and relaxed for the first time in months. The next day, I did the same thing — deliberately didn’t work on my project and decided to feel good about it . No anxiety or guilt that day. My regular activities didn’t change — I still swam, spent time with friends, read, spent time on social media, watched movies and hiked — but now I felt more present because I had permission to be have fun instead of feeling guilty.
Today was Sunday, after brunch with friends, I went for a long hike. Instead of listening to podcasts and trying to be productive while hiking, I decided to just listen to music and just enjoy the sunshine and scenery. It was a the best Sunday I’ve had since the Broncos won the Superbowl.
Tomorrow morning the project is going back on my to do list and I’m actually excited to work on on it for the first time in several years.
So here’s what I learned today: Sometimes your can cure chronic procrastination with deliberate procrastination.