Column: Goat Puke
You probably clicked on this article expecting to read about a serial killer or perhaps even about farts. Wrong. I am going to address something much more sinister, much more relevant to your life that you will most certainly feel chills run down your spine.
Yes, my fellow procrastinators, this article is for you. Even those who don’t procrastinate (liars) can read on to better understand the curious world of:
What is Procrastination?
Everyone reading this article knows what procrastination is, if not by name, then by principle. Every single one of you. That is unless you live under a rock or were blessed with a genetic mutation that spares you from falling into the spiral that is procrastination.
Procrastination, simply put, is the act of putting something off, not doing it right away, and slowly killing the brain cells of your future self by dumping all of your work onto them to do at the very last minute. If you’re contemplating clicking off of this article because of how horrid it is, you, ma’am/sir, are in fact procrastinating, and for that, shame on you.
I would say that everyone, even those that allegedly have their lives together, procrastinates. To an extent, it’s absolutely normal and acceptable, especially when you’re “procrastinating” for your own physical and mental wellbeing. However, anything in excess has the potential to become toxic, and procrastination - especially chronic procrastination - is exactly that.
What is chronic procrastination, you ask? Well, there are those mediocre, lower level procrastinators that only occasionally procrastinate, for they’re much too weak to endure the pangs of guilt that procrastination sends with time.
Chronic procrastinators, on the other hand, are on an entirely different level. To these individuals, procrastination is a personality trait. Virtually every part of their lives is affected by their habit of procrastination, and they can’t seem to get out of that cycle. They’re too far gone.
A moment of silence for these poor souls.
So...Why do we do it?
Those who pride themselves on their impeccable productivity will spend many minutes on the toilet, pondering this very question.
It’s not like procrastination is evolutionarily beneficial. Definitely not.
The answer is laziness. I kid. It sadly is not that simple.
Here are some reasons for procrastination:
Fear of failure.
Task seems to be extremely daunting/boring.
Perfectionism; won’t start unless everything is perfect and conditions are just right.
Hooked on instant gratification (i.e: scrolling through TikTok).
How Can I Break Free?
To be completely honest, I’m the last person who should be giving advice on this matter. While I have spent years doing extensive research (more like hours of useless videos on YouTube) and now know a myriad of techniques, I still can’t stop procrastinating for the life of me. Who’s to say that I didn’t procrastinate on this very article?
That aside, here are some things to consider:
The 2 Minute Rule: If you can do it in 2 minutes or less, stop thinking about it and DO IT.
The Pomodoro Technique: Work for 25 minutes, then take a break for 5 minutes. Rinse and repeat. Work for as long as you can remain focused, then take a break. TAKE A BREAK (That does not mean to stop entirely. There is a big difference.).
Just Do It: You hate me. I know that. It’s true though. The best way to beat procrastination is to get off your butt, stop thinking about how hard the task is, and just do it. Do something. Start small. The hardest part is starting.
No, It’s Not That Hard: Your brain is wired to push you to do the least painful, most pleasurable things in any given moment. When you think about that thing that you absolutely do not want to do, your brain puts on a filter and greatly exaggerates how hard it actually is. It isn’t that hard. Nope. It isn’t. Stop listening to that voice and just move.
Eliminate ALL distractions: Toss your phone far across the room. If it breaks, even better.
Quantity Over Quality: No, it does not need to be perfect. No, there won’t be an ideal time and place where you’ll magically have a burst of motivation. Well, there might be, but don’t count on that. Get it done.
If You Don’t Start Right Now, You Will Perish: Pretend that you’re in a race. Do it as fast as possible. It’s due in one minute. Type like your life depends on it.
It’s ok, there’s light at the end of this tunnel.
We all struggle with procrastination, some worse than others. It will be a constant struggle. That resistance may never go away completely, and that’s ok. Forgive yourself, and move on. Practice starting. Practice speed working. Practice makes it better. What matters is that you’re trying.
And remember, procrastination is not a personality trait.
Don’t identify with it. The more you accept that it’s a part of your identity, the more you’ll honor that belief and continue to act accordingly.
You are not a procrastinator. You are a person that happens to procrastinate.
You got this! Good luck.