Is your to-do list a bottomless pit of misery? Are you always trying to catch-up with work but it sneakily always finds a way to get ahead of you?
Or sometimes, you just don’t feel like doing something that is seemingly simple. It is too simple to waste your time doing it right away. But a few hours before the deadline, you realise that it wasn’t so simple after all. Added to that, you are forced to be a last-minute performer. There is a thrill to that, no doubt. Finishing the task in the nick of time might give you a rush of adrenaline. You might think that you are Tom Cruise from Mission Impossible, being all slick and getting away with it.
But unlike the movies, where they don’t show the post-action scenes of Tom Cruise shivering with anxiety, your body definitely can’t handle the stress long-term.
So, how do you get over this inertia and get going? And why is this inertia there in the first place?
There could be a million reasons why a task may seem unappealing. Some might argue that if you are doing what you love then there must be no reason to put things off. But that’s not always true. I don’t believe that there is such a thing as having endless interest or drive to do something. There must be a point of exhaustion beyond which even the strongest passion cannot keep someone going. For example, I love writing. Writers love writing. But we all experience writer’s block where we want to write something but find reasons to put it off because we just don’t feel like it. I love my research work too, but some days I am just not able to get anything done. Or sometimes, experiments may go wrong and I have no will left to revisit and analyse the failure.
Another quick-fix people suggest is time management. Time management is a term I have been hearing since my days in school but, is it really helpful? Planning your time meticulously may help you for a short while but if it is not matching your natural rhythm of doing things, you are bound to slide back to your old ways.
Thinking about the “why” will only make you more miserable. So, let it be.
For the sake of this post, I had Googled “how to stop procrastinating” and there were a ton of articles with many suggestions and solutions. They might seem perfectly doable. You might try some of the tactics but you’re going to probably end up procrastinating doing the anti-procrastinating stuff.
We put things off for later believing that we will be better equipped to deal with it in the future. You will get to it, sooner or later (or never, and that’s okay). If you think you are not as productive as the next person because of this, you are very much mistaken. Everyone procrastinates. And this is not to be confused with laziness. You’re not lazy if you feel like you’re not up to performing a task right away. There’s nothing wrong in taking time to do things.
And sometimes, you might experience this burn-out phase where nothing seems to be stimulating. There might be a million things to do but you don’t want to start doing them. You might feel as if you are being blindly carried on this wave of monotony with no destination in sight. Having a one-track mind can sometimes make your vision too narrow. Take some time off. Find a new hobby or reconnect with an old one. Go outside (or shut the world out and stay inside). Do whatever you need to do, to reset.
And then, get back to it. The rest of the world is also trying to catch-up so you wouldn’t have missed out on much.