Sunday, September 15, 2013

Don't Procrastinate. Relax Now! My first two weeks without procrastination.

When I decided to go a month without procrastinating, I failed to take into account one critical factor: I have a Type A Personality. As such, I tend to be unapologetically goal driven. I spent the first couple of days avoiding TV and leisure, deciding instead to do more practical things such as laundry or meal prep, tasks which are generally considered good ideas, but rarely bring me joy. By the third day, I had to give myself permission to sit down and relax. It was honestly the best thing I could have done with my time, otherwise my sanity levels may have plummeted (although, I knew going in that down time was not procrastination, this important piece of knowledge somehow got lost in my goal-driven mindset).
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Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is sit and be still

Before beginning my month-long experiment, I thought a lot about what I might take away from the experience. A cleaner, more organized house. Five pounds lost. Several more chapters written/edited. An appreciation for how much stuff I could get done if I stopped thinking about doing it and just did it. The list goes on. One of the more surprising things I found is my need for mindfulness. I find myself often checking in with how I'm feeling, what I'm doing, and why I'm doing it. For example, now when I watch TV, I ask myself am I doing this because my mental resources are spent, or because I am avoiding doing an unpleasant task. Even more surprising to me (although probably no one else) is the amount of stuff that didn't get done. Not because I was procrastinating on doing it, but because I just didn't have the time to do it right away. It's validating to learn that I wasn't being unproductive, but rather just had too much to do. I sure this gem shocks very few people. For many people, this seems to be the new American lifestyle.

But, at the risk of being preachy, let me say this to everyone reading (myself included): give yourself a break. If you’re hard on yourself for not getting more done because you decided reading a book or watching TV was more pleasant, honor that taking time for yourself might be exactly what you needed and was the best thing for you to do with your time. Besides, who cares if you get loads of stuff done, if you’re miserable doing it all?

Don’t procrastinate. Relax now.

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