I am what they call a serial procrastinator. I mean, why do something now that you can do in an hour/ tomorrow/next week/month? Take this article for example… I knew for weeks that I needed to set aside a block of time to sit down and come up with a riveting story. One that would blow the socks, hats and scarves off of all you readers. Instead here I am, a little past the deadline, writing this.
The funniest thing about the human brain in my opinion, is its ability to lie to itself. For example, every morning, I know that in order for me to have enough time to get ready, eat breakfast and get to work on time, I need to wake up at 6 am. As I set my alarm every evening, I am determined to get up the instant the alarm clock rings so that I can start my day with ultimate productivity. However, the next morning when the alarm rings, I instantly start to do intense calculations;
Me: It’s now 6.00 am… I need to leave the house at 7.15 am… Maybe if I just sleep until 6.15, I will feel less tired and will have more energy to get things done even faster.
15 minutes later. (This always feels like 3 seconds by the way.)
Me: Ok, 6.15… time to get up, now I have exactly one hour to get ready. But, but maybe if I sleep until 6.30, and only shower for 10 minutes instead of 20, I will have enough time to leave the house by 7.15.. Yes, this makes a lot of sense. 45 minutes is more than enough!
15 minutes later.
Me: Now it’s 6.30…Do I really need to eat breakfast today? In fact, I can eat it on the way to work, that saves me about 15 minutes. Let me just sleep until 6.45 and then I will have 30 minutes to shower, get dressed, grab some breakfast and hit the road.
15 minutes later.
Me: 6.45… Do I really need to go to work today? Can’t I just go tomorrow?
At that point I start re-evaluating my life choices…why do I have to go to work…like how necessary is it for my life? This assessment of my life usually takes me a few minutes and before I know it, it’s almost 7.00 am, I’m still in bed and I need to leave for work in 15 minutes.
It’s easy to dismiss some habits as little things that you know you can fix, but procrastination starts to take over your life. It starts small, you procrastinate waking up and then one day you wake up and you realise that you’re 45 and you have not done half the things you wanted to do. In the words of master procrastinator, Tim Urban, it’s not that you did not or could not achieve your dreams, you just didn’t even start chasing them.
That to me is a scary reality. So I challenge all you procrastinators out there, pick one thing you procrastinate the most and work on it!
Yes, I know it is super hard sometimes to focus and get things done, sometimes you just don’t want to wake up now, or read that 30 page article now, or pack your lunch the day before so that you don’t forget to carry a spoon the next day because you’re trying to set new Olympic speeds in your rush out the door, or cook the dog food now because the next episode of Grey’s Anatomy is but a click away, but ultimately it’s worth it!
Watch Tim Urban give a TED talk titled ‘Inside the mind of a master procrastinator’ ENJOY!
Wanjiru Mutero (Almost 23)