Friday, January 18, 2019

Productivity Tactic: Fear Masked as Procrastination

I pride myself on noticing patterns in life. A particular pattern I've noticed in myself as well many others is this: Procrastination is pain avoidance. Now that may seem obvious in certain regards but what definitely wasn't obvious is that procrastination is really a manifestation of fear.

Think about it - you have an idea, a great idea, an exciting idea, you start fleshing out a couple details and get confident enough to start. You're about an hour in and then you find yourself having a desire to check Twitter, or reddit, or watch youtube videos, or check the fridge, or whatever else other than doing that thing. Why?

Well I noticed those moments arise almost exclusively when I'm about to start something unknown. Something a little uncomfortable. Something that doesn't bother me consciously, but subconsciously the fear of that unknown (and ultimately the fear of potentially failing at it) takes a toll on the momentum. That's when my body steers towards the familiar, the quick doses of dopamine from Facebook feeds, videogames, youtube, or a snack. These things are nothing more than escapist tricks from tackling that unknown problem.

So how do I battle it? The first is placing a mental breakpoint on those activities and then consciously asking myself: Am I avoiding my work? about 90% of the time the answer is yes. I then think back on the task my mind was avoiding and then get a little angry at it for effectively insulting me. Making me think I couldn't tackle it. Screw you man. You don't win this one.

The next step is to start tearing the task down, piece by piece until the individual tasks are so stupid and minuscule that it's impossible to fear or be uncomfortable with them. I did this with code projects, with report writing, with finances, with everything. It's an incredibly powerful tactic I recommend to everyone.

We are animals, rational thought is not something we were made for. We must understand the causes of our motivations, our emotions, our desires, and our thoughts if we ever stand a chance at making our lives collectively better.

Socrates was right, one of the best things a person can do is know thyself.

1 comment:

  1. Hi sir,
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    Doesn't mean to bother you, thanks for the tutorial!