Procrastination is a Mindfulness Problem.
BY LEO BABOUTA
We all procrastinate, and by and large, we all know the solutions to our procrastination.
I put off writing this article (ironically, I know, and yes I know you’ll put off reading this article) by doing a bunch of smaller tasks, for example. They were less important and I knew it, but they were quick tasks and so easier than writing an article on a tough topic.
Honestly, I know the solutions: clarify what task is most important, clear away everything but this more important task, clarify my motivations for this task, break it down into something smaller and easier if I feel difficulty.
These aren’t hard solutions.
But they don’t work unless you’re aware of what you’re doing.
You can’t step back to clarify what your Most Important Tasks are unless you realize you’re procrastinating in the first place. You can’t break a task into small steps unless you realize you’re dreading the task. You can’t clear away distractions unless you realize you’ve been following the urge to go to these distractions.
Awareness is everything with procrastination. The problem isn’t finding solutions to procrastination — it’s being aware of what’s going on in the first place.
Once we know what’s happening, the fixes are (fairly) easy.
The problem isn’t just being aware of what’s going on — it’s remembering to be aware. This remembering is what mindfulness is about. Too often we forget to be aware.
So let’s talk about the awareness of what’s going on when we procrastinate, and then how to remember
Awareness of What’s Going OnSo what’s going on when we procrastinate? Try these:
How to RememberThe problem with remembering to be aware is that we get caught up in our moment-to-moment actions. Once we open a computer, for example, a series of habitual responses kicks in and we’re suddenly in the deep end. It could be hours before we come up for air and realize we’ve been procrastinating.
So what we need are a set of tools for remembering.
Here are the ones that tend to work for me:
M O R E
S K I L L D E V E L O P M E N T
S T O R I E S