If you’ve ever read and identified with ‘procrastination’ you’ve stumbled over this quote from Calvin & Hobbes (which is one of the greatest comics ever!)
Calvin: “You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.
Hobbes: “What mood is that?”
Calvin: “Last-minute panic.”
This is so true for anyone who has put a task on the backburner just to watch that funny video or in today’s scenario catch a youtube video or see a tumblr page filled with cute kittens. You get what you were doing originally done, but there’s always something missing. But you stifle that voice saying ‘well, atleast I got it done, albeit at the last minute. But still’….
I’ve struggled with this for the longest time but never knew about it. There were always things that I knew I wanted to to. Infact, a lot of things that I needed to finish, but I didn’t get around to. The result was more often sloppy work, a growing pile of things-that-need-to-get-done-someday and sadly sometimes, missed deadlines, bad grades and unfulfilled promises. I just thought I was lazy to finish something. And that was becoming a problem. You see, since it was becoming such a regular occurrence, I kind of stopped caring about it. And that was just plain wrong in the hindsight. I abhor labeling something. The issue becomes about that label rather than the problem at hand. But in this case, it was waking up to realize that this is fixable and not something that I’m stuck with forever was a great feeling. And the turning point was having the baby. I realized that I was able to get things related to her done. Infact the things on the nice-to-have list were also getting done. And that was when it clicked. LISTS!
I realized, belatedly, that growing up I never created a list for anything. I always depended on the fact that I could remember everything that needed to be done. Which worked when I was in 9th grade, not so much after I entered college. And that’s when things started going south. Recently I stumbled over TODO lists. They aren’t exactly new. I just had my head in the sand when it came to this. I had used it before, unsuccessfully I might add. Because I was never fully invested in the idea. Earlier I had excuses. ‘Oh the app isn’t perfect’, ‘I forgot where I wrote this down’, blah blah.
But for the past few months I’ve been successfully using this. And what worked? A pen and paper. The simple act of writing down things I needed to do, not worrying about whether they are doable given the timeframe. And the act of crossing things off the list was so satisfying!
There will always be things that are more interesting than what needs to be done right now. But, that’s the key phrase. Needs to be done right now! I think I’m on a good track right now. It takes some getting used to. But so far so good.
This post was prompted by this article -> Why Procrastinators Procrastinate