Many experts have talked about procrastination. There are several books on it. There are innumerable techniques and apps to beat procrastination.
Procrastination is not a problem of laziness. It is not just a matter of getting things done. Of course, using some of these ideas and approaches can solve a problem in the short term.
But, if you consistently find it difficult to beat procrastination, these would be just band-aid solutions to a deeper problem.
Procrastination arises from the thought that you are a doer.
You must do a certain thing to achieve a certain outcome. There is always some sort of incentive involved. In many cases, the incentive is huge enough to energize a person to do hard things. This is why goal-setting can work in the short term.
However, excess attachment to the outcome or analyzing a specific action too much can lead to chronic procrastination.
This is when you feel drained without doing anything.
The outcome might sound exciting on paper but is uncertain. The short-term incentive isn’t too appealing. The pain of doing something now outweighs the excitement of the future outcome.
“I need to do this. I am doing this to achieve this. I will make this happen.” What is happening is you identify as a doer to make things happen.
You are obsessed with the end goal which could be subjective to circumstances outside your control. You want to reduce the uncertainty as much as possible. You want to make things perfect.
This uncertainty and obsession with the perfect result in the future impact your ability to take action in the present.
Adopting an attitude of surrender could help in this situation.
This is when you try to practice and realize the principle of Karma Yoga- You only have the right to action; not to the fruits of action. You become the vessel for the action without worrying about the desired results. You take action despite the uncertainty involved.
It is not easy, of course.
It needs the suspension of the ego and requires an invitation to faith in your intuition that you are taking the right action in the current moment. It requires you to surrender your identity as a doer and open yourself to the uncertain flow of life.
One way I have found helpful is any regular practice that can periodically keep the chatter in the mind in check. This is because the mind is what gives rise to the perception and over-identification as a doer.
Meditation, of course, is one such practice. But not the only one.
You can pick anything that allows you to freely express without inhibitions for a certain period of time. It can be painting, writing, dancing, or any other art form. These are activities that make you forget time. You act out of intuition and feeling rather than relying on the logical part of the mind.
The states of mind produced from such activities could help in your other actions as well.
You no longer identify as the sole-doer and develop a certain degree of faith that situations would unfold in the right manner. You can let go of the need to get everything perfect in the end.
This is when you can begin to take action without procrastination. Because you are no longer drained by the burden of your identity as a doer.
You open up to the possibilities in the present moment.
What do you think?
Do you resonate with the above thoughts?
Share your opinion in the comments below.