Now I haven’t been experimenting with this for very long, BUT, I think procrastinating might actually be a procrastination hack.
Hear me out.
I’m in the kitchen making my 11th tea of the day (I have a legit problem) and my brain hits me with remember-the-thing-you-promised-yourself-you’d-finish-every-morning-for-the-past-week-and-you-haven’t-yet-because-you-suck-geeze-what-a-loser-you-can’t-get-anything-done-you’re-hopeless.
And I’m faced with two options.
A: Do the work.
B: Grab some cookies to dunk in said tea and proceed to YouTube to figure out once and for all how to build a capsule wardrobe.
(I’ll give you one guess as to which I that’s-right-Option-B)
But what about an Option C? What about, “OK fine. You don’t have to do the work. You don’t have to write that article. Instead, you can choose from any of the following pre-approved procrastination activities: read a book, go for a run, paint something, cut out that dress pattern you’ve been meaning to sew” etc.
You’ll notice ‘watch YouTube haul videos’ is not on that list. The key here is differentiating between what I’ll call ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ procrastination. The former is legitimately good for you and works on a skill. It’s probably a hobby you wish you did more often anyways, like running. The latter is whatever your personal brand of procrastination looks like. For me that’s YouTube, Instagram, Netflix, and obsessively cleaning and organizing. (I know that last one seems like a good thing but trust me, me with a duster is flat out procrastination.)
This will, of course, look different for everyone. I like to think of healthy procrastination as things you’d find on your list of New Years resolutions—read more books, run a 10K, learn how to code, start meditating because the NY Times says it’s what successful people do… and so on. Organize my desk isn’t resolution worthy for me because Lord knows I don’t need a reminder to do that more often.
Somehow by doing this, but letting myself procrastinate and work on something that might not feel directly related to the article I have to write or whatever it is I’m putting off, I actually start to gain confidence. I feel good about myself and after a while, I’ve built enough momentum that my brain is like OKAY might as well get crackin’ on the real reason we’re all here…
I can’t properly explain this Jedi mind trick just yet, and I’m sure it’s riddled with caveats, but the results so far are pretty freaking cool.
P.S. In lieu of a somewhat-passably-relevant stock photo… Please enjoy this graffiti snap I took of some alley in Kensington Market, Toronto. Man, I love that place.