Unconscious Procrastination is one of the single greatest obstacles hindering productivity and success. To reach your optimal productivity you need to have full awareness of the repercussions caused by unchecked procrastination.
Procrastination has become one of my greatest fears. I feel like I’ve flushed many years of my life down the drain because of unconscious laziness. Recently I procrastinated around 2-3 weeks before writing this blog post. Luckily I’ve snapped out of it with remembering just how dangerous this state of mind is.
I truly believe (unconscious) procrastination is like a poison in the mind that causes productivity and aspirations to decay. Left unchecked, it becomes a downward spiral that could turn into weeks, months, or years of stunted progress.
Ignore it for too long and you may find yourself at the end of your life wondering why you never got around to accomplishing what you wanted, instead of being glad that you worked hard for your accomplishments.
This sounds like paranoia, but I believe this is a realistic outcome of what happens when you let this bad habit grow.
“We are what we repeatedly do: Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”
–Will Durant (Summing up Aristotle’s thoughts)
You are what you do every day. Are you already doing a significant amount of what you want to become? I want to become a great game developer and a more athletic person. I make sure that at least 85%-90% of my weekly work is focused on game development. I check to make sure that if I keep up my current pace, I’ll reach my desired amount of progress by the end of the year. I also make sure that I’m always trying to break my gym records while watching my diet.
One of the best ways to obtain high levels of productivity is to build good work habits. A good work habit allows you to get your obligations done almost automatically, without debating whether you should put it off until later. You take control of your subconscious and teach it to desire and enjoy difficult work.
By far my most productive weeks were during the times where I had built rigid work habits that made me feel like I automatically had to finish my work, and did so. I never wasted time watching TV or playing video games unless I finished my work. I understood that doing so would be taking away from my future accomplishments.
When you have a really bad day, you fall back on your good habits without worry. You’ll get all of your work done quickly and well despite your mind grumbling and cursing about how bad your day is.
If you have only a bunch of good habits to turn to, you can “autopilot” without destroying your productivity. Preparing for these bad days is a great way to stay on track. Alternatively, putting your conscious mind on autopilot with bad habits leads to a downward spiral that will break all of your remaining good habits.
“Your ability to select your most important task in each moment, then to get started on that task and to get it done both quickly and well, will probably have more of an impact on your success than any other quality or skill that you could develop.
An average person who develops the habit of setting clear priorities, and getting important tasks completed quickly will run circles around a genius who talks a lot and makes wonderful plans, but who gets very little done”
–Brian Tracy, “Eat That Frog”
This means Unconscious Procrastination Is the Opposite of Success
Unconscious procrastination is the habit of putting off all work & obligations for as long as possible, and wasting your time just because it “feels comfortable”. This is the habit of letting your subconscious dictate your actions. The end goal of procrastination is to put off everything you need to do now so that it will never get done. This is at direct odds with your aspirations.
If your mindset is “I’ll get around to it eventually” with no progress being made, then your dreams are as good as dead. You aren’t going to get around to it. Until you set a goal and work your way towards it, consider it void. Your dreams can’t exist until you’ve already began working on them. If you truly “want” something then that means you’re already working towards it, you’re not making empty wishes then doing something comfortable.
Understanding the future repercussions of procrastination is the first major step to controlling it.
Battling procrastination isn’t just an action, it’s a state of mind. You need to teach yourself to automatically avoid doing what your subconscious wants you to do. Becoming skilled at this will also lead to successful diet & exercise habits.
This is one of my favorite tricks I use to remind myself of why procrastination it’s so dangerous:
Try to see yourself in the future. Who you are now and who do you want to become in X amount of time?
Let’s say one of your current goals is to write 100,000 words for a novel in 10 months. Take an accurate measurement of everything you do each day & week. Take your month of work and multiply it by 10. Did it total to at least 10k words written? Did you tell yourself you’re “going to get around to it” then write much less than that? One of these outcomes is complete failure.
If you haven’t even started working towards making your dreams a reality, then think about this: At this rate you will literally die before you reach your goal. The sooner you change your state of mind, the more you change your future from “depressing failure” to “fulfilling success”.
Caution: It’s okay if I sometimes give in to my procrastination on my important tasks, I always get it done anyway.
I think this is a dangerous way of thinking. This is toying with your willpower and your subconscious instead of staying strict and stoic. This is like caving in to addictive junk food when you’re on a diet, then trying to justify it with “A donut here and there won’t do too much harm”.
Just to be clear I’m talking about cheating on your diet, not having a planned junk food snack that you already were prepared to have. Caving in to your urges are what hurt your mind and productivity.
Letting your subconscious dictate your actions leads to bad judgement. The moment you mess up a diet or a good work habit is the moment you allowed your subconscious to dictate your actions.
Stick to the plan, create your own breaks, figure out your own breathing room and plan it ahead of time. Don’t just do what you want when you feel like it, this won’t end well.
It might not physically seem bad to just break the rules once in a while, but it will harm your habits built in to your subconscious mind. You’ll lose respect for your hard-wired laws that keep you on the rails. You don’t know when your tipping point is. One broken rule too many and you’re on your way to eating a dozen donuts every day.
Some people can give into their urges and be okay, but the odds aren’t in your favor. Why even risk taking those chances?
These have been my honest thoughts on the dangers of procrastination. Seeing things this way has helped inspire me to get back on track and stay at a very high level of productivity.
No mindless comfort is worth throwing away your future for. When you can look forward to working hard every day, you’ll be able to enjoy relaxation time without regrets.
Next week I’ll write about a lot of helpful tricks I use to keep myself strictly on track, while keeping procrastination and laziness at bay.
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