Procrastinate Your Way to Inner Peace and Abundance
The New York Times recently ran a quite compassionate article on procrastination.* I want to improve on it, however. You can procrastinate your way to inner peace and abundance.
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Understand, redefine and reclaim procrastination
First Step: Define Procrastination for Yourself
Procrastination simply means “deferring til the morning,” etymologically. Cras is Latin for “tomorrow morning.” So why has it become so vilified that it has its own self-help industry? Who cares if you defer something til morning–or indefinitely?
Who cares indeed? That is the question:
Who defines when you are procrastinating?
It’s essential to figure this out, which is why it’s the first step. Our culture is so habituated to rushing that we forget we own all our time. It all belongs to us. Decisions about what to do with our time belong to us. It’s ok to decide you need to trade some of it for money. Just realize you’ve made that decision and you can unmake and remake it.
What is your definition of procrastination? How do you know when you’re doing it?
I advise you not to move on to the second step til you’ve got a clear idea of what procrastination really is (or looks or feels like) to you.
Second Step: Notice All the Times You are Not Procrastinating
What made it onto your list? It doesn’t count as procrastination if you haven’t defined it as procrastination. My point isn’t that you are incapable of procrastinating. My point is that for far too long, you’ve accepted someone else’s definition of it.
Here are some tips:
- You are not procrastinating if you are doing something you didn’t feel really needed doing anyway. This is awareness. Act on it.
- It doesn’t count as procrastination if you are doing things that don’t need to be done–until next week, or at all. Please stop doing them. Here is a specific how-to post on “appropriocrastinating.”
- Listening to someone else’s voice in your head driving you to overschedule, overcommit, and overpromise is the opposite of inner peace and abundance. It can shorten your life. Please wake up.
Third Step: Get Brave
Now you have awareness. It’s time to act. Here are some tips correlated to the tips in the last section:
- Tune into your feelings. Notice what you hate doing. Try to stop doing it, or do it much less.
- If you consistently put something off, ask yourself in all honesty: Does it really need doing? If you’ve survived this long, chances are good it doesn’t.
- A tip to stop doing things that don’t need doing: notice whom you’re trying to impress. (See Step 3 in the last section.)
Procrastination is the sound of your soul speaking. Listen up!
- Schedule everything. Do nothing before its time. I do not procrastinate. However, I definitely give myself permission to reschedule something multiple times til I feel like doing it. And that includes my taxes! (Yes, I actually felt like calculating and paying my taxes recently.) I have a to-do list for each day. I have meetings that are scheduled, and unscheduled times that show up (like yours do) on my schedule are for completing my to-do list. Do I ever cross something off and add it to another day’s to-do list? Absolutely! I may even reschedule it for a month from now, or a week, or until some other thing happens that will create the circumstances for my wanting to do it. It helps that I’ve been honest with myself for a number of years now about what I like and dislike, how I operate, and work with time. I consider this research into the self.
- All your time, all your mind, and all your energy belong to you. Abundance is enjoying them. Abundance is enjoying what is yours. Don’t give yourself away to satisfy someone else. Especially a dead someone! (Many of us are trying to impress our parents, and some of our parents are, let’s face it, not even walking this Earth any longer).
You, too, can proudly claim you do not or no longer procrastinate! So much for the procrastination self-help industry. Those folks will just have to get another job–or maybe just have more time to enjoy.
This post is dedicated to my soul-colleagues T and G who pointed me to and sent me the New York Times article that inspired it.
*That’s the link to the article, but you may/not be able to read it, depending on how many NYT freebies you’ve already read.