Everyone gets a little behind schedule every now and then. Juggling blogging and full time working makes me really prone to this, despite the apps I try to use to schedule posts and reminders to write.
And when inspiration doesn’t strike, I like to browse old texts, and just now found a draft of a blog post titled “How to stop procrastinating”. When I opened the document, it was, ironically enough, empty.
So I decided to grab the bull by the horns, and take on the topic again. I don’t want to brag, but I’m a procrastinator extraordinaire.
Procrastination is most easily explained by the excessive amount of options we have nowadays, and how stumped one might feel when having to choose between those thousands of options.
With the rise of helpful apps that will deliver anything to you at anytime (making the rest of the world closer to Manhattan in the late 90’s), you’d think the little work we actually we have to do to be classified as functioning adults shouldn’t be too much to handle.
But the continued availability might be part of the problem. The partly online world is supposedly meant to make everyday life easier to manage and navigate, which is all fine and good.
The thing is that’s it’s a new spectrum applied to an old one, and old issues are replace with new ones. There is so much going on all the time, and we’re constantly taking in more information, more options, more suggestions.
One of these issues is procrastination, the modern art of playing with the proverbial fire where you just might end up burnt to crisp, because you refuse to deal with the issues, bills and deadlines of the day. The new season of The Bachelor is on.
It’s the opposite of the intense activity the online world and especially social media demands of us, and that makes me wonder if procrastination just is a natural reaction to an unnatural environment? Is it a way for our brains to protect themselves from the intense stream of information and options we feed ourselves every day?
Is procrastination the modern day equivalent of playing dead?
It’s not a new phenomenon, but it’s gaining attention for the first time in history, because it’s becoming problematic. Studies have found that the attention spans of toddler and small children have shortened significantly in the last ten years, due to the increased amount of smartphones and tablets. Also known as distractions.
Given everything that is constantly going on, it does seem that the world have kicked into a higher gear. Scientific research is taking larger strides into their extended fields. Everything is getting smaller and faster, harder, better, faster, stronger. The Space Race has become the Moving to Space Race. We have Tinder for quick hook-ups and Amazon Prime for faster delivery. Faster than 4G Wifi is the Rolex of 2010. Continued advertisements online feeds our consumerism and shopping has never been easier – or faster – than it is online.
Next came the applications, the extensions of the online experience. If someone had launched even the idea of apps some ten years ago, I know I wouldn’t have believed them. But applications run everything.
Of course there are many useful, life-saving ones. But there are so many ones that are there simply to dull us, to make using our common sense the lesser option. We’re programming ourselves into not thinking and if that doesn’t make you even a little bit anxious, you’re bullet proof in this sense. I, most certainly, am not.
Although it’s said you work better under stress, I think we might be forgetting the internal stress we put on our own shoulders. Stimuli from every corner of the Earth with network feeds us ideas on how and what we should be, what we could do, look like, travel to. It’s a constant pressure we masochistically choose to take part of, because apparently it’s a part of human existence nowadays.
Procrastination is nothing but the middle name of Overwhelmed. Sometimes things become too much and the brain turns off. This might look like relaxation, but it very much isn’t. One is falling sound asleep, the other one is passing out drunk.
The two things might look the same, but they feel very, very different.
Over and over, I keep insisting I’m a writer, and that I’m working on a novel. And you’d think, with a full-time job, I’d take every opportunity I get to write as soon as I’m off the clock. But that’s not the case. Days, weeks even, can pass without me working on my novel. Why? Because sometimes our brains need to rest.
They’re trying to process this flood of information and stimuli all the time, and although there’s a lot more that demands our attention and senses than there was 30 years ago, the amount of daily stimuli our brains can process has remained the same.
No wonder it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. We simply don’t have the capacities to store all the information we sense is around us. It’s like packing an overflowing bag when the zipper won’t close.
So you know what you should do? You should pick up your phone, book, wine glass, or whatever tickles your fancy, and let your brain recharge in peace. Whether that entails roaming Tinder, getting drunk or taking a moonlit stroll (or why not all three at once), you shouldn’t feel bad for the way you’re recharging your batteries. They’re your batteries, for Christ’s sake.
Procrastination is a socially accepted excuse to not deal with anything for a while. Use it, and don’t feel bad about doing nothing. You’re not a convenience store, you don’t have to be open 24/7.
The amount of work you’ll have to deal with when you decide to get back will still be there. Problems have a habit of not going away by getting ignored, I’m afraid. But when facing them after a moment of you-time, you’ll be better equipped to deal with it.
No matter how important it is, it’s not as important as you and your mental health. Remember that, and procrastinate in peace, you awesome little glitter buffalo.