sat down to write this article when my phone buzzed, I had received a snap from my best friend. Picked up my bottle, sipped some water, and opened Snapchat. I clicked on his name and the stream of snaps began. He is jumping on trampolines, crossing bridges and doing flips. I felt so amused. I started texting him about how lit the snaps were and he texted me back the upside-down emoji. That’s our trademark, we use it anywhere, anytime. I suddenly realized I had to write this article on time, so I put my phone aside and began. Five minutes into it, I lost concertation again and my head sent into a whirlwind of ideas.
Raise your hand if the same ever happened to you. Even if you didn’t raise it, you know you have procrastinated at least once in your life… unless you are Steve Jobs. (P.S. Pretty sure he also procrastinated at least once). But what goes on inside the mind of a procrastinator. Tim Urban interestingly presented an idea in a TED conference, but we will look at a different approach.
Imagine that your brain is an aeroplane where the pilot is an ‘enlightened monkey’ and the co-pilot is a ‘restless clown’. Now every time there’s an important task at hand, the monkey comes on the seat, otherwise it’s either on auto-pilot or the clown takes over. Let’s imagine you have been assigned a thesis you know will take 3 months to complete. You plan out the whole task and divide your work in the time you have for it. A month later you realize, you had other daily stuff going on and you couldn’t work on the thesis. You tell yourself ‘nothing to fear’ and you get to planning it over the next 2 months.
Another month passes, and you were again not able to complete your work. You regret not doing it and instead of spending time at dinners and parties. You motivate yourself and do some work on that day. The next day, you subconsciously postpone it to do different things.
Now, guess what, you waste another 27 days and you realize that the due date is just 4 days away, yeah, it’s a 31 days month (THANK GOD!). You plan out everything over the next 4 days and get to it, pull all-nighters and finish the assignment couple hours before the submission.
Now, with the whole scenario in mind, think of the 3 months. According to the aeroplane theory, the first month was on Auto-Pilot because you didn’t realize when you had wasted time. The second month was when you wasted time on external things, something which was not important at that time and your life would have been unaffected by it. Thus, it was being controlled by the clown. After controlling the second month, the clown continued to control the third month also until ‘The Panic Monster’ showed up. When the panic monster shows up, the clown is scared to its wits and runs away. The control goes back to the monkey and now you start making reasonable decisions.
So, why does the monkey come up when you are in a panic? Why does it have to come up only when The Panic Monster is there?
You might instantly jump to the conclusion that panic is the solution to this. No, instead the panic monster should never come out. Panic creates situations where we tend to miss out on finer details. This hampers the quality of the work we do. Being on Autopilot is okay but we should avoid the clown at all costs. Avoiding the clown doesn’t mean that we stop going to the movies, hanging out or meeting friends, it means you should make informed, reasonable and planned decisions. If you are done with your work, you should hang out. We are most productive when we are patient, not when we are in a frenzy.
I understand that it’s better said than done but I don’t want you to think that you are avoiding procrastination. Think of it as if you are prioritizing what needs to be done right now and what can be put off when the Auto-Pilot mode comes in.
Many people refer to this as the millennial problem. Millennials do have procrastination seeping into their lifestyle due to the rise of social media apps. Many behavioural scientists have found out that social media apps are deliberately being designed to be addictive, to a level that messes up the main use of it. Facebook has added so many features over the year that it feels like a mess right now and it’s going to happen soon to newer apps like Instagram and Snapchat.
Procrastination is a phenomenon which seems extremely difficult to root out until we do it.
Take the following first steps towards a better lifestyle:
1. Set practical sleep and wake up times
Setting bound sleeping and wake up times allow us to rule out the guilt and have happier starts at days
2. Don’t Netflix before you sleep
Read a book instead, it helps you fall asleep faster, foster’s imagination and relaxes your eyes too
3. Eat meals on set time, every day
If you have a set eating cycle, your body understands active period and inactive periods
Go on a run or the gym. Exercise helps increase your oxygen intake, leading to faster cognitive thinking and concentration
Implementing these 4 lifestyle changes will help you in your professional life too. Working towards an organized life also includes eating healthy foods and giving yourself enough time to unwind, follow a hobby or improve personal connections.
Now, I must think of a conclusion to this article. Well, maybe, I’ll do it later 😉
The GenZ Soul is a written motivational series, written by Ritwik Dhandhi, that introduces new ideas to tackle problems commonly faced by post-millennials.
Stay Tuned for Episode 3
Check out Episode 1 – When to quit? When to Stick?