End Procrastination with Scheduled “Procrastination”
I have a lot of projects and a lot of ideas that I want to pursue. Being a very creative and industrious sort of person, and one who loves to communicate is a blessing, but I found that often I would get periods where I could not get myself to do much of anything I aimed to do. Little distractions would take me away from the hours I could have used to produce results in any of my projects, and it was more frustrating when they were projects that would benefit me in ways financial, social or in other areas of my life and career.
How does one become productive? What is REAL productivity?
A while back I had a dream that seemed to address this. Unfortunately, all I remembered of it was the last few seconds in which someone yelled at me just one word: “PLAY!!!!” Looking at my life and behavior I realized I did hardly any play – stuff for just fun. I thought my fun was my crafts, but my industrious self had turned those into ways to either save money or make money rather pure creative fun. My frugal youth years had me always looking for a way to “do some good” with my activities, and that generally meant supplementing my income.
It occurred to me that maybe some part of my mind was “on strike” against really getting anywhere with my great and beneficial projects for career and income because there was so little play in my life. I found myself thinking that, well, if I were more productive I would feel relaxed enough to make time to play. I had things to do! But then I thought, maybe if I played more I would let myself be more productive with my projects.
There is a book that addresses this, titled The Now Habit, by Neil Fiore that addresses this. The gist is that you schedule deliberate play time, and all the rest of your schedule is open for productivity. He says many people become more productive than they expected with this reverse psychology.
I’ve since realized that play is very beneficial. To some of you this is not news, but I wonder how much you play and actually have fun. So I have added things to life that I enjoy just for themselves in the moment. I started playing some non-violent video games (yes, violent video games may give a person satisfaction that seems like fun, but I feel fun brings happiness in the act, not aggression and stress.), watch more funny TV and movies, and make sure that I recognize the difference between when I am being industrious and having creative fun time.
Look at your interests and activities, especially when off work, and ask yourself how much fun you are having, or whether your hobbies and other activities are just being industrious or fugal rather than doing something for fun and not just some sort of chore or money-making thing. It’s important to create this balance. The subconscious or inner self is very powerful, and giving it the satisfaction of real play time can move it to unleash great productivity in other areas of life.
I believe real “productivity” comes when you realize the real product is peace. If you are always striving to make more money, even just a bit, or to “produce results” in your various projects then you are not really at peace. We need to be at peace along the way, during the journey, not just when we rest at the end. Take another look and find out if you are productivity includes enough fun time for you. If you get a bit stressed about not being productive while “playing” then you are missing the point. You need to be at peace along the way. Otherwise what you are producing is a lot of stress on the way to a goal that will please you for a short while until you start striving for another goal. So have fun along the way. It will free you up for producing more than one kind of results.
The next question is, will you really do this to get the benefits? Another important obstacle for the procrastinator is avoiding benefits out of apathy, fear or self-denial. I will write more on this later, but think about it. Do you want the benefits or not? Nobody’s going to come and say, “It’s okay for you to progress.” You have to tell yourself that.
Now, go out and play. You can work later.