Fight Procrastination In Your Own Terms - Sob story included.
Here is a brief story of how to finish your procrastination and stop beating yourself about this once and for all. I know that these kinds of stories are a bit like weight-loss, getting in shape, being productive tips right? You must have heard or read hundreds of versions and you know by heart what should be done, but we still have those extra pounds on, still not incredibly strong. STILL procrastinating.
So what am I going to put on the table? Why of course, I will first tell you a story to bore you to death which doesn’t tie into anything (it does) and finally explain the tips at the very bottom.
Who I was
We have all suffered in some way, specially mentally, under the stress of COVID-19 which is approaching it’s third year now. Many have lost something or someone to it. I’m one of the lucky ones not to lose life, job or a loved one but I lost the will to do things. Gradually at first, then I become a blob with clear mental problems and willingness to do nothing.
In year 2020 January, I was 1.5 years into my new job of middle management in a decent company. Planets aligned and I decided to go to a gym which I was passing by on my way back from work every day. It was ridiculous, leaving work by 16:30, meeting wife at home at 18:30 when she leaves work so basically I wasn’t losing any of my day and still a lot of time doing sports. I started as a noob doing the basic routine and since I’m socially awkward, I did that routine for 2 months instead of asking for an update like a normal person, every day gradually increasing weights. There was noticeable change. 1–2 hours of anything everyday amounts to things. I then decided to get online pt help. This went on for a year until the end of summer of 2019. I was also doing almost all half-marathons with decent times. I was in shape and happy.
I also had many hobbies like wood working, all sorts of crafting, improving my work any way I can by researching, asking mentors and loving it. I was also writing my own games, and an interactive book of my own while also trying to learn a language on the side. Seems all over the place right? But it was so much fun and I loved every second of it.
I need to add that I also suffer from long term eating disorder which I haven’t ever gotten around to fix. I seek solace in food.
The reason I’m dragging this out is to paint a clear picture of the person I was and what I lost.
In Summer 20, the lockdowns started and my gym closed, so straight back from work every day. I still had running so that went on a bit until the numbers started rising and we were basically not allowed to go outside for anything except grocery shopping and hospitals of course. This went on for 2 months with light easing after a while but still the damage was done. Routines were broken, hobbies stopped. No more half-marathons which were all banned. Everyone was trying to work and go to school from home. Utter chaos and confined resentment was settling in. So there was only one thing left to do and that was go to work, come back home, eat.
In the next year up until March 2021 even strong friendships began to shatter and finally depression showed it’s face. Interesting turn of events was instead of getting help like a normal person, I decided to turn all of my focus in to technologies I was curious about and go to work as usual. By turning focus, I mean going to work, coming back at 17:00 and studying until midnight without eating anything. Since we were also on lockdown on the weekends as well, why not study for 14 hours straight. Gyms did open after a while at that period but closed soon after, opening and closing again continuously so hopes of returning to it were crushed over and over again until I had no desire to go anymore.
This went on for 3–4 months, and I calmed a lot but was now a person with no hobbies, no gym, no books. Only work and home. I couldn’t find the strength to start anything. Those wood working tools looked like an immense chore, I could not comprehend how a person could do the below from cardboard (took about 2 months). I also managed to lose all my writing and game dev work which is still a source of sadness to this day.
Now that the sob story is over, here is what I did that put things on track,
What I did was first change my current way of life. The root that procrastination feeds off of.
- Question why you do things, stop doing things you dislike. Easier said then done right?
- Move everyday, even if just a little bit. Even if laying down in front of tv watching a Udemy class, even if 10 mins on a treadmill, even if a sentence on your novel. Move. Having a designated working place does help tremendously. Try to focus as much as possible. Don’t sleep without doing your thing for that day.
- Never talk about a thing you started recently to anyone. Never. By just talking, feeling of accomplishment will settle in or people will break your morale. Talk after clearing a milestone. You won’t hear “You started Japanese? Oh, that's nice although Chinese or Spanish could be useful. Don’t bother with it.” if you say I got N3 in Japanese.
- Question your position in life. I don’t have to be a certain type of person. I should like the person I am, not be someone I should be. I am not a landmark for people to navigate from. Say these things to yourself: “I have flaws, and a whole lot of them. Here they are (look directly at your flaws). I do love these things about my life though (find them).”
- Question what you want from life. Well, the answer was simple for me. Nothing. Yup, it was nothing so finding something you like is a key thing. “Why do you want to work out? To lose weight, and to look fit.” Why? Ask yourself the hard questions. If you want to workout to look fit for other people, you won’t last a month. Don’t beat yourself up for things you don’t actually want.
- Make mistakes if you are like me. A goody two shoes without a cross in their life has 0 experience with life itself and is poorly equipped to make choices since they never made any mistakes. Mistakes define a person. An expert is a person who has made almost every mistake possible.
- Do not say no to opportunities. Fear is a natural response to a routine breaking. Close your eyes, breathe and say yes. Can you present your findings to a group of people? Yes. Can you give a 2 day training on the topic of your expertise. Yes. Do you want to get a UAV license? YES. Fear change, but move towards it.
- Take care of yourself. Sports do heal a person’s mental health also does routine check-ups and listening to your body for signs. Also get help from a good professional for that “emotional damage”. Try running/walking small distances often.
- Question your relationships with everyone. Lots of distancing was needed for me unfortunately. Don’t keep relationships or attachments to toxic people. Some people burn bright but may destroy everything around them in a flash. Some people drag everyone down.
- Find a thing for yourself. Mine was DevOps. Sounds weird right? I just love it when those things do their thing. Anything is good. Cross-stitching, coloring, watching movies, gaming, wood-working, piano, dancing, sculpting, running. Be curious. Try things. Find people also curious about the things you do.
Devops: Those things doing their thing
Thanks for reading. Hope I was of some help. Feel free to comment your opinions.