There’s no doubt about it: for so many of us, procrastination wreaks havoc in our lives. It’s one of the biggest motivating factors behind the enquiries that we receive about our time management training here at Cerulean, and when you look at the damage that it can wreak, it’s no wonder. No one wants to procrastinate, and yet, it inevitably happens time and time again. How can you finally break the spell?
First things first – don’t beat yourself up about procrastination. Indeed, that’s one of the biggest perils for procrastinators – the despondency and lowered self-esteem that can arise from their apparent inability to get anything done. That, of course, simply perpetuates the cycle, with gloomy procrastinators simply succumbing even more easily in future to instant gratification.
That susceptibility to indulging instant gratification – rather than taking a more rational, long-term perspective on your work that gets those essential tasks done sooner so that you have more hard-earned free time to enjoy – is very much what procrastination is about. Some people have even gone as far as calling that particular nuisance the ‘Instant Gratification Monkey’, as in the case of a particularly interesting recent blog by Tim Urban for the WaitButWhy website.
Urban’s own problems with procrastination – culminating in one extreme instance in his hands going numb and curling up against his will due to his only starting to write a 90-page senior thesis 72 hours before the deadline – will sound too familiar to many of the procrastination sufferers who enrol on our courses here at Cerulean. He coined the term ‘Instant Gratification Monkey’ to describe the distracting ‘pet’ accompanying the ‘Rational Decision-Maker’ in the procrastinator’s brain.
This monkey, Urban contends, makes it impossible for the Rational Decision-Maker to do his job of directing the brain in a productive direction, instead tempting it towards all of those familiar procrastinators’ pursuits – from watching YouTube videos about deep sea creatures to reorganising iPhoto albums. With the Rational Decision-Maker having no idea how to deal with this interloper, he inevitably fails to seize control, feeling worse and worse about himself the more he does so.
That is until the equally inevitable moment when panic sets in – embodied in Urban’s piece as ‘The Panic Monster’, which scares away the Instant Gratification Monkey and finally allows the Rational Decision-Maker to seize back control, as is needed to avoid otherwise certain disaster. With this messy situation constantly playing out in the procrastinator’s mind, it’s easy to see why such individuals so regularly underachieve in so many aspects of life.
Are you looking to avoid such a miserable cycle? If so, get in touch with our experts here at Cerulean. We can help you to break those terrible habits that lead to frequent procrastination, through the delivery of our acclaimed time management training and other professional courses.