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Alkan

Procrastination

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I hate procrastination. I loathe it with a fiery passion. Yet, it manages to overtake me on a daily basis. It is one of the antitheses of happiness, success, and enjoyment of life. This article really drove in what needs to change mentally: you must put yourself in a state of taking action, instead of planning, perfecting, trying to make whatever you set out to do perfect.

Action should come before planning, though planning is important. You should take action on something before you delve deeper into it with a plan. This article had some serious insights for me. Systems over goals really drove it in (system being running, goal being running at ____ minutes per mile by _______). You cannot depend on your goals coming true - only a combination of fortune and effort really make that happen - but you can rely on yourself to start a system. It also reminds me of something that Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wallstreet guy, mentioned about having a vision more than goals. I'm re-interpreting what I heard, and now I think I actually understand what he meant. A vision is far off, and it's not clear whether or not you're going to attain that vision - but its attainability doesn't really matter that much. You put your systems in place because of your vision, but you just focus on the systems, with the vision in the back of your mind. Here's an example: I want to be an lean, fit, strong cyclist. That's the vision - it's vague, the dream that drives me. The little stupid goals I set are things like "23 MPH avg. on this course" or "go up this mountain at whatever speed." These goals start to create stress, and create easy room for disappointment that can't really be avoided if you care too much about your little goals. But you can depend on yourself to actually go out and start working at something. It's at that point that you'll know how it feels to actually be DOING what you want to do. It feels great to just do your system every day - and not really know exactly how far it's gotten you. Games are the antithesis of this - they tell you exactly how far you've gotten, and exactly how much you have to do.

I think goals can come back in after you've gotten a solid idea and solid routine on whatever you set out to do. But, we don't really control as much as we'd like to in life.

The amount of time I spend dreaming about what I'm going to do, what I want for myself is insane. In f---ing la la land. Action is the antithesis of procrastination - or so I hope. I spend so much time trying to make my day perfect, that I don't just start doing things. You're better off letting dice plan the order of your day in 10 seconds and you get to work immediately instead of thinking about it for an hour.

I'm determined - I'm going to beat this beast that is called procrastination. I'm going to minimize the time that's not spent doing so that I'm putting in a solid effort each and every day.

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To update, my day after this has been almost wholly productive. I couldn't sleep last night, so I slept in a bit. So, around 11 I got going. Did my laundry, morning routine and did about 4 hours of studying today for the semester to come. Yes, my semester hasn't started and I actually studied for 4 hours today. I also managed to squeeze a short workout session in.

I truly just focused on working, instead of thinking about what the results of the work should actually be. I even ate well.

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Thanks for your journal on procrastination. Really hit home with me. I constantly put things off when I know it won't be perfect. I thought it was depression but I see now the depression is not the cause, just a bad side effect of having not done my systems when it wouldn't achieve the goal.

Edit: also I find it funny so many relevant articles and books are ones directed to men. It's a great way to reach people though by focusing on a group instead of everyone, and making people identify and see a need (ie, being more of a man). I'll probably read more man oriented stuff from now on instead of writing it off.

Edited by Laney

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Thanks for your journal on procrastination. Really hit home with me. I constantly put things off when I know it won't be perfect. I thought it was depression but I see now the depression is not the cause, just a bad side effect of having not done my systems when it wouldn't achieve the goal.

Edit: also I find it funny so many relevant articles and books are ones directed to men. It's a great way to reach people though by focusing on a group instead of everyone, and making people identify and see a need (ie, being more of a man). I'll probably read more man oriented stuff from now on instead of writing it off.

The guy who made The Art of Manliness website said that he wishes he and his wife could do something similar for women. I do wish that the philosophy of "manliness" would be reinterpreted into maturity. It's about being a man or a woman, as opposed to being a mere boy or a girl.

As for that particular site, it's one of my favorites. I can't think of any men's specific sites that would actually do you any good that The Art of Manliness couldn't, not that they aren't out there.

I think another thing - one thing that I noticed in you that just hit home with me - is that I constantly pathologize my procrastination as some undiagnosed disorder, or some basic problem of my brain, when in fact, so much of it is just learned, unconscious behavior. I have to stop viewing it as some intrinsic problem, but as something that is solved on a daily basis by making things happen. Pathologizing also makes it worse because you then start to think that you have a problem that can only be solved by some special intervention or solution. And, how horribly demotivating is that?! It fools you into being dependent on a drug or treatment that doesn't even exist! It's on us, every day, to keep to our systems, and recognize that they're what give us life, truly.

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Stuff

The guy who made The Art of Manliness website said that he wishes he and his wife could do something similar for women. I do wish that the philosophy of "manliness" would be reinterpreted into maturity. It's about being a man or a woman, as opposed to being a mere boy or a girl.

As for that particular site, it's one of my favorites. I can't think of any men's specific sites that would actually do you any good that The Art of Manliness couldn't, not that they aren't out there.

Well I think I just found a website to follow regularly! Maturity is a good word for it. Growing into your full potential as a man or a woman, I think I'll keep thinking of it that way :) I also like to think of it as "Man" , like humankind, but that doesn't necessarily fit all the time.

You are so right that we tend to think how we are feeling is the main issue! Therapy sessions have helped me see past that at least for my adhd and anger, but depression is the hardest to recognize and fight by far.

I wouldn't say medication is bad, in fact I am truthful when I say I hope I'll be on medication for ADHD the rest of my life. It's okay if you don't agree with me. Depression medication depends on the person, some people are predisposed by genetics, and some by circumstance. It's not seen as a bad thing to use a crutch when healing your broken leg, it shouldn't be seen as bad thing to use anti depressants when healing your Self. *shrug*

Using medication without making healthy lifestyle changes though is never a good idea. It's like using a crutch but still walking with your broken leg. 

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Alkan I can SO relate. I am procrastinating at this very moment, and my project is due in 6 days. Now that I'm not gaming, I find myself just absentmindedly browsing the Internet, like I'm kinda doing now (none of it has to do with gaming, thankfully). The only activity I really have outside of gaming is writing (if you read one of my comments on Cam's original article I mention that I can't get out of the house).

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Oh, I'm not saying medication is bad. I'm talking about using a disorder, real or perceived as way to allow yourself not to work. I.e. if I'm not actually in a depressive phase, but might feel a bit down, I might have blamed that on depression before, instead of just taking action without really giving it much more thought than "I am doing this, now." And that's a thought-to-behavior problem. Granted, mood and thought go rather hand in hand, but I never used to really comprehend what it actually means to control thoughts, and to some extent, emotions. 

One thing I've noticed is that as I meditate, I notice how certain thoughts more or less seem to take control without me really even noticing. And, thoughts also seem to arise out of mood, as if the thoughts come from a different location in my mental space. It's also like I've gotten a weird sense of control over the thoughts and emotions - very hard to describe. If you ever have had food stuck right at the place where the stomach connects to the esophagus, and you have to try to kind of move around and hold still to not activate the reflex, while making it pass - it feels like that with controlling thoughts and moods.

Alkan I can SO relate. I am procrastinating at this very moment, and my project is due in 6 days. Now that I'm not gaming, I find myself just absentmindedly browsing the Internet, like I'm kinda doing now (none of it has to do with gaming, thankfully). The only activity I really have outside of gaming is writing (if you read one of my comments on Cam's original article I mention that I can't get out of the house).

Did you read the article in the link yet? It really helped me a lot already.

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I think I follow you, using a disorder or problem as an excuse to procrastinate? Kind of like, if you get invited to a party with friends you're fond of but you think, well..I'm an introvert.. and then decide to not go justifying it by you being an introvert. When in reality you're scared of failure in the social scene but know you would enjoy the experience if you went.

Recognizing all of this and just saying "screw it" and acting is the trickiest part.

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I think I follow you, using a disorder or problem as an excuse to procrastinate? Kind of like, if you get invited to a party with friends you're fond of but you think, well..I'm an introvert.. and then decide to not go justifying it by you being an introvert. When in reality you're scared of failure in the social scene but know you would enjoy the experience if you went.

Recognizing all of this and just saying "screw it" and acting is the trickiest part.

Yes, that is quite what I'm saying. Not doing something because of a disorder is like not going out biking because it's raining. The internal state that you cannot control might as well be an external state, you might as well face it with the same ferocity that you face "not going to a party because I'm an introvert, or _______ will be there."

Saying "screw it" isn't there yet. It's more like "screw all of this BS that is supposedly in my way, what happens if I just got up in this instant and started doing?

I feel a strong need to get this out to more people, in a way, because I've been more productive than I've ever been without any pressure, to a point at which it's actually trippy.

Edited by Alkan

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Making instant decisions would be really freeing on me and probably remove some anxiety, but also hard because of my need to have a plan for everything. When I don't have plans I flip out. So much so that when I'm spontaneous it's usually planned spontaneity. Like I have to mentally prepare my body to be okay with uncertainty and change. 

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Making instant decisions would be really freeing on me and probably remove some anxiety, but also hard because of my need to have a plan for everything. When I don't have plans I flip out. So much so that when I'm spontaneous it's usually planned spontaneity. Like I have to mentally prepare my body to be okay with uncertainty and change. 

Ah. I can totally relate. That's where you have to get the courage. I'm talking about simple things that aren't that scary though, like just sitting down to study, or draw, or whatever.

I think what you don't realize is that your brain doesn't turn off when you start doing something. You get engaged with it, and suddenly it seems easier to spend some solid period of time doing whatever it was you set out to do.

Get rid of the prep period too when it comes to daily tasks or projects. If it's mustering up courage for something scary, that's a little different.

Edited by Alkan

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http://fourhourworkweek.com/2008/02/06/the-choice-minimal-lifestyle-6-formulas-for-more-output-and-less-overwhelm/

You guys might read up on "choice minimalism". Basically the idea of planning as much of your life as possible that works for you so that you don't get caught up wasting energy making decisions all the time. Instead, pick what works and repeat that, and then use your energy for more important things. It's something I've been thinking about lately :D.

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I have a bit of an issue with the title "Four Hour Workweek."

You just can't achieve great things in so little time. It's a long, arduous grind. And, in that grind you'll ironically find true happiness, and respect for those who've made something of their life, like you're on your own path, but, in a sense, you're also on the same path.

It adds this beautiful narrative to living.

I came to this topic to update, based on the article. I've been working my ass off most days since I read this article, and I've reached a point of satisfaction and self-confidence that I've never felt in my life.

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I have a bit of an issue with the title "Four Hour Workweek."

You just can't achieve great things in so little time. It's a long, arduous grind. And, in that grind you'll ironically find true happiness, and respect for those who've made something of their life, like you're on your own path, but, in a sense, you're also on the same path.

It adds this beautiful narrative to living.

I came to this topic to update, based on the article. I've been working my ass off most days since I read this article, and I've reached a point of satisfaction and self-confidence that I've never felt in my life.

I'm just reading this now to! (your first post) Nice to hear it works. I'm going to do that 'non-information-input' week. Will reply here over 1 week :)

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