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mindful minute

We are freed and imprisoned by our thoughts

Written by Mark Fontaine

 Procrastination

Everyone procrastinates from time to time.  It’s a fact of life.

We fall into a trap of overestimating how much we will do later. We overestimate our ability to beat procrastination at a later date.  If we can’t get motivated to do something now, what makes us believe that we can overcome this inertia in the future?  This magical thinking can get us into trouble at home, at work and in relationships.

We procrastinate because we want the path of least resistance through life.  Watching television is easier than working out.  Surfing the internet is more pleasurable than paying bills or balancing a check book.  An ice cream cone is perceived as a treat, while an apple is an obligation.

 We also procrastinate out of fear or dread.  We might be afraid of failure or humiliation.  To act is to venture into the unknown.  Fear may lurk in our subconscious and push us to postpone action or pursue something easier and safer instead.

 Procrastination is easy.  Negative consequences are pushed to the future.  Right now we are O.K.  We may pay for it later, but right now we are fine.

 Stop and think. When we are not mindful, we procrastinate. When we examine our thinking, we can see that we’re wrong. Instant gratification can lead to problems later.  Our fears are overblown.  Negative consequences can’t be put off forever.  A day, week or month from now we won’t be able to do as much as we would like to think.

When tackling projects, become less focused on the result.  Learn to enjoy the process. Put yourself in the moment.  Don’t give a thought of future things you dread.  The activity may become more pleasant or even enjoyable.

 If you feel you need to hold on to procrastination, do it productively.  If you’re not ready to tackle a big task, do another smaller productive thing instead.  In the end, at least something gets done. 

 Lazing around can be wonderful.  I do it all the time.  It isn’t a bad thing provided it is done in balance with productive tasks.  If we are not mindful of this fact, we may be mortgaging our future for short-term pleasure.

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