This week on the blog, I am thrilled to welcome guest blogger SOVRRN! A longtime friend of mine and fellow creative soul who is passionate about creative sustainability, community, and how we can tap into our true happiness, he is visiting the blog today to share some reflections on something we all struggle with: procrastination. What is procrastination and what role does it play in our ability to work and play? How might we stop struggling against it and learn to harness it for our own personal and creative power? If you've ever struggled with feeling like you don't have enough time in the day, this post is for you.
First, “procrastination” and “laziness” are not real. They are concepts created by a world who is trying desperately to get you to buy into the idea that busy=worthy. It is JUNK. And for you, it stops today. Chances are, you are already doing WAY too much for a human brain to physiologically keep track of. It is not your fault that you forget things. It is not your fault that your human physiology is so very overwhelmed with requests, demands, deadlines, risks, plans, decisions, and obligations that the only defense you have sometimes is self-sabotage. Have you ever made yourself sick just so life will give you a break? I have, and I know many others who have too. What is an overwhelmed, creative being of light to do? After all, your only real job is to find the best channel to share your maximum gifts, right?
You may resist this, but stick with me. Ready? STOP adding new things. I’m giving you a temporary pass to say NO to any and every new thing. Not forever. Just for a while. Say, two weeks? Let’s make it official, say it with me:
“I hereby place a moratorium on all new requests, ideas, plans, and engagements. For 2 weeks, I will iron out what is hanging over my head right now.”
And here is the bonus round: You’re in Charge of what that means!
Want to watch Netflix for a night or two, or seven, before you tackle that stuff that absolutely needs doing? Do it! Maybe that is exactly what you need to bring context to everything else.
If ignoring certain stuff makes your life break, maybe let it break a little! Hey, maybe you're not a good fit for having your shit together just yet. Maybe you really do need a bit more time before you are qualified for your job, perhaps? Sometimes dysfunctional things need desperately to break completely before better things can come together. We insist on maintaining a constant deathgrip of control over HOW the universe gets to bring fulfillment into our lives. We insist on trying to suck a coconut of greatness through an impossibly tiny coffee stirring straw. The Universe is TRYING desperately to deliver said coconut of greatness, constantly. But we’re just like, “Nope. It has to pass through this tiny straw or I don’t deserve it.”
This does not count as acceptance.
This does not create an open channel of receiving.
This is your life, and if you want to create an environment where you are accepting of yourself and who you are, you will have to release the guilt for who that person is - Right This Moment!
Don't let anyone tell you how you spend your time is a waste, or “irresponsible,” because it is YOUR TIME. This is your life to leave the legacy you choose, even if that is a person who barely showered, lost all their friends, developed diabetes, and died alone. That is totally fine, and no I’m not being sarcastic. No one has the right to judge the worth of another person, period.
But, there is a catch to all of this. The one secret ingredient caveat is: You don't get to feel guilty about doing any of it.
If you are going to pour your life into indulgent or hedonistic pursuits, or even just obsessive creative activities, the deal is that you have to really give yourself to it. LET IT FULLY RUN ITS COURSE. To be very clear: this kind of radical acceptance only works if you surrender completely to your purest impulses. You may find that instead of two weeks, or a month, or a lifetime of guilty part time Netflix binging, or gaming, or making lists of stuff to buy on Amazon, or watching YouTube videos on Ancient Aliens and the Illuminati (I SEE YOU), or eating those awesome fucking donuts, you may only need 3 days of really going full time with it. LEAN INTO IT. Get a real deep and refreshing gulp of whatever it is that is cluttering up the corners of your soul. Because, you know those visions in your head and heart that are screaming about “greater purpose?” Besides making you feel like a 15th century plague has befallen your spirit, these visions have actual value. They are a map showing you the way to your gifts, and they will never spring to life past the mountain of distraction you have romanticised into importance unless you give them a voice and venue.
Distraction is FUN! Right?
Distraction allows us to avoid unpleasant and uncomfortable tasks and feelings. And most importantly, we are able to avoid the dreaded “boredom.”
Boredom is another term that isn't “real.” Much like laziness and procrastination, boredom is an idea that has been sold to us as a label for the feeling we get when we have not been allowed the time and space to WORK on our purpose. Once you identify the unique gift within you, the divine eternal charge of your singular legacy, you will have no cause for boredom. Boredom evaporates under the sun of purposeful FLOW.
How do you identify this purpose if you haven't already? Entire books have been written on the subject, but I will try to summarize in one sentence:
Radical and complete self-acceptance through total surrender.
What’s even better is that once you have let all the distractions out to play and be heard, and you are finally taking steps to materialize the building blocks toward this newly refined purpose, you will have even more authority and license to spend your downtime exactly however the FLIP you want.
It’s like the difference between letting a puppy run in a prairie every day versus keeping them in a crate and only giving them a taste of a world they long for in the minutes you bring them to the park to poop. Once you begin folding time in on itself to achieve six months worth of progress in a week or two, you can laugh in the face of anyone who tried to slap a lazy label on you. You can stare them dead in the eye, knowing they have no idea what the word even means, and they will see your compassion for them as a person who is still trapped in the cage of belief thrust upon them. In that moment, you will know that you have successfully transmuted this concept of “procrastination” right into “purpose.”
People are uncomfortable with what they see in others when they fear its controlling presence in themselves. And they will go to every length to prove that you are as trapped by it as they are. Just remember that you have escaped the prison they are still trapped in, and let them know if they ever want to break free, you could point them in the right direction. Because maybe we are meant to fail a whole lot, maybe things are meant to break, and maybe the key to our greatest creative power is our greatest destructive power. Maybe you’re supposed to get fired. Maybe you were supposed to get your heart broken (again). Maybe you need to experience financial struggles to finally understand money’s role in your life. Maybe you just don't care about that dream as much as you thought, and, by the way, who are you trying to prove wrong anyway? What are you even trying to prove to yourself? Let it go already. We said the words, right? We have a Surrender Moratorium in place.
When I’m coaching someone on procrastination, I usually suggest a technique I call “The Just in Time Approach.” Have you ever noticed that when you’re avoiding something, you do other things? What if all those other things were things you needed or wanted to do too? Voila! You’re now productive! Look at you, getting things done. Of course, you still have to do that one thing right? The mind is powerful. The mind doesn’t know the difference between reality and imagination. So the trick to “Just in Time” is visualization. As you’re doing the “filler tasks,” visualize the big hairy task you’re avoiding. Get excited about it. Make it the reward for all this other stuff. Take it one step further by doing tiny setup steps between the other stuff you’re doing. When I have to write something, but I feel like doing other things, I pull out the paper and pen, then I walk away and do something else. When I come back, I write the date at the top, then I walk away again. When I walk past the notebook, I look at it like, “I’m coming for you.” Sometimes I even bail on the other stuff I’m doing and dive right into the major task after I have psyched myself up a bit. Whether I do it last, or spontaneously in the middle, it is always “Just in Time.” World class athletes use this visualization technique with great success, and you can too.
There is only one player on the field, and the net is open. Take the shot, Champ. Sometimes, the key to getting what we want is the freedom of losing everything else first.
SOVRRN is the creator of Legacy Command, a personal coaching and life management system that uses a custom Planner and Fantasy Role-Playing Cards to gamify real life achievement. Learn more about SOVRRN and Legacy Command at www.legacycommand.com.