Answer me first – Do you have more than ONE browser tabs opened right now?
How many? 9? 17? 23? 52???
Same here! And there is nothing wrong with it 🙂
In fact, almost everyone has some ADD symptoms in this modern world, especially those who claim themselves to be a multi-passionate person.
The moment you open your eyes, you grab your phone and open Facebook and Instagram to see what you’ve missed overnight.
You want to feel productive, so you starting checking emails before you even arrive your workplace.
Cognitively it took you around 90 minutes to really get warmed up and feel awake.
And when you are sitting in from of your desk, you list everything out that you want to achieve for the day (plus all the leftovers from yesterday, last week or last months)
Many people need you urgently or give you tasks that jump the queue of your own priority list.
You work work work, feeling really busy, and actually, you thought you are quite productive in the process.
However, time flies, and at the end of a workday, you feel crushed when you are not crossing out EVERY item on it.
In fact, 4 out of 5 days, you ask yourself, ” What have I DONE today?!!”
You start to feel you’ve wasted your time on things that are not that important.
You feel guilty for spending too much time getting distracted
You start to beat yourself up and consider yourself lazy.
Mission incomplete. “Sigh. I’ve wasted another day.”
And the cycle continues the next morning.
You are definitely not alone.
The actual reasons behind your procrastinating behaviour can be very different. Here I summarise the most common 6 types of procrastination:
Very typical for those who are an Altruist, or more widely known as a giver.
You always pay attention to the needs of other people first, and you have difficulty in saying no.
You actually love that people come to you for help, because the more popular you are, the more you feel you are important.
The catch is, you can be really productive throughout the days solving other’s problems and leave yours to pile up. Eventually, even the non-urgent tasks become very urgent after a while!
It’s like you are in a kitchen with multiple sinks; You allow other people to keep pilling their dishes onto yours and leave; while your own sink is always full with loads of disks that are not even yours.
The word “need” or “should” always carry some heavy feeling around them.
Whether it’s stress, boredom, or obligations, that feeling creates a resistance in you.
Then it becomes natural for you to AVOID the negative feeling to side-track yourself into something else.
Another scenario is that the task we want to do seems to be too daunting or difficult to start, so we tend to escape, and find some easier tasks to achieve first so we would feel better about ourselves.
This happens to me ALL THE TIME – there is always a motivational talk or seminar that feels useful or intrigues me when I’m researching for something. And before I know it, I’d enter the information consumption mode (i.e. learning passively) for several hours without recognising.
So, of course I’ve got not enough time left for creating! Let’s do it tomorrow…
This is the Perfectionist in us trying to take over.
Especially for the very important tasks that (you thought) would make or break our reputation.
It’s like you keep polishing the same glass car windscreen while it’s already clear and totally transparent; how can you change the view behind the glass if you don’t move on and start driving?
When enough is done, let go of it – Progress over perfection!
Human beings are rational. If we feel like putting off something, there must be a BENEFIT in doing so.
In psychology, it is called a Secondary Gain. So what would be the “benefits” from delaying that really important task that you truly desire to achieve?
Maybe you thought if you don’t achieve that scary goal that is out of your comfort zone, you can save yourself some embarrassment, judgement and criticism if you fail.
Maybe if you delay a task long enough, someone will step in and do it for you.
Or maybe you scared that if you are becoming TOO successful, your beloved friends and family will envy you and eventually leave you.
These are deep-rooted limited beliefs that were programmed when you were very young. They might not make sense or even are totally BS, but they hold a strong power in controlling your behaviours. And if you don’t dig deep enough, you won’t realise they exist.
Sometimes waiting and patience is EXACTLY what is needed.
So you can rest and revitalise – because your brain has simply shut down after a long day of work.
So you can give yourself more time to think about the pros and cons of a decision and wait until more clues are uncovered.
Why are you being so hard on yourself?
Let’s admit it, we are pretty addicted to the feeling of busyness.
We buy into the idea that when we keep ourselves active, we are hardworking and productive.
Real productivity is always results-driven.
When you use the least time and resources to complete a task, THAT is the real productivity!
To increase our productivity, it is not necessary for us to go through a military training (although it could be a very effective way).
In particular, as a proud multi-passionate, I found many of the productivity hacks out there too rigid to follow. Like:
-Waking up at 4.30am (Nooooooo I’m a night owl)
-Tracking every single detail of your project plans, deadlines and progress ( I love planning and playing with Gantt charts but I would literally rebel against my own rigid plan because I want flexibility in execution)
-Schedule your to-do list onto your calendar using the Pomodoro technique (20-minute sessions are fine, but my calendar does not have breathing space anymore when it’s filled with multiple colours, and the popup reminders really irked me)
1. Eliminate the Distraction and Triggers in my environment that steal my attention TO “other people’s agenda” – including push notifications for social media, my phone, my Spotify App and the Youtube channel. Keep them out of sight, out of mind.
2. Stick Rigidly To My Morning Rituals – I dedicate my first 90 minutes every morning without network so I can meditate, visualise my dream future has come true already, free writing and journal, exercise and plan my day out.
3. Only List 3 MOST IMPORTANT TASKS Every Day so I can focus on and feel committed; Similarly, limit my Browser tabs to 5 or under! Alex Mathers coined it as the “Main Dish, Side Dish” idea.
4. Connect With My WHY – Having my end goals in mind, I can remind myself that every small step that I’m taking right now are contributing to a much bigger goal.
5. Manage My ENERGY, Not Time – Based on my most productive hours, plan my day around my pattern and schedule accordingly. Like I’m most creative from 10am-1pm and 5-7pm, so I mostly schedule my writing and creative work in those hours, and schedule social meeting and yoga classes in the late afternoon when I feel drowsy.
6. Allow Buffer Time For My Projects so even when I’m TOO optimistic when it comes to estimating the time I’ll need to finish a task, I won’t be given too much pressure for myself.
7. The Pizza Theory – Like mums will mix the nutritious vegetables on top of children ‘s favourite pizza so they can eat what they need plus what they like, I mix some boring tasks into my favourite task so I feel more motivated to do them.
8. Reward Myself Periodically – this is so needed! Whether it’s taking an afternoon off to the seaside, a lovely snack or booking a massage, it feeds our brain with dopamine when we finished something important, so we feel more motivated to get started the next time.
9. Make It Public – Make yourself accountable by telling other people your goal, so you can help but feel the alertness in meeting your promise!