Oct 16, 2012

Procrastination tip: mindful work

I've found that working mindfully helps me procrastinate less. This is how I do it:

1 - I start working and try to be present with the task at hand.
2 - Eventually my mind wanders. My mind wanders for various different reasons, like for example: I remember something that I really want to check on the internet; I remember some other thing that I really want/need to do; I just fantasize about random stuff; I get caught up in anxious/depressive thoughts about the task at hand.
3 - I catch myself wandering. I don't blame myself for it, I just acknowledge it.
4 - If I was wandering about something important that actually needs to be done, I write it down, so that I can remember to do it later.
5 - I take a deep breath and gently bring my attention back to the task. I continue working and try to be present with what I’m doing.
6 - And the cycle repeats itself :P

To me, the anxious/depressive thoughts (and consequent emotions) are the most disruptive. These can take different forms, like for example: “This is too difficult, I can’t do it!”; “I’m so far behind… I’ll never finish it!”; “This is so boring… I can’t take it another minute!” It has been very important to realize that I can continue working, in spite of the negative thoughts and feelings, if continuing working is what I choose to do. I can acknowledge and accommodate these feelings. I can be with them, and I don’t have to react to them. This is one of the most effective strategies to help me keep going with the thesis writing. Eventually I realize that I can handle the difficult tasks and that I can even be interested in what I’m doing if I don’t allow myself to give up when the disruptive thoughts appear...

I really hope this strategy can be useful to you too :)

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